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The future of our NHS - Should they be run for profit?


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Initial post: 12 Nov 2011 08:56:05 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Nov 2011 09:13:04 GMT
Molly Brown says:
The future of our NHS - Should it be run for profit?

I've been trying to keep up as much as possible with the gradual and insiduous take over of our NHS by Private Companies, my attention being drawn to just two recent news items, and particularly my attention was drawn to my own medical records being "outsourced" to India? Also I was rather concerned that our hospitals may now become run in the "John Lewis" style, with Doctors and other medical staff taking a share of profits made on patients. Surely, this would possibly compromise their clinical decisions? If they are receiving target related bonuses for reducing costs in patient care? Will they be making the best decision for your treatment, or will some, human nature being what it is, be considering their own financial benefit in decisions that affect your treatment?

"Circle Healthcare will take over Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust in Cambridgeshire as part of a 1bn 10-year contract.......

A private company, listed on the stock market, has been given the right to deliver a full range of hospital services for the first time
in the history of the NHS, reigniting a debate about the use of business in the health sector. Circle Healthcare, a John Lewis-style partnership valued at around 120m, will manage the debt-laden Hinchingbrooke hospital in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, from February after the government signed off on a decade-long contract on Wednesday.

Although private sector firms already operate units within the NHS -such as hip replacement centres - Circle, one of Britain's most prominent healthcare providers, is the first to take over an entire hospital. The takeover is not considered a full privatisation as the buildings will remain in public hands and the employees retain their pay and pension on existing terms. However, Circle is viewed by ministers as a model "mutual" with 49% of its ownership in staff hands. It operates a scheme to allow more shares to be gained through a performance-related rewards system.

Significantly this allows doctors to take a slice of the profits - and this landmark deal, the government hopes, will lead to other cash-strapped NHS hospitals consider outsourcing their management to private companies.

Circle's chief executive, Ali Parsa, said: "At a time when some healthcare commentators say the solution for small district general hospitals is simply to merge or be shut down, we believe the NHS Midlands and East's courage and zeal for innovation will enable us to show how clinician and staff control can provide a more sustainable alternative." Circle beat outsourcer Serco to clinch the deal a year ago. The company has ambitious plans to expand - in its share prospectus it said it had brought land in five city centres to expand its hospital services. The market to run state-owned acute services is worth 8bn and with hospitals forced to find savings every year, experts warn that many will have to consider private help to meet efficiency targets.

Two NHS trusts are considering private sector management
options - the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and the Whiston Hospital (St Helens).
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/nov/10/private-firm-run-nhs-hospital

Cornwall NHS paperwork privatised and sent to India.
BBC News 11 November 2011
Certain administrative work done as part of the health service in Cornwall is being privatised and sent to India. The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust is to transfer some patient registration work to NHS Shared Business Services. Shared Business Services is a partnership between the government and a private firm called Steria. About 25 NHS staff will be affected by the move. The trust said it could save up to 10m over six years.
Saved money would be spent on front-line services, it added.
Patients themselves will still deal with the NHS locally. Former health minister and Exeter Labour MP Ben Bradshaw criticised the move, saying that similar privatisations in other parts of the country had failed to improve services.

Private company running hospitals............
BBC News 1st October 2011
New company starts running Cornish community hospitals.
A new private company has taken over the running of NHS district health services in Cornwall. The Peninsula Health Community Interest Company, a not-for-profit organisation, has been awarded a four-and-a-half year contract to run community hospitals. It took over the running of 14 community hospitals on Saturday. District nurses are also affected by the changes. The move was approved by Cornwall's primary care trust in June."

So who's going to benefit from all of these privately run so-called "Not For Profit Organisations". Well, SIR Richard Branson's Virgin empire will run GP surgeries for the NHS for the first time, after buying a majority stake in a Cheshire company. Virgin has bought a 75.1% holding in the medical division of Daresbury's Assura Group. Assura Medical runs 30 so-called GPCos, which provide healthcare in partnership with groups of GPs. Assura Group is owned by Richard Branson's Virgin Empire Peninsula Health Community Interest Company is part of The Assura Group. (LDP Business News Mar 4 2010).

It seems too, that the darling of both New Labour, and the new Conservatives, is set to "pick up the pieces", of Northern Rock too.

"Richard Branson's Virgin Money in talks with China Investment Corporation over backing for Northern Rock bid, The entrepreneur is seeking backing from the China Investment Corporation (CIC) for Virgin Money's bid for the bailed-out bank. Any funding will come on top of the 500m US tycoon Wilbur Ross has pledged to support the Virgin Money bid."
Telegraph 21st September 2011.

