Parliamentary report criticises running of botched £894m campus scheme

The Department of Health was today criticised for its role in the management of the botched £894m Paddington Health Campus scheme, which collapsed nearly two years ago.

A report issued this morning by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee claimed that the department failed to respond adequately when problems with the project, whose cost spiralled from £300m in 2000 to nearly £900m by 2005, emerged.

The report stated that: "The Department was not adequately aware of the state of the Campus scheme because it viewed scheme development as a local issue." It claimed this was commonplace in major PFI schemes. "The Department has not been close enough to the development of capital investment projects in the NHS."

The report added that the health authorities planning the scheme believed the department "lacked clarity in its role and objectives" as it acted both as "champion and challenger".

The report said the Department of Health private finance unit should focus on "affordability, value for money and viability of projects".

"It should concentrate on the role of challenger and satisfy itself that hospital building schemes are compatible with these criteria and with other relevant NHS objectives and guidance," the report said.