Portsmouth MP to work with QA as concerns raised over Carillion’s future

Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham
Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham
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AN MP has vowed to work closely with Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT) as fears are raised over the future of Carillion.

The construction company has a private finance initiative (PFI) agreement with the trust which means it is responsible for all maintenance of Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, and the running of its car parks.

I will continue to work closely with QA Hospital and will support any initiative they think will improve the care they give and the patient experience

Penny Mordaunt

They also helped redevelop the hospital as part of the agreement.

But now, Carillion is facing financial problems and there are fears it could collapse.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt had in the past campaigned against PFIs with MP Jesse Norman.

They got agreement from the Treasury that public services could renegotiate their contracts and, one way of doing this was by enabling the soft services of the contract, for example parking, catering and maintenance, to be renegotiated.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘I had several meetings with the management team at QA Hospital and thought the most fruitful thing they should do would be to renegotiate those soft services.

‘However they did not commence this work, and despite me pushing it for years has not pursued it.

‘I still would support a radical overhaul of QA’s PFI, but the new hospital management team have a good plan in place to improve things. We need to support them in that rather than give them something else to do.

‘Our focus should be twofold – their finances and the quality of services. I will continue to work closely with QA Hospital and will support any initiative they think will improve the care they give and the patient experience.’

Politicians are urging the government to bring contracts from Carillion back into public control.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the Liberal Democrat Party in Portsmouth, said the situation of the PFI was always a worry.

‘It is always a concern when a big private sector company goes bust,’ he said.

‘We have got to worry not just about the building but the backroom staff that keep QA Hospital going.

‘It it not good for the NHS or Portsmouth that another private company could come in to replace Carillion which is looking to make big profits.

‘I wonder if Portsmouth City Council should be working with the management of QA to buy the PFI. That is something we should look at to make sure the future of the hospital is not in the hands of a company that wants to make the most profit.’

A trust spokesman said: ‘In common with a number of NHS trusts, our PFI contractor uses Carillion PLC to provide some facilities management services. As part of our normal contingency planning, we have extensive plans in place to ensure services to our patients are always provided to a safe, high standard.’