PFI is dangerous

The Healthcare Commission has issued an “improvement notice” against the Princess Royal University Hospital in South East London. Part of the Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust, the hospital was found guilty of unacceptably poor hygiene.

The Princess Royal is a PFI hospital. Cleaning is run by ISS Mediclean, a member of the PFI consortium with a 33 year contract to run the hospital. The contract is worth £155 million. Debts from the scheme have pushed the Trust into bankruptcy with £99 million of debts.

The Health Commission found poorly maintained buildings and a lack of routine cleaning. They couldn’t work out, however, whether the problems were caused by ISS Mediclean or the Trust. One can imagine what happened – ISS Mediclean performed the minimum they thought they were obliged to do under the contract, and the Trust didn’t notice.

So the result of PFI – a bankrupt Trust forcing through redundancies, a filthy hospital, and worsened services for patients. On the positive side, of course, some companies have made a tidy profit.

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