Monday, 22 January 2007

PFI Deals and the NHS

'Private Finance Initiatives' are one of those scandalous realities that nobody except Private Eye seems to care about. With any luck more stories about it will appear in the mainstream media and people will notice. Take today's story on the BBC about how PFI firms will make a 23 billion pound profit from the NHS over the next 30 years. Think how many hospitals, operations and drugs could be bought for that much money... money which has come from the taxpayer to help the NHS, yet finds its way into the pockets of shareholders and CEOs.

While it is true that the current Labour government have increased NHS funding, most of the increase has been absorbed by private companies doing things much more expensively than they could have been done under a completely public NHS. PFI deals are great if you want to use figures from one particular year to impress voters, but they are much less impressive in the long term. If only the bigger picture was shown to the public then perhaps the madness would come to an end? The figures speak for themselves and are useful ammunition in the argument against involving the private sector in healthcare. While I am one of those absolutely opposed to it on moral grounds, it's always useful to have financial grounds to convince people who think with their wallets (or taxes).

I took the opportunity to sign-up as a member of Keep Our NHS Public. Let's hope this group gains some momentum and saves our public NHS before it's too late. Once it's all sold off then we face a greater struggle to get it back - just look at the railways...

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