Private finance initiative has been crippling our NHS for decades now. With many hospitals now a certain hospital trust in south London facing difficulties it’s time to end this profit mad system and re nationalize the NHS and kick out the profiteers from our health care once and for all.
The South London Healthcare NHS Trust has already lost £150m
The trust runs three hospitals and has run up deficits of more than £150m over the past three years. It is thought to be on course to lose between £150m and £375m by 2017.
Our staff has worked hard for patients and in spite of significant financial issues we are extremely proud we now have among the lowest mortality and infection rates in the country
Its chief executive was informed on Monday night that the trust is likely to be put into the "unsustainable providers regime", which was introduced by the last Labor government but never before used.
The administrator will take over the board and recommend measures to the Health Secretary to put the trust's finances on a sustainable basis. Which to me means nothing but cuts and a contraction of services offered and a round of redundancies for the staff.
Hospitals run by the trust include Queen Mary's in Sidcup, the Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich and the Princess Royal in Bromley.
It is clear to me to save the NHS PFI must be rejected out of hand and all services brought back into proper democratic public ownership. With a trade union lead campaign with local communities and the mass of the working class behind a campaign to save the NHS we can save it only if we act now. Each day a further piece of our NHS is lost if we don’t act now it’ll be gone in a few years time. A distant memory.
PFI was begun in the early 1990s by the then Tory government. It was attacked by Labour when in opposition, but then massively accelerated under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's governments. Today there are hundreds of PFI projects covering hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, police stations and prisons.
Instead of a public body building a new facility using public money, albeit through a contract with a private builder or developer, PFI involves a private sector developer or consortium doing the whole job. It borrows the money (often at higher rates of interest than the government would), builds the project and then charges a fee for 25 to 40 years for maintaining the buildings and usually also providing various services.
Labour spokespersons such as Patricia Hewitt and Alan Milburn condemned such PFI projects as 'backdoor privatization' when in opposition. In government, however, as health secretaries, they claimed it was the 'only game in town'. And curiously, after government, they (and many other Labour ex-ministers) got lucrative private sector jobs and consultancies, many in the same areas where they had been ministers.
The Financial Times estimated in 2007 that, after ten years of New Labour, the total capital value of PFI contracts across the UK was £68 billion - but that the total which would be given to the private companies involved in those contracts, by the time they were finished, would be £215 billion!
Three years later, in November 2010, the total payment obligation for PFI contracts in the UK had rocketed to £267 billion. And in the first year of the Tory/Lib Dem coalition a further 61 PFI schemes, with a capital value of £7 billion were approved. PFI has become a 'milch cow' for big business in the public sector.