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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 June 2007

PFI - a licence to print money

WHEN THE Private Finance Initiative (PFI) was first brought into the NHS, hospitals signed up to contracts lasting up to 60 years. There were 'break points' where the health service could terminate the arrangement.

Now new information, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that one stipulation of the deals is that if the NHS does not fulfil the entire contract, the private firms keep the land leases, which could then be used for housing developments.

If the NHS were to end its 60-year PFI agreement at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, south London, the contractors would gain the right to use the land and buildings until the year 2126, 125 years after the deal was signed! In London in particular, this could mean big money for the private contractors.

The four hospitals in this part of south London - in Lewisham, Sidcup, Farnborough and QEH - are cash-strapped. Management at the four hospitals have issued a joint warning that either one hospital will have to close or they will have to merge services to save money.

Ironically, NHS managers could consider Queen Mary's in Sidcup the hospital most likely to close. It is the only local hospital with no PFI agreements so the NHS would lose less.

A recent Commons public accounts committee said that one problem with PFI is that local public-sector officials are unskilled at negotiations.

Even if this is true, the government knew what PFI was about, so they knowingly let their City of London friends use hospitals (and schools and other public services) as ways of making themselves rich.

Keith White

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In The Socialist 7 June 2007:

Labour cheats NHS

PFI - a licence to print money

Petition on NHS: Stop cuts and privatisations (word)


War and terrorism

Fight Brown's agenda of war, cuts & privatisation


Socialist Party workplace news

Postal workers fight closure

Coventry says 'keep our Post Office open'

CWU delegates attack link with Labour

Come to the Shop Stewards' Network conference

National Shop Stewards Network Founding conference

Ritzy - low-paid workers strike again


G8 Summit protests

80,000 demonstrate against the G8 summit

Activists with ideas


What we think

Drowning in an ocean of debt


Socialist Party feature

Young people: a bright future... or different shades of grey


International socialist news and analysis

Bolivia: Release Adam Ziemkowski

South Africa: Public sector workers in mass fightback

The Arab-Israel 1967 war: repression and bloodshed continues


Socialist Party news and analysis

Don't trust the Trust schools - organise!

Tony Blair "brings church into school"

Weekly bin collections AND recycling schemes

Black and Asian group: Socialist ideas to unite all workers

Take part in the 22-28 June Fighting Fund week of action

The fat cat and the 'cleaning lady'


Workplace news and analysis

Remploy management squander opportunities

Tesco strikes show new mood


 

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