Conservatives take bold steps to save Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary Hospitals

Greenwich Conservatives welcomed news, announced on Friday, that the Coalition Government had agreed to provide extra funding to address the crippling debt crisis at South London Healthcare Trust, which includes both Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary Hospitals. 

 

The bail-out is part of a £1.5bn package designed to support hospitals who are struggling to meet Private Finance Initiative (PFI) costs inherited from poor deals signed by the previous Labour Government.  The move will help trusts like our own South London Healthcare NHS trust, which is facing a PFI repayment in 2012-13 of £66.8m under the terms of a deal agreed in July 1998, in the early days of Tony Blair's government. The 7 Trusts concerned will have access to extra support for the next 25 years. 

 

Leader of Greenwich Conservatives Cllr Spencer Drury said “This is the best news for people in this area for a long time.  The deal signed by Labour in 1998 meant that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital could simply never pay its way and we were facing ward closures and job cuts simply to make ends meet.  The management had extended parts of the deal for 60 years or more, so the forward looking step by the Coalition will help maintain hospital services in our area which the previous Labour Government had put at risk.”

 

“I had consistently raised concerns about the way that our PFI deal was put together in Council and with the previous government, so I am grateful and elated that the Coalition government has chosen to sort out the mess which Labour left us with.  I genuinely believe we could have been in a situation where the Queen Elizabeth had to close in ten years as the debt levels resulting from Labour’s deal were unsustainable.  I don’t feel it is an exaggeration to say that this decision has raised the standard of living in our borough for generations to come.” 

 

Ironically, Queen Marys, which did not have a PFI deal, was facing cuts to help support the appalling deal signed in 1998 at the Queen Elizabeth. 

Quoted in the Guardian Health Secretary Andrew Lansley (who visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and met with the Chief Executive in 2005) said "Labour left some parts of the NHS with a dismal legacy of PFI, and made them rely on unworkable plans for the future. They swept these problems under the carpet for a decade and left us with a £60bn post-dated PFI cheque to deal with.  The problems facing some parts of the NHS left to us by Labour now have to be sorted out. Tough solutions may be needed for these problems, but we will not let the sick pay for Labour's debt crisis."