Dartford MP Gareth Johnson intervened during questions to the Health Secretary on Tuesday to highlight the good work being carried out at Dartford’s Darent Valley Hospital.
Not only did he highlight the fact the hospital provides some of the best services in Kent and is expanding its A&E Department, but that the hospital had also underspent its budget by £250,000 in the last financial year.
Mr Johnson took the opportunity to highlight the challenge left by the legacy of Private Finance Initiatives which created the hospital.
During the debate, Mr Johnson said: “Much has been made of finances during this debate. I do not know whether my Right Hon. Friend is aware of this, but Darent Valley hospital in my constituency underspent by some £250,000 last year while providing the best services in Kent.
The challenge that it is still dealing with today is the legacy of the private finance initiative that created the hospital in the first place.”
Responding to the intervention, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “My Hon. Friend has an excellent hospital, which I hope to visit at some stage. A third of the hospitals that are in deficit have PFI debts that make it much harder to get back into surplus. That is a persistent problem and we are doing everything we can to help them deal with it.”
After the debate Gareth commented “The PFI agreement that created Darent Valley Hospital was one of the first in the country and one of the worst. It continues to create additional challenges for the hospital over issues such as car parking and I am pleased that the Secretary of State recognises this. It would also be good to see the Secretary of State visit Darent Valley Hospital. We can rightly be proud of our hospital and the staff that work there. It provides some of the best treatment available anywhere on the NHS. “