Hospitals in UK spending large amounts to service debts

According to a report in the London  Evening Standard, the UK's South London Healthcare NHS Trust, which includes Bromley Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich and Queen Mary's in Sidcup is using 13 per cent of its money to service debts rather than treat patients.

The report says the hospitals have projected deficits of £36 million for this financial year and they are now locked into paying back the money the private firms spent on their building and for their maintainence, cleaning and catering in 30-year contracts.

According to the latest figures, new hospitals across England carry this ''NHS mortgage'', with the total national PFI debt now standing at £65 billion over the lifetime of the schemes, the report says. The hospitals were worth £11.3 billion when they were first built according to the report.

Given the fact that hospitals are very expensive to build, PFI has been seen as the best answer, but the non-negotiable debt fees which increase each year mean government demands to cut spending can only be met through slashing patient care according to economists.

According to South London Healthcare NHS Trust there are 'undoubtedly some constraints from having these fixed costs'.

Under PFI, private companies are awarded contracts to build and maintain new hospitals and mental health units.