The decision on a winning bidder for a £374m PFI hospital in Bristol has been delayed for six months, it has emerged.

Consortiums led by Carillion and Skanska are in the running to build the Southmead hospital in Westbury-on-Trym in northern Bristol.

A preferred bidder was to have been picked in August, but North Bristol NHS Trust has confirmed that the contractors will not be asked to close discussions until January, and it could be another month before the final decision is made.

The delay in naming a winning bidder is likely to throw the hospital’s planned opening date of 2013 into doubt.

Southmead is the first PFI hospital to be procured using a competitive dialogue process.