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NHS : Privatisation Issues And Related News : Failings / Scandals / Rip Offs / Continuing Meltdown - Carers UK Forum

NHS : Privatisation Issues And Related News : Failings / Scandals / Rip Offs / Continuing Meltdown

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
237 posts
Whenever PRIVATISATION is mentioned in the same breathe as the NHS , many prick their ears and sharpen their knives.

Try this one from today's Independent :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 74096.html

NHS privatisation exposed: Scale of treatment for paying patients at NHS hospitals revealed.

Exclusive: Think tank Public Matters says the lives of people who cannot afford to pay ‘may be at risk’ as NHS facilities are used to treat private patients.

An investigation by The Independent has exposed the extent of creeping NHS privatisation, leaving experts warning that state patients risk being sidelined as beds are diverted to private users.

Data obtained under Freedom of Information law shows income from private patients at one of London’s best-known cancer-specialist hospitals doubled in six years as the law was changed to allow NHS trusts to do more paid work.

Statistics quietly released by the Government show the situation is not isolated, with the total amount of income NHS England made from private patients leaping by a third between 2011-12 and 2016-17.

There is now growing concern that the NHS is involved in far more private work than previously thought, as much of it is masked from official records by complex operating arrangements with big private-sector health corporations which cream off profits.

It comes as Theresa May prepares for a party conference at which she is vowing to tackle the excesses of capitalism, with Jeremy Corbyn threatening to ride to power on the back of a major public backlash against the private sector.

Prior to the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, passed by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition, hospitals were only allowed to make 2 per cent of their income from private sources, but with the legislation’s passing the cap was lifted to 49 per cent.

Five years on, The Independent has probed hospital trusts running different operating models for private work, in an attempt to uncover how things have changed.

Worth reading the whole article before making your mind up on this one.

For many , one's worst nightmare of OUR most treasured ( But flawed ) Institutuion ,,, OUR NHS ... becoming truly two tiered , treatment available ONLY if one has the reddies ... under OUR watch ????



What next ?

2020 ... caree has a fall , you , as carer , call for an ambulance.

2 paramedics turn up in shiny orange outfits sponsored by the Acme Trading Company.

First question ... " Okay squire , that's going to be 14 miles door to door , after midnight so weekend rate ... mileage at £ xx per mile ... that'll be £ xxx ... and only the new NHS Cradle To The Grave credit card now accepted ! "

" Oh dear , you're over your limit already .... "

The future ... stuff for nightmares ?

Over to you ....
Chris From The Gulag wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:58 am
Whenever PRIVATISATION is mentioned in the same breathe as the NHS , many prick their ears and sharpen their knives.

Try this one from today's Independent :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 74096.html

NHS privatisation exposed: Scale of treatment for paying patients at NHS hospitals revealed.

Exclusive: Think tank Public Matters says the lives of people who cannot afford to pay ‘may be at risk’ as NHS facilities are used to treat private patients.

it also works the other way round - recently I had to have a bone scan but because the waiting lists for the specialised equipment at our local NHS hospital were so long I was referred to a nearby Private Hospital to have it done - the NHS picked up the tab.
Interesting ... what we will not know is if the " Cost " estimated by the NHS bean counters would have been the same as the tab received from the private sector ?

Given the fixed budgets imposed on the NHS Trusts , some now paying more to treat less patients by requesting the private sector to cater for excess capacity.

Fine for those bypassing the NHS by this method but spare a thought for those still in the queue , with now less monies to be circulated amongst the many ?
I know it's not unusual for NHS patients to be referred to a private facility if they have the equipment and spare capacity. Quite a few of my friends/relatives have been referred for tests/scans this way over the last few years.

As the Radiologist at the private hospital said to me "it's a win win situation, patients get seen quicker taking some of the pressure off the NHS and the private hospital doesn't have expensive equipment sitting there unused so they can keep their charges down" !!
Be interesting to compare the costs involved.

On the money front , with all and sundry singing from the same hymn sheet , I disagree that the NHS needs £ Billions more to cater for demand as a first priority ... important but not the prime concern.

It's HOW those monies are utilised to balance resources demanded by each part in order for those units to function towards maximum efficiency ... very few NHS Trusts are close to getting that vital balance right.

Get it wrong ... too much spent on equipment instead of human resources ... and that's when the problems start.

Throw as much money as available to some of these and nothing will change from the end users prospective.

The NHS is not alone in this , all businesses operate in the same way ... maximising the resources available.

