11 July 2012
Greens have called for urgent action to cure the NHS of cancerous PFI payments and have written to the Secretary of State for Health calling for action to ensure that health care provision is maintained rather than allowing hospitals to go into administration. The Greens are the only mainstream party to oppose PFI and to campaign to stop the privatization of the NHS.
The revelation that the South London Healthcare NHS Trust is going into administration with debts incurred by its contracts under PFI (Private Finance Initiative) has come as no surprise to the Green Party. The Green Party has warned of the financial dangers of hospitals being built under PFI. The news that up to 30 other Trusts may be facing administration has prompted the call for action to prevent closures.
Adrian Ramsay, Green Party Deputy Leader, said: "It is time to cut out the cancerous PFI deals that are killing the NHS. While successive governments seem to find billions to bail out banks and to quantitatively ease the economy they seem utterly beholden to the companies that they now rent hospitals from having sold them off in the first place.
"The PFI deals were simply an accounting fix that put money in the pockets of big companies and locked the NHS into huge debt. The taxpayer will end up paying £63bn towards hospitals that cost £11bn to build. As hospital trusts go ito administration we can expect to see health care provision drastically reduced. This is unacceptable and the Green Party has written to Andrew Lansley calling for a solution that protects services.
"It is surely time to end the PFI scam and let the NHS focus on providing care for patients, not profit for shareholders."
Labour allowed hospitals which would have cost a total of £11bn if built outright by the NHS to be built under PFI: estimates even then were that the cost to the taxpayer of these hospitals over time was going to be £63bn because of interest repayments - mortgages in effect. The Green Party warned of this at the time. Now it seems the cost is likely to be much higher still: the South London NHS Trust debt is likely to have to be picked up by the taxpayer anyway because of the guarantees given by Government to the private contractors who built the hospitals. It would have been much cheaper for the taxpayer to have paid outright for hospitals like the Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington, Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup, and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich which form the South London NHS Trust.
The Tories now say PFI (which they started) is a bad idea; and yet they still say that the economy is in bad shape because the banks won't lend money. As everyone knows, it is unsustainable debt which got us and the Eurozone into our current mess, so yet more unsustainable borrowing is not the answer. It is not lack of lending, say the Greens, which is the problem. As well as the general corruption now laid bare in the financial banking system, it is our expectation of borrowing, of mortgaging our and our children's future which is at fault.