Select Committee on Health Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 220 - 222)

MONDAY 29 OCTOBER 2001

MR JOHN FLOOK, MR STEVEN MASON, MR ANTHONY RABIN, MR ROBIN MOSS AND MRS JAN LEMMON

  220. When you have these 10 empty beds you are not paying through PFI you are just mothballing them. Am I being really stupid, if I am tell me? You are still paying through PFI.
  (Mr Mason) We would still be paying through the public sector option in terms of the cost capital and in terms of capital charges. From our point of view the key is that we get the beds open. I would not say there is any evidence that our turnover of staff has increased because of the result of PFI. In reality those beds should be open and obviously we are trying to recruit the staff. There would be a cost under a publicly funded hospital but you maybe would not recognise it as such. The situation is no different between the two.

  Chairman: Unless there are really any pressing questions.

Julia Drown

  221. The important point that UNISON are pushing is that in order to cover the extra cost of the capital through a privately financed scheme the public have less nurses or less something else, are there less nurses or less something else because it is a privately finance scheme?
  (Mr Rabin) May I say something. It does seem to me we are missing one element of this. I speak as the private sector, not the public sector, and therefore I do not have access to the intricacies of the public sector comparator, which it does seem to me has to be got right, has to be fair and cannot be fudged. At the end of the day although undoubtedly the capital element from the private sector is more expensive, it is not that much more expensive when you compare the marginal cost of capital of the private sector with the total cost of the scheme. Although it is undeniably more expensive, against that, surely, you have to look at what other savings and other economic benefits result from bringing this in. Let me enumerate some.

  Julia Drown: You can do.

John Austin

  222. Perhaps a note?
  (Mr Rabin) I am very happy to do that. It does seem to me, Chairman, we are missing part of the equation.
  (Mr Mason) I do not believe at the end of the day there is a big difference in terms of a public or a privately provided hospital in terms of impact but I do think there are issues about whether the NHS properly recognises the extra costs of a new hospital, whether publicly or privately provided. Undoubtedly there has been attempts to put more pressure on trusts for efficiency savings because you are not getting revenue consequences of capital schemes.

  Chairman: May I thank all of you for your help today it has been an invaluable session. There are different views on this but the fact we are able to explore different views has been very helpful to the Committee. Mr Mason, can I thank yourself and Councillor Earley for making us so welcome, we do appreciate it. Thank you very much indeed.





 
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