If you all recall on 22 February 2008 Northern Rock was taken into state ownership. The nationalisation was a result of two unsuccessful bids to take over the bank, neither being able to fully commit to repayment of taxpayers' money. Will we be making a loss on Northern Rock and sell-offs of other tax-payer bailed out banks? It seems Richard Branson is behind quite some lucrative deals with this coalition?

Posted on 12 Nov 2011 09:13:23 GMT
I think this is what's going to happen eventually. In a sense they already have with nhs dentists getting a set fee for each appointment so the employees of a practice are forced into meeting quotas for nhs patients. I was told by a dentist they are set to get a fee per half hour visit but her boss expects most patients to be seen in 15 minutes!

The same quota system is employed in gp surgeries where you book an appointment per ailment and get to see, at my local surgery anyway, the gp for 10/15 minutes. And to book an appointment for some reason one has to do it in the morning the next day even if it's routine.

Privatisation will be good in some respects where waste is cut out but inevitably where money is the motivating factor it's the public that will suffer.

The government(s) only see what's in it for them, they don't care about trying to run the nhs and schools properly

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Nov 2011 09:47:58 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Nov 2011 09:50:57 GMT
Molly Brown says:
Thanks for that KK, regarding Dentists, and NHS treatment? Well you can be treated on the NHS, if you are lucky enough to be able to find one that hasn't stopped taking anymore NHS patients. That came from Tony Blair and New Labour, infact, Blair accelerated this whole slide towards private profits in the NHS totally against what Labour should stand for.

I remember this news item a while back, as it was reported, and perhaps I wasn't listening properly, I could not believe that you would now have to pay privately for some minor ops. It seems however, these GP's were taking advantage of people's growing acceptance of the private for profit running of the NHS.

Anger over GPs 'selling' private ops to patients:
Practice is offering surgery for 250
By Sophie Borland
Daily Mail on-line
Last updated at 11:25 AM on 6th October 2011

"GPs have been accused of a `massive conflict of interest' by recruiting private patients through their NHS practice. Doctors at a surgery near York are encouraging patients to pay them a fee to carry out treatments which they say are no longer available on the NHS. The GPs sent out dozens of letters to patients waiting for minor surgery, offering to carry it out at their own private firm at a cost of up to 250."

The story was centred on having to pay for an ingrowing toenail removal, the patients apparently believed that the NHS no longer paid for this type of surgery. I gather the Doctors involved denied that they were misleading patients or that they were making excessive profits?

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Nov 2011 10:07:24 GMT
I think the problem lies where there is a gulf of difference between private and nhs doctors. I've grown up with a huge amount of respect for doctors, teachers and police but as I grew up and had first hand experience with them I've sadly discovered that a lot of these people took up their profession for a job. It's not for a duty to the community we serve. But the blame goes both ways as we the public have or are stripping away the respect we once showed these professionals.

Our society is motivated for self gain and when the government behaves poorly and excuses their behaviour with well I would have got paid better privately it becomes a matter of time before the people they are supposed to look after adopt this selfish outlook for themselves

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Nov 2011 08:29:40 GMT
Molly Brown says:
There's an interesting article about Circle Healthcare in today's Observer, not quite run in the John Lewis style, and currently making a massive loss. That bodes well for running a "loss" making NHS hospital?

"Circle Health - the 'social enterprise' run by the world's hardest hedge fund managers"...............

The Observer, Sunday 13 November 2011

"Circle Health - the company that last week became the first private healthcare operator to take over the running of an NHS district general hospital - has variously been described as a "John Lewis-style mutual", a "third-sector provider", and a "social enterprise majority owned by employees". It is none of these things.

If it were, it would not have attracted about 120m of investment from highly astute and profit-driven venture capital and hedge funds, including Odey European, Lansdowne, Balderton and BlueCrest. These funds are run by ruthlessly brilliant investment managers whose reputations are built on spotting trends in the capital markets before anyone else.

Anyone who thinks their investment criteria might include a social dimension would do well to cast their mind back to 2009. Some of these funds made millions from identifying weaknesses in Britain's banks, and betting the Treasury would be forced to intervene to rescue them. It might be too much to say they caused that banking crisis, but they saw it coming, and saw an opportunity to profit." read more...........
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/nov/13/circle-health-social-enterprise-hedge-fund-manager
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Discussion in:  politics discussion forum
Participants:  2
Total posts:  5
Initial post:  12 Nov 2011
Latest post:  13 Nov 2011

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