A key Department of Health review of the private finance initiative is now unlikely ever to see the light of day, according to HSJ sources.

The review of products and processes set up by former health minister Alan Milburn was intended to define clinical and non-clinical services, but it is thought that his successor, John Denham, does not wish to pursue it.

Minutes of a meeting between the NHS Executive and unions last month make clear that without a ministerial decision it will not be possible to issue even interim guidance to help managers decide where the boundaries lie.