A bus driver has launched a petition urging the Government to pay off PFIs weighing down hospital trusts across the UK.

Damien Ainsworth lodged the petition on the Government website as part of the #HandsOffHRI campaign.

The trust, which runs Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, is locked into a PFI (private finance initiative) over the construction of Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax.

Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH) was built for £64m as part of a PFI agreement signed in 1998 – but the deal is expected to cost the trust £774m in repayments by 2058.

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Under PFIs, private investors poured £11.8 bn into building hospitals in England.

But the trusts which ‘benefited’ from the deals will have to pay back £79 bn over 31 years.

Mr Ainsworth, a former auxiliary nurse, also gathered 1,548 signatures for the ‘Prevent The Closure of Huddersfield A&E Department’, which on Monday night had 52,664 signatures.

Click here to sign Darren Ainsworth's petition

Many of them were collected from passengers at Huddersfield Bus Station.

The Department of Health, however, said it would not intervene in the hospital shake-up plan claiming it was a ‘matter for local determination’.

READ MORE: Hands off HRI: Calderdale Royal Hospital was 'onto a loser from the beginning' of PFI deal, says health expert

READ MORE: Hands off HRI: Government minister denies PFI deal is behind A&E closure plan

Mr Ainsworth, of Kilner Bank, said: “I thought I would make it a national issue.

“It sounds like an indirect approach but it gives other MPs a chance to see there’s a problem with PFIs in other areas too.

“Giving all that money to private companies is appalling.”

He added: “I think it’s appaling that just Calderdale Royal Infirmary should have an A&E. Both hospitals should have one.”