Fears costly PFI scheme will lead to widespread cuts at Leytonstone hospital

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Whipps Cross 'could be facing financial meltdown' Buy this photo Whipps Cross 'could be facing financial meltdown'

Drastic measures are needed to prevent the trust which runs Whipps Cross University Hospital going into financial meltdown, it is claimed.

Barts Health is said to be nearly £16m in the red just two months into the financial year, falling well short of a reported savings target of £77.5m by April.

The trust, the largest in England, is preparing wide-ranging measures to prevent being placed into administration and Dr John Lister, of pressure group London  Health Emergency, fears devastating consequences for services at Whipps.

He blames the flagship Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) undertaken by the trust at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and St Bartholomew's in the City for the ongoing problems.

He said: "Everyone is pretending it’s not there, but PFI remains the smelly white elephant in the room. We have warned since the 1990s that the Barts & London hospital plan was unaffordable.

"PFI is the reason why – no matter how many management consultants are paid thousands of pounds a day, or what horrific plans an administrator might hatch up – there is no solution to the financial problem within the Bart’s Trust without wholesale cuts in services and staffing that would potentially put patient care and safety at risk.

"The special administrator for South London Healthcare effectively recognised this: he could not solve that problem within the Trust itself. In fact his package will cost the taxpayer upwards of £750 million over 20 years. It rescues the two PFI hospitals and guarantees payments to the PFI shareholders – but savages services in the neighbouring Lewisham Hospital and inflicts cuts elsewhere in south east London.

"The financial problems at Barts Health are much bigger even than South London: so any ‘solution’ will be more drastic. And since PFI contracts are seen as inviolable, this is almost certain to mean massive cuts in Newham and or Whipps Cross.

"PFI has always been an extremely a costly way of building new hospitals, at the expense of other services. It is destabilising trusts and services across England. If ministers don’t act on this and go to the root of the problem, Bart’s will be the latest and the biggest in what will be a series of massive financial disasters in which the only beneficiaries will be bankers, management consultants and lawyers."

Barts Heath NHS Trust runs Mile End Hospital, the London Chest Hospital, Newham University Hospital, The Royal London and Bart’s.

Comments (8)

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1:09pm Thu 18 Jul 13

mdj says...

Well, well; readers may recall this 'merger' (more of a takeover) being spun as a chance to pool expertise, as if top-flight surgeons could be scurrying from site to site. It never smelt right.
It would be the irony of ironies if Whipps was finally dragged down the plughole by the massive incompetence of schemes over which local people have had no control whatever.

Over many years Whipps Cross has had a reputation for being poorly managed; this is hard for lay people to judge, but the sight of the old nursing accommodation blocks standing empty for a staggering 20 years is a clue. Also the barely credible allegation - for which I only have one source - that the big, shiny power plant in James Lane has apparently never worked in the near-decade since it was completed.

Neighbours who have been aggrieved when the Trust reneged on apparent promises to make over strips of land to them may well reflect that the sale of unused space at Whipps for housing (this was the basis of an abortive scheme for total rebuild about 18 years ago) may be seen by desperate bureaucrats as one way out of the fix.
The bigger picture is a disaster: PFI may kill the NHS, as observers such as Private Eye have been warning for many years.
We need to ask what our rulers' motives would be - regardless of party - repeatedly to burden the taxpayer with unmanageable debts. We will certainly suffer - but will they?
Well, well; readers may recall this 'merger' (more of a takeover) being spun as a chance to pool expertise, as if top-flight surgeons could be scurrying from site to site. It never smelt right. It would be the irony of ironies if Whipps was finally dragged down the plughole by the massive incompetence of schemes over which local people have had no control whatever. Over many years Whipps Cross has had a reputation for being poorly managed; this is hard for lay people to judge, but the sight of the old nursing accommodation blocks standing empty for a staggering 20 years is a clue. Also the barely credible allegation - for which I only have one source - that the big, shiny power plant in James Lane has apparently never worked in the near-decade since it was completed. Neighbours who have been aggrieved when the Trust reneged on apparent promises to make over strips of land to them may well reflect that the sale of unused space at Whipps for housing (this was the basis of an abortive scheme for total rebuild about 18 years ago) may be seen by desperate bureaucrats as one way out of the fix. The bigger picture is a disaster: PFI may kill the NHS, as observers such as Private Eye have been warning for many years. We need to ask what our rulers' motives would be - regardless of party - repeatedly to burden the taxpayer with unmanageable debts. We will certainly suffer - but will they? mdj
  • Score: 3

