PFI indebted hospitals to be given £1.5 billion lifeline
Seven English NHS hospital trusts with debts caused by Labour’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI) debts are to have access to a £1.5 billion government bailout fund.The subsidy will be available over the course of 25 year long contracts.
Trusts will have to show they have improved efficiency and provide good care in order to access the money.
The seven trusts are: Barking, Havering and Redbridge, St Helens and Knowsley, South London, Peterborough and Stamford, North Cumbria, Dartford and Gravesham and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells.
There are 100 plus PFI schemes, where private firms pay to build hospitals, leaving the NHS to pay an annual fee or “mortgage”.
Coalition ministers have attacked Labour over its deals, but the National Audit Office recently reported that for most trusts with financial difficulties PFI was just part of the problem.
The Department of Health says without the funding, services at the hospitals would be put at risk.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “We need to balance the accountability of the NHS at local level to live within its means on one hand, with recognising that there is a legacy of debt for some trusts with PFI schemes.”
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