THREE contractors have quit the Department of Health's £1.9 billion ProCure21 building framework following a long-running row over membership fees for the scheme.
Carillion, Wates and Taylor Woodrow have all resigned from the framework following disputes over the £170,000-ayear membership fee required to be a ProCure21 supply chain partner.
Medicinq - a consortium of Bowmer & Kirkland, Midas, Geoffrey Osborne and Simons - is reviewing its position.
The withdrawals leave just seven teams in the initiative: Balfour Beatty, Costain, HBG, Integrated Health Projects (Sir Robert McAlpine/Norwest Holst), Interserve, Kier and Laing O'Rourke.
Kier and Laing O'Rourke have claimed the lion's share of ProCure21 projects since it began in 2003, leaving other contractors complaining about having to meet the £170,000 fee for a handful of projects.
The resigning firms have committed to complete existing work.
Department of Health estates director Rob Smith expressed 'regret' at the departures, but was confident the remaining partners would still offer competitive choice and be able to handle an expected increase in ProCure21 work.
A DoH spokeswoman said: 'All parties knew about the £170,000 fee and that is what they signed up for.'