3:29pm Thu 18 Jul 13

ruby newbie says...

probably going skint because of self overpaid so called management,think they should give their wages back cos they have failed,,,,that also goes for mr bair who has also got away scot free .....the scot got away free too....shame
probably going skint because of self overpaid so called management,think they should give their wages back cos they have failed,,,,that also goes for mr bair who has also got away scot free .....the scot got away free too....shame ruby newbie
  • Score: 0

8:33pm Thu 18 Jul 13

Tom Thumb says...

mdj wrote:
Well, well; readers may recall this 'merger' (more of a takeover) being spun as a chance to pool expertise, as if top-flight surgeons could be scurrying from site to site. It never smelt right.
It would be the irony of ironies if Whipps was finally dragged down the plughole by the massive incompetence of schemes over which local people have had no control whatever.

Over many years Whipps Cross has had a reputation for being poorly managed; this is hard for lay people to judge, but the sight of the old nursing accommodation blocks standing empty for a staggering 20 years is a clue. Also the barely credible allegation - for which I only have one source - that the big, shiny power plant in James Lane has apparently never worked in the near-decade since it was completed.

Neighbours who have been aggrieved when the Trust reneged on apparent promises to make over strips of land to them may well reflect that the sale of unused space at Whipps for housing (this was the basis of an abortive scheme for total rebuild about 18 years ago) may be seen by desperate bureaucrats as one way out of the fix.
The bigger picture is a disaster: PFI may kill the NHS, as observers such as Private Eye have been warning for many years.
We need to ask what our rulers' motives would be - regardless of party - repeatedly to burden the taxpayer with unmanageable debts. We will certainly suffer - but will they?
"Neighbours who have been aggrieved when the Trust reneged on apparent promises to make over strips of land to them"
I never understood why this pathetic bunch of NIMBYS was allowed to veto cycling infrastructure at the hospital site, so I have no sympathy at all for them when the Trust ratted on its hollow promise.
However PFI has certainly been a disaster, as anyone who wasn't a hardline Thatcherite or Blairite understood. The PFI catastrophe underlined how the Labour Party ended up making itself more or less indistinguishable from the Tories, both parties friendly towards rapacious big business.
Whipps Cross has always been badly managed and contemptuous of input from organisations representing patients and the general public.
The site is a mess and choked with parked vehicles, showing all too vividly how NHS staff are addicted to car travel, and all too often themselves seriously obese.
[quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: Well, well; readers may recall this 'merger' (more of a takeover) being spun as a chance to pool expertise, as if top-flight surgeons could be scurrying from site to site. It never smelt right. It would be the irony of ironies if Whipps was finally dragged down the plughole by the massive incompetence of schemes over which local people have had no control whatever. Over many years Whipps Cross has had a reputation for being poorly managed; this is hard for lay people to judge, but the sight of the old nursing accommodation blocks standing empty for a staggering 20 years is a clue. Also the barely credible allegation - for which I only have one source - that the big, shiny power plant in James Lane has apparently never worked in the near-decade since it was completed. Neighbours who have been aggrieved when the Trust reneged on apparent promises to make over strips of land to them may well reflect that the sale of unused space at Whipps for housing (this was the basis of an abortive scheme for total rebuild about 18 years ago) may be seen by desperate bureaucrats as one way out of the fix. The bigger picture is a disaster: PFI may kill the NHS, as observers such as Private Eye have been warning for many years. We need to ask what our rulers' motives would be - regardless of party - repeatedly to burden the taxpayer with unmanageable debts. We will certainly suffer - but will they?[/p][/quote]"Neighbours who have been aggrieved when the Trust reneged on apparent promises to make over strips of land to them" I never understood why this pathetic bunch of NIMBYS was allowed to veto cycling infrastructure at the hospital site, so I have no sympathy at all for them when the Trust ratted on its hollow promise. However PFI has certainly been a disaster, as anyone who wasn't a hardline Thatcherite or Blairite understood. The PFI catastrophe underlined how the Labour Party ended up making itself more or less indistinguishable from the Tories, both parties friendly towards rapacious big business. Whipps Cross has always been badly managed and contemptuous of input from organisations representing patients and the general public. The site is a mess and choked with parked vehicles, showing all too vividly how NHS staff are addicted to car travel, and all too often themselves seriously obese. Tom Thumb
  • Score: 1

