New hospitals credit warning26th January 2009
Health service plans to build new hospitals may be severely affected by the recession, according to a leaked document.
The Conservative Party say a memo leaked to them showed there were worries about building programmes financed by private sources.
The document said that during a meeting in January between the Health Secretary Alan Johnson and Strategic Health Authority managers, they were warned that there was "no plan B" if financial institutions were unable to fund the programme.
Concerns were voiced that the decade-long plan to build hospitals with money raised with private help - which the NHS will pay back with interest over the years - was "particularly vulnerable".
The document added that health service resources would be affected by the recession and the next two years would be very difficult.
Critics of the building programme have said the health service could pay back over £50 billion until 2040 for "hospitals worth a fifth of that amount".
Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: "Gordon Brown's cuts to funds for new NHS buildings means that there is no extra money if local health boards are unable to raise funds through PFI."
The Department of Health said the credit crunch was not affecting their plans: "There's no question of a go slow in the hospital building programme."
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Title: New hospitals credit warning
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 9936
Date Added: 26th Jan 2009