—for serious failures, such as the closure of operating theatres for more than six hours? What further steps will the Scottish Government take to ensure that the growing mood of public outrage at the management of this private finance initiative contract is properly and finally addressed?
My concerns about the PFI contracts for hospitals such as the Royal infirmary, Hairmyres, Wishaw and many others is well and truly on the record. Many aspects of the contracts are costing the public purse very dearly, so much so that the Government down south has abandoned PFI as a method of funding future capital projects. I share many people’s frustration about the cost of the contracts to the public sector. We review them constantly to see if there is any way in which we can reduce the costs to the taxpayer.
I welcome the fact that there are regular discussions between the health secretary’s officials and NHS Lothian. However, to return to the question that Jim Eadie asked, are there any possibilities of changing this particular contract, especially given the huge costs to patient care and to the operation of the Royal infirmary and the problem with cancelled operations and the consequent delays?
One of the unacceptable aspects of these contracts, which were signed by the previous Administration when Sarah Boyack was a minister, is that one of the provisions in the contract is that only the contractor can reopen the contract. That is an absurd provision. Frankly, the ministers who signed these contracts have a lot to answer for.