Airedale trust hopes to be the first in the UK to replace ageing equipment in its x-ray department through a private finance initiative deal.

Talks are at an advanced stage between the trust and two private companies on a 15-year deal involving replacement of all the xray department equipment, and the hospital aims to have a contract signed within the next few weeks.

Doug Farrow, director of planning and marketing, said: 'It is likely to be through a PFI deal and we believe It is the first of its kind in the country.

'In the past year we went ahead with some replacement because some of our old equipment was literally falling over. Over the years the replacement of x-ray equipment has become a more acute issue as the equipment has got older. '

The trust board had earlier given the go-head to a£2. 6m upgrade of the imaging department, including an estates element for reconfiguration of some old buildings at the Keighley site.

The PFI element of the deal will pay for state-of-the-art scanning equipment and allow the trust to end the current practice of relying on hired equipment, which is transported to the hospital weekly by van.