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Date: 20 April 2012

Sack Lothian PFI contractor

UNISON response to Lothian Health Statement over failings by PFI contractor Consort

UNISON Lothian Health Branch Secretary Tam Waterson Said: “We’re glad the penny has finally dropped for Lothian Health about PFI. It’s just a pity that hundreds of millions of other pennies had to drop into Consort’s pockets before they realised.

“The Board say consort’s failings can no longer be tolerated. It’s taken them over a decade - but we are delighted that they have come round to our way of thinking.

“Staff in the ERI are undergoing a pay freeze, and paying a hike in the cost of their pensions, for which they’ll receive no benefit, yet nothing seems to stop the flow of money into the pockets of big business PFI merchants. Health Service Staff across Scotland are paying an extra £50m out of their wages this year, and doing more as staffing levels fall – Consort can underperform and still pick up £60m. It’s a scandal”If Consort were a member of staff - they would have been down the road a long time before now”

UNISON Head of Bargaining and Campaigns Dave Watson said:“We’ve consistently criticised PFI in general, and the set up at ERI in particular for many years. It’s a costly and inefficient way of delivering services. It’s meant to mean a transfer of risk , but when things go wrong the risk stays with the public sector– and at the end of the day, the public – because the companies expect to get paid. “Many of consorts failings through the year stem from the PFI contract meaning that there are in effect two chains of command for many of the staff. This leads duplication and confusion.

“The Health Board should now be seeking an exit from this failed arrangement with Consort and at the very least be looking to bring facilities management at ERI back in house”

Notes to editors

1. Consort are due to receive £1.26 Billion pounds over the course of the ERI contract (after which they not Lothian health board will own the building). The capital cost of the hospital was £184m The value of this contract was first exposed by UNISON in 2003

2. UNISON Scotland report on the extent, and persistence of PFI in Scotland http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/b016_PolicyBrief_PPPPFIinScotland_December11.pdf3. Consort catalogue of errors from Edinburgh Evening News http://www.scotsman.com/news/health/eri-surgeon-forced-to-operate-by-torchlight-1-2242627