An interview with PFI expert Dr Lucy Reynolds

We spoke to Dr Lucy Reynolds, research fellow in public health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, as well as a dedicated and well-regarded PFI activist.

We first heard her speak at the PFI walking tour of Parliament, which we live blogged here.

Dr Lucy Reynolds speaking at PFI tour of Parliament
Dr Lucy Reynolds speaking at PFI tour of Parliament (Photo PFEye)

She believes that our NHS is being privatised and that there has been a “complete failure of democracy.”

In this audio interview, we asked her what the threats are to the NHS, and what positive steps we can take.

Continue reading An interview with PFI expert Dr Lucy Reynolds

Election candidate takes firm stance on PFI

Ellie Merton, independent parliamentary candidate for Walthamstow, is campaigning to save Whipps Cross University Hospital from the debt-laden Barts Health NHS Trust

Photo: Ellie Merton
Photo copyright of Ellie Merton

It is the first time that Ellie Merton is running for MP in her local constituency of Walthamstow, but she is no stranger to politics. As a student, she campaigned against homophobia and was elected as the Student Welfare Officer at the University of London. Recently, she has been campaigning for Palestine.

But when Whipps Cross hospital was rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission in March, Ms Merton knew she had to enter the election.

“I realised that I had the motivation to stand for more than just international human rights, and actually do something on an issue that really worried me; my local hospital,” she says.

Continue reading Election candidate takes firm stance on PFI

Myatts Field North residents reveal dismal state of new PFI homes

The Myatts Field North estate in Lambeth, South London, before the regeneration process started in May 2012.
The Myatts Field North estate in Lambeth, South London, before the regeneration process started in May 2012. Photo by: Michael Keane / Flickr

Myatts Field North was meant to be one of London’s success stories as far as regeneration projects go. “An outdated housing estate” riddled with crime would be remodeled into a “more open, greener and welcoming environment”, Lambeth council put it in 2012.

The old blocks would be demolished to make way for 808 new residential units, while a further 172 existing houses would be refurbished to a modern standard.

All thanks to a £150m Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract the Lambeth council had entered with a private consortium led by Regenter.

Two years into the construction programme, however, a rather different picture is emerging. Continue reading Myatts Field North residents reveal dismal state of new PFI homes

People vs Barts Health PFI campaigners on the debt crisis crippling the East London trust

The PFI-funded Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, East London. Barts Health NHS Trust will have to pay over £7bn in construction and maintenance charges over the next 30 years.
The PFI-funded Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, East London. Barts Health NHS Trust will have to pay over £7bn in construction and maintenance charges over the next 30 years. Credit: Patrick Mackie / The Geograph

Barts Health, the largest NHS Trust in the country, is in the middle of a deepening crisis.

On February 4th it reported that its deficit had swollen to £93 million, more than double the figure quoted just seven months earlier.

Then, in an unexpected twist, the Chief Executive Peter Morris announced his resignation last week after eight years at the helm of the troubled East London trust.

The financial woes of Barts have been a disaster waiting to happen ever since the trust signed up to a £1.1 billion scheme for the redevelopment of the Royal London hospital in 2006.

By the time the state-of-the-art facility in Whitechapel opened its doors six years later the project had left behind a trail of toxic debt.

Continue reading People vs Barts Health PFI campaigners on the debt crisis crippling the East London trust

Interview with Ashley Seager of IF: “Future generations will pick up the bill for PFI”

A former Economics correspondent for The Guardian, Ashley Seager is the co-founder of Intergenerational Foundation, an independent charity that protects the rights of younger people in policy-making. 

 Drawing on research by Professor David Parker, the UK Government’s official historian on privatisation, Seager tells us why, in his view, PFI is building up an unsustainable debt for future generations.