This week's announcement that 11 more hospitals have been approved under the private finance initiative is further proof that the government has succeeded in delivering a policy which defeated its predecessor (see News, page 3). Full marks to Frank Dobson and friends for consistency and integrity.

But there were good reasons why, as shadow health secretary, Margaret Beckett thought PFI unsuitable for the NHS; and critics such as Will Hutton continue to raise valid concerns about a scheme which delivers now but only by tying the NHS into extremely long-term, revenue sapping contracts.

So let us hope that by the time the generation represented by health ministers Alan Milburn, Tessa Jowell and Paul Boateng reach old age and the need for good quality care, they do not find an NHS too tied in to the long-abandoned needs and inevitably anachronistic predictions of the late 1990s.