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Hospital Financing

Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what additional capital will be available to the NHS when NHS foundation trusts are able to access capital from both the public and private sectors. [116291]

Capital spending by national health service foundation trusts will count against the Department's spending limits agreed through the Spending Review process. However, subject to legislation, under the new arrangements capital spending by foundation trusts will be determined locally according to each trust's needs. Block capital needs (to cover care and maintenance) will be covered in the national tariff paid to foundation trusts for NHS services under contracts with primary care trusts. Providing they act in a way that is consistent with their terms of authorisation, foundation trusts will be free to borrow capital up to a prudential limit for spending on strategic developments. Foundation trusts will also be free to enter into joint venture arrangements—which may provide an additional source of capital investment that helps deliver their NHS functions. And as now they will be able to enter into Private Finance Initiative arrangements for major developments.