Live near one of these hospitals? Try not to get ill soon.

Almost 60 hospitals could close due to PFI-related debts

View PCTs in Trouble in a larger map

South London Hospital Trust has been effectively declared bust, and the Department of Health has laid the blame at the feet of the "unaffordable" private finance initiatives started by Major's Conservative government but massively expanded by New Labour.

Once the last scheme Labour started is fully paid off, in 2049, more than £70bn will have been paid back. For the NHS as a whole, the repayments are relatively low – just £1-2bn a year from an annual budget of £100+bn. But for some individual trusts, they can reach 10 to 20 per cent of their entire annual turnover.

Now that the Department of Health seems to have moved to a policy of not bailing out these hospitals, they are all at risk of following South London Heathcare.

In September last year, the Department released a list of the 22 trusts "on the brink of financial collapse" because of PFI deals they can't afford:

St Helens and Knowsley

South London Healthcare

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire

Wye Valley

Barking, Havering and Redbridge


Oxford Radcliffe/Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre

Barts and the London

University Hospitals of North Staffordshire

Dartford and Gravesham

North Cumbria



West Middlesex

Mid Yorkshire


North Middlesex

Mid Essex

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells

Sandwell and West Birmingham (not fully signed off as of September 2011)

The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (not fully signed off as of September 2011)

The 22nd trust on the Department's list, North Bristol NHS Trust, has repeatedly expressed puzzlement about their inclusion. A spokesman assured me that their PFI deals are financially sound, and that repayments account for 8 per cent of their budget. They are represented in a different colour on the map to highlight the disagreement.

Additional research by Helen Robb. Updated 14:50 to acknowledge North Bristol NHS Trust's objections.

Some of the hospitals at risk of closure

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.