A top doctor behind a controversial hospital shake-up plan says he would rather PFI bailout money was spent on ‘care in the community’.
Campaigners have said that the Government could, in theory, bail Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust (CHFT) out of its £774m PFI obligations.
But Huddersfield health chief Dr David Hughes said he would rather see such cash, if it became available, spent on community care services.
Calderdale Royal Hospital was built at the turn of the Millennium for £64m following a loan from private investors.
But CHFT, which runs the hospital and Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, will have to pay investors £774m by 2058.
The loan, which costs CHFT £22m a year (6% of its annual budget), has been blamed for a plan which could close Huddersfield’s A&E.
However, the Holmfirth GP and Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group board member, said it would be ‘irresponsible’ not to use the PFI loan effectively.
Dr Hughes said: “Irrespective of that PFI, we have got a relatively new state-of-the-art hospital that has been built on the patch – and actually it would be an irresponsible use of public money not to use that effectively.
“Therefore if the Government can come up with some more money I would prefer they put the money into funding care in the community rather than altering a site that isn’t actually going to change the overall quality.”
Under the RCRTRP proposal Huddersfield Royal Infirmary will be demolished and replaced with a smaller hospital on the adjacent Acre Mills site. It will have an urgent care centre but crucially, no emergency care unit.
Emergency care will be centralised at an expanded Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax.