Reader letter: Hospital budget problems are obvious to all

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Photo: NNUH

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Photo: NNUH - Credit: NNUH

One reader shares their thoughts on the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital's budget.

It is no surprise to anybody that the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is having problems keeping within their allocated budget. From the very start of building the hospital on a PFI deal it has always been struggling with its finances. Even the Public Accounts Committee chairman MP Edward Leigh once famously branded the deal 'the unacceptable face of capitalism'. I would however say that no blame can be attached to the Octagon Healthcare Consortium for this situation we find ourselves in. They are a private organisation set up for the sole purpose of making as much money as possible they can get back for their investment. A hospital deal that costs £229m to complete and finishes up in 35 years with a final total in excess of £1bn brings a return of 60pc to the investors on their money. How I wish I could find a bank that offered me such a return on my money. We are even told that we can buy back the hospital after this time but I don't believe that this will happen. The blame must lay with our original negotiators who were so desperate to sign this deal that they would have signed for any figure. Because our hospital was the first to be built under the untried PFI agreement it is disappointing that some compromise cannot be found to resolve this dispute with a less one-sided result. No one, to my knowledge, has up to now ever approached Octagon to see if there is any possibility to reduce the payments that have to be made and it is this lack of even trying that to me is most worrying.

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