£466 to replace a light, £242 for a new padlock and £75 on an air freshener: Labour’s botched PFI deals have sent NHS costs soaring… and there’s a £60 BILLION bill for taxpayers
- 22 trusts face major financial difficulties
Hospitals have been forced to shell out £242 just to change a padlock and £13,704 to install three lights as a result of Labour’s botched PFI deals.
Taxpayers have been left with a £60billion repayment bill for hospitals built under the private finance initiative – leaving 22 trusts facing major financial difficulties.
As part of the deals, hospitals had to sign contracts under which they agreed to pay hyper-inflated prices for maintenance work.
Freedom of Information requests have revealed some of the most stunning examples, including £525 to move three beds, and £466 to replace a light fitting.
Ministers are angry over the findings, which provide further information about how Labour’s PFI debt is crippling the NHS and burdening taxpayers.
Under PFI schemes, private firms paid for the building of new hospitals, with trusts repaying them over 30 or more years, with interest.
But due to the nature of the deals, the ultimate total cost is often far more than the value of the assets.
Trusts also agreed to pay firms for maintenance of the properties, meaning the firms can charge exorbitant sums as there can be no competition.
Often, trusts pay a fixed sum for maintenance, meaning if they do not need much work done over a year, each individual piece of work becomes very expensive.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘These figures show the true legacy of Labour’s poorly negotiated PFI deals – hospitals being forced to spend extortionate sums on private contractors rather than spending that money on helping sick patients get better.
‘Unless we take action, these post-dated cheques left to us by Labour could seriously impact on patients.
‘This government is working with trusts with PFI-related financial problems. We will not make the sick pay for Labour’s debt crisis.’
Costly: £13,704 was spent installing three lights in the garden at an NHS North Staffs Trust hospital, which includes The University of North Staffordshire Hospital (above)
Earlier in the year, it was revealed that 22 hospital trusts had appealed to the Department of Health for help after finding the bills posed a threat to their clinical and financial sustainability. Ministers are now considering what help they can give to hospitals with the most challenging PFI deals.
Examples of the shocking amounts charged under the agreements include County Durham and Darlington NHS trust, which had to shell out £525 to move three beds.
Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals trust paid out £8,450 to install a dishwasher, £929 to install a double data point and two double electrical sockets. North Staffordshire trust was charged £13,704 to install three lights in the garden.
North Cumbria University Hospital Trust is paying £2million to its PFI contractor for maintenance work. This included £466 to replace a light fitting and £184 to install a bell in reception – even though bells can be bought on Amazon for £2.99.
Emma Boon, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Taxpayers will be shocked to hear of the hyper-inflated prices hospitals have to pay for maintenance work because of badly negotiated PFI deals.
‘These arrangements have left a scandalous legacy which taxpayers will bear the cost of for years to come. Taxpayers want the NHS to spend money treating sick patients, not wasting it because of PFI.’
Last night Labour’s health spokesman Andy Burnham said: ‘The last Labour government used PFI deals to support the biggest hospital building programme in the history of the NHS, modernising the service after 18 years of Tory neglect.
‘This massively expanded the capacity of the NHS and helped to drive down waiting times.’