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Private Finance Initiative in the healthcare sector: trends and risk assessment

Akintola Akintoye (School of the Built and Natural Environment, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK)
Ezekiel Chinyio (School of Property and Construction, University of Central England, Birmingham, UK)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 1 December 2005




The UK Government has now adopted Private Finance Initiative (PFI) as a major vehicle for the delivery of additional resources to the health sector in order to achieve a greater investment in healthcare facilities. The purpose of this paper is to examine the trends and risk assessment of the PFI in the healthcare sector.


The paper employed secondary data and interviews of key participants in two hospital PFI projects to highlight developments in healthcare PFI and the risk management of hospital projects.


The results show that the use of PFI in the provision of healthcare is increasing in terms of number, capital value and size of projects. What emerged in the healthcare PFI project was a usage of a plethora of risk management techniques, albeit to varying degrees. Experience appeared to be the prime risk assessment technique employed, while risk avoidance was first explored before pricing and allocating any residual risks. “Risk prompts”, such as using checklists and risk registers were also useful in the identification of risks. Among all participants, insurance cover and sub‐contracting appear to be the most prominent strategies employed for managing out the risks.


The negotiations that precede the signing of a healthcare PFI project contract had an impact on the final choice of facilities or their specifications. The two contracting parties sought a balance between an optimal allocation of risks, choice of facilities and project price. Although the risk management techniques being used are generic in nature, there is still no evidence at the moment to show that these are appropriate for PFI projects. It is important that further investigation is undertaken to assess the level of current skills in risk management techniques to deal with PFI projects and the extent to which these techniques are appropriate to tackle complex healthcare PFI projects.



Akintoye, A. and Chinyio, E. (2005), "Private Finance Initiative in the healthcare sector: trends and risk assessment", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 12 No. 6, pp. 601-616.



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