PFI a blight……………
Last week on the Today program, I caught a small part of a conversation between Mark Porter, Chairman of the BMA and Chris Hopson CEO of the Foundation Trust Network, a sort of umbrella association that 95% of the hospital trusts belong and which from what I can gather advises on strategy, management etc for these trusts.
The piece I heard was when the current troubles with several trusts was voiced and and the reply from Mark Potter included the damning phrase “catastrophic” as to the effect PFI was having on those trusts that were in trouble, whilst recognising it was not the whole picture it was the major issue.
Chris Hopson was quick to reply that only 3,4 or five trusts were in trouble because of PFI and didn’t see it as a major concern.
I managed to get the whole interview on catch up so as not to make a mistake on what was said and to look into the background of the FTN and Chris Hopson.
Despite some time delving into the workings funding etc of the FTN, little other than the official blurb was revealed, it is to all intents and purposes a quango and one that has had less than glowing praise from several who have had to sit through meetings with them.
What was revealed is that Chris Hopson spent the last fifteen years with Shire leasing, he has in effect spent the major part of his working life working in the same field as PFI itself, with something that has been derided and blamed for failings throughout the NHS and for landing future generations with colossal debts.
This is a conflict of interest if ever there was one, he is hardly likely to speak out against something he was involved with for so long and no doubt with the revolving door network that exists at these levels is quite likely to return with his insider knowledge enhanced further.
A little of what there about can be seen here.
And this appraisal gives a more realistic version of the effect PFI is having on NHS trusts -
Even just over a year ago Mr Potter’s assertian that 3,4 or 5 trusts only were effected at this time would seem to be economical with the truth as described here.
And the number is growing with every year.
So why are PFI projects loved by governments and particularly that lead by Gordon Brown?
In a nutshell, two reasons the debt is of books it is in the private sector and paid for on the drip and of course incumbent Governments look good giving the plebs their shiny new buildings and not having to explain the cost structures.
Is this govt any better? They said all the right things when taking power, “not value for money to the taxpayers” etc, but now under the guise of PFI 2 that, despite the pledges, is not in any way better than the original, they are at it again.
Alder Hey Childrens Hospital starts losing shed loads of money just four years after it was granted trust status under another PFI project.
So there you have it – governments love it, their friends in big business love it the bulk of the population have not got a clue about it, a leasing expert heads up the organisation that advises the trusts, and whatever the outcome for the trusts in trouble, the one thing you can be sure of, even if privatisation comes in, it will be the taxpayer that makes up the shortfall on top of the original obscene costs that PFI has inflicted on us.
As PE would say “trebles all round”.