Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/452/5407
PFI - Labour's binge profiteering
THE GOVERNMENT has announced that a new £1.5 billion wave of new hospitals will be built under the costly but profitable (to private firms!) Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Six new hospitals will open in Leicester, Torbay, North Staffordshire, Tameside and Glossop, Salford and Walsall from 2010.
Health Minister Andy Burnham sounded excited: "The go-ahead is great news for patients who will benefit from modern, bright, new buildings. The new facilities ... will be affordable well into the future. Each scheme has been rigorously checked to make sure that it offers value for money."
However, this year the National Audit Office (NAO) said private investors made over £80 million out of a refinancing deal at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital but the hospital was only handed £34 million.
A UNISON official said: "PFI schemes are expensive, inflexible and are adding to the current financial burdens of many hospital trusts." The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich faces insolvency because, according to the auditors, PFI is costing an additional £9 million per year compared with conventional procurement.
At a time of crisis in the NHS, with health staff's jobs under threat and with government policies causing huge deficits, this PFI plan is just binge profiteering. Labour refuse to learn from their costly mistakes. The unions must take up the fight against PFI as part of the battle to defend the NHS.
In The Socialist 24 August 2006:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news