Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Truth Behind the companies involved in the Privatisation of Hinchingbrooke


Serco is a large multinational corporation, employing 40,000 staff and turning over more than £2 billion. It appears to be even less appropriate as a potential management of a complex and busy general hospital than the other two shortlisted firms since it has no experience at all of any kind of hospital management.
Its own website claims that Serco employs just 300 “doctors and nurses” – a tiny fraction of the Hinchingbrooke Hospital workforce – in “a range of primary and community settings”. These turn out to be “'Out of Hours' Care, healthcare in prisons, nursing support as well as many major new health initiatives such as the Department of Health's programme to evaluate telehealth.” So the company itself effectively admits to having no experience of managing clinical services in a major hospital.
Instead it is best known as a services company that runs the Docklands Light Railway, operates speed cameras, electronically tags young offenders, and has contracts with the Ministry of Defence, Home Office and Department of Transport.
Its most prominent involvement in the NHS includes its involvement as a partner in various Private Finance Initiative consortia, some of which have been “successful” in completing new hospitals (Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital and Scotland’s Wishaw General Hospital) while one other (Leicestershire) has ended in an expensive failure, with the project cancelled as a result of spiralling and unaffordable costs, and Serco joining with its partners to sue for compensation.