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Capita, the FTSE 100 outsourcer, which manages the congestion charge for Transport for London and administers military bases across the UK for the Ministry of Defence, has just been awarded a £1bn NHS contract. Other reported triumphs:
- A contract helping new doctor-led clinical commissioning groups to buy billions of pounds of services for hospitals and GPs.
- An £80m, 10-year contract providing IT, finance and estate management services to the Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust, which employs 3,000 staff providing services in west London.
The NHS seeks to use the private sector in its pursuit of savings – really?
The FT’s Gill Plimmer and Sarah Neville, who report that Capita has largely avoided the scandals that have tarnished rival outsourcing groups G4S and Serco, are directed to the work of Professor David Bailey on the company’s record, ‘assisting’ in the local government of Birmingham. One of many analyses is his Service Birmingham’s £63,000-a-day Dividend Bombshell. For others, search on David Bailey, Capita.
Despite its recent London and Liverpool setbacks . . . another reward for failure?
The seven-to-10 year contract will see Capita provide GPs, opticians, pharmacists and dentists with a range of back office services, including payments administration and the management of clinical records.
Five Liverpool NHS Trusts withdrew from a contract with Capita because of concerns about the quality of the service provided. In September 2014, a few months later, West London Mental Health NHS Trust cancelled their contract after the company proved “unable to meet acceptable ‘time to hire’ targets”, particularly for nurses. At the same time Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust terminated their contracts. And in November Mersey Care Trust revealed that “information governance issues” had been uncovered when the services were taken back in house.
A change of tune
After their recent lobbying – see Health corporates rampant – private sector providers are now said to be ‘quietly confident’ that more opportunities will emerge. They believe that many healthcare trusts, faced with a £30bn shortfall in the NHS budget over the next seven years, will have little option than to work with the private sector, which pledges to invest in technology, improve staff productivity and use economies of scale to deliver services at lower costs.
And caring health professionals say?
Dr Clive Peedell, a cancer specialist who is co-leader of the National Health Action Party, established before the general election in May with a full manifesto commitment to improving the nation’s public health care, said:
“This is exactly what we predicted would happen. The ludicrous NHS structure created by this government has meant a whole new layer of administration is needed to support it, increasing costs and diverting money away from patient care. Now a giant outsourcing company is cashing in on providing a service the NHS should not even need, that has been cultivated by this government.”
Posted in Capita, Corporate political nexus, Democracy undermined, Economy, Finance, G4S, Government, Health, Lobbying, MPs, Outsourcing, Parliamentary failure, Planning, Reward for failure, Serco, Taxpayers' money, Vested interests