Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust are looking to make savings, and possibly close the A&E department in Calderdale – this is a move we are strongly opposed to. A major factor contributing to the financial pressure the trust is facing result from crippling repayments of the PFI debt. A Guardian source cites the total repayment of the scheme as £773.2m on a hospital that only cost £64.6m. In addition PFI ties the hospital into mad service charges such as being charged £85 to change a lightbulb etc.
“The capital cost of rebuilding Calderdale Royal Hospital in Yorkshire is £64.6m, the scheme will end up costing Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust a total of £773.2m.”
Calderdale Liberal Democrats warned the last Labour government against signing up to this PFI scheme. Bob Heys and the late Stephen Pearson ran a major campaign against the PFI hospital contract in 2002 – Stephen called it ‘Calderdale’s biggest ever scandal’. PFI was simply a way for Labour to increase off balance book borrowing, hiding the true extent of the debt that was being run up. Below is a copy of press stories at the time, where we warned Labour not to enter into this PFI scandal.
The campaign setup by Calderdale Liberal Democrats was called Calderdale Concerned Citizens Group and there was a 1,000 name petition sent to Blair, including signatures from Councillors, Ex Councillors and Ex Mayors. However not a single Tory or Labour Councilor signed it despite efforts to encourage them to do so.
Calderdale Liberal Democrat’s warnings against this PFI scheme were ignored and we are now left with the consequences – a situation where Labour handed millions to bankers and financial companies and saddled us with debt. Just as the nation as a whole was crippled by Labour’s economic mismanagement, so to was our local NHS.
Calderdale Labour have run a systematic campaign of trying to blame the current problems faced by the Trust on ‘the cuts’ and the government. This is despite the 2012/13 annual financial report of the Trust stating “The Trust closed the year with a health cash balance of £33m and an operating surplus of £3.8, £0.8m ahead of plan”. It is hard to argue cuts are solely to blame when the Trust is operating at a budget surplus. Labour need to stop trying to play the blame game, criticizing us in the press for not denouncing ‘the cuts’, and start seriously working on a cross-party basis to save our A&E