NHS IT programme software ‘three times market price’
The Morning Star reports that New Labour intended a NHS hospital to be run by a private company but that the plans never happened ‘amid fears of “service delivery failure” and realisation there was no “value for money.”‘
A new group ‘Patients First’ is launched to protect NHS whistle blowers. “Richard Stein of the group’s solicitors Leigh Day & Co said the problem was not that there was no whistle blowing policy but that NHS organisations did not follow it.”
Concern over the number of NHS beds in the North-East.
Prince Charles encourages hospitals to serve locally produced food.
- Conservative election poster 2010
A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat (Conservative) coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
NHS trusts are paying three times the market price for systems under the failed National Programme for IT (NPfIT), according to an MP on the Public Accounts Committee.
While NPfIT was supposed to deliver complex but standardised systems at an affordable price, hospitals are spending much more with suppliers BT and CSC than by buying elsewhere, said Richard Bacon MP, an expert on the programme.
Bacon took the figures from written parliamentary answers, National Audit Office reports, and the suppliers’ regulatory filings.
North Bristol NHS Trust has paid BT £29 million over seven years for the Cerner Millennium patient administration system.
Bacon said this was “more than three times” the price paid by University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust, which did so outside the programme for a reported £8.2 million.
The coalition’s health plans include what is often called “the first NHS hospital to be run by a private company.”
Circle Health, a firm owned by Tory donors, is to take over Hinchingbrooke hospital next year. But this isn’t the first time that a government has proposed a private takeover of an NHS hospital.
The last Labour government also announced plans to do the same. That scheme was quietly killed and buried, but documents unearthed using the Freedom of Information Act show the earlier hospital privatisation was abandoned amid fears of “service delivery failure” and realisation there was no “value for money.”
In December 2006 the Labour government announced that Partnership Health Group, a vehicle for British firm Care UK, was taking charge of Lymington hospital the following July.
The widely reported privatisation was quietly abandoned without explanation in November 2007. Internal Department of Health (DOH) papers obtained by us show the scheme was scrapped chiefly because Partnership Health Group (PHG) would charge £4 million a year more than the NHS.
The NHS is uncaring and only pays lip service to an open culture, according to a lawyer representing a newly launched group for health service whistleblowers.
Patients First includes nurses, doctors and managers who have spoken out about patient safety concerns within their organisation, many of whom have been suspended or lost their jobs as a result.
Speaking at the launch of the group on Wednesday evening, Richard Stein of the group’s solicitors Leigh Day & Co said the problem was not that there was no whistle blowing policy but that NHS organisations did not follow it.
Mr Stein said: “The NHS pays lipservice to a culture that allows and encourages whistleblowers, but it rarely provides a context in which people feel able to come forward. I can’t think of an organisation that cares less for its employees.”
Leigh Day and Co, which has represented numerous NHS employees in legal disputes with their employers, has threatened South London Healthcare Trust and Ealing Hospital Trust with legal action if they fail to show they are acting to protect whistleblowers.
A NORTH-EAST GP has voiced concerns that there are not enough hospital beds available in the region this winter after the NHS came under pressure last weekend.
The Darlington GP, who has asked not to be identified, said it was very concerning that at a time when he and his colleagues are seeing increasing numbers of sick and elderly patients who need a hospital bed, hospitals appear to be struggling to cope.
How on earth are they going to manage if we get severe weather and a flu epidemic?”
But health officials said that although last weekend was very busy, the NHS was prepared and winter plans are in place to cope with extra patients.
The Prince of Wales has been urged to encourage all NHS hospitals to serve locally-grown food after the success of a London scheme.
He has been campaigning for improvements to hospital food since 2004 and yesterday held a Clarence House reception to highlight several that lead the way.
The Royal Brompton hospital sources one third of its ingredients from within 50 miles of London. It uses mushrooms that are grown in railway arches under the M11, bacon from Essex and Hertfordshire and apples from Kent. Mike Duckett, catering manager at the hospital, said: “It’s no good us doing it in isolation. We need to do it in collaboration with others.”