Examination of Witnesses (Questions 220
MONDAY 29 OCTOBER 2001
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
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.
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
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.