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He started his first business at just four years old in secret providing meals to schools using the profits to build a prison . This was someone who was not just bright and compassionate he could see into the future as well. slowly starting to build up a worldwide empire from TV stations, to supermarkets but nobody new it was him behind them. He went to great lengths to keep it secret living in a small rented flat and working for a few pounds an hour and volunteering for a local charity , catching buses and drinking in pubs,  from the outside this was a man who was poor nobody would believe he was rich because he didn’t live an extravagant lifestyle. He set himself a challenge to experience different aspects of life undercover that everybody else did. First was to sign on, so he arranged with the manager at his local social security office for a giro cheque to be sent to his flat paying upfront the equivalent of what somebody claiming benefits would get and giving the member of staff a bit extra for going along with it. he owned a prison so he needed to stay there to see if the staff were treating the inmates with compassion but the staff couldn’t  no he was the person who owned it as he needed to be treated like any other prisoner was , He built the prison with the aim of offering something different. prisoners would be offered a chance to change there lives on release on the condition they kept out of trouble. whilst in prison they would be offered education, training, and work. he owned companies so he could offer them jobs to. What he found was people had never encouraged them to do anything with there lives before the  schools or even there parents. Having aspirations wasn’t something they understood. just because you grew up on a council estate shouldn’t stop you from achieving your goals. After all I had  gone through much of what they had the only difference being I didn’t sit playing victim i had set myself a challenge to get rich I was i was sure as hell going to do it. I was asked by a teacher what I wanted to do when I left school, I said to be the richest man in the world and bring peace to northern Ireland and might even be prime minister one day she just laughed. I thought god if the teachers don’t believe the kids can do any good for themselves what chance does everybody have to better themselves. whole generations of kids have been written off by these teachers. I’m going to be the one to prove them all wrong. A teachers job is to inspire the kids your teaching to do as well as they can,  not tell them you wont amount to anything. wouldn’t you get more job satisfaction  from inspiring the kids and tell them they can achieve anything they want if they put there minds to it. wouldn’t it be better seeing the  kids your teaching do well in life after all in  a few years time one of these kids could be running a global organisation, you can say to yourself then I had a hand in that, my teaching inspired that child, but none of them thought like that. Even a social worker told me I cant have you doing well  I need to ruin your life its the only way.( This woman when she found out I was rich  would drug me and  lie to my neighbours about me telling them I had mental illness amongst other things. she conspired with politicians, magistrates and the police to steal the fortune I had built up. Wealth i had built up from scratch and hard graft not given to me on a plate i should be congratulated for that at least, i did it all honestly. My proudest moments have been helping others, many thousands of people across the world  have better lives thanks to me and the money i had.  I approached one of the TV companies i owned in the UK with the idea of giving some money away to good causes, they sent a young girl to come and see me ( she didn’t know i owned the company she worked for) we had a chat she said your not how i expected as i was down to earth, i explained only she knows im wealthy  nobody else does. I told her that i lived on 200 pounds a week and lived in a little flat and that not even my  family new. you mean im the only person knows yes just you nobody else  she said  don’t take this the wrong way  but how the fuck do you manage to be the richest person in the world and keep it to yourself. i said its quite stressful being me.

 

 

simonpreston31

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Scott Preston & Rebecca Jordan will be doing a sponsored parachute jump on 25th of September and wants to raise money for Redditch Heart Safe So they are looking for people to sponsor them so they can raise enough to get at least another defibrillator for a Redditch school.
The parachute jump will take place on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 12pm
http://redditchheartsafe.com/donate/
Donate | Redditch Heart Safe
redditchheartsafe.com
EVERY PENNY YOU DONATE  HELPS
SADS kills 270 children each year yet most could be saved by a machine costing less than £1,000

“The machines cost around £970 each and every five years they need to have around £200 spent on them to replace the batteries and the pads which apply the shocks to the heart.

View original post 171 more words

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Scott Preston & Rebecca Jordan will be doing a sponsored parachute jump on 25th of September and wants to raise money for Redditch Heart Safe So they are looking for people to sponsor them so they can raise enough to get at least another defibrillator for a Redditch school.
The parachute jump will take place on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 12pm
http://redditchheartsafe.com/donate/
Donate | Redditch Heart Safe
redditchheartsafe.com
EVERY PENNY YOU DONATE  HELPS
SADS kills 270 children each year yet most could be saved by a machine costing less than £1,000

“The machines cost around £970 each and every five years they need to have around £200 spent on them to replace the batteries and the pads which apply the shocks to the heart.

