Socialist Worker

Private companies cash in on NHS

Issue No. 2252

The continuing scandal of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) in the health service is revealed by the sorry tale of Barnet Hospital in north London.

The £70 million hospital was built under PFI in 2003.

The firms that invested in the original scheme have now sold all their shares to HSBC bank for a 67 percent profit.

HSBC’s infrastructure subsidiary is registered in the tax haven of Guernsey.

That means that it pays minimal tax.

But while private firms profit, Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Trust is being forced to make cuts to pay them.

Since October 2010 it has sought 250 job losses and has been told to slash spending by a further £43 million this year.

Successive governments have insisted that PFI is the only way to build new hospitals and schools.

They said it meant the private sector took the “risk” of borrowing, not the state.

Instead, Barnet proves that PFI has turned out to be a giant corporate cash cow.

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Article information

Tue 17 May 2011, 18:18 BST
Issue No. 2252
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