Take two companies , both producing the same goods ... one with half the monerary resources of the other making the same in profit ... purely because the managers of the smaller company have achieved a better balance.

Factor in the differences in the needs of the local populace and , the classic " One Size Fits All " policy dictated by the mandarins in the Department of Health , does NOT work across all ... in fact , the problems of some Trusts can be as a direct result of this.

Here in Bassetlaw encompassing Worksop and the South Yorkshire NHS Trusts up the road have more resources devoted to respiratory illnesses as with other former coal mining areas.

Conversely , in our sector , social care , it's in the interpretation of the Government guidelines which is leading to the infamous " Post Code Lottery " seen across the country.

Monies are important but ... the managers utilising those resources are equally so.

Leaving decisions to the bean counters is no answer , they are employed purely as an aid to management , not as an end in itself.

Throw in the use of the private sector and .... fine IF the costs are the same , or marginally more ... otherwise the first step to a true two tiered system.

The private sector would NOT exist if there were not monies to be made ... and at whose's ultimate expense ?

If the costs are higher , more monies leaving the NHS for the private sector means less monies to spend on NHS needs.

When things go wrong in treatments passed over by the NHS to the private sector , guess who picks up that tab ?

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... r-musgrove

NHS faces legal bill as dozens suffer problems after private eye operations.

Easiest job in the world ... being a Saturday night football / Monday night quaterback pundit.

Here we all are now ... in the real world ... ?

Academics / professionals / politicians alike all offering their solutions.

And yet , should they need medical attention , how many of them turn to the private sector first ... to the last " Ology " ?
Article from this morning's Guardian , allied to the first posting , on the " Problems " of privatisation :

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... irm-folds.

Labour calls for inquiry after private ambulance firm folds.

Shadow health minister Justin Madders asks for freeze on further patient transport contracts until ‘lessons have been learned’

Labour has called for an inquiry after the collapse of a private ambulance firm that has contracts with the NHS and other private health organisations.

Private Ambulance Service, which the trade union Unison described as running an “abysmal” operation, was issued a winding-up notice by the Inland Revenue on Friday. The firm is expected to stop trading on 9 October.

The company has been employed in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire as non-urgent patient transport service. It worked for hospitals including Watford General and Bedford hospital.

Labour MP Justin Madders, the shadow health minister, said: “It is still staggering that under the Tories so many parts of the NHS are being packaged up and sold off to companies who are unable to run the services properly.

“Several hundreds of staff and thousands of patients are now faced with huge uncertainty because of the failings of another private ambulance firm, and it’s not the first time this has happened.”

Madders called for an inquiry into what went wrong, saying the government should place “an immediate halt” on issuing other patient transport contracts until “lessons have been learned”.

NHS spends £80m on private ambulances a year, data shows

Unison representatives said the service should never have been taken outside of the NHS. Tim Roberts, regional manager for Unison Eastern, said patient transport in the area had been contracted to private providers for the last few years. However, the previous company withdrew early, leaving the Private Ambulance Service to step in.

“Our concern at Unison is that this key service should be provided by the NHS ... this contract in the last few months has been a disaster. We have heard horror stories of patients soiling themselves as they have been left waiting for an ambulance for so long. We have also heard about non-roadworthy and dirty ambulances. From a safeguarding and safety point of view, Personal Ambulance Services were abysmal,” he said.

Roberts said that when news of the service going into administration came through, they were in the process of launching a legal case against the company due to complaints from staff about unpaid wages.

Guess who picks up the tab on this one ???

Be somewhat ironic if said privately owned ambulance company described itself as a " Charity " , wouldn't it ???
One article from this morning's Independent which , with a bit of leverage , can be shoe horned into this thread :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 05406.html

New head of NHS financial regulator under fire for refusing to give up private health insurance.

Baroness Dido Harding also spoke out against 'demonising' private healthcare as she faced MPs ahead of being appointed chair of NHS Improvement.

The words FOX and HEN HOUSE spring to mind ... ???

The new head of the NHS financial regulator has come under fire for refusing to give up her private health insurance.

Baroness Dido Harding, a former TalkTalk chief executive, dismissed calls from MPs to relinquish her use of private healthcare when she becomes chair of NHS Improvement - the body tasked with cost-cutting in the NHS.

In a pre-appointment grilling by MPs, she faced pressure to send a "positive message" by only using the NHS but the Conservative peer said it would be wrong to "demonise" private healthcare.

Her comments prompted such concern among members of the Commons Health Select Committee that they plan to to raise their fears with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, The Independent understands.

