Plight of Barts Health Trust- PFI
Ms Diane Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington) (Lab):
Ministers will be aware of the plight of the Barts Health NHS Trust, which is in special measures. Part of its problem is the weight of the interest on its private finance initiative, a new Labour policy that I did not support. It is having to pay that back at £500,000 a month. Surely a success regime for Barts and other hospitals burdened with PFI debt would be a serious attempt to renegotiate those PFI agreements.
Ben Gummer (Con):
I am so glad that the hon. Lady welcomes the success regime and the potential it might have. I spoke to one of her colleagues the other day about the troubled hospitals that she has mentioned and I was about to invite her in to have a discussion about them, as we must try to find out what the core issues are with the Barts Health NHS Trust. She raises an interesting point about PFI, however. One reason we are struggling in some cases, and why we have struggled over the past five years to provide the funding within the NHS that it requires, is the enormous NHS PFI debt that was loaded on to it by the previous Government and that has cost it billions of pounds over the past 10 years.