Wednesday, 2 January 2013

NHS Privatisation and SERCO

BFTF has been hearing rumblings for some time about poor performance by private health company SERCO - but has not got round to finding out any details - until now.

252 Instances of Falsified Data
A report in the Guardian describes how SERCO, who had won the contract for the out-of-hours GP service in Cornwall presnted false data to the NHS on 252 separate occasions.

A number of whistleblowers had already alleged that the company manipulated data when if was failing to meet its targets.

The former Tory health secretary and chair of the health select committee, Stephen Dorrell, said that:
"To falsify returns once is once too many – to falsify 252 times represents a pattern of behaviour which should lead to a full review"

A review found patient satisfaction to be high, but a separate survey of local GP's revealed concerns about staffing and inappropriate patient assessment.

The West Cornwall MP and health select committee member, Andrew George commented that:
"[the 252 instances of falsificaton were]altered in a period when Serco knew that it was already under heavy scrutiny and was no doubt trying to clean up its act...It was the period before this when I fear such data manipulation would have been worse. This also raises wider concerns about opening up even more of the NHS to private companies who, it seems, will go to any lengths to win and retain contracts."

Other Links
Interview with Prof Ian Shaw (Health Policy Prof at UoN)
Challenging the BBC on their coverage of the NHS Bill
Post on the NHS Bill

