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Sun 26 DECEMBER 2004

Buy back Scotland's PPP hospitals - says UNISON

Scotland's largest health care union, UNISON, today called on the Scottish Executive to buy back three Scottish Public Private Partnership hospitals following the successful purchase of the Skye Road Bridge.

"The First Minister, was quite right last Tuesday when he announced the "buy back" of the Skye Road Bridge." Said Jim Devine, UNISON's Scottish Organiser for Health.

"Jack McConnell was right when he stated that 'Scotland were paying for Tory mistakes'.

"In the NHS we are still paying for Tory mistakes due to PPP. "Edinburgh Royal Infirmary cost £185m to build. Since then Scottish taxpayers have paid back nearly £305m and the eventual bill from the private sector will be £1.2bn. Parking charges at this hospital for patients, staff and visitors are the equivalent to the toll charges that were imposed on Skye Bridge drivers.

"In, and next door to, the First Minister's constituency, Wishaw and Hairmyres hospitals cost around £175m to build. Since 2000 we have paid back around £240m and these hospitals will eventually cost the Scottish tax payer £1.8bn.

"Over a 30 year period Scottish tax payers will pay back nearly £3bn for three PPP hospitals that cost just over £350M to build.

"These schemes are a licence for the private sector to print money. "The "buy back" of the Skye Bridge from the private sector was a good example of efficient government. The same arguments extend to the National Health Service and in order to improve efficient government within the National Health Service the Scottish Executive should "buy back" the three PPP hospitals in Scotland".


For Further Information Please Contact: Jim Devine, Scottish Organiser 0845 355 0845(w) 07876 441239(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)