Labour’s shadow health secretary says Peterborough and Stamford hospitals trust needs £650m government funding due to PFI deal

Diane Abbott
Diane Abbott
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The shadow health secretary says the trust which runs hospitals in Peterborough and Stamford requires £650 million of government funding due to its PFI contract.

Diane Abbott was commenting after a piece from the Health Service Journal said the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is trying to secure a £25 million a year support package with NHS Improvement.

The main reasons were to address the cost of the Private Finance Initiative deal for construction/running costs at Peterborough City Hospital which opened in November 2010 at a cost of £289 million.

Presently the trust receives £10 million. The £25 million was a figure recommended by the Monitor Contingency Planning Team (CPT) back in 2013.

The Labour MP said: “Past governments’ decisions to build schools, hospitals and even military garrisons on a ‘buy now, pay later’ arrangements have saddled the public with hundreds of billions in debt.

“PFI has been a colossal waste and is a huge drain on the NHS and other key sectors of the economy. It’s forcing hospital trusts down the road of taxing for car parking, which is not what families or patients need. Meanwhile, progress on waiting times could be improved.

“Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Foundation Trust had a deficit of £37.1 million for 2015/2016. Peterborough Hospital’s appeal to central government for new money is symptomatic of the widespread problems in our public finances and our public services thanks to unsustainable PFI.”

A Guardian article in 2012 stated that Labour ministers had failed to heed warnings that the city hospital would not be able to pay its way if it went ahead with a PFI deal.

Stephen Graves, the trust’s CEO, said: “In September 2013, the CPT report made four recommendations; the first that we tackle the inefficiency in the trust.

“This is the fifth year where the trust is implementing a comprehensive Cost Improvement Programme and working closely with our community-based health and social care providers to free up bed capacity.

“The second recommended that we rapidly progressed joined-up working across the local health economy, which is evidenced by our involvement in the System Transformation Programme, of which one part is the potential merger with Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust.

“The third recommendation was that we continue to work towards making better use of the under-utilised estate of PCH to provide additional clinical capacity; the expansion to both the radiotherapy department and renal services are on track to be operational next year.

“Plus, there has been a visible increase in activity, for example a 15 per cent increase in Emergency Department attendances in the first three months of this year compared to last year.

“Lastly, the report recommended that we seek support from the Department of Health to bridge any residual deficit. We now receive £10 million annually to contribute to a £25 million problem and we continue to work with NHS Improvement to solve the outstanding £15 million.”