12/23/11

P3 hospitals forced to spend "EXTORTIONATE SUMS" on contractors -- Health Minister

Last night Andrew Lansley, the British health minister, condemned the high fees charged by private corporations to do basic repair work in public private partnership (P3) hospitals.   P3s allow private corporations to become involved in the financing and maintenance of hospitals.   Ontario has followed Britain into using P3s for hospital projects.

Lansley told the Telegraph: "[Hospitals are] being forced to spend extortionate sums on private contractors rather than spending that money on helping sick patients get better."

The Telegraph (a conservative newspaper) reports that a series of Freedom of Information requests has disclosed how hospitals that are locked into long term P3 deals are forced to pay “hyper-inflated” charges for basic services.  Figures uncovered by the Telegraph show the following examples of charges from private corporations that won P3 hospital contracts:

  • North Staffordshire hospital paid £242 to put on  a padlock
  • North Cumbria University Hospital paid £466 to replace a light fitting and £75 for an air freshener.
  • A hospital in Salisbury paid £15,000 to “install a laundry door following feasibility study”. 
  • £8,450 to install an “additional dishwasher” for a hospital in Hull, 
  • £962 to “supply and fix notice-board” at a hospital in Leeds, 
  • £26,614 for the “replacement of shower room doors” at the Sussex hospital,
  • The Coventry and Warwickshire University Hospital was charged £4,459 to “supply and install a new CCTV camera”, 
  • Ipswich Hospital was billed £120 to call out an engineer to reset an alarm.  The same trust in Ipswich also was charged four separate payments of £120 on false call-outs.

These costly P3 deals are causing significant problems for British public healthcare – 22 hospitals appealed to the Department of Health earlier this year for financial support because high P3 bills threatened their clinical and financial health.
No one from the PPP Forum, which represents construction companies, financial businesses and law firms that make money from 'PFI' (the British name for P3s), was available for comment to the Telegraph.
The Conservative Health minister Lansley blames the previous government for the mess: “Unless we take action, these post-dated cheques left to us by Labour could seriously impact on patients.  That is why this Government is working with trusts with PFI related financial problems. We will not make the sick pay for Labour's debt crisis.”
Last month, George Osborne, the Chancellor, published plans to overhaul PFI. But, despite all the complaints from the government about PFI, it is unlikely the Conservatives will make any fundamental changes. 

2 comments:

  1. While the fees are in & of themselves offensive, I'll bet my figgy pudding that the workers aren't being paid above the bare minimum (w/ no benefits, of course).

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think you are up one figgy pudding...

    ReplyDelete