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06
May

Lancashire hospital to pay back £1bn


Due to a ‘rip-off’ contract with the private sector, The Royal Blackburn and Burnley General, which are in special measures, will have to pay back almost £1bn by 2041 in interest charges.

Due to a ‘rip-off’ contract with the private sector, The Royal Blackburn and Burnley General, which are in special measures, will have to pay back almost £1bn by 2041 in interest charges.

The hospital is tied into long-term ‘mortgages’, under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), and has combined annual payments standing at more than £20m.

“I’m really worried about these crippling costs, especially at a time when the trust is desperately trying to make improvements,” says Gordon Birtwistle, Burnley MP.

“These contracts are a complete and utter rip-off and the private companies are creaming off NHS money that should be spent on treating patients.

“It’s going to stay like that for another 30 years or so and they can’t get out of it.”
The Burnley contract is held by Manchester-based SPC Ltd Facilities Management and saw £30 million spent on the Phase 5 area of the hospital.

“I’m absolutely appalled to think of that huge amount of money disappearing from the local health economy, at a time when the trust is already having to make huge cost savings,” says Russ McLean, chairman of the Pennine Lancashire Patient Voices Group.

“That money would have been better spent improving healthcare.”
However, Blackburn MP Jack Straw defended the Blackburn deal, saying it was the ‘only possibility for a new hospital’ at the time.

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