“In America they are already in most schools and public places. Every school and public place has to have a fire extinguisher, which is hardly ever used.

“The argument against defibrillators is that they would not be used often and would need special training.

“Anyone can use them: they are for the non-medically trained and actually speak to the person operating them. You just have to switch them on and apply the pads for the machine to take a reading.

“They won’t shock people who have not had a heart attack. They only operate when the heart is in an irregular rhythm and speak to the operator all the time telling them exactly what to do next. Obviously training is preferable but a total novice could use them with little difficulty to save a life.

“It is not like something off Casualty. These are tiny machines which can be stored on a cupboard shelf, not the trolleys you see trundling down wards on the telly.”

Redditch heart safe Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/RedditchHeartSafe?fref=ts

By  AT WORCESTER GUILDHALL
Ukip is no longer a single-issue party, it is widening its scope and enjoys the common touch with core voters that the main parties lack

Ukip is no longer a single-issue party, it is widening its scope and enjoys the common touch with core voters that the main parties lack

Watching Nigel Farage speaking to a full room felt like the party conference in the days when grassroots members actually turned up
No one much cared what Nigel Farage had to say about Margaret Thatcher. The verdicts of everyone from Nick Clegg to Gerry Adams were being relayed, but broadcasters were not keen on the views of the chap with the funny hat and the comic expressions. Ukip is still seen in Westminster as a freakish single-issue party with the intellectual clout of a mayfly and about the same life expectancy. It might flutter during the Government’s mid-term blues, but it is expected to perish in the next election as surely as the BNP did in the last one.
This was certainly my suspicion when I went along to Nigel Farage’s “Common Sense Tour” last week. I decided to sneak in at the back at Worcester Guildhall to test my theory that Ukip peaked in the Eastleigh by-election, is losing support and will flop in next month’s local elections. I expected to find a few dozen Eurosceptic pub bores huddled in the middle of a room, and wondered how Farage would speak to them when he didn’t think the press was listening. I also wondered how his audience would compare to those who used to attend BNP meetings.
I found my answer. Worcester Guildhall felt like the Tory party conference in the days when grassroots members actually turned up. There were young couples, families and a chap in his thirties who said he’d come because it would be “better than watching EastEnders”. Something about Ukip had pricked his interest, and he decided to attend a political meeting – an event that doesn’t happen much in Britain. I met two pearl-draped women who said they were Tory converts. Their complaint with David Cameron was “lack of progress” – any kind of progress.
No one seemed even to vaguely conform to the Prime Minister’s now infamous description of Ukip supporters as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”.
Half an hour before Farage was due to arrive, every seat was taken and an overflow room was being hurriedly assembled in the foyer, with chairs arranged around a loudspeaker. Twenty minutes later, all of these chairs were taken and the Guildhall ushers were worrying about whether the ancient floor could take the weight of the people. When Farage turned up, he decided to address the overflow room separately, speaking Evita-style from a balcony. “This is what the other parties don’t do,” he began. “Come and speak to the people.”

