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A STATE-OF-THE-ART minor operations unit has been standing idle for 12 years because the NHS Trust that runs it is saddled with PFI debt, the Star can reveal.
Todmorden health centre in West Yorkshire, run by Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust, opened in 2008 and houses general practitioners, nurses and other staff.
It has a modern minor injuries unit, but the unit has never opened because the Trust has no money to pay for staff as it is forking out millions in Private Finance Initiative (PFI) debt.
Patients with injuries such as minor fractures and cuts must travel 12 miles to Halifax to visit Calderdale Royal Hospital.
The hospital opened in 2004 after being built using PFI, which is draining tens of millions of pounds a year in interest from local NHS funding.
Campaigners are running a petition demanding Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust finds the money to fund the centre.
The original estimate for building Calderdale Royal in 1998 was £34.8 million. When work started in 2001 the cost had risen to £103 million.
However the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust which runs the hospital and the health centre is having to cough up £740 million in loan repayments and interest to the banks, investment companies and financiers who funded the construction.
Last year the trust had a deficit of £27 million, and it is cutting services at neighbouring Huddersfield General Infirmary.
Todmorden Labour Councillor Susan Press said: “It is totally unacceptable that Todmorden Health Centre continues to be underused and underfunded leaving people with no option but to travel 12 miles to Halifax or nine to Burnley in cases of accident and emergency.
“It was meant to set the gold standard for the NHS in Calderdale when it first opened in 2008.
“Instead of which it serves as an example of how in many cases PFI delivered debts — and not the first-class healthcare we were promised all those years ago.”
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust said the unit is the responsibility the district’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
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