Barking and Dagenham hospital unable to pay for PFI even with ‘most stringent targets’, NHS boss says

A debt-laden hospital would not be able to pay for its PFI development even if it was given the most stringent targets, an NHS boss said.

Ruth Carnall, the chief executive of NHS London, gave a fresh insight into the financial woes experienced by Queen’s Hospital after it was confirmed its trust had gone almost �50million into the red this year.

The Romford hospital, which treats Barking and Dagenham patients, is now receiving extra financial help from central government to pay for the privately-funded development unveiled in 2006.

Speaking at City Hall, Ms Carnall said: “If you were to improve productivity in hospitals in London to top quartile, if you were to drive activity through these hospitals at the maximum possible rate, which would then be still unaffordable, the number is very small, but it includes Greenwich and Queen’s Hospital in Romford.

“So in other words, there’s a long-winded way of saying if you placed even the most stringent and ambitious targets about improvement on those hospitals they still cannot meet the payment that are due on those schemes.

“So the Secretary of State has accepted there should be financial support provided in those two cases. But it’s not sufficient to deliver a viable solution in its own right, so it needs to be seen as part of a whole package.”

Ms Carnall made the comments about Queen’s Hospital during a Q&A session with London Assembly members at City Hall on September 12.

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Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust said its Romford hospital was one of seven which had been identified to received support towards PFI costs.

The hospital trust acknowledged its overal deficit had reached �49.9m in March but hopes to reduce it to less than �40m this financial year with the PFI support.

Trust director of finance, David Gilburt, said: “The trust is one of seven identified by the Department of Health to receive additional support towards its PFI costs.

“This financial support has not yet been released, but is believed to be between �16m and �17m per annum.

“At the end of March 2012 this trust recorded a deficit of �49.9m. For 2012/13 we aim to deliver a reduced deficit of �40m. The financial support from the Department of Health would reduce this forecast deficit.”