rory welcomes positive news for cumberland infirmary
Rory has welcomed news that seven NHS hospital Trusts which face serious structural financial issues may receive additional support from the Department of Health. The trusts, among them NCUH NHS Trust at the Cumberland Infirmary, must demonstrate that they meet four key tests. This follows a meeting he brokered for Secretary of State Andrew Lansley when he visited Carlisle in December. The Health Secretary was briefed on PFI problems.
In October 2012 Mr Lansley announced that the Department of Health would provide ongoing support to a small number of NHS Trusts with historic Private Finance Initiative (PFI) arrangements , but which were unable to demonstrate the necessary long-term financial viability.
To meet the criteria for such support, a shortlist of affected Trusts would need to demonstrate that they had met four key tests:
• The problems they face should be exceptional and beyond those faced by other organisations;
• They must be able to show that the problems they face are historic, and that they have a clear plan to manage their resources in the future;
• They must show that they are delivering high levels of annual productivity savings;
• They must deliver clinically viable, high quality services, including delivering low waiting times and other performance measures.
Rory said: “Labour left some parts of the NHS with a dismal legacy of PFI, and made them rely on unworkable plans for the future. They swept these problems under the carpet for a decade, and left us with a £60 billion post-dated PFI cheque to deal with. These issues have compounded what are critical times for the Cumberland Infirmary, and I welcome any steps that the Secretary of State can take in helping to put the Trust on a more secure financial footing, which is imperative if it is to be a given a chance to recover and thrive as an excellent clinical provider for Cumbria.”
Secretary of State Andrew Lansley said: “The NHS is delivering great results for patients but we know that a small number of NHS Trusts with PFI arrangements have historic problems relating to these arrangements that make it very difficult for them to manage financially. This move is the latest stage in a programme of work we began in 2010 to identify and tackle financial problems at local level in the NHS. In the past, local Trusts have received extra funding on the quiet in order to avoid embarrassment. We have already signalled that we are determined to end these backroom deals by bringing greater transparency and openness to the process.”
“We need to balance the accountability of the NHS at local level to live within its means on one hand, with recognising that there is a legacy of debt for some Trusts with PFI schemes. And we need to be certain that those NHS Trusts that face historic financial problems are not taking their eye off the most important issue of all – maintaining and improving their frontline patient care.”