You couldn’t make it up.
Lewisham Hospital is solvent, efficient and well loved by its patients. Their Accident and Emergency unit has just been refurbished at a cost of £12 million.
The next door “Trust” lumbered itself with a massive “Private Finance Initiative” debt, the payments on which are £1 Million PER WEEK or £52 million a year.
PFI is a kind of Hire Purchase agreement where financiers pay for new Hospital buildings, and us taxpayers are lumbered with a 50 year deal costing gazillion times the actual cost of building and running the building, had we paid for it ourselves up front. But we never get to own the building at the end of the deal.
It’s not too bright of us – at the moment the government can borrow money at about 2% interest, while the commercial cost of PFI agreements is about 15% plus annual running costs on top.
And this for a no risk investment by the financiers.
We are mugs.
The result in Lewisham is there is a proposal to shut the well run A and E and Maternity units there and make those patients struggle to the units at the inefficient and bankrupt hospitals miles away.
This would “balance” the books. Not in my book it wouldn’t.
Well, the government was happy to nationalise the bankrupt banks, its time they nationalised the impossibly unfair PFI contracts (with a bit of compensation) to bail out these bankrupt trusts.
Meanwhile some 15,000 angry people marched through Lewisham on Saturday, protesting against these ridiculous closures. Feelings ran so strong that Millwall Football Club had to move the Cup Tie to accommodate the protests and allow locals to attend without missing the match.
The Millwall slogan used to be “Everybody hates us and we don’t care”.
Not any more it isn’t.
(a don’t stop till you drop production)