Farage has been trying to speak to the people for some time, but the people didn’t really want to listen. Four years ago, he called a meeting in Cornwall attended by only one person. In the same room last week it was standing-room only. He is taking full advantage of this: if anyone asks a half-decent question, Farage asks them to stand for election. There are 2,400 council seats up for grabs on May 2 and Ukip is fielding a record 1,700 candidates. It hopes to shine next month, actually win a by-election (maybe Portsmouth South), take gold in next year’s European elections and then storm Westminster in 2015.
Several upstart parties have indulged in such fantasies over the years, but it comes to naught because the Westminster political system protects incumbents against insurgents. This is why MPs tend to breathe easy. It may be hard to imagine Ed Miliband in a pub, but it’s also hard to imagine Farage out of one. Can he be taken seriously? When the BNP won almost a million votes in the last European elections, the rules were changed so MEPs were no longer given automatic access to the House of Commons. It’s a shame: having the odious Nick Griffin, an MEP for North West England, queuing behind MPs in the canteens and the bars would remind them all to do a better job with the voters they have neglected.
Much of the blame lies in an obsession with voting technology, which has now persuaded party leaders that they can win elections by targeting a fraction of the electorate. For example, Cameron would have had his majority if 8,800 voters – 0.02 per cent of the electorate – had voted another way. The next election can, in theory, be decided by 4 per cent of the voters in swing seats. Nowadays, our parties believe their computers know the names, addresses, concerns, assumptions and hairdressers of these people – and our politics is shaped accordingly. So elections are not so much a battle for Britain but for a tiny slice of its voters. You don’t mean a thing if your seat’s not a swing.
This is where Nigel Farage senses his opportunity. If the golden 4 per cent don’t like hearing about immigration, then all parties will keep quiet about it, even if it’s the issue that troubles voters the most, after the economy. This creates a gap which Ukip is now trying to fill. It’s considering changing its name, and ditching its pound sign logo to reflect its widening into what would, in effect, be a working-class party with two aims: small government and individual liberty. And if he is laughed at for crude language and basic arguments, then he’d argue he’s in good company: so was Mrs Thatcher, whose directness was appreciated by blue-collar workers.
A recent audit of Ukip’s support showed its supporters were more likely to be working class than those of any Westminster party. Farage talks (a lot) about immigration, but carefully. The religion or race of immigrants doesn’t matter, he said that night in Worcester, as long as they bring skills. They’re welcomed; that’s the British way. His riff is that it’s madness to allow unlimited unskilled immigration while so many of Britain’s young are unemployed. He invokes Europe, but only when it relates to problems felt by blue-collar workers: unemployment, housing and school places. He is trying to move Ukip’s politics away from the Rue de la Loi and towards Britain’s housing estates.
Several Conservatives can see what Farage is up to, and worry. At the “Victory 2015” conference in London last month, Tory MPs held a session on what to do about working-class voters who are giving up on the party. The concern is that Cameron’s idea of diversity is a greater variety of posh Londoners. This narrow social composition, runs the argument, can make the Tories sound like the party of the rich, downplaying basic issues like crime, housing and the cost of living. Issues that Mrs T understood instinctively.
Ed Miliband frets about poshness too, and recently demanded that social class be taken into account when his party selects MPs. Already, we’ve started to see ambitious politicians acquiring glottal stops and a Mockney twang. It won’t work, for the simple fact that British voters are not bigots. A Nottingham academic, Philip Cowley, recently published research into what voters want in an MP. On a scale of 0 to 10, they give “social class” an importance of 3.6. Most give zero to race, creed and sexual orientation. The number one concern of women voters was the same as that for gay voters, black voters and Muslim voters: an MP who shares their political views. It’s about what you say, not whether you say it in a fake Jamie Oliver accent.
This helps explain why Cameron’s pledge to hold a referendum on Europe did not worry, far less shoot, Ukip’s fox. Farage is extending his message beyond Brussels-bashing. Those expenses-fiddlers in Westminster don’t understand you, he says, not as Maggie once did. Or even Tony Blair. They won’t meet you, or listen to you. And if you’ve had enough, then vote Ukip: we’re on your side. It’s a message intended to be as effective in the town hall as it was in Eastleigh – the formula for Ukip’s transformation. In three weeks’ time, we’ll see if it works.

The 2013 County Council election candidates

The full list of UKIP candidates standing in Redditch for the Worcester County Council elections

Redditch North

Matthew Headford

Chris Harrison

Redditch South

Stuart Cross

Paul White

Arrow Valley East

Martin Jenkins

Patricia Stickley

Arrow Valley West

Scott Preston

What is the Warm Home Discount?
The government and energy suppliers are running a scheme to help households in England, Scotland and Wales who need it most to get a rebate from their electricity bill.

The Warm Home Discount offers eligible electricity customers an annual benefit of £130 (Inclusive of VAT) on their electricity bill.  The Warm Home Discount is split into two groups, the ‘Broader group’ and the ‘Core Group’

Broader Group
npower customers are eligible for the Broader Group Warm Home Discount if they are in receipt of any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Who also have any of following:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • a disability premium, enhanced disability premium or sever disability premium
  • Disability Living Allowance (For an adult or child within the household)
  • Long term Incapacity Benefit
  • In addition if anyone has Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element, a child under five living with them, or a disabled child premium – However it is likely they are also already in receipt of Child Tax Credit

To apply for the Broader Group Warm Home Discount you will be required to provide a declaration that you meet the eligibility criteria of the scheme, and to continue receiving the discount on an annual basis will be required to provide further declarations.

