On Saturday 6 February at 5pm as part of our Healthy E17 campaign, we are organising a healthcare policy seminar. In this session we will focus on three key local concerns- the impact of PFI on healthcare funding, changes to nursing training bursaries and what this will mean for recruitment of staff, and access to GP services in Walthamstow. In looking at healthcare & public finance models we'll be joined by macroeconomist Professor Pearlman of City University.
Barts Health Trust, which runs Whipps Cross hospital, has the largest UK PFI deal made at £1.1billion. By 2049 the amount paid back will total £7billion. Last year alone the Trust shelled out £148million – equivalent to the salaries for 6,000 nurses – on this loan, of which half paid for interest alone. When the hospital downgraded nursing posts to try to save money to pay such costs, staff morale plummeted. Now regulators have highlighted that frequently at Whipps Cross 66% of nursing cover was provided for by agency nurses, increasing the staff costs for the hospital. Whilst the quality of care at our local hospital suffers and its resources are stretched, its creditors thrive. Innisfree is the company that owns 50% of the Barts deal and expects to make £18billion from eighteen different PFI projects across Britain. It has just twenty five staff, one of whom earned £2million last year alone. Meanwhile, the Government has announced plans to cut the bursaries that enable students to study to become nurses and many residents say they cannot get appointments at our GP practices.
On Saturday 6th February, we will be working together to analyse the problems PFI loans cause, and develop our own proposals for renegotiating this debt with expert academics who specialise in public finance. So too, we’ll hear from nurses about the consequences of the Government’s decision to scrap bursaries for students and local campaigners involved in improving access to GP surgeries in Walthamstow. All participants will get a chance to contribute to each area of policy and we will be devising plans for how to campaign on all three.
This event is free and open to all residents of Walthamstow to attend, but to help us manage the organisation of this event please RSVP to Lindsay, one of the event organisers, to confirm your place with your name, address and details of any others who wish to attend with you. Those who RSVP will be sent full details of the venue and event. Please feel free to share this invitation with other local residents who you believe would like to participate in this discussion.