The Indian government is understood to be seeking UK contractors to work on its massive new hospital building programme.
It is believed that Trade Partners UK, the British government body, will lead a trade mission to India next February to attempt to win work on the 10-year programme to build 6000 hospitals, said to be worth at least £60bn. The mission would include NHS Estates, the property arm of the NHS.

Meanwhile, NHS Estates is to include a project for small to medium-sized firms in its Procure 21 pilots, in an attempt to allay fears that the new procurement system will exclude smaller builders.

The move follows NHS Estates' refusal to raise the lower threshold for Procure 21 projects from £1m to £4m, a change requested by the National Federation of Builders to prevent bundling of smaller projects so they are out of the reach of regional contractors.

NFB deputy chief executive Barry Stephens said the pilot would be carried out by an NFB member.

He said: "We expect early in the new year to be able to announce jointly with NHS Estates a further pilot specifically for SMEs to test an alternative approach to applying the Rethinking Construction principles."