‘We’re paying over the odds’ for new Royal London hospital say NHS campaigners
- Credit: Barts NHS Trust
Hospital bosses are expected to pay out £7 billion in construction and service costs in a 40-year debt to redevelop the Royal London that only cost £1bn to complete, it has emerged.
The Barts Health NHS Trust which runs the hospital in east London is battling with an expected deficit of £64 million for 2014-15, a public meeting in Whitechapel was told last night.
NHS campaigners want to end the controversial Private Finance Initiative contract used for redeveloping the Royal London which was completed two years ago.
“Our research of company accounts suggests that Innisfree and Skanska have already made £150m profit on the Barts deal over eight-years,” Helen Mercer from Drop the NHS Debt campaign said.
“But it still has 30 years to run, with interest rates rising every year.
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“If it defaults on the debt, Innisfree and Skanska get to own the hospital and it would almost certainly be privatised.”
The meeting held at Whitechapel’s Jagonari Centre heard how the deal was draining funds away from frontline NHS services into “the coffers of multinational companies”.
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This has left Barts Health trust stuck in a 40-year contract which “pays inflated interest on the loan and charges over the odds for services”, the meeting heard.
GP Anna Livingstone, from Tower Hamlets Keep Our NHS Public, said: “Our public NHS hospitals should be built with public money.
“Barts Health trust has already closed hospital beds, downgraded staff and wards to save money—and has been failing to meet A&E targets.
“We can’t let this carry on. It’s time the government stepped in and sorted out these scandalous contracts once and for all.”
Private funding schemes for the past 14 years have allowed governments to keep public projects off their books, say campaigners, by using private loans instead of cheaper government borrowing.