9:13pm Thu 18 Jul 13

AND124 says...

Tom Thumb wrote:
mdj wrote: Well, well; readers may recall this 'merger' (more of a takeover) being spun as a chance to pool expertise, as if top-flight surgeons could be scurrying from site to site. It never smelt right. It would be the irony of ironies if Whipps was finally dragged down the plughole by the massive incompetence of schemes over which local people have had no control whatever. Over many years Whipps Cross has had a reputation for being poorly managed; this is hard for lay people to judge, but the sight of the old nursing accommodation blocks standing empty for a staggering 20 years is a clue. Also the barely credible allegation - for which I only have one source - that the big, shiny power plant in James Lane has apparently never worked in the near-decade since it was completed. Neighbours who have been aggrieved when the Trust reneged on apparent promises to make over strips of land to them may well reflect that the sale of unused space at Whipps for housing (this was the basis of an abortive scheme for total rebuild about 18 years ago) may be seen by desperate bureaucrats as one way out of the fix. The bigger picture is a disaster: PFI may kill the NHS, as observers such as Private Eye have been warning for many years. We need to ask what our rulers' motives would be - regardless of party - repeatedly to burden the taxpayer with unmanageable debts. We will certainly suffer - but will they?
"Neighbours who have been aggrieved when the Trust reneged on apparent promises to make over strips of land to them" I never understood why this pathetic bunch of NIMBYS was allowed to veto cycling infrastructure at the hospital site, so I have no sympathy at all for them when the Trust ratted on its hollow promise. However PFI has certainly been a disaster, as anyone who wasn't a hardline Thatcherite or Blairite understood. The PFI catastrophe underlined how the Labour Party ended up making itself more or less indistinguishable from the Tories, both parties friendly towards rapacious big business. Whipps Cross has always been badly managed and contemptuous of input from organisations representing patients and the general public. The site is a mess and choked with parked vehicles, showing all too vividly how NHS staff are addicted to car travel, and all too often themselves seriously obese.
I really don't think that the full car parks are the reason for the Trusts financial situation. Calling staff seriously obese would be referring to a minority (which would be replicated in any workplace) and unhelpful. In fact many staff have to travel across site, do community work, work shift patterns meaning early starts and late finishes whilst having to drop children to school etc. and some travel from out of London on motorways to get to work. There are legitimate reasons why they are there
[quote][p][bold]Tom Thumb[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: Well, well; readers may recall this 'merger' (more of a takeover) being spun as a chance to pool expertise, as if top-flight surgeons could be scurrying from site to site. It never smelt right. It would be the irony of ironies if Whipps was finally dragged down the plughole by the massive incompetence of schemes over which local people have had no control whatever. Over many years Whipps Cross has had a reputation for being poorly managed; this is hard for lay people to judge, but the sight of the old nursing accommodation blocks standing empty for a staggering 20 years is a clue. Also the barely credible allegation - for which I only have one source - that the big, shiny power plant in James Lane has apparently never worked in the near-decade since it was completed. Neighbours who have been aggrieved when the Trust reneged on apparent promises to make over strips of land to them may well reflect that the sale of unused space at Whipps for housing (this was the basis of an abortive scheme for total rebuild about 18 years ago) may be seen by desperate bureaucrats as one way out of the fix. The bigger picture is a disaster: PFI may kill the NHS, as observers such as Private Eye have been warning for many years. We need to ask what our rulers' motives would be - regardless of party - repeatedly to burden the taxpayer with unmanageable debts. We will certainly suffer - but will they?[/p][/quote]"Neighbours who have been aggrieved when the Trust reneged on apparent promises to make over strips of land to them" I never understood why this pathetic bunch of NIMBYS was allowed to veto cycling infrastructure at the hospital site, so I have no sympathy at all for them when the Trust ratted on its hollow promise. However PFI has certainly been a disaster, as anyone who wasn't a hardline Thatcherite or Blairite understood. The PFI catastrophe underlined how the Labour Party ended up making itself more or less indistinguishable from the Tories, both parties friendly towards rapacious big business. Whipps Cross has always been badly managed and contemptuous of input from organisations representing patients and the general public. The site is a mess and choked with parked vehicles, showing all too vividly how NHS staff are addicted to car travel, and all too often themselves seriously obese.[/p][/quote]I really don't think that the full car parks are the reason for the Trusts financial situation. Calling staff seriously obese would be referring to a minority (which would be replicated in any workplace) and unhelpful. In fact many staff have to travel across site, do community work, work shift patterns meaning early starts and late finishes whilst having to drop children to school etc. and some travel from out of London on motorways to get to work. There are legitimate reasons why they are there AND124
  • Score: -1

