Another 12 schemes are set to take place at hospitals in London, Wigan, Hull, Humberside, Northumberland and Northampton.
Health secretary Alan Milburn, who said PFI was essential to renew the NHS, declined to say where the 18 new PFI schemes would be sited. But he confirmed the setting up of private public partnerships to finance new local health facilities, including doctors' surgeries, health centres and community pharmacies.
These Local Initiative Finance Trusts are intended to provide money for smaller schemes, which will be lumped together by region and could include areas covered by several local health authorities. John Orr, NHS Estates partnering project manager, said these trusts would simplify the finance process for smaller firms. He said: "This will allow firms to be contractors more than financiers."