You may be required to provide further written documentary evidence of eligibility before receiving a rebate in any scheme year.

Please call 0808 172 6999 to apply NPOWER customers or contact the electricity company that supplies you as they all offer the discount.

Core Group
customers are eligible for the Core Group Warm Home Discount if on 21 July 2012 (the qualifying date) you are either:

  • aged under 80 and receiving only the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (no Savings Credit)
  • aged 80 or over and are receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, (even if you get Savings Credit as well)

If you are eligible for the Core Group Warm Home Discount the Department for Work and Pensions will contact you directly over the winter of 2012/13.

How does it work?
The annual benefit of £130 (Inclusive of VAT) will be given to customers as a payment to their electricity account each year.

Pre-payment customers will receive the discount through Post Office vouchers which will be sent to you

First Aid Courses will start in Redditch on Saturday February 9th at 10am & Tuesday March 5th at 6;30 pm 2013 at  Batchley community Centre, and will be conducted by West Midlands Ambulance Service
We would like to offer FREE basic life support courses and how to use a AED to all of our followers and your family and contacts too.
If you would like to learn how to do CPR and treat a casualty in cardiac arrest please respond to this message   https://www.facebook.com/robert.underwood.505?fref=ts or sign up at Batchley community centre, so that we can get a feel for how popular this course will be.

This vital skill may save a life one day.

Please re-post this onto your Facebook page and Twitter, all courses will be held in Redditch communities on a number of dates to be arranged.

The more people that would like to attend the more dates we will add.
Over 100,000 people a year in the UK suffer a cardiac arrest, also on average of 19 children die each week in our UK schools.The survival rate outside of the hospital setting is only 5% but by knowing how to do effective CPR will increase this figure.
Without a defibrillator available your chances are only 5% but with one and CPR the chances increase to approx 75-80%.
This FREE course is our way of thanking you for your support but also another way of looking after our community.
Although this is a FREE course for all to attend.
If people wouldn’t mind making a small donation to enable us to buy more defibrillators for Redditch it would be very much appreciated.

Contact Robert underwood here  for more details https://www.facebook.com/robert.underwood.505?fref=ts

Health

A DEFIBRILLATOR WOULD HAVE SAVED OUR PRECIOUS GIRL. EVERY SCHOOL MUST HAVE ONE

A hospital worker using a defibrillator A hospital worker using a defibrillator

Sunday January 6,2013  (Sunday Express article)

By Hilary Douglas

CHARLOTTE PRENTICE Underwood was a sporty 16-year-old girl who rarely had a day off school. Then on December 19 two years ago she woke with a tight face and was taken to hospital. Staff diagnosed mumps and sent her home with a prescription for Ibuprofen and sleep.

The next day she was dead, one of 270 children who die after suffering sudden cardiac arrest, or Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS), in Britain each year.Since then her father Robert Underwood has raised thousands of pounds to install life-saving defibrillator machines, which restore normal heart rhythm, into as many schools and public places as possible.”The morning she died Charlotte woke saying she couldn’t breathe,” says Mr Underwood. “We tried CPR as best we could but she had stopped breathing by then as we waited for the ambulance to come.”The hospital staff were amazing and tried tirelessly to save her. They kept on trying something else. In the end, they had to stop as it was just to no avail, she was gone. Our beautiful, sporty, fit 16-year-old’s heart had stopped working; it was almost impossible to comprehend.”

The coroner finally came back with a verdict of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome.

“Like anyone would I looked it up on the internet and learned that it is when the heart goes too fast or too slowly and leads to a cardiac arrest,” says Mr Underwood.

“Charlotte was lying in her bed, so she wasn’t exercising or anything when she arrested. It was just a complete mystery and we were left with only part of the answer to what had happened.

“That was the moment I decided that Charlotte’s life wouldn’t be in vain. I read that CPR increases the chances of survival by five per cent but that a defibrillator hikes those chances up to 75-80 per cent survival rate.

“The machines cost around £970 each and every five years they need to have around £200 spent on them to replace the batteries and the pads which apply the shocks to the heart.

“In America they are already in most schools and public places and I will campaign till I drop to have it law for them to be in every school here. Every school and public place has to have a fire extinguisher, which is hardly ever used.

