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...