Campaigner backs calls for PFI talks

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A CAMPAIGNER who exposed the tiny fines NHS Lothian is able to impose on the private firm running Edinburgh Royal Infirmary has backed calls for a parliamentary debate on PFI deals.

Gordon Beurskens, of Action to Save St John’s Hospital, obtained hundreds of e-mails between the health board and PFI partners Consort, which revealed NHS Lothian can charge just £28.24 per day when the firm causes operating theatres to become unavailable for four hours or more.

Consort is paid £60 million a year in public cash and SNP MSP Jim Eadie branded the running of the hospital a “major public scandal” as he led calls for a Holyrood debate into PFI deals.

Mr Beurskens said: “Under one of the worst contracts of its kind, the public purse is being fleeced out of extortionate amounts in return for patients being put at risk. There is a serious disconnect here, where the so-called ‘fines’ offer no realistic chance of deterring further calamities.

“I hope Jim Eadie’s motion will gain cross party support from all MSPs concerned about our health services.”