Local media asked me for comment on the Norfolk and Norwich hospital’s recently announced ‘deficit’ of almost £30m and the chief executive’s plea for help with debts from the Private Finance Initiative. Here’s what I said in full:
“As I've said before, PFI is like signing up for the worst credit card on the comparison site. The NHS has more than 100 PFI hospitals with an original cost of £11.5bn but with PFI we’ll end up paying almost £80bn for them. So I’m delighted that the next Labour government will end the thirty-year love-in with PFI.
But the reality now is that the Tories are using hospital deficits as a smokescreen for deliberate underfunding of our NHS and taking the axe to all the services which stop people ending up in hospital in the first place. Yes, it’s scandalous that the health service is paying £2bn a year and rapidly rising to the vultures of the PFI industry but even if that ended tomorrow the health service would still face a £28 billion Tory funding gap by 2020.
Rather than slinging good money after bad into the gaping jaws of PFI, what our NHS really needs more money for is extra nurses, doctors and GPs.”