PM gives the green light for QA deal review

Prime Minister David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron

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THE Prime Minister has given the green light for a review into the contract to build and maintain Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt asked David Cameron in Parliament yesterday if the hospital’s ‘contract from hell’ – which paid for the £256m QA rebuild and covers maintenance and running costs of the site for the next 31 years – could be renegotiated.

Mr Cameron, who referred to private finance initiatives as a ‘shambles’ inherited from the former government, said all deals should be reviewed.

This paves the way for cash-strapped QA’s deal to be renegotiated which could mean smaller repayments in the future and even rebates on the money already paid.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘The Prime Minister’s answer is really good news. What this means is the QA could have more financial flexibility. Each contract renegotiation will be different but it could mean QA getting a rebate and getting a reduction in what it makes in repayments in the future.

‘This is all about getting flexibility for the hospital to spend its money better and provide best care. At the moment it’s restricted by massive annual repayments and restricted procurement practices.’

As part of the QA deal, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, has to pay back £44m a year for 31 years.

It leaves the hospital – which recently had to take out a £13m loan to pay its bills – with little flexibility.

The PFI contract for Queen’s Hospital in Romford, Essex, is currently being reviewed by the Treasury.

Ms Mordaunt is now keen to ensure QA is next on the list for ‘PFI surgery’.

But she said any savings should go back into the Portsmouth health economy and not into Treasury coffers.