A call for a top-level inquiry into the controversial financing deal behind Calderdale Royal Hospital has been made.
It came from Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman, who has written to the Government’s Public Accounts Committee with serious concerns about the impact the huge debt is having on health care in the whole region.
He lodged his appeal for an inquiry as health chiefs met in Huddersfield to decide on sweeping changes to hospitals care.
They were expected to launch a public consultation on plans which could see Huddersfield Royal Infirmary demolished and replaced with a new unit on the Acre Mills site in Lindley, but with full accident and emergency provision switched to Calderdale.
The move is being driven by fears of crippling debt from the PFI deal which created the Calderdale hosptal.
It has been revealed that a hospital which cost £64m to bulld will cost taxpayers a staggering £774m, with the hospital trust facing being hundreds of millions of pounds in debt within years.
The Public Accounts Committee is responsible for overseeing government expenditures, and to ensure they are effective and honest. The committee is seen as a crucial mechanism for ensuring transparency and accountability in government financial operations.
Mr Sheerman is furious about the hospital proposals and learned about them only days before they were made public last Friday by the Examiner.
He said: “We are being told we are to lose services in Huddersfield to prop up the hospital in Calderdale.
“Both towns deserve to have top-class healthcare services and I am sure there are other ways of providing these.
“I know the PFI deal for the Calderdale site was a complex and long-running project and I want the committee to look at it in detail.”
His letter to MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee, said: The cost of the PFI that was used to facilitate a new hospital in Halifax, proposed in the early 1990s, has had a pernicious influence on all subsequent health provision in our part of West Yorkshire.
“Some independent commentators believe that the particular PFI used to build Calderdale Royal Hospital ‘makes a Wonga loan look really good value for money.
“I would be most grateful if your committee would look at this particular Private Finance Initiative, not only because of its very special influence in one locality, but it might also illustrate the challenges which can be encountered when complex PFI deals are negotiated by inexperienced health officials in public sector organisations.”