“The argument against defibrillators is that they would not be used often and would need special training.

“Anyone can use them: they are for the non-medically trained and actually speak to the person operating them. You just have to switch them on and apply the pads for the machine to take a reading.

“They won’t shock people who have not had a heart attack. They only operate when the heart is in an irregular rhythm and speak to the operator all the time telling them exactly what to do next. Obviously training is preferable but a total novice could use them with little difficulty to save a life.

“It is not like something off Casualty. These are tiny machines which can be stored on a cupboard shelf, not the trolleys you see trundling down wards on the telly.”

Mr Underwood is currently asking people to sign a petition to get a machine in every school and has already raised enough cash to purchase 14 defibrillators for schools around Redditch, where he lives, along with the YMCA building and Redditch United football club which is used by 20 youth teams throughout the week.

Last year he ran the 100metres in the Olympic Stadium before the Games opened to raise money and has cycled 1,200kilometres to bring in more cash.

Most schools have welcomed the defibrillators, but one primary school, St George’s First School in Redditch, turned down the offer after Worcestershire County Council’s health and safety department said they were not suitable for use on small children. “I was utterly outraged,” says Mr Underwood.

“They are talking nonsense. Yes, you have to use a lesser current for children under eight years old but there are machines available out there where you simply flick a switch to go from paediatric to adult mode and that is what we would have got for them.

“Hospital maternity units have defibrillators for newborn infants but if they listened to Worcestershire County Council they are going against health and safety advice. They don’t know what they are talking about and it is ridiculous.”

Clive Werrett, Worcestershire County Council’s corporate health and safety manager, said they had yet to establish a position on defibrillators.

“There are a number of criteria involved in deciding whether a defibrillator is suitable for a facility. In terms of first schools for example it needs to be remembered most defibrillators are for adult use and are not suitable for young children.

“There is emerging opinion in the USA supporting the use of defibrillators for children though the equipment requires special software and a lower power level than for adults.” He added if fund-raisers could source the appropriate equipment then it was the school’s decision whether or not to accept and maintain them.

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SADS kills 270 children each year yet most could be saved by a machine costing less than £1,000
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THE Underwoods are also campaigning for first aid to be added to the National Curriculum and they are starting a free first aid course which will be available to everyone in Redditch. “It will show basic first aid as well as how to do CPR and use a defibrillator for anyone who wants to turn up to it.”It will take just one day but we want to get people to think that it could be their friend lying there needing help, or themselves that need someone to know what to do in the event of an emergency.”Four days after Charlotte died her baby brother Mitchell Charlie was born. Not only does he carry Charlotte’s name but it was she who picked the name for the baby brother she knew was on the way.”If just one person survives as a result of this campaign following Charlotte’s death then, while nothing will ever replace our precious girl, in some way her death will have had some meaning.”

• For more information go to sadsuk.org where you can sign the “Schools must have defibrillators petition” at the bottom of the home page

PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE PETITION.
http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/make-sure-every-school-has-a-defibrillator

Join the Redditch Heart Safe Facebook page here http://www.facebook.com/RedditchHeartSafe?group_id=0 to get the latest news on the campaign.

UPDATE Well over 50,000 people have signed online and paper petitions so far

Over 50,000 people have so far signed petitions to save the Alexandra hospital in Redditch.

You can sign it online using the link below.

http://www.change.org/petitions/nhs-worcestershire-save-services-at-the-alexandra-hospital-redditch

The petition launched last week after the joint services review proposals were announced

Find out more here http://www.worcestershirehealth.nhs.uk/joint-services-review/

WE NEED SERVICES TO BE KEPT AT THE ALEX INCLUDING THE A & E

Join the Facebook group for updates https://www.facebook.com/simonpreston33#!/pages/Save-the-Alexandra-hospital-Redditch/306299059460450

Also follow on Twitter

@alexhospital_

Also read the news blog http://savethealexhospital.wordpress.com/

Public meeting to be held to discuss the proposal of the Alexandra hospital You must pre-book your place at the meeting on Monday 2nd July 5pm at Redditch Town Hall Email worcsnhsjsr@worcestershire.nhs.uk or 01905 733 981

https://www.facebook.com/pages/SAVE-THE-ALEXANDRA-HOSPITAL-REDDITCH/306299059460450

Potential clinical models for our future hospital services

This section describes the clinical models that we have developed so far. All of the clinical models are presented below for your information along with a commentary from local doctors and nurses about their strengths and weaknesses. This section highlights which of the clinical models we believe to be safe and achievable at the start of our process and those that we have discounted as unsafe or not able to meet future minimum quality standards and our reasons. Those deemed safe and achievable clinically will go forward to the short listing phase. In every clinical model we have stated our commitment to providing facilities to treat minor injuries, outpatients and some diagnostic services in the local area where these services are currently located, to ensure local access is maintained as far as possible.

