[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 9 July 2004, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
PFI blamed for trust cash crisis
Depressed woman
The trust provides care for people with mental health problems
Mental health services in Manchester are at risk, partly because of the government's Private Finance Initiative, the BBC can reveal.

Manchester Mental Health Trust is in a financial crisis.

It has a debt of 6.3m and an annual 5.4m shortfall. It blames in part the high cost of renting space in Private Finance Initiative (PFI) hospitals.

Patients claim services are already feeling the squeeze with cuts, although the trust denies this.

It has, however, confirmed its financial plight to BBC North West Tonight.

5m annual bill

The trust's auditors says it has no realistic plans to deal with the massive debts.

It is on a formal warning that, without emergency action, it could - in theory - be wound up.

The trust says it says it can only save 2.7m and has no idea how to meet the shortfall.

A number of factors are being blamed, but rent paid for acute services in PFI hospitals have been highlighted by the trust.

"The best example of that is South Manchester Hospital which costs us in excess of 5m per year," said chief executive Laura Roberts.

South Manchester Hospital says it is "surprised" by Ms Roberts' concern.

Cuts denial

Some people believe services are being cut and held a protest meeting recently.

At the public meeting, Pasha Taylor, who has had mental health issues, said services at the trust had been closed.

The trust said it was because they "were not working", she said, but added they had provided a valuable service.

The trust denies any cuts.

Last year the trust was censured for the treatment of elderly patients at one of its wards, who appeared to have suffered physical abuse at the hands of employees.

The then chief executive of the trust, Andrew Butters, refused calls to step down, and was later sacked.

The Department of Health was unavailable for comment.

Abuse ward boss is forced to quit
03 Mar 04 |  Manchester
NHS boss leaves 'abuse' ward
20 Nov 03 |  Manchester
Anger over 'institutional abuse'
24 Sep 03 |  Manchester

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific