Covid-19 update: Fox urges end to PFI contracts and freeing up billions for emergency action

SCOTTISH SOCIALIST PARTY Media Release

Contact: Ken Ferguson, 07925 613145

SSP National Cospokesperson Colin Fox has written to Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman urging her to end PFI contracts in the NHS and divert the savings to the battle to combat the escalating virus crisis.

His letter is below.

” Dear Jeane,

Coronavirus health emergency – renegotiate all PFI hospital contracts

I am writing to you in light of the unprecedented threat the Coronavirus poses to the health of our population.

The UK Chief Medical Officer Mr Chris Whitty and his Scottish counterpart Mrs Catherine Calderwood believe the mortality rate for the disease may reach 1%. This would be unprecedented, as I am sure you are aware, around 50,000 extra deaths occur in Scotland. Given the grave danger the virus poses I believe it is necessary to free up all the resources our NHS requires to combat this unprecedented threat.

Professor Allyson Pollock has today called for all private hospitals, beds and staff to be commandeered to meet the profound patient need during this public health emergency. I agree with her. 

But I also believe it is necessary for you to repeal all existing PFI health contracts in Scotland to release the funds needed to combat this threat. 

I believe the public will be outraged if we continue to allow £8billion pounds to be wasted on these contracts whilst denying front line clinicians and their patients the vital resources needed to combat the greatest public health emergency we have faced in a century. 

It is, as you know, a daily occurrence in the business world for commercial contracts to be renegotiated. I hope you will agree that it is in the national interest for the Scottish Government to serve notice that the terms previously agreed are no longer acceptable and that if necessary you will introduce enabling Acts to remedy this intolerable deficit in NHS resource allocation. 

I urge you to put this measure to Holyrood and the wider public for immediate approval. And I look forward to your earliest response to what I believe is an entirely proportionate request in extraordinary circumstances.

The First Minister warned us yesterday that ‘It is not possible to overstate pressure the NHS will be under in the weeks and months to come’. And I believe her.

This situation cannot be tolerated in the present circumstances in my view. We risk precious resources being diverted from combating the imminent and present danger faced by tens of thousands of elderly Scots in particular. 

I urge you therefore to order that all the resources the NHS needs are used to defeat this lethal threat are made available at this time. I believe the public will welcome this measure and consider it both reasonable and appropriate in circumstances the First Minister has acknowledged are unprecedented in peacetime. 

Yours sincerely

Colin Fox, 

National Cospokesperson

Scottish Socialist Party,

8 Alloway Loan,

Edinburgh, EH16 6XH

ENDS

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