Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Is our local hospital bust?

Shortly before Christmas our local North Bristol NHS Trust had its application to become a semi-independent "Foundation Trust" turned down. This was a bit of a surprise as the Government plan is for every hospital trust to be a Foundation Trust by the end of next year. I tabled a Parliamentary Question (PQ) to ask for a copy of the letter that the Trust was sent to explain why they had been turned down, and today I got the answer - which was dynamite! The letter reveals that:
  • North Bristol Trust has run up a £100m debt and is being expected to pay it back;
  • the regional "Strategic Health Authority" actually opposed North Bristol's bid, on the basis that the cost of servicing this debt plus the new PFI debt when they re-build Southmead Hospital, will be too much to cope with.

This is pretty worrying if you care about local health services. Assuming they go ahead with their big PFI plan, they will have two lots of debts to pay off - so what will they have to cut to balance the books?


helen harrison said...

OK, its a huge debt which we don't want to tie us down forever, but how did we come by such a huge debt, and how do we know that the relevant people that acquired the debt in the first place won't do it again?
We expect countries in the south to have their house in order before thier debts are cancelled, can we say the same is true for this house?

Bob O'Neill said...

I agree with Helen's comments. If I caused such a loss to my employer, I would be looking for a new job (with no references)! However, the state of our local health service is more important than the fate of those "managing" it. Let's support abolition of the debt and more accountability.