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NHS chiefs hit back over PFI ‘legacy of debt’ claim

NHS bosses have challenged health secretary Andrew Lansley’s accusation that PFI deals had left several hospitals struggling for survival

Lansley’s claim that PFI had left 22 hospital trusts facing financial ruin was labelled as misleading by several of the organisations the health secretary named, reported The Independent.

NHS trusts including Barts and the London (pictured), Oxford Radcliffe and North Middlesex were said to have contacted the minister complaining of the burden PFI was placing on their budgets. The total cost of the 22-strong lists’ PFI deals amounts to £5.4 billion.

One trust source however told the newspaper: ‘To suggest that our financial problems are about PFI is nonsense.

They added: ‘And we certainly never contacted the Department to say that. The problems that we face are about having to cut our budgets by 4 per cent every year for the next four years.’

Oxford Radcliffe, St Helens and Knowsley Trust and University Hospitals Coventry also refuted claims they had contacted the health secretary raising concern over PFI.

A Department of Health statement said the list of 22 trusts was based on returns from NHS trusts to the department which set out the main issues affecting financial stability.

The stement explained: ‘Concern about the PFI issues facing these trusts is not an attack upon the hospitals, but a recognition, based on what they themselves told us, that a review of their case should be done.’

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