Friday, June 01, 2007

Does Patricia Hewitt actually know anything?

The following quote is from oral evidence to the House of Commons Health Committee. The report is a huge 373 page document so I think people might have missed it. Here is the person theoretically in charge of the National Health Service, Patricia "goldfish brain" Hewitt, without basic knowledge of hospital building in recent decades:

"Q353 Mr Campbell: Just a couple of questions on PFI. You said that the greater levels of local initiatives and autonomy should be brought into the health service. How does that square with the large increase in PFI programmes when you have got the hospitals being built by these private companies who are nearly running everything, of course?

Ms Hewitt: The PFI programme, of course, was our response to the fact that there had not been a new hospital built in England for longer than any of us, I think, can remember—there simply had not been any—and large parts of the NHS were working in pre NHS hospitals, rather too many of them nineteenth century never mind twentieth century, and PFI has enabled us to make an enormous difference in terms both of refurbishing and modernising or commissioning entirely new hospitals, and we are seeing those new hospitals opening around the country—University College Hospital in London being the nearest one—but that, I think, is really helping to improve the quality of care that the NHS can give patients. Of course, those PFI projects are not imposed by the Department on local health communities. They are generally led by local hospitals who are desperate to rebuild their premises and improve their services, sometimes re-organise services maybe across several sites. They are the ones champing at the bit, if you like, for PFI. We have to make sure, as we do in every case, that there is real value for money and that the health community as a whole locally can afford what the hospital itself wants to build.


No.Q364 Anne Milton: Can I correct you on the number of hospitals that have been built. There have been some built under the previous government. Chelsea & Westminster, Princess Royal, there are about 50; it was not none.

Ms Hewitt: Right. Thank you.”


James Higham said...

Matthew - your post says it all. thanks for that confirmation of what we already suspected.

Scott Freeman said...