Birmingham's £560m PFI hospital hopes for St Bart's-style reprieve.

A scaled-back version of the £559m PFI Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham looks set to get the go-ahead from the Department of Health.

Treasury officials will be visiting the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Trust next week to examine the finances.

The visit is similar to a scrutiny of St Bart's finances, which resulted in the scheme being scaled back before it was finally approved.

Chief executive of the Trust Mark Britnel willl address an emergency meeting of 400 consultants today where options for paring back the project were discussed.

He said the hospital had to face the possibility it might have to "reduce the scale and scope of our ambitions". On the agenda is the option of "shelling" - whereby some of the buildings would be constructed as shells without internal infrastructure, which would be added at a later date

The BDP-designed scheme, one of the largest PFI super hospitals, was expected to move to financial close a year ago. Preparation work has already begun on the site, on the assumption that the hospital will be given the go-ahead.