Published: 10/02/2005, Volume II5, No. 5942 Page 8

Consultant costs for the troubled Paddington Health Campus project have spiralled to over£7m, with fees being paid to 52 organisations.

Since the project began in 1999 it has racked up the bill without a brick being laid, according to a parliamentary answer from junior health minister Stephen Ladyman last month.

Between April and December last year, the campus project team paid just under£1.18m to consultants. Of the 52 organisations, only 11 are still contracted to the project.

Jean Brett, chair of Heart of Harefield, which is campaigning against the scheme, said the money would have been better spent expanding Harefield Hospital 'so that heart patients in Hertfordshire do not have to wait over six months for an angiogram'.

A project spokesperson said: 'For a project of this kind, to have spent roughly 1 per cent of the total cost on consultants and other preparatory work is both reasonable and proportionate to the size and complexity involved.'