Labour plan to tackle city hos­pi­tal’s large PFI debt

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - NEWS -

Labour’s shadow health min­is­ter said the party would at­tempt to bring down Peter­bor­ough City Hos­pi­tal’s Pri­vate Fi­nance Ini­tia­tive debt if elected to form a govern­ment.

The hos­pi­tal, which recorded a deficit of £17.7 mil­lion last year, is due to pay £18.3 mil­lion in PFI pay­ments in 2017/18.

The PFI deal was agreed un­der a Labour govern­ment, but re­spond­ing to that point Jon Ash­worth said PFIs were orig­i­nally a Con­ser­va­tive idea.

On a visit to the city with lo­cal MP Fiona Onasanya he said: “We did sign a PFI con­tract in or­der to re­build hos­pi­tals, but now 10 to 15 years down the line we think it is the ra­tio­nal thing to do to look at those con­tracts again and see if they can be rene­go­ti­ated so we can get a bet­ter deal for the tax­payer.

“That is some­thing that Fiona raised with me more or less in her first day in the House of Com­mons. It can be done.

“If this govern­ment won’t do it the next Labour govern­ment will do it.”

Both Mr Ash­worth and Ms Onasanya said govern­ment cuts were to blame for de­lays at A&E and cuts to IVF ser­vices by the county’s clin­i­cal com­mis­sion­ing group.

Ms Onasanya said the city hos­pi­tal was do­ing “what they can do to the best of their abil­ity in this stretched time of lim­ited re­sources.”

She added: “I think the staff do an in­cred­i­ble job. Un­for­tu­nately with the Govern­ment their hands have been tied be­hind their backs and asked to catch. You can’t com­plain when the ball drops that their hands are tied.”

Jon Ash­worth and Fiona Onasanya

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