The political football known as Private Finance Initiative (PFI) sounds the death knell for many NHS Trusts. East Lancashire Trust closed Burnley A & E in 2007 (under the Labour government) as did many other Trusts throughout Britain, thanks to high PFI service charges.

The Royal Blackburn and parts of Burnley General Hospital were built by private companies in 2006 at a combined cost of £140 MILLION.

By the year 2041, East Lancashire Trust will have to pay back almost ONE BILLION POUNDS due to interest charges.

PFI is a method of providing funds for major capital investment where private firms are contracted to complete and manage public projects. Under PFI the private company, instead of the government, handles the up-front costs.

In 2003 (under Labour) the National Audit Office felt that it was good value for money and PFI was greatly expanded.

Allyson Pollock, professor of public health and policy research at Queen Mary, University of London, attended a meeting where then Chancellor Gordon Brown couldn’t provide a rationale for PFI other than ‘the public sector is bad at management and only the private sector is efficient and can manage services well’.

The scandal is that both Labour and Conservative governments have ignored the PFI money-lenders to the detriment of the NHS. Let’s face it, the PFI financiers aren’t doing it because they love the NHS !

While politicians are busy blaming each other, this daylight robbery should be ended.

Carol Tapp