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Ontario launches P3 extravaganza - as P3 hospitals teeter on brink of collapse


The stream of terrible news about public private partnerships (P3s) in the motherland of P3s just keeps on coming.  But no one seems to be paying attention in the Ontario government.     


Now 60 English hospitals are on the brink of collapse due to their P3 deals according to the British Health Secretary (like our Minister of Health) .  Here's commentary from the conservative British daily, the Telegraph on the latest P3 (or "PFI") fiasco:
Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, has revealed that hospital trusts are "on the brink of financial collapse" because of the "crippling" servicing costs they are paying to private companies which built infrastructure under Labour. Remarkably, it turns out that this method of providing big capital projects, beloved of Gordon Brown, is rather more expensive than simply borrowing money from the bond markets and using it to build a hospital. Of course, anyone should have been able to guess this: there is no way that private companies, whose borrowing costs are vastly higher than the Government's, would be able to provide capital projects for less money.
And yet despite this, even as Andrew Lansley attacks Labour's "sick debt crisis", he and his colleagues are signing up to yet more PFI. 
One might say the same of the Ontario government, which is now launching a P3 hospital scheme on a scale to rival the English (and bragging about it, to boot).  


The Telegraph also reports that there "is already evidence that waiting lists for non–urgent operations have begun to rise as hospitals delay treatment to save money."  The 60 hospitals care for 12 million patients.


The British Health Secretary, Lansley, has told The Telegraph that the hospitals will not be allowed to collapse.  But how this will be achieved remains unclear. 


Hospital and Department of Health officials will meet over the next few weeks to develop plans to deal with the crisis.  The Telegraph reports that their "proposals are expected to include significant cost–cutting and the renegotiation of PFI contracts.  Money will also be moved from NHS trusts that are in better financial shape to cover the debt costs at those that are struggling. However, officials are braced for the need to use Whitehall (i.e. government) funds to bail out some hospitals." 


The Telegraph has provided a list of affected hospitals and their P3 debts: click here for details. 



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