11:29pm Thu 18 Jul 13

mdj says...

20 years ago local residents campaigned - successfully - to stop WX making three new permanent traffic exits on to James Lane, and build much more parking space on the flood plain behind Peterborough Rd. Among many other things, we found that the hospital had more parking than Barts, Guys, St Thomas' and Middlesex combined, and still wanted more!

It's very credible that 'many staff have to travel across site (? sic), do community work, work shift patterns .. drop children ..travel from out of London..etc' ( what do they do at Barts?) but this still more indicts the management for doing nothing about the empty on-site staff accommodation for so many years. It also says a lot about our heedless mismatch of where people work with where they live. If employers had to pay their staffs' travel costs that would soon change.

In the national Guardian article yesterday , the CE of the Barts Trust
is quoted as calling for improved cost control across the board - without once mentioning PFI!

We need to know who at the Whipps Cross end of the merger thought it was a bright idea to chain the fortunes of local healthcare to a body drowning in debt and clearly heading for melt-down. Was it dictated from Whitehall?
Or was it like those crazy university mergers, where over-ambitious heads all think they will be the lucky one to lead the new mega-unit, or else take a massive pay-off if they don't?
20 years ago local residents campaigned - successfully - to stop WX making three new permanent traffic exits on to James Lane, and build much more parking space on the flood plain behind Peterborough Rd. Among many other things, we found that the hospital had more parking than Barts, Guys, St Thomas' and Middlesex combined, and still wanted more! It's very credible that 'many staff have to travel across site (? sic), do community work, work shift patterns .. drop children ..travel from out of London..etc' ( what do they do at Barts?) but this still more indicts the management for doing nothing about the empty on-site staff accommodation for so many years. It also says a lot about our heedless mismatch of where people work with where they live. If employers had to pay their staffs' travel costs that would soon change. In the national Guardian article yesterday , the CE of the Barts Trust is quoted as calling for improved cost control across the board - without once mentioning PFI! We need to know who at the Whipps Cross end of the merger thought it was a bright idea to chain the fortunes of local healthcare to a body drowning in debt and clearly heading for melt-down. Was it dictated from Whitehall? Or was it like those crazy university mergers, where over-ambitious heads all think they will be the lucky one to lead the new mega-unit, or else take a massive pay-off if they don't? mdj
  • Score: 3

6:52am Fri 19 Jul 13

SpursSupporter1 says...

