Major boost for £1.2bn Barts and Royal London PFI scheme as government-commissioned report finds that 'the planned capacity is in line with anticipated future demand'.

The £1.2bn Barts and Royal London PFI scheme looks set to get the go-ahead after a government- commissioned report found in its favour.

The North East London Strategic Health Authority's independent report on the review of cancer and cardiac services planned for Barts Hospital was undertaken by Matrix Research and Consultancy.

While the Department of Health still needs to give its blessing - which cannot be guaranteed - the hospital is on a surer footing than before.

The strategic health authority said:

"In light of continuing concerns about the scale and overall cost of the scheme, the strategic health authority and Barts and The London NHS Trust will work with the Department of Health in reaching a conclusion on the full business case."

The remit of the report was:

  • To reassess the assumptions on activity set out in the Barts and The London NHS Trust full business case, with a focus on cancer and cardiac services.
  • To establish additional existing or planned capacity for cancer and cardiac services within the wider locality.
The strategic health authority's conclusions were as follows:

  • Overall, the planned capacity is in line with anticipated future demand and expert assessment of future models of care and provider efficiencies.
  • While there is spare capacity outside north-east London, no single location is predicted to have sufficient capacity to accommodate the tertiary services at Barts Hospital in their entirety. Morever, for all location options, capital expenditure would be required to convert available infrastructure into the specialist capacity needed.
  • Based on predictions from the national teams - both in respect of cardiac (theatres and labs) and cancer (linear accelerators) - predicted capacity across London is likely to be insufficient to meet growing demand. Any spare capacity will, as a first call, be required to meet the needs of existing catchment populations.
  • What local spare capacity there is (predominantly in outer north-east London) would, again, require capital investment for conversion. There are, in addition, competing uses for the space.
  • There is a strategic case for tertiary cancer and cardiac services to continue to be provided as an integral part of the north-east London networks on the grounds of accessibility to local residents and implementation of clinical guidance and national policy.