A Race to the Bottom……

26 Nov

Old People for Sale……

As part of the Governments’ efficiency drive, and after much opposition from healthcare professionals, patient groups and cross parliamentary groups, it passed legislation to tender £6 billion worth of NHS contracts.  These range from IT to out of hours services and district nursing.  And are the companies bidding for the lucrative contracts specialists?  No many are not.  Like the company which carries out Work Capability Assessments, Atos, who are French IT company.  The evidence so far does not look good especially if you happen to be unlucky enough to be a patient whose care falls under one of these groups……

Secretary of State for Health

Secretary of State for Health

One of the companies now responsible for delivering care for the NHS is Serco, a name which you may be familiar with, but not for healthcare.  Serco is failing to meet targets in Suffolk.  The company took on the £140 million contract to run community healthcare services last Autumn.  It has had issues with a “performance notice” and a review into potential safety issues has been launched.  According to unpublished figures from the BBC, Serco’s community intervention teams are failing to meet urgent four-hour response targets for nurses, carers and therapists to reach patients at home.  It was also failing to meet non-emergency 72-hour targets.  The report, by clinical commissioners in Suffolk, also reveals delays in producing care plans for palliative patients and carrying out health assessments for children in care.  The Chief Officer of the East and West Suffolk Commissioning Groups, Julian Herbert, said Serco has until the end of the year to meet the eight performance targets, or face fines in early 2014, although this will come as little comfort for any loss of life or serious injury to the patients to whom it was responsible.

Serco gave the usual responses we have come to expect; they are in ‘a transitional stage’, ‘lessons are being learned’ and ‘they are seeking to recruit extra staff’.

The Government is sticking to its mantra that ‘commissioning services from outside of the NHS will deliver better quality of care for the patients and value for money for the tax payer’.  Well, at least half of that statement is accurate.  Can anybody name a government contract that has delivered both better standards and value for money?  Email me if you can think of one.  Out of all of the Government’s initiatives, activities, confidence tricks; call them what you will, this is particularly distasteful as it is peoples’ health that is risk.  Health is the one area which should be sacrosanct and any politician that says it is unaffordable is quite simply lying but here again I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that the Government is there for the good of the masses rather than to line the pockets of the chosen ones……

Power for the People……

It has come to light, if you’ll excuse the pun, that Britain is in need of a considerable amount of new power stations.  This is manly due the old ones having reached the end of their lives; gas, coal and nuclear alike.  Surely this fact has been known about for some time, and when I say ‘some’ time, I mean 30 years.  Therefore, when the industry was privatised, the cost of building new, and decommissioning old ones, should have been factored into the equation.  After all one would not expect the newly privatised Royal Mail to come to the House of Commons in 15 years time and expect all of their lorries replaced at the tax payers cost?

This appears to be what has happened with the ‘big 6’ energy companies, and now they are seriously expecting us to foot the bill for some shiny new power stations so they continue to sell electricity to us at an astronomically inflated price……

Secretary of State for Energy

Secretary of State for Energy

There has even been talk of the lights going out!  This sounds like the rhetoric of the 1970’s and the 3 day week.  Ahh, but what about all of those big windmills that have appeared mainly in Labour held constituencies and paid for with a whacking great subsidy from your utility bill and huge tax ‘incentives’ for the energy providers.  Whether you think they’re pretty or not, they are next to completely useless.  The clue is in the name, W-I-N-D mills, for absent the cunningly hidden agenda power generation from each and every one requires a traditional backup.

The Government have agreed a deal with French owned EDF to build 2 new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point, Summerset, at a cost of £16 billion, however, they will not be operational before 2023.  They will be the first new power stations to have been built since 1995 and will be Carbon neutral.  Any dangerous nuclear waste will stored at Britain’s new underground storage facility which has not been build yet as it would appear no amount of bribery; a new community centre, amusement park, a few hundred new ‘affordable’ homes, that kind of stuff, is negated by the prospect of sharing your garden with spent Uranium fuel rods with a radioactive half life of 500,000 years……

Perhaps Serco could bid for the storage contract……?

Memo to self – Remember to buy some candles……

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