Tag Archives: outsourcing

Dozens of hospital trusts across the country are looking at (or already have) set up private companies in which to transfer swathes of vital NHS staff and assets. The moves are supposedly to save money through a supposed VAT loophole designed to promote outsourcing, as well as on staff pay. They are also – an aspect overlooked in the coverage to date – supposed to promote a greater focus on “commercialising” hospital assets. More of that in a bit… “By the time people realise it’s been a catastrophe, it will be too late to undo” Unions and staff are up in arms […]
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Jeremy Warner, an editor at the Telegraph, once said there are either ‘big state’ people or ‘small state’ people. I felt the same way following the reaction to the collapse of Carillion: there are either ‘private good, public bad’ people or ‘public good, private bad’ people. Of course, reality is somewhere in between. Carillion went bust because of cost overruns or delays in three large construction projects. The nature of such projects involve that kind of risk, but clearly the company – despite its size – was not resilient enough to withstand those failures. It did not go bust because of privatisation of public […]
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Over many years we have seen the NHS develop some really stupid ideas. To be fair realising that they were stupid may only have become obvious with hindsight – but not always. Key characteristics of stupid ideas are that they rest of dubious assertions not solid evidence; they make wildly optimistic assumptions; they lack (or refuse to publish) the details of the case; they are not independently assured; they are driven by outsiders (usually management consultancy firms); and those who decide to go ahead are never there to be accountable when everything goes wrong. Many PFIs, a lot of the […]
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Landmark study exposes NHS privatisation risks Outsourcing of hospital support services (like cleaning, catering, and laundry) is extremely contentious. Private corporations undercut traditional in-house operations, making profits by driving down wages and conditions of service. This is obviously attractive to cash-strapped hospitals. But does it matter for patients? Does cheaper mean worse, or can the private sector square the circle by providing better service for less? So far, the authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been unconvinced. They have insisted that the existing in-house services be retained, ensuring that cleaners are part of the ward team, with a […]
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With widespread opposition (plus some common sense) the attempt to drive the privatisation of NHS clinical services appears to be stalling. But as one threat diminishes, at least for now, a new one arises: there are increasing attempts to privatise non-clinical services. Outsourcing is now the big threat. Think back to the Thatcher years and the wholesale destabilisation of our local authority services through compulsory competitive tendering. The council’s lost their direct labour teams and private companies got rich pickings from taking contracts.  For local government there is at least an organisation, the Association for Public Service Excellence, which is […]
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