West London MP John Randall cites evidence in Building investigation as he calls for inquiry into health scheme
The handing of a £800m PFI hospital in Paddington, west London, was criticised in a parliamentary debate last week.

John Randall, the Conservative MP for Uxbridge, said the Paddington Health Campus ought to be scrapped, and called for an independent inquiry into it.

Randall quoted from a Building investigation last month to substantiate his claim that an investigation was required. The scheme was set up up in 2001 but has still not been put out to tender.

The project envisages the creation of a campus of health facilities for two NHS trusts, the Royal Brompton & Harefield and St Mary's. It would also house a national heart and lung institute for Imperial College.

Randall, speaking at the specialist health services debate last Tuesday, said: "It is time to draw this tale of inefficiency to a close by abandoning the scheme. It was always described as a vision. I have no problem congratulating people on having a vision and wanting to achieve it, but I am afraid that the vision has turned into a bit of a mirage."

Randall, whose constituency is near the Harefield hospital in west London, emphasised that his opposition was not simply because of a parochial concern for his own constituents.

He said: "I don't think I'm painting too harsh a picture of the failure of the management of the project. A recent edition of Building magazine described it as problematic and the 'PFI from hell'. When those with knowledge of the construction industry make such severe criticisms, they cannot be brushed aside as being against the project."

Responding to the criticisms made by Randall, health minister John Hutton defended the decision to push ahead with the scheme. He noted that this decision had been taken after full local public consultation.

Hutton also noted that a joint review of the scheme by the Department of Health, the Treasury and the National Audit Office had been completed and this would be making its own recommendations about the scheme.

Hutton said: "The north-west London strategic health authority will, I think, make a statement on the outcome in the next fortnight.

"It will cover the timetable of the new campus, as well as its affordability. It was right to conduct the review: costs have risen steeply, and delays in the project have become obvious."