13 health campaigners attended Barts NHS Trust Board meeting on 4th November, held in the Council Chambers in Walthamstow Town Hall. A petition was handed to the Board, signed by 1543 local people, calling on the Board and NHS England to make immediate, publicly transparent plans, to end Barts Health PFI contracts.
Dr Coral Jones, a retired GP from Hackney, presented the petition. Dr Jones said that even if the Board did not agree that PFIs are morally wrong, they evidently agree with campaigners that repaying the charges are unsustainable. Dr Jones pointed out that the Board’s risk register states : “PFI inflationary cost pressures introduce an increasing level of challenge to delivering long term financial sustainability” Dr Jones said that in 10 years time, the charge for the Royal London/Barts PFI will increase from £131m to £165m per annum, and that the Board owes it to residents and staff to sort the PFI out now, especially as Barts deficit is rising year on year. The Chair of the Board, John Bacon, said the trust is contractually committed to the PFI but are working on how payments could be managed. ” This is clearly inadequate and we will continue to campaign to cancel this unsustainable debt.