Petition launched to save the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch http://t.co/Osh0jDFI sign it.

WE NEED SERVICES TO BE KEPT AT THE ALEX INCLUDING THE A & E http://www.worcestershirehealth.nhs.uk/joint-services-review/

Join the Facebook group for updates https://www.facebook.com/simonpreston33#!/pages/Save-the-Alexandra-hospital-Redditch/306299059460450

Also follow on twitter @alexhospital_

Also read the news blog http://savethealexhospital.wordpress.com/

We would like to hear what you think about these clinical models. You can find a feedback questionnaire at the end of the Case for Change document – Why we need to change our hospital services in Worcestershire.

Model Description More information
A No change (Three sites – fully staffed medical rotas) Click here
B Two acute hospital sites(each with full A&E dept)Women and children’s services brought together onto one siteOne hospital treatment centre with MIU Click here
C One acute hospital site(with a full A&E dept)One acute site with Urgent Care CentreOne hospital treatment centre with MIU Click here
D One acute hospital site(with a full A&E dept)One hospital site providing planned surgeryOne hospital treatment centre (includes planned surgery) with MIU Click here
E One acute hospital site(with a full A&E dept)One hospital site providing planned surgery with MIU Click here
F One acute hospital site (with a full A&E dept) Click here

A petition has been  launched to save the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.

So please share the link far and wide amongst friends and family and lets fight to keep our services local

http://www.change.org/petitions/nhs-worcestershire-save-services-at-the-alexandra-hospital-redditch

The video can be seen here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sal9CoSWtVY&feature=share

A meeting will be held at Redditch Town Hall on July 2nd from 5pm till 8pm places must be pre-booked.

Details on how to book a place at the meeting can be found here www.worcestershirehealth.nhs.uk/joint-services-review

WE NEED SERVICES TO BE KEPT AT THE ALEX INCLUDING THE A & E http://www.worcestershirehealth.nhs.uk/joint-services-review/

Join the Facebook group for updates https://www.facebook.com/simonpreston33#!/pages/Save-the-Alexandra-hospital-Redditch/306299059460450

Also follow on twitter @alexhospital_

Also read the news blog http://savethealexhospital.wordpress.com/

A bad deal for Worcestershire Left by the Labour Party

The annual PFI payment in 2011/12 was circa £30m, the equivalent of 9% of total Trust turnover.

BY SIMON PRESTON

PFIs were a Conservative idea taken on by the Labour government in 1997 with the aim of building state-of-the-art schools, hospitals and other public buildings using loans of private cash.

The Worcestershire Royal Hospital PFI site was opened in 2002. It is a 30 year contract which included the construction and initial financing of the facility as well as the ongoing provision of a comprehensive facilities management service.

The original cost of the hospital was £82m. This debt cannot be rescheduled to take advantage of lower interest rates because it is locked in to the PFI and would incur a crippling early settlement penalty.

By 2032, the hospital will have repaid at least £852.1 Million for a hospital that cost £82m to build but the NHS will never own it.

NHS Worcestershire will face a stark choice when this PFI contract ends, either sign a crippling new contract draining hundreds of millions from frontline services or simply walk away.

The annual PFI payment in 2011/12 was circa £30m, the equivalent of 9% of total Trust turnover.

The existence of the PFI means that the Trust is unable to meet the Monitor Tier 1 Prudential Borrowing Limit requirements, and as such would require a Tier 2 Prudential Borrowing limit.

The cost incurred to date in respect of the private finance initiative (PFI) contract for Worcester Acute Hospitals National Health Service Trust since March 1999 is estimated to be £233.1 million. This is the total of the annual unitary payments paid by the national health service trust to the private sector consortium for all the services it provides under the contract such as construction, provision of building maintenance and facilities management such as catering, cleaning and portering, information technology and equipment provision and replacement.

