PFI loan repayments cost trust running Queen’s Hospital £52million last year

Jeff Buggle, finance director from BHRUT

Jeff Buggle, finance director from BHRUT - Credit: Archant

The trust running Queen’s Hospital is paying more on loan repayments to private investment firms than any other across London, a report has found.

The research – commissioned by Labour Party mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan MP – also showed Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) was spending 11.3 per cent of its income on repayments for the private-finance initiative (PFI) contracts.

A PFI contract is an agreement between the public and private sector in which private firms such as investment banks finance infrastructure.

In 2013/14, the trust’s operating revenue was £457.5m, with £52 million being spent on PFI repayments.

Jeff Buggle, director of finance at BHRUT, said although the trust was making wide use of PFI loans, it was managing to cut costs while improving service.

“Unlike many other trusts, our PFI covers a number of different elements and services, such as the management and upkeep of clinical equipment at the hospital,” he said. “This is why it costs us a higher proportion of our total spend.”

“We met our financial targets last year, and are confident that we can continue to find cost savings while improving services for our patients, as recognised by the Care Quality Commission.”

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Mr Khan – MP for Tooting – said he is considering plans to renegotiate PFI contracts or help trusts buy up debts with “Bevan bonds” if elected mayor.

“Many of our hospitals in London are suffocating under the weight of PFI debt,” he said.

“Radical action needs to be taken to alleviate the growing financial pressures they are coming under.

“Huge sums of public money are being wasted on high-interest PFI repayments when that money could be better spent on more hospital beds, nurses, doctors and care workers.”