Information has emerged that the real cost of building the new hospital in Coventry which was estimated at £179 million in 1999 has risen to an incredible £3.3 Billion because of the PFI agreement contract signed with the private sector – the £3.3 BILLION will be paid by the tax payer over the length of the 25 year contact in fees to these private companies.
When services were cut at St Cross and transferred to Coventry – Jim Pawsey for the Tories and Andy King for Labour both failed to mention in their eventual approval for these cuts, that the brand new hospital in Coventry promoted at the time, would be smaller than the existing Walsgrave hospital and would be in hock to the private sector through a PFI contract for 25 years to the tune of £3.3 Billion.
As some people may have noticed recently, Andy King has been campaigning on the cost of parking at the hospitals used by Rugby patients and then out the blue – Andy Burnham – Labour’s Health Secretary announces a consultation that will end on the 23rd Feb 2010 – clearly not at all an election gimmick by Labour then?
The problem is, that in fact, the car parking charges - which is a tax on being ill, is intricately tied up with the 25 year contract with the hospital PFI agreement, whereby the hospital has to pay over £2 million a year to a private company – if the charges were abolished as they should be for patients and staff, the hospital would still to pay the private company at least £1.4 million per year.
So perhaps Andy King and the son of Jim Pawsey – Mark Pawsey should be standing on a ticket of abolishment of PFI and our hospitals being brought fully back into public NHS or explain to the electorate, instead why tax payers money should be paid out to these private companies to the tune of £300 Billion for 600 hospitals and schools valued at only £55 Billion?
As Brian Strutton, the GMB's national secretary for public services speaking to the Independent says: "PFI is building up a legacy of high-interest debt that will last for decades. The public is paying over the odds on PFI projects, with debt ratios in most areas at over 500 per cent. This is like paying for schools and hospitals by credit card."
We in the Green party will be supporting the calls for the scraping of car parking charges for patients, visitors to patients and people working in the NHS – We will also be calling for the removal of PFI from the NHS so releasing the money for something that should be seen a basic need when using hospitals - and also call for an integrated bus service to allow ease of access without the need to use a car. Services should also be returned to St Cross!
So if your readers want to support along with us, the call to scrap Car Parking car charges then they should email http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Liveconsultations/DH_110557 to take part in the consultation.
Further more a public meeting has also been organised in Coventry by the Stop the £2.7m parking robbery at Walsgrave Hospital Group on Monday 22nd February, Ground Floor - Main Hall, Student Union Building, 54 Cox Street, Coventry, CV1 5PH (Formerly Coventry Working Men's Club) at 7.00pm which I will be supporting and would it be good to see other Rugby residents in attendance.
Rugby Green Party