UNDER used buildings at Amersham Hospital should be rented or sold to private health firms, NHS managers have said.

It has been revealed the move is being partly driven by a significant financial deal with the private sector to develop the site - from which bosses have since tried to extricate themselves.

A hospital report says the "usage of the building for clinical accommodation is below the norms expected".

A report by Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust said the authority is "actively seeking third parties to provide health care from these buildings".

Although it would look at increasing the workload the site's position had been "worsened" by the closure of mental health unit Haleacre, run by another trust, it said.

Yet the Trust this week admitted the need to get rid of land and buildings was being driven in part by a deal done with a private healthcare firm to provide a new block in the 1990s.

United Healthcare paid for the £34.3million block under the private finance initiative scheme and will now be paid back by the NHS, plus £6.6million interest, over the next 25 years.

The report says the Trust had tried to exit part of the contract, but found it would not be financially viable.

Therefore only buildings which belong to the NHS would be disposed of - but the Trust said it had "no intention" of leaving Amersham Hospital.

Jon Fisher, the Trust's head of communications, said: "The Trust has a duty to make the most of the available assets at Amersham. Doing nothing is unsustainable and reduces the resources the Trust can allocate to enhancing the healthcare services we provide.

"Therefore we are seeking a partner' organisation or organisations to join us at Amersham Hospital."

Trust chairman Bernard Williams said this week: "There are a number of drivers for us here, not least of which is the present cost of our PFI across the Trust and how we can bring that annual cost within budgets."

The hospital has a specialist inpatient dermatology unit, an older adult care unit, physical disability wards, respite care and outpatient services.