This figure is based on the audited summarisation schedules of the trust for 2003-04 to 2008-09 held by the Department (which it only has for six years on the same accounting standard); and estimates for 1999-2000 to 2002-03 and 2009-10 based on other information held and standard assumptions about inflation.

The estimated cost to be incurred for the remaining 19 years of the PFI contract is £619 million. This is a projection based on the estimated payment for 2009-10 uprated annually using a retail prices index (RPI) figure of 2.5% (used as a long-term average estimate). It must be noted that the annual unitary payments fluctuate both up and down as a result of contractor performance, additional services requested by the trust or taken out, the effects of refinancings and changes to RPI, so these figures are only estimates.

One of the most contentious and politically significant PFI projects in the UK, the Worcestershire Hospitals project, provides important lessons for the industry. As the subject of many reports and the basis of the arguments of many of the pro- and anti-PFI camps, Worcestershire Acute Hospital is seldom far away from the headlines. But aside from the mudslinging, what can be learnt from the project?
The 450 bed hospital was built on a former greenfield site adjacent to the existing Royal Worcester Infirmary. The complete hospital includes eight major operating theatres (including four so-called ‘ultra clean’ theatres), plus four subsidiaries, a large accident and emergency department, and a specialist radiotherapy unit to boot.
The design of each ward block is based on a 72 bed template, in four, two or one bed rooms with en-suite facilities in accordance with the clinical needs of the area. A specialist children’s ward was also included in the plans. In keeping with prevalent public sector good design principles, a two storey, glazed curtain walled foyer provides a feature entrance to the diagnostic block.
Its construction followed a very intensive pre-construction period in which all the design information was signed and approved by the client, thus enabling the new hospital to be built and completed within the 32 month period.
The cost of the PFI hospital increased by 118% by 2000, as a study by Professor Allyson Pollock, from University College, London, showed. To meet the bill, Kidderminster Hospital in the North of the County was all but closed. Its intensive therapy and maternity wards, and its ‘laminar-flow theatre’, which allowed surgeons to operate without having to worry about the risk of infecting patients, were mothballed to raise money to meet the PFI bill. Absurdly, they had been opened only three years earlier at a price of £15m.
Research conducted by Professor Allyson Pollock and colleagues showed that the costs of raising finance at North Durham, Carlisle and Worcester added an average of 39% to the total capital costs of the schemes. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, private debt always costs more than public debt. Secondly, the amount of capital to be raised through loans or equity under PFI is inflated by financing charges, such as professional fees and the ‘rolled up interest’ due during the construction period when the PFI consortium is not yet receiving any payments from the NHS trust. In addition, there are fees for preparing the PFI bid and contract negotiations, which are not always identified in advance.1
The PFI agreement between Worcestershire Royal Hospital and Catalyst (the consortium provider of ‘soft’ services) was calculated on a bed occupancy rate of 90%. Anything over and above that, the contract averred, and the Trust would have to pay excess charges. In 2003, this happened, to much furore. Catalyst charged an extra £200,000 to pay for the extra work involved in caring for the patients being treated at Worcester as a result of the closure of Kidderminster Hospital. Many people of Worcestershire saw this as a ‘tax’ or ‘fine’ levied by the owing consortium against the Trust, which, it was argued, was being penalised for having too many patients.
“The fact that Worcestershire Acute Hospital is running at 98% capacity proves there aren’t enough beds within the Trust to cope with emergencies and acute demand”, said Dr Richard Taylor at the time. Richard Taylor was the independent Member of Parliament for the formerly marginal Worcestershire seat of Wyre Forest. “Why should the NHS pay this money – when it is so badly needed for patient care?” he asked. “This also shows there’s a lot of secrecy behind PFI deals. There is no accountability, so the Trust has been left to pick up the pieces.”
The lessons from this ongoing political feud are many. There needs to be greater transparency, at an earlier date, in the drawing up of PFI contracts. Greater consideration needs to be given to the wishes of the general public, who are served by, and find great social significance in, their local institutions. This goes beyond base arguments about taxpayers’ money. When the architects of the NHS were trying to create a fair and equal system, they saw it as part of a bigger picture of building a fairer and more equal society. One of the things that the PFI industry has to remember is that people still regard their schools and hospitals as foundations of their communities. A more inclusive, democratic approach would not go against the spirit of inclusiveness and partnership that the industry purports to uphold.