Asked if she thought it would send a "positive message" to give up her private healthcare, Baroness Harding said: “I really don’t, not least because a very large number of the trusts that NHS Improvement regulates do private business as well as NHS business.

“I don’t think we should be demonising one over the other.

“I think the NHS itself is absolutely a pillar of British society but as I’ve said I think it’s pretty obvious from the outside that the system needs more money.

“I think we’d be cutting off our hand to spite our face if we demonise private healthcare.”

Baroness Harding, who is the Government's preferred candidate for the role, was also pressed to show her independence by relinquishing the Tory whip to sit as a cross-bencher in the House of Lords.

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, who sits on the Health Committee, told The Independent: "She is hoping to head the organisation that is responsible for improving healthcare for the population of England, 95% of whom don't access to private healthcare.

"These people will want to feel confident that the person in charge is fully committed to using the NHS in order to have confidence that she will battle on their behalf."

Oh dear !

No other candidate around who has first hand experience of OUR NHS ???

... and why a politician who has vested interests in whatever coloured scarf she wears in the House ?????
A slightly unusual one but fitting nicely into this thread ... a real game of " Monoploy " or , perhaps poker ???

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/market ... r-bid.html

Private hospital operator Spire Healthcare rejects £1billion takeover bid from South Africa's Mediclinic

Mediclinic has until November 20 to make another offer or step away.

The firm, which own a 29.9% stake in Spire, said it is 'considering its position'.

Profits at Spire Healthcare have slumped by almost 75 per cent to £8.9 million.

Spire Healthcare, one of Britain's biggest private hospital operators, has rejected a £1 billion takeover bid, claiming it 'undervalued' the group.

The bid was made by South African Mediclinic, which already owns a 29.9% stake in Spire.

Mediclinic offered a proposal to buy the rest of the company for 150p in cash and 0.232 new Mediclinic shares per Spire share.

The proposal valued each Spire share at 298.6p, representing a premium of about 14% on last Friday's closing price.

Shares in Spire accordingly leapt 12% in morning trading to 292.57p.

The group said: 'The board of Spire (excluding Danie Meintjes), in conjunction with its financial and legal advisers, reviewed the proposal and unanimously rejected it on the basis that it significantly undervalues Spire and its prospects.'

'Shareholders are strongly advised to take no action in relation to the proposal.'

Mediclinic said it is now 'considering its position.' The company has until November 20 to announce a firm intention to make another offer or walk away.

Mediclinic, a FTSE 100-listed private healthcare group bought its current stake in Spire Healthcare, for about £430 million from private equity firm Cinven 2015.

The South African group has a history of snapping up rival firms. It conducted a reverse takeover of Middle Eastern private healthcare

Spire has hit the headlines recently after one of its surgeons was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent, and three further wounding charges.

Ian Paterson exaggerated or invented cancer risks and claimed payments for more expensive procedures.

The group was forced to shell out £27.6 million to help compensate victims earlier this year, which led to pre-tax profits for the six months to June 30 tumbling to £8.9 million from £35.7 million.

Spire appointed Justin Ash as new chief executive in September after executive chairman Garry Watts relinquished control of the FTSE 250 firm in June due to ill health.

Spire runs 39 hospitals across England, Wales and Scotland.

Assuming that the proposed takeover goes through , Springbox owners of private hospitals in the UK.

Now , I just wonder where their REAL interests lie ... if not in their homeland ????

First step once acquired ? Cut out the loss makers , and run the profitable ones !

A public company growing through acquisition ?

Usual pattern of selling off assets at a profit to assist part funding the next one ... good for earnings and return on capital employed ... the markets just love that one ... not forgetting of course ... executive bonuses !!!

.... and the patients involved , more importantly , the NHS funded ones ????

For the really curious amongst our few readers , not all's well with health care in their homeland :

https://mg.co.za/article/2015-12-02-hea ... for-a-cure

Selling the UK by the pound ?

Fast forward a decade and it will be akin to a car boot sale ?
A new twist ?

Today's Guardian :

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... iary-firms

NHS trusts accused of backdoor privatisation over subsidiary firms.

Three foundation trusts in England have set up firms with the intention of taking thousands of support staff off NHS books.

Health trusts have been accused of taking a first step towards privatisation by transferring the employment of support staff to new subsidiary companies.

At least three NHS foundation trusts in Yorkshire, the West Country and northern England have set up firms with the intention of taking thousands of workers off the NHS’s books.

It means that a staff member whose employment is transferred to the new companies will no longer be an NHS employee, even if they have been guaranteed their current working conditions.

