Taxpayers will be paying billions of pounds in "mortgages" for Midlands hospitals built for a fraction of a cost, the Government has revealed.
Private sector contractors will receive #8.9 billion for hospitals worth only #1.4 billion.
One new hospital, Coventry's 1,250-bed University Hospital, is already having to cut 35 beds – after officially opening only in July.
It has been forced to make savings of #27 million over three years so it can afford to pay contractors.
The hospitals were built under the Private Finance Initiative scheme, in which the initial cost is met by private companies. Health trusts then repay the money, typically over a period of 30 years.
Health Minister Andy Burnham said the repayments could not be compared to the capital cost of the new buildings because they also included the cost of maintenance. But last night Conservatives described the size of the repayments as "complete lunacy" and accused the Government of negotiating a poor deal.
The figures were obtained by shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, who requested the information in a Commons question.
High profile construction projects include the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Edgbaston, Birmingham, which will have a capital value of #627 million once it is completed, according to the Government figures. It is being built by a consortium led by Balfour Beatty.
But the total payments under the Private Finance Initiative will be #2.5 billion, the figures show.
The capital value of University Hospital in Coventry, which is replacing Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital and Walsgrave Hospital, will be #379 million.
Payments for the project will come to a total of #3 billion. As well as the cost of the building, this includes the cost of maintenance and new medical equipment throughout the lifetime of the contract.
Phil Townshend, acting chairman of the Coventry hospital trust, said: "The #27 million has come about because of a change in NHS funding last year which has resulted in the hospital trust now having to pay the whole of the #54 million 'mortgage' for the new hospital, as opposed to the previous agreement which meant the Primary Care Trusts paid a proportion of the costs."
The beds which will be cut have either not yet been opened or are already closed at weekends, he said.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust is to make payments of #942 million for a new hospital in Worcester with a capital value of #87 million.
The trust recently announced it was axing most of its hospital chaplains in an effort to save money.
Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff (Con) said: "It is correct that the payments also cover the cost of maintenance, but that shouldn't disguise the fact that there is a very real problem.
"The Government has managed to build a lot of hospitals but at a very high long term cost.
"It has mortgaged the future of the the health service in a big way."
The Conservatives claimed eventual repayments for 83 hospital building projects worth #8 billion would total #53 billion and Mr Lansley called for a review of the way NHS capital projects were funded.
"Claims about the costs of new PFI hospitals are simply not true."