Contractor Bouygues was expected to put in a bid today for the £620m Royal London and St Bartholomew's PFI hospital scheme, the final day for applications.
Bouygues is thought to be one of only two bidders for the scheme. A Skanska/Innisfree consortium has long been interested in the UK's largest PFI hospital project and is also expected to bid for the project. The scale of the scheme, however, has deterred most contractors.

The Department of Health had hoped to attract at least three bidders for Bart's, to comply with its own regulations. Steve Saunders, director of capital development at Bart's and the London NHS Trust, said this week: "I'm aware of two consortiums, although I won't know for sure until Friday's deadline."

It is understood that that the Department of Health will go ahead with the scheme even though only two consortiums are competing. European Union regulations do not require a minimum number of bidders for any scheme, and a Department of Health source suggested that the process of selecting a preferred party might be quicker as a result.

Bouygues is thought to have decided to pitch for the scheme after it failed to win PFI hospital projects at Oxford and in Havering, east London, leaving it with little future work in the sector.

I’m aware of two interested consortiums, although I won’t know for sure until Friday’s deadline

Steve Saunders, Bart’s NHS Trust

A £360m PFI health campus scheme at Paddington also moved forward this week. The Harefield and Royal Brompton Hospitals are earmarked to be relocated on the site, but a grade II-listed building has hindered the project. Westminster council had to consult with English Heritage on whether the St Mary's Hospital Trust could demolish a two-storey stable block as part of its planning permission. English Heritage is understood to have given the thumbs-up to the move.

Eric Sorenson, director of development at the trust, said: "Westminster officials have told us formally that they feel we're making a good case [for the demolition], although this is still to be confirmed."