The Department of Health has given outline approval for 10 third- wave private finance initiative hospital building schemes amid concerns that an overall review of PFI is being stalled by Treasury interference.

The 10 projects are part of the 'third prioritisation exercise' promised last year by the then health minister, Alan Milburn.

They include a range of rationalisation and reconfigurations of acute, clinical, teaching and community services at hospitals in London, Portsmouth, Blackburn, Leeds, Oxford and Wakefield.

One source suggested that Mr Milburn's move to the Treasury in December last year led to the sudden disappearance from the DoH website of information about new guidance on PFI.

'The cover sheet of the new guidance appeared, but the actual guidance was not attached. This was a Treasury intervention. It is understood that there were a number of things that they didn't like,' the source said.

The comprehensive review of PFI announced in September 1997 is still not publicly available, though its contents were reported at length by HSJ (28 January).

Howard Lyons, head of the Institute for Health Services Management's PFI Watch, said: 'There have been draft versions of this document floating around for 12 months. Some of the second and third-wave applicants used it with their submissions, but it still has not been published.'