Trusts struggling with PFI debts

Ministers to send senior government lawyers and auditors to help seven trusts find savings and renegotiate contracts
courtesy of The Guardian 28 August 2012

Ministers said there was evidence that the NHS was not getting a fair share of savings that PFI deals were supposed to deliver. Photograph: Cate Gillon/Getty Images

Officials are to be sent to help seven hospital trusts unable to meet the repayments for their private finance schemes, ministers have announced.

Earlier this year the Department of Health said the hospital trusts were struggling with private finance initiative debts and would get £1.5bn in emergency funding to help them avoid cutting patient services to pay their bills.

The DoH now plans to send senior government lawyers and auditors to help the seven trusts find savings and renegotiate contracts.

The trusts involved are Barking, Havering and Redbridge; Dartford and Gravesham; Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells; North Cumbria; Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals; and St Helens and Knowsley NHS trusts, as well as the South London Healthcare Trust, which has been declared bankrupt by the department.

Many of the trusts targeted have had long-standing problems. The Barking trust has to find nearly £50m this year for its PFI deal agreed in January 2004; its financial commitments also led the Care Quality Commission to warn that the trust was failing to deliver proper standards of care.