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Farron calls on govt to renegotiate PFI contracts to protect Cumbrian patients

December 11, 2012 1:56 PM

Tim in WestminsterCumbrian MP, Tim Farron this morning used Treasury Questions to call on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to renegotiate damaging existing Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts to ensure more money spent by the NHS goes on patients, not into the pockets of private investors.

Tim noted that Cumbria's health services are currently under considerable pressure due to the PFI contracts that were negotiated under the previous Labour Government, meaning that £1 in every £5 is being spent on paying back the interest on the debt to private companies, rather than on improving patient care.

In response the Chancellor, George Osborne acknowledged the ongoing problems with poorly negotiated PFI contracts, citing an example in North Cumbria where the NHS was forced to pay £460 in order to have a light bulb changed.

Commenting after the question session Tim said: "The PFI contracts negotiated under the last Labour Government are crippling our NHS and it is completely ridiculous that NHS services in Cumbria are forced to divert 20% of their annual spending on paying back debts to the private sector, rather than using that money to employ more nurses, doctors, care assistants and improve the quality of patient care.

"I am very encouraged to hear that the Chancellor is willing to look into renegotiating the terms of these contracts so that hospitals and other NHS services can focus their attention on patients, rather than crippling debt."