King’s Mill debt costs £3m a month

Kings Mill Hospital.
Kings Mill Hospital.

New figures show King’s Mill Hospital is ‘drowning’ in debt and is paying back £3.29m every month.

A Freedom of Information Request by the Ashfield Liberal Democrats reveals that Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is paying the debt every month - which is 16 per cent of the total operating expenditure.

Figures show the total cost for the hospital will be £2.5 billion - an increase of £400 million on what was previously thought to be the cost.

Coun Jason Zadrozny - who is also Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Ashfield says the hospital is ‘drowning in debt’ and is demanding Government action.

He said: “This is the biggest scandal our NHS has ever seen. We knew the debt problem was bad but not quite on this scale. Our hospital will have cost us £2.5 billion by the time we’ve paid the money back. This for a hospital that only cost £298.9m to build. It is a disgraceful waste of taxpayer’s money. All because Labour decided to use the private sector to fund the hospital. It is especially galling when you find out there was an option to fund the rebuild through the public sector.”

He requested an urgent meeting with Minister of State at the Department of Health, MP Norman Lamb.

He added: “I would like to see the Government work with local health bosses to look at options for a renegotiation of these debts that are an albatross round the neck of our local hospital.”

The hospital was built under a private finance initiative (PFI) which covers a host of new buildings, refurbishments, facilities, services and equipment, and is set to run until March 2043.

But Mansfield’s Labour MP, Sir Alan Meale, hit back at the criticism and said the area now boasted one of the best hospital’s in the country.

“Without funding in the way it went forward no hospital would have even been built.

“Now we have a modern, state of the art facilities. It’s the best in England, if not Britain.”

He said councillors should try and support new management to keep services running and keep them on track for the future.

Ashfield’s Labour MP Gloria de Piero said: “I’ve already urged the Department of Health to help with cash to put our hospital on a secure financial footing so it can concentrate on what matters most – providing local people with the highest quality of healthcare in a modern and comfortable environment.”

Chief executive of Sherwood Forest Hospitals, Paul O’Connor said: “We are absolutely committed to providing high quality care to all of our patients, and as such the costs related to our PFI do not have a financial impact on our frontline services.

“It is true that the costs associated with the PFI contract remain expensive, but the facilities on offer to patients and their families at our hospitals are some of the best in the country. At King’s Mill Hospital over 50 per cent of our rooms are single occupancy, infection rates across the Trust remain low and patients consistently rate our ward environments highly in national surveys.

“We continue to proactively manage the costs related to our PFI and are in discussion with Monitor and the Department of Health to achieve a permanent solution.”