The wonderful services that are provided at Whipps Cross by a brillent medical team need too be protected from this financial fiasco at the very least getting rid of the management of the sire would be a very start as for years its more than obvious they havent gota clue what theyr doing and dragging down the staff and patients with them
The wonderful services that are provided at Whipps Cross by a brillent medical team need too be protected from this financial fiasco at the very least getting rid of the management of the sire would be a very start as for years its more than obvious they havent gota clue what theyr doing and dragging down the staff and patients with them SpursSupporter1
  • Score: 2

8:08am Fri 19 Jul 13

UKIP-local says...

ruby newbie wrote:
probably going skint because of self overpaid so called management,think they should give their wages back cos they have failed,,,,that also goes for mr bair who has also got away scot free .....the scot got away free too....shame
It simply is not true that the NHScan be run without administrators but I do agree they have failed to do the jobs properly they were paid for.

The NHS nationally is just too big and too politically run to succeed.

Let's not let off the politicians who are only too keen to blame others and never take responsibility. Repeated reorganisations, no proper accountability and hosing money at the latest political fashion were never going to get good results.

Years ago, based on a tip from within the Conservative Party, I forecast in the press that Whipps was for the cosh as a main hospital. For my efforts I was condemned by a Conservative Councillor who assured us that Whipps was safe.

Being right is sometimes painful.
[quote][p][bold]ruby newbie[/bold] wrote: probably going skint because of self overpaid so called management,think they should give their wages back cos they have failed,,,,that also goes for mr bair who has also got away scot free .....the scot got away free too....shame[/p][/quote]It simply is not true that the NHScan be run without administrators but I do agree they have failed to do the jobs properly they were paid for. The NHS nationally is just too big and too politically run to succeed. Let's not let off the politicians who are only too keen to blame others and never take responsibility. Repeated reorganisations, no proper accountability and hosing money at the latest political fashion were never going to get good results. Years ago, based on a tip from within the Conservative Party, I forecast in the press that Whipps was for the cosh as a main hospital. For my efforts I was condemned by a Conservative Councillor who assured us that Whipps was safe. Being right is sometimes painful. UKIP-local
  • Score: 2

9:01pm Sat 20 Jul 13

stickmanny says...

I was sitting in the garden the other day and one of the local cats was telling me:

Yes the power plant has never been operational

Yes there was enormous inertia at top level which prevented Whipps Cross NHS Trust from moving with the times.

Whipps could not have reached Foundation status on its own, so was forced to entertain merger proposals

A significant part of the funding shortfall has arisen because agency workers have had to fill the boots of those that were laid off, saw the place heading down and jumped ship, or could not cope with a pay cut coupled with a three fold increase in responsibility.

The standard of care at Whipps is very high and given the difficulties/imminen
t closure at BHR Hospitals we cannot afford to lose it.

Government (the last government, this government, ANY government), plus the usual band of stinking private profit monger vermin need to keep their hands off our NHS.

...just this local cat's opinion of course.
I was sitting in the garden the other day and one of the local cats was telling me: Yes the power plant has never been operational Yes there was enormous inertia at top level which prevented Whipps Cross NHS Trust from moving with the times. Whipps could not have reached Foundation status on its own, so was forced to entertain merger proposals A significant part of the funding shortfall has arisen because agency workers have had to fill the boots of those that were laid off, saw the place heading down and jumped ship, or could not cope with a pay cut coupled with a three fold increase in responsibility. The standard of care at Whipps is very high and given the difficulties/imminen t closure at BHR Hospitals we cannot afford to lose it. Government (the last government, this government, ANY government), plus the usual band of stinking private profit monger vermin need to keep their hands off our NHS. ...just this local cat's opinion of course. stickmanny
  • Score: 3

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