Government cash to assist hospital

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THE trust that runs Stamford Hospital has been promised help from the Government to tackle the “burden” of its private finance initiative repayments.

The Peterborough and Stamford Hospital Trust is one of seven trusts selected to get the assistance from senior Government lawyers and auditors, health minister Simon Burns has revealed.

The money will go towards loan repayments on the £290m Peterborough City Hospital which opened in November 2011, replacing Peterborough District Hospital and Edith Cavell Hospital.

Senior government lawyers and auditors are to be sent into seven trusts struggling with such contracts.

Mr Burns said: “There are these seven which are at the top of the scale, which are having a significant drag on their day-to-day running because of the PFI costs.

“The trusts have got significant problems as a result of these irresponsible PFI schemes that the last Labour government allowed.

“We have said, with those, that if they have a regime in place that ensures that the other financial running of the trust, with regard to the provision of healthcare, is either sound or there are realistic measures to ensure they become sound, then we will be prepared to financially help them, solely with the burden of the PFI repayments, because it is a millstone round their neck.”

The other trusts involved were Dartford and Gravesham; Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells; Barking, Havering and Redbridge; North Cumbria; St Helens; and Knowsley NHS Trusts.

Chris Preston, director of finance and performance at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Trust, said they had not heard any update since being identified as one of seven struggling trusts earlier in the year.

The trust revealed its five-year savings plan yesterday. It confirmed that part of Stamford Hospital could be sold to another healthcare provider to be used as a clinic, care home or hospice.

A meeting will take place at Stamford Hospital on Monday from 6pm to 8.30pm to discuss plans for its future.