Trusts deny health secretary’s claims that private finance initiatives have caused major financial problems

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 26 September 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6133
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

Several NHS trusts have denied claims by England’s health secretary, Andrew Lansley, that they are facing serious financial problems caused by private finance initiative (PFI) schemes.

A row broke out after Mr Lansley was interviewed and quoted by the Daily Telegraph newspaper on 22 September as saying that he had been contacted by 22 trusts that run more than 60 hospitals between them to raise concerns that their “clinical and financial stability” was under threat because of the costs of their PFI contracts (

However, several of those trusts have now denied the claim, and one said that not only was it in good financial health but that its PFI repayments were factored into financial plans and these were completely “affordable.”

Mr Lansley’s political opponents have claimed that the figures have been issued to try to distract attention from problems being caused by the government’s controversial changes in the Health and Social Care Bill currently going through Parliament. The list of trusts was put together in April.

Under PFI projects, first introduced by the Conservatives under John Major in 1992 and expanded when Labour came to power in 1997, private companies build hospitals, with …

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