I ATTENDED the council meeting at Dewsbury Town Hall where discussions took place about proposals one and two for Dewsbury District Hospital.
The main speaker on behalf of the Trust was their communications officer.
The Trust’s main focus of its proposals appeared to be about ‘affordability’ of medical and service provision.
One of the main arguments about moving consultant-led services to Pinderfields was that it would lead to an increase in medical expertise – I questioned whether this was a contradiction.
Some years ago the government sponsored a similar scheme for teachers to resign, and the personnel most likely to take up the offer were the more senior, well-paid staff who could then be replaced by newly qualified, inexperienced and cheaper staff.
I believe this would be the aim of the Trust whose lower financial outlay would be tempered by the lowering of experience in its medical team – exactly the opposite point to the one being made by their representatives at the meeting!
I also made comments regarding my belief that the closure of the services at Dewsbury was directly linked to the private finance initiative (PFI) commitment of the Trust and you appear to be the only paper to openly publicise the effect of the PFI costs upon the Trust finances.
I asked how much interest was being paid per annum by the Trust on the PFI. She replied that she could not be specific but the Trust paid £36m per annum on the total PFI but interest could not be stated as overall payments were made using a very complicated formula.
Since returning from the meeting I have had a thought that I wish I had voiced at the time.
The new Pinderfields Hospital cost around £135m to build and it is not difficult to work out how excessive the interest rate or premium being paid over the lifetime (25 years) of the PFI is!
I was pleased to see the great support that the Dewsbury ward councillors offered in their opposition to the outlined proposals.
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