In response to Alex Wilson's letter (February 7): the new hospital to be built at Larbert represents more than £300m of much-needed investment in NHS services for the 300,000 citizens of Forth Valley.

By 2009 it will provide a modern hospital with the entire range of acute services in conditions which we could only dream about while we have been operating out of the previous locations at Falkirk and Stirling.

In no way is this privatisation. The new hospital will be an NHS hospital, for NHS patients, with care provided by NHS clinicians, which will be fully answerable to the Forth Valley NHS Board which will in turn be answerable to the Health Minister of the Scottish Executive of the day.

The decision to approve the full business case for the new hospital was approved by 18 of the 19 board members, including a positive vote from the board member elected to represent the staff of NHS Forth Valley.

The project to provide the new hospital has followed a detailed process set out by the Scottish Executive. This requires the PFI-funded option to be compared to the publicly funded option in terms of value for money. The two options were assessed by independent financial advisers appointed by the board and their report clearly showed that the hospital was affordable and that PFI represented better value for money over the 30-year timescale of the project.

In Scotland, the unions have been particularly keen to avoid a two-tier workforce within the NHS arising from facilities management functions being contracted out as a consequence of the PFI process. To address this, the Scottish TUC and the Scottish Executive have agreed a memorandum of understanding. This ensures staff who transfer out of the NHS have their terms and conditions, including their pension benefits, matched by the FM contractor. In addition, these benefits are extended to new employees to ensure there is no two-tier workforce. This protocol has been applied to the letter in the Forth Valley negotiations. It is, therefore, quite wrong to talk about staff transferring having to suffer "the loss of terms and conditions" or that these workers have been "sold out".

My position on the NHS board is not to act either as a representative of the trade-union movement, or the Labour Party. My priority is to achieve what I judge to be in the best interest of the people of Forth Valley. I have no doubt that pressing ahead urgently with the provision of this new hospital for Forth Valley at Larbert is in the best interest of our potential patients and also will provide the best working environment for all our staff. To delay all of this for a further five to 10 years, which would surely have been the result of rejecting the business case, would be a dereliction of my responsibility to the people of our area. Campbell Christie, Board Member, Forth Valley NHS Board, 31 Dumyat Drive, Falkirk.