Thursday, November 15, 2012

Trust..... no Not NHS Trust .... Trust in decison makers

I tweeted on my account @notselfserving that I would be posting this on Tuesday......

I didn't as circumstances didn't all....

I have blogged and written in the local papers over the past 6 years about Hinchingbrooke Hospital and like many who expressed an interest through the "Sustainable Hospital" NHS Cambridgeshire consultation.

Subsequently.... and what I see as pay back for our protests to keep Hinchingbrooke open, that we were and have been faced with a Franchise arrangement for Hinchingbrooke's management
I was angry, yes angry, that Labour under Andy Burnham's control and criteria called Hinchingbrooke a "failing" NHS Trust.
It was I guess to be fair under the measure that was being used at the time, but it was never considered in any real context, as to how the Historic debt was acrrued in the first place.
The debt issue goes way back to the head per capita funding in the 1980's when this area was considered to be healthy and requiring less funding by the very short-sighted Thatcher government, or should I say a typical Tory government, the current one is no better.
I did write to Andy Burnham several times but all I got was rebuff after rebuff from one of his menials, if only twitter was a medium at that time.
Personally, at the time, Mr Burnham was looking at an NHS provider to manage Hinchingbrooke, but the October 4th 2006 Save Hinchingbrooke March was hijacked by SHA staff who were finding out what people think and how they feel, one in fact chatted to my mother who was on the march. I can identify him too but I won't reveal that here,save to say he was involved with the franchise.
Sadly of course, Mr Burnham's romantic notion that an NHS Trust would manage Hinchingbrooke was thwarted by McPhearson & Dunn of the SHA.
The Franchise arrangements included a Stakeholder Panel of 40 individuals.....all selectively chosen to follow the herd and the few who would prove difficult like Trade Unions would be voted against.
The main bulk of members were Tory Councillors and local MP's, many who could only be relied upon to attend should voting be required and the other 6 members were staff & trade unions.
In essence, no one was there to be the voice of the public, if you think a Tory councillor or MP will be your voice.....forget it....unless there is a few thousand votes to be grabbed
The Franchise was always considered to be a "Consultation", however it was merely a Process.
There were some Public meetings, albeit set in rural locations across Cambridgeshire and during the working day to further reduce the numbers of potential public members able to attend and voice their opinions.
Quite early in the process it was feared that this was going to be a sham deal and a set up
Addenbrookes were the sole NHS Trust interested and there was also a shared deal with Peterborough City Hospital and Serco too.
The process went quiet for around 12 months, in fact some thought it would be shelved, mergers may happen etc.
Quite soon after the Tory led Coalition got in & Stakeholder panel member, Andrew Lansley became Secretary of State for Health, the process began to move forward again at quite a pace, to begin with.
It soon became apparent that Addenbrookes had been warned off from proceeding with their bid and that all was left would be Private Sector interest.
Needless to say, I was not surprised and expressed that too, I also feel that this was the end game and punishment for keeping the hospital from closing.
4 companies came and did their presentations and PR soon became clear from the first instance and introductions that Circle were going to be gifted the franchise. They had obviously to play along with the bid submissions and other procedures but the SHA spokespeople and staff involved in the process were pushing Circle more than Ramsay/Peterboro-Serco et al.
I came as no surprise that Circle soon became the "preferred" bidder or in real speak..... the Franchise was theirs.
It soon became apparent that the Stakeholder panel was merely concealing and anterior to the process. It was merely keeping the media and public away from what was really going on. It is a shame that this has recently come to light as I know...... Unions and some councillors would never have agreed to cut staff by 340 posts, handed Circle bail outs and allow them easy get out of the contract.
With this in mind it does appear that this was a set up,sham,stinky,messy process.... I am not suggesting that incentives were used by the private sector to gain favour but they did have the potential to do so of course, you make your own mind up and form your own opinions.

