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Committee questions hospital PFIs

Hospitals are being forced to cut back on services because they are spending too much money on contracts with private firms, a committee of MPs has said.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee said that as the costs of contracts with private sector firms grow, hospitals are cutting back on services such as portering in order to make ends meet.

The cross-party committee also concluded that hospitals are paying over the odds for contracts, which could impact on patients in the long-term.

There are now some 800 contracts working under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), which will be worth up to £155bn by 2032.

But Conservative Edward Leigh, the committee’s chairman, said they have failed to improve the health service in more than five years, and in some cases have even made the situation worse.

He claimed that hospitals are not getting a good price for PFI deals, and that in most cases are paying up to 14% more for contracts in the long term.

Mr Leigh said: “PFI deals were supposed to give us certainty about the long-term costs of providing public services.

“The reality is different [and] value for money is in some cases uncertain.”

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