Liabilities from £12.6bn of PFI contracts put 22 hospital trusts in jeopardy

More than twenty NHS trusts are “on the brink of financial collapse” because of the legacy of Private Finance Initiative new build schemes, according to health secretary Andrew Lansley.

Lansley said 22 trusts, which between them run 60 hospitals, were in danger of damaging patient care because of the financial burden put on them by onerous PFI contracts.

The Department of Health estimates that the use of PFI contracts for new hospitals built by Labour could ultimately see an extra £20bn spent by the NHS.

Lansley told Radio 4’s Today programme that: “We’re not going to let hospitals collapse financially.

“But if we were simply to carry on as the Labour party did in government, we would be seeing hundreds of millions of pounds every year being taken from what could provide improving services for patients in order to pay for PFI projects that roll forward for decades.”

He added that patient care could be jeopardised in the areas covered by the 22 trusts, saying: “We’re looking at a risk to services in their areas.”

According to the Daily Telegraph, the Barts and the London, Oxford Radcliffe, north Bristol, St Helens and Knowsley and Portsmouth trusts are all in jeopardy.

The news comes following a series of highly critical reports by MPs on the cost-effectiveness of PFI deals, and concerns from contractors that the government will scrap the controversial method of procurement.

In total hospitals worth £12.6bn have been procured under PFI, with some contracts lasting as long as 2050.