New staff employed by the subsidiary companies may not be employed on NHS terms and conditions, and may no longer be guaranteed NHS pensions.

The plans have angered Labour and the unions, who say they open the door to driving down wages, pensions and conditions of thousands of NHS staff, which will inevitably drive service standards down.

Philip Hunt, Labour’s health spokesperson in the Lords, said the new firms are a “back door to privatisation” and are being watched carefully by other foundation trusts looking for ways to cut their wage bills.

“Trusts will be free to screw down wages and pensions and when the contract has to be renewed, there is no guarantee that it won’t go to another private company who can take more extreme measures,” said Lord Hunt.

The former health minister and chief executive of the NHS Confederation said that the foundation trusts were keen on the plans because establishing the new companies allowed them to reduce their VAT payments.

“It seems perverse that NHS bodies are spending energy reducing VAT payments when HMRC itself has stated that the cost will come out of public expenditure,” he said.

The Department of Health is aware of the accusations amid concerns from senior cabinet figures that the Conservatives are losing to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour on public services.

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, told Andrew Marr on Sunday: “I believe good public services are the moral purpose of a strong capitalist economy.”

The board of Airedale NHS foundation trust voted on Wednesday to set up a “subsidiary organisation” to run facilities, estates and purchasing at its hospital in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

It would take over employees from services including cleaners, porters, procurement, parking and patient transfers. The trust has confirmed that workers will no longer be NHS employees but will instead be employed by the company.

A spokesperson for the trust said the new company will engage with recognised trade unions on terms and conditions for new staff members.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS foundation trust is giving “very serious consideration” to setting up a wholly owned subsidiary that will give “VAT benefits” to the trust.

Deborah Lee, the chief executive, wrote to a Unison official this month saying that setting up a company in November could reduce costs through “VAT flexibilities”.

She wrote: “Based on our business case, the establishment of a subsidiary company (employing around 900 of our staff) could create savings in the region of £3.5m per annum or 10% of our annual savings requirement – £35m over the 10-year life of a contract.

“Realising the benefits afforded to us through VAT flexibilities means we can spend less with HMRC rather than less on patients or staff employment. The only other way of securing this VAT benefit is if we were to outsource or privatise the services in question.”

The trust promised that staff transferring to the new company would have their terms and conditions protected but admitted that it was “part of their thinking” that new contracts would be used for staff newly recruited into the subsidiary company.

A spokesman for the trust said: “Many public sector organisations have taken the opportunity to structure themselves in ways that enable them to realise the opportunities open to commercial organisations in respect of VAT recovery.”

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS foundation trust has set up NTW Solutions Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary company, to transfer assets including 600 employees and leaseholds. A business case for the new company said new pension arrangements would be needed for new staff joining the company as well as new terms and conditions.

A spokesperson for the trust said the company was subject to the same VAT legislation as any other limited company. “There are no plans to change the terms and conditions for these employees. New employees will be employed on different terms and conditions and cannot access the NHS pension scheme.”

Make of this one what you will ... the sections in BOLD are the real issues !
Oh dear ... many of our local GPs are now at it :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/healt ... 28281.html

NHS GPs demand powers to run private services where funding is insufficient.

Practices say they 'can no longer operate within the NHS' and are calling for a private alternative.

Family doctors are set to vote on whether GP practices should be able to become a private service where they are unable to operate profitably in the NHS.

A proposal put forward by leaders in Bedfordshire says that the funding provided in the NHS contract is no longer sufficient for some practices and a "private, alternative model" is needed instead.

GP representatives for the British Medical Association (BMA) said this was not likely to mean leaving the NHS entirely, but suggested it could be more focused on allowing charges for private services.

Currently GP surgeries are not able to charge their NHS patients for private work unless it’s part of an approved list of services, such as producing medical reports.

But GP leaders say many doctors are unable to provide services their patients are asking for because of these restrictions and wider funding pressures on the NHS.

Representatives of Bedfordshire Local Medical Committee (LMC) have put forward a motion for the England LMCs Conference next week, saying: "Given that a number of GPs genuinely feel that they can no longer operate within the NHS, conference calls on GP Committee England to urgently look at how these GPs can be supported to operate within a private, alternative model."

If passed in a vote next week then it could become national policy for the BMA's GP Committee.

Like turning a clock back a few generations ?

Stock up on brown envelopes and notes of the realm in case you need to see your local GP ?

Take out a seventh mortgage in case a home visit is called for ?

No , it will not return to those dark days ... will it ???
237 posts