A new report from a leading think tank has suggested that private finance initiative (PFI) payments made by some NHS trusts, coupled with years of underinvestment, could have ramifications for patient safety – including falling ceilings, sewage leaks and safety hazards.
The IPPR report analysed recent HMRC data and found that the PFI scheme (which funded capital spending through private finance) has cost the NHS £80 billion for just £13 billion of investment.
It went on to say that the NHS won’t be able to provide a modern health service unless the funds are there to invest in new infrastructure and technology. At the moment, there are £3 billion worth of critical maintenance issues unresolved, which includes fire safety hazards, sewage leaks and dangerous ceilings – all of which pose a danger to staff and patients alike.
The health service has thus far paid approximately £25 billion of the £80 billion expected total cost of PFI and with just under £55 billion more to pay, it will continue to be burdened for decades to come unless steps are taken to address the situation.
Last month (August), Boris Johnson announced that he would inject £1.8 billion into the NHS for building maintenance work. But reception of this was relatively mixed, with some pointing out that more than £6 billion was needed to carry out all necessary repairs in NHS hospitals because of ten years of austerity.
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