Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

NHS Hospital Finance

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 18th October 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lorely Burt Lorely Burt Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party 2:30 pm, 18th October 2011

What steps he is taking to reduce the burden on NHS hospitals of (a) PFI repayments and (b) debt.

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health

A study conducted by the Treasury has identified savings opportunities of up to 5% on annual payments in NHS PFI schemes. The Cabinet’s Efficiency and Reform Group is rolling out a programme of work to secure savings of up to £1.5 billion across the 495 PFI contracts in the public sector in England.

Photo of Lorely Burt Lorely Burt Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party

Contrary to the earlier complacent comments of the Opposition spokesman, some national health trusts are paying up to 20% of their revenue to PFI contracts. What steps can we take to ensure that the payments are reduced and that the same terrible financial situation never happens again?

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health

I am grateful to the hon. Lady. I, too, recognise the small number of organisations that are reporting financial challenges. The Department is continuing to work with strategic health authorities to ensure that those organisations have robust plans in place for financial recovery, while ensuring the quality of services for patients.

Photo of John Healey John Healey Labour, Wentworth and Dearne

On the subject of financial pressures on hospitals, does the Minister recall the circular to hospitals from Monitor that was smuggled out on the eve of the royal wedding, which raised the requirement for efficiency cutbacks on hospitals from 4% to 6.5%, which is more than £1 billion in this year alone? Will he admit that the service cutbacks that we are seeing in many hospitals around the country are deeper, as that circular confirms, directly because of the Government’s policies?

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health

No, I do not recognise that, because the figure that the right hon. Gentleman has used is an upper calculation, not an actual figure. I say to him that we are making efficiency savings, and that trusts should be cutting not front-line services but inefficiency, waste and excessive management, and reinvesting every single penny in front-line services.