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Three teams chase Kent PFI hospital

CONTRACTS - PEMBURY

THREE consortia are set to make the shortlist for a massive £300 million Private Finance Initiative hospital deal in Kent.

Carillion, Equion and Bouygues are all tipped to pick up tender documents from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust for its redevelopment of Pembury Hospital.

Two others, Skanska and Bovis Lend Lease, who also attended an open day held by the Trust, were understood to be lukewarm on the job because of other work commitments.

The remaining group, a joint venture between Amey and its Spanish owner Ferrovial, is understood to have ditched its interest at the 11th hour for the same reason.

A decision on the shortlist is not expected until later this month and tender documents will not be issued until mid-December.

The Kent deal will provide a 650-bed acute hospital and 59-bed mental health unit in Pembury, just north of Tunbridge Wells.The project may also cover key worker accommodation and car parking, while the FM part of the deal could include retail space and day care and creche facilities.Project managers hope the majority of the work will be completed by the end of 2007.

If Bouygues is confirmed on the shortlist it will continue a purple patch for the French firm, which, alongside Balfour Beatty, recently made the next round on the £300 million redevelopment of Whipps Cross Hospital in north London. Earlier this year Bouygues decided to drop a bid to revamp Colchester General Hospital after being made preferred bidder for the new £120 million Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.

The firm recently bagged an £80 million hospital project in north London with North Middlesex University NHS Trust, where it saw off a Gleeson/Canmore challenge.