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Amec and its joint venture partner Balfour Beatty completed the first phase of work on the £400 million University College Hospital in central London (above) last spring.

But Amec, led by its boss Sir Peter Mason (right), has threatened to pull out of similar large-scale PFI hospital schemes in the future if it cannot agree a deal with a health trust in Essex which pulled the plug on a scheme in Colchester 18 months after the firm was named preferred bidder. Sir Peter told the Stock Exchange the decision had cost his firm £7 million working up a design for a hospital nobody now wants.