Privatisation is not just making a mess of our NHS. It is also making a mess of a whole host of Council services, including waste management.
An article by Greg Pitcher in today’s Local Government Chronicle reports that Greater Manchester Combined Authority has borrowed £500m to end its PFI waste deal with Viridor Laing.
It has done this in order to re-procure a cheaper waste management services contract with a private company. Viridor is among 6 companies that are in the running to win the contract. So Greater Manchster Combined Authority are paying £500m to buy out a contract so they can re-procure a cheaper one, possibly from the same company.
The Local Government Chronicle website provides a sorry saga of waste management services profiteering, rip offs and incompetence. The argument that private sector provision of public services would increase efficiency and value for money lies dead in the water. If it ever had any life in it, it certainly doesn’t now. Continue reading
In 2014-15, the total cost of Calderdale Royal Hospital Private Finance Initiative (PFI) was £23.570m.
This “unitary charge” was made up of:
Interest on the debt……… £10.929m
Repayment of the debt…..£ 1.497m
The value of the hospital building is £80.451m.
The total cost (capital and interest) of the PFI debt over its 30 year life is £289,908,000. This leaves out the high service charges, which cover services like portering, domestics, security, catering, maintenance etc Continue reading
Jeremy Corbyn has called for the Labour party in opposition to campaign for a fund to be set up to bail out NHS trusts from PFI schemes that were forced upon them under the New Labour government.
This is in line with the current draft of the 2015 NHS Reinstatement Bill, that Jeremy Corbyn has co-sponsored as a Private Members Bill along with Caroline Lucas MP and other MPs.
The Bill is due to receive its second reading on 11 March 2016 and it’s vital that all opposition MPs support it – as well as Conservative MPs who respect the wishes of the 77% of Tory supporters who want a publicly-owned and run NHS.
However, not all supporters of the NHS Reinstatement Bill are happy with the section that calls for removal of PFI debts from hospitals and centralisation of the debts in the Treasury, and discussions are underway about proposed amendments to this bit of the Bill.
This is because removing PFI debts from hospitals (which is also the aim of Corbyn’s proposal of fund to buy out the hospital Trusts’ PFI debts) doesn’t do anything to tackle the inappropriate PFI debts, and it helps the PFI lenders launder debts which were arrived at in inappropriate situations – as work by Professor Allyson Pollock documents. Continue reading
“Facilities management” at Calderdale Royal Hospital is part of the Private Finance Initiative contract. This means that the hospitals Trust has to use the PFI Facilities Management company for all the buildings and grounds maintenance.
The Trust also has to pay the PFI non-clinical services company for services such as cleaning, catering, laundry and linen, car parking, security, switchboard services and portering.
Until July this year, Lendlease Facilities Management (aka Vita Lendlease) held the CRH PFI Facilities Management Contract. But then Cofely-GDF Suez bought Lendlease Facilities Management. (Update: IN 2016, Cofely-GDF Suez became Engie.)
The hospitals Trust had no say over this buy-out, or which company holds the CRH PFI contract for facilities management (FM).
Equity in the Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH), which is notorious as one of the most costly and least accountable PFI schemes in the NHS, has changed hands 10 times.
According to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, PFI equity sales are,
“the unacceptable face of capitalism.”
The 10 CRH equity sales make it hard to know who actually owns the debt that Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has still to pay off, or the extent of equity holders’ profits, or what tax the equity holders paid – if any.
But the European Services Strategy Unit has managed to identify the companies involved in the equity sales. Continue reading
The costs of repaying the PFI debt and of paying for the expensive PFI hospital maintenance and service contracts are one of the causes of the Calderdale and Huddersfield hospital Trust’s finance problems.
PFI costs, funding shortage and Strategic Review of future of NHS and social care
Shortage of funding is behind the proposed closure of Calderdale A&E and at least 100 acute hospital beds, and their replacement by a new system of care in the community that is based on an American private health care system used by a company called Kaiser Permanente.
Calderdale Royal Hospital is notorious for being one of the most costly, least accountable Private Finance Initiatives in the NHS.
Repaying the ever-growing PFI debt currently takes about 10% of Calderdale CCG’s annual budget, and this is set to rise.
At the April 2013 meeting of the Calderdale CCG Governing Body, it was noted that Private Finance Initiative payments for Calderdale hospital will be £24 m this year (they increase each year) – almost 10% of the 2013 annual budget of £256m.
The likely imminent merger of Calderdale and Huddersfield A&E on a site in Huddersfield is a bone that the three main parties are all now worrying, but so far none of them has spit out any clear proposals about how to extract Calderdale NHS from the sorry mess it is in, as a result of:
Allyson Pollock, professor of public health research and policy at Queen Mary, University of London, points out that by removing the NHS from direct democratic accountability, New Labour reforms are at the root of a lapse in NHS standards. These have seen the Care Quality Commission (CQC) cover up an investigation into baby deaths at Furness Hospital in Cumbria, and investigate failures at Mid Stafforshire Hospital.
In 2009 New Labour “stripped out public accountability for the NHS,” moving it to arms-length, market-based inspection and enforcement under the new Care Quality Commission and Monitor – the economic regulator for the newly-marketised NHS. Until New Labour’s meddling, the NHS was directly accountable to the public, since it was under the direct control of the government.
York Press reports that the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has just withdrawn Private Finance Initiative (PFI) funding for waste incinerators/Combined Heat and Power generators in Allerton Park, North Yorkshire and Bradford. This is because EU waste reduction targets have now been met, so the incinerators are no longer needed.
Defra is reported as saying that it’s up to the local authorities to decide if they want to go ahead with the waste incinerators without the PFI funding.
Apparently Calderdale Council have already spent £670,000 on the Bradford PFI incinerator project.