We find now we have been landed with Circle Holdings, and their subsidury Circle Hinchingbrooke Ltd, managing Hinchingbrooke NHS Trust.
We also know that so far they have sacked 46 Nurses and their Cleaning Contractor Mitie, on Circle's instruction (by cutting the contract terms) has sacked half of the cleaning staff and put the remaining on reduced hours, some by one day a week & the majority by 2 days per week. I know what is next, infections will rise and we will be back to 1995 again, short sighted and stupid.
We also know from the recently leaked documents that they are to sack in total 340 staff as I previously mentioned, currently there are "Reviews" going on for all staff or in other words..... time & motion studies to see who can be sacked.
Circle have brought in an interim HR  Hit man, now they have sacked the Hinchingbrooke HR dept staff, a Mr De Gamma who has been rolled out to make comments in the Hunts Post on some issues and obviously denied the truth.
Circle have also declared that their parent company requires further share sales next year to raise further funding for that part of the business, so as it stands we have a start up company with huge Hedge funds bank rolling it and who will want their cash back. It also has run up a further debt at Hinchingbrooke even though they enjoy 10% MORE funding than the previous NHS board.

You have to ask, what if the previous NHS management had been afforded the same funding which Circle are enjoying and £8 million LESS bailout which Peterborough City Hospital have been gifted how Hinchingbrooke would be sitting now. I would argue that they would be sitting nicely.
You also have to see that with the extra funding it equates to the £38 million debt paid off PLUS £62 million in the bank so to speak. Measure that over 10 years and with the average small surplus  which Hinchingbrooke consistently made..... and you would have just needed to cruise along for 10 years easy peasy...... BUT Circle have made some impossible and bold claims.... and they will be held to book over this and it will end in tears.

Currently the local opinion is that Circle Hinchingbrooke Ltd will cease in 2014 and I have no doubt at this time that this will be the case......sadly Hinchingbrooke Hospital will have been run down, under staffed and in a poor way when these parasites slope away...

Friday, November 09, 2012

National Audit Office Report

You probably all know or have seen references on the BBC news about the report on the Franchise of Hinchingbrooke Hospital. If you have seen the BBC's News then chances are you have also seen Slick tongue work from Mr Circle himself.... Ali Parsa.

Once again he has put on the con trick PR stunt that Circle are doing fine ...blah.. blah  BUT the BBC sadly did not have anyone from the community or one of the Trade Unions to comment further on this at all, they let Mr Parsa have the soap box to push the same old tired mantra.

However..... they are NOT doing as well as they claim to be.... as we have seen, over budget... had a £4 million bail out from the NHS and have yet to sack a further 274 staff members from the Trust.

I find it unbelievable too,that the Trade Unions are sitting back and saying nothing.... weak or are they waiting for the deal to fail, which it will..... and say...Told You So... if they are, then they had better be really motivated to pick up the pieces..

 The NAO report shows that there was a lack of scrutiny of the risks and projections of the deal by independent or outside sources.It is shown that other than the Project Team and Project Board little was shared and so the risks of the deal were kept from the Public.

I really would like to know....

What level of discussions local councillors and Trade Unions were allowed be at to during the project....

 Were the Stakeholder Panel, who were part of this project.... considered to be the Project Team?...

 Were they there merely to divert away from the important matter which were really going on behind the scenes?

Were they in fact totally complicit in this rotten and shoddy deal?...

 Unless the Stakeholder members(whatever their role or capacity) come clean.... and tell us of meetings they missed or were not invited to...any of the 40 Stakeholders will not be trusted and their integrity will be reconsidered accordingly

I am happy for ANY of the 40 stakeholders to tweet me @notselfserving to let me know of their position on this franchise deal..... What they were told and what they knew....

Considering the architects of this scheme even got an award by Health Investor for it's production and setting up, you have to ask, following the NAO report ,questions regarding award presenter, Health Investor's integrity too.
It also calls into question the role of Wragge & Co's Healthcare Team in advising the SHA on the legal aspects of this projects

When you look at the "deal".... it clearly shows that Circle should be financially sound but they lost money & their Parent company is in worse dire straits than Peterborough City Hospital, they also cannot sell off land at the site without the permission of the NHS shadow board..... my message to Circle is ... get out while the going is good...

 The NAO document can be downloaded Here Please get a cup of tea and a biscuit or 3 and read it....and weep....

Consider how the Project Board at the SHA came to allow this travesty to happen and remember which Political Party began the franchise option...but more importantly....remember the Political Party who were in power and who signed off this bastard of a "deal"..... With it being so foolhardy, you then start to think if some other not so regular factor or factors forced the hand of the Project team and board members?...

 It will end in tears....

