The British Medical Association (BMA) yesterday hit out at the ‘huge profits being made by private companies providing NHS services’.
This followed the revelation that the government plans to axe the capital budget for hospital buildings and equipment by a huge 21.9 per cent or £1.4bn in the coming financial year.
Channel Four News has seen a Department of Health document showing that capital spending, including PFI, will fall from £6.7 billion to £5.3 billion, a 21.9 per cent reduction.
The report said that £900 million of the cut was government money being withdrawn. The rest was PFI money.
A BMA spokesperson told News Line: ‘The financial pressures on the NHS are clearly huge.
‘What is crucial is that patients do not pay the price.
‘There are many areas that the government should be looking at in order to save money before cutting frontline care.
‘Why aren’t politicians targeting the huge profits being made by private companies providing NHS services?’
A Unison spokesperson added: ‘We have seen a massive amount of new hospital building since Labour came to power in 1997.
‘Unfortunately, much of this has been delivered using PFI.
‘Those hospitals with big PFI debts are going to struggle in the financial squeeze the NHS is being subjected to, as they have less scope to reorganise budgets.’
Sharon Holder, GMB national officer, slammed the £20 billion cuts being planned by Foundation Trusts, which include savage attacks on jobs, wages and conditions.
She told News Line: ‘The decisions that have been reached by Foundation Trusts were always an inevitable consequence of the government giving Foundation Trusts independence over central government direction.
‘Chief executives of foundation trusts have been developing this strategy since July last year, and NHS staff will not believe this has been without endorsement by the government and support from other NHS organisations.
‘It is doubtful that these plans went unnoticed and any optimism NHS staff had about the next five years has now probably been dismissed.’