A trust which opened a new private finance initiative-funded hospital earlier this year has now signed the first major separate PFI deal to provide medical equipment.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital trust in Woolwich, south east London, which opened in March, has signed a 15-year contract with Toshiba Medical Systems to provide all its medical equipment apart from medical instruments.

The contract includes the maintenance and replacement of equipment, and training for relevant staff. It covers the local primary care trust, which now provides community services formerly provided by the trust, as well as the acute trust.

Toshiba will invest£35m in equipment over the lifetime of the contract and has funding arranged through DVI Financial Services.

A trust spokesperson said what attracted it was an 'ongoing relationship', adding: 'What we will not have to deal with any more is the peaks and troughs of replacement.'

London regional director John Bacon said: 'This is a good example of the private sector and the NHS working together to provide clinicians with the equipment they need to serve patients best.'

The hospital is also now 95 per cent filmless, after a six-month roll-out of a computerised imaging system provided by Agfa. Films are now only printed when requested - for example, if needed elsewhere - and 600 staff have been trained to view x-rays and scans on 500 PCs (see picture).