But through all this unnecessary mayhem..... the staff carry on as they have done for the past 20 years or more, through thick and thin, good times and bad.....  I cannot thank them enough for what they do for me and my family.... 

Despite the questionable Friends  & Family ratings hogwash ...... The staff are still brilliant, however the same cannot be said of the buildings and the way the social structure is being run down.....

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Did the Stakeholder Panel Members Know?.....

The question of the day is Did The Hinchingbrooke Stakeholder Panel Members Know? about the real impact and contents of the Circle franchise deal .

We NOW know that there are 320 jobs to be culled at Hinchingbrooke, with 247 still to be axed.

There was a Bailout clause in the Contract

Addenbrookes were "scared off" of making a deal

The Peterborough City Hospital/Serco deal was better for the Taxpayer

So did the invited stakeholder know this or was it all kept from them.....or were they sworn to silence?

The Stakeholder Panel was made up mainly of MP's and local politicians and a few Union reps....there really was NO ONE who was the voice of the people on the panel and now we know why....

My Message to ANY member of the Hinchingbrooke Franchise Stakeholder Panel....... Come Clean,Own up to what you actually knew...... and if you knew of what I revealed..... Why did you keep Quiet?

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

7 months on

Circle now have been managing Hinchingbrooke hospital for the past 7 months, we have had a relentless amount of PR stunts by Mr Parsa,Tory ministers and Tory oropaganda "newspapers".
We have learnt just this last week that Circle have made a £4.1 million LOSS and will be getting a bailout from the soon to be defunct NHS Cambridgeshire,
You have to ask.... how and who will the £4 million bailout be paid back to, when on April 1st 2013 NHS Cambridgeshire cease to exist. No one has said that, it will be repaid or not by then or if it hasn't been repaid then the funding will be shared by the CCG's in Cambridgeshire.

We also hear that Circle plan to sell off the land and car park to the front of the hospital to fund a multi storey car park. On the issue of selling land at the site, this has been mentioned before and withdrawn, will it happen again?.... probably

We find here that the Strategic Health Authority, the Tory Health minister and others KNEW that Circle were bad for Hinchingbrooke and that aside of Bailout's for Circle built into the contract (obviously to save face) there are still another 247 staff to be culled from the workforce. We already know that cleaning contractor Mitie have axed staff and cut the remaining staff contracts by 1 or 2 day work per week, after Circle decided to limit the budget for the cleaning contract.
We also know that 46 Nurses have been culled and no doubt more are on the cards

Yet the local media FAIL to publish any suggestion that Circle are indeed...... Failing...
Failing the people of Huntingdon,Failing their Contract and Failing to run OUR hospital properly

It is suggested that Circle are spending £1 million refurbishing the corridors in Hinchingbrooke, so far on my recent visits there, the noticeboards (including Union noticeboards) have been removed for repainting etc. It does say they will be back soon.....  if they happen to remember to rehang them. Cynical me says they wont return to the walls.
Circle also HATE Trade Unions totally..... that includes the Royal Colleges.... sad but true

What is the solution?.......

1st April 2013, the Strategic Health Authority and the PCT are finished, in fact they already have no operational responsibility during the transition to CCG's etc and this began on 1st October 2012.
For me.... NO new projects should be signed off or dealt with by these 2 organisations as like the Circle deal, there is not a body to oversee the contracts. Circle have nobody to keep an eye on them after April 2013 apart from Patients and Activists as, not being a Foundation Trust, don't come under the remit of Monitor....

The only solution for Hinchingbrooke is to hand it back over to an NHS board, with the same funding that Circle have been afforded....this is set at a higher level than the outgoing NHS board were working with, yet they always made a small surplus.The finances need to be returned to January 31st 2012 level and the best investment would be is to give Hinchingbrooke the £38 million to pay off the Historic government induced debt. The naysayers claiming that can't be done, look 24 miles north at Peterborough City Hospital, already bailed out by £46 million and more will follow that.

For me.......    Give HInchingbrooke back to the People of Huntingdon and run it within the NHS.....
Circle have failed miserably already.

Their contract had sufficient funding built in to a) pay off the historic debt, b) have £62 million left to subsidise the hospital with the small surplus and all would be well after the 10 years...... WITHOUT changing anything...

The couldn't fail..... but they already are failing.....