On Saturday 25th April, members of Waltham Forest Save our NHS will join the People vs. PFI and other campaign groups on a tour of East London. Our aims are to protest and raise awareness of the burdensome PFI debt at Barts Heath NHS Trust which runs Whipps Cross Hospital.
Barts Health is 10 years into a 40 year contract with Innisfree and Skanska, the companies that built and are responsible for maintenance and services at The Royal London and Barts Hospitals. Over the length of the PFI contract, for hospitals that cost £1.1bn to build, Barts Health will pay £7.1bn for construction and services. If the Trust defaults on its debt, its hospitals will belong to Innisfree and Skanska and as such will be privatised.
The PFI deals are widely blamed for undermining finances at Barts Health, leaving the trust in an impossible financial position that has led to the recent damning CQC report that landed Whipps Cross Hospital in special measures.
To make matters worse, Barts is paying over the odds for services like catering and cleaning, provided by Carillion – a company with a very poor reputation. More than 50 workers employed by Carillion at Swindon’s Great Western Hospital are taking discrimination cases to an employment tribunal.
We want the borough’s three MPs, if re-elected next month to put party politics aside and to work together on resolving the onerous debt that is weighing down Waltham Forest’s only general hospital as we proposed in our open letter on PFI to Stella Creasy, John Cryer and Iain Duncan Smith.
The NHS campaigners invite fellow borough residents to meet and greet the PFI campaign bus as it tours Walthamstow and Leytonstone. The bus will be stopping at the main entrance to Whipps Cross Hospital at 11.00am to collect ‘passengers’ for the day of campaigning. The PFI bus will move through the borough arriving at the top of Walthamstow market on Hoe Street around 11.15am.
Please sign the petition here calling on Barts Health NHS Trust and NHS England to make immediate, publicly transparent, plans to end the disastrous and unsustainable Barts Health PFI contracts. Six East London hospitals are under threat; with a looming crisis in care, 10% of staff posts lost and wages cut for many employees.