Tag Archives: Royal Infirmary

How can an NHS Trust go bankrupt?

In May 1997, back in those lovely days where we were sure we’d got rid of the Tories and now had a Labour government, Tony Blair put Alan Milburn in charge of the Department of Health, where he stayed for about 18 months until Peter Mandelson first got caught in a dodgy money deal, whereupon Milburn was reshuffled to the Treasury and in 2003 resigned from government to “spend more time with his family” and with Bridgepoint Capital, a venture capital firm with clients including Alliance Medical, Match Group, and Medica.

Between the Treasury and the NHS, Alan Milburn – an enthusiastic supporter of Blairite policies – set in train everything needed to make an NHS Trust go bankrupt.

George Monbiot, on The Biggest, Weirdest Rip-Off Yet:

When Labour took power in 1997, it told public servants that there would be no alternative to PFI. “When there is a limited amount of public-sector capital available, as there is,” the health secretary Alan Milburn announced, “it’s PFI or bust”. After 12 years, the policy hasn’t changed. A leaked email summarising a meeting with the current health secretary, Alan Johnson, in January this year [2009] revealed that “PFIs have always been the NHS’s ‘plan A’ for building new hospitals … There was never a ‘plan B’.” If you apply for public funds, you won’t get them: to build a new hospital or school or prison, you must PFI it.


South London Healthcare
runs three hospitals in Orpington, Sidcup, and Woolwich. The Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich were both built using Blair’s darling and Milburn’s favourite: Private Finance Initiative. Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup was built in 1974.
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