Go-ahead for private-financing of St Bartholomew's and the Royal London Hospitals Refurbishment
The Green Party is dismayed that the new hospital for St Bart's will be funded by the Government's Finance Initiative and will be the largest PFI hospital to date. Whilst the hospital is urgently needed, funding through PFI will simply increase future deficits in the NHS and involve selling off more assets to the private sector. Other PFI hospitals are running into real financial problems due to the interest repayments required by private companies as opposed to government funding. Unlike the Tories, Labour and Liberal Democrats, The Green Party are fundamentally opposed to the Private Finance Initiative and call upon the Government to provide direct NHS funding from the Treasury.
Stuart Jeffery, Green Party Health Spokesperson, comments, "PFI is an accounting fiddle: it uses money for patient care to repay the loan to private companies, rather than drawing on a separate building budget. PFI schemes have been shown to be more expensive time and time again, yet this government wants to sell as much of the NHS to the private sector as possible. It is incredible that with the announcement of Sir Nigel Crisp's departure yesterday under the cloud of financial crisis, this government immediately decides to sign up to a scheme that will increase costs."
"PFI is not only bad news from a financial perspective. It imposes on the operational flexibilities needed to run an ever changing service by locking the NHS into very long contracts. Clinicians working in PFI hospitals have complained that the constraints imposed by PFI impact negatively on patient care. PFI is bad news for patients and tax payers - Bart's needs proper public funding, not the sacrifice of patient care."