MP calls for hospital PFI debt subsidy

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An MP has called for a Government cash subsidy for King’s Mill hospital which is struggling with repaying its finance debts.

Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has written to the Secretary of State for Health, and urged him to help the Trust which runs King’s Mill hospital to plug a funding gap caused by what she described as a badly negotiated Private Finance Initiative (PFI) in 2005.

As part of a new series of quarterly meetings, The MP met with the Chief Executive Paul O’Connor and Chair Sean Lyons to review current issues and concerns and check on the progress the hospital is making.

Trust bosses briefed the MP on the steady progress the Trust was making under their leadership but highlighted a cash shortfall as one of the biggest causes for concern.

The Trust’s recent financial problems have been well documented and the PFI deal which covers a whole host of new buildings, refurbishments, facilities, services, equipment and capital investment equipment costs is expected to run until March 2043.

However, next year could see a funding gap of between £12m and £20.5m per year.

Ms de Piero said; “I’m urging Jeremy Hunt to agree a deal so that everyone at the hospital can focus on patient care instead of worrying about the financial future of the Trust.” 

With the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, due to visit King’s Mill Hospital this week, the MP said she was is determined to keep the pressure up by urging the Department of Health to conclude negotiations and agree to an on-going subsidy.

She said: “Last Friday (14th March) I had the pleasure of visiting my local hospital, King’s Mill, and during the visit I joined some of the fantastic nurses on Ward 14 as they carried out one of their regular Care and Comfort Rounds.

In her open letter to Mr Hunt, the MP said: “The level of professionalism and care they showed was amazing and every single patient I met that afternoon couldn’t praise the staff highly enough.

After I completed the Care and Comfort Round I met with Chief Executive, Paul O’Connor and Chair, Sean Lyons - under their leadership real progress on patients care is being made.

“However, last week bosses told me that next year there will be a funding gap of between £12m and £20.5m per year but this gap is likely to increase over time.

“Patients and staff are not responsible for a badly negotiated deal and they should not suffer the consequences.”

During her visit last Friday, she joined nurses as they carried out their Care and Comfort Rounds on Ward 14.

The new rounds were introduced following recommendations by an independent review.

Speaking afterwards, the MP added: “It was obvious just how much the patients I met valued the new Care and Comfort Rounds. They couldn’t speak highly enough of the staff or the care they received and what suck with me was when one lady told me she had been beautifully looked after.

“Another patient called Christine told me how much of a difference it made knowing who the nurse is each day and who was looking after her and as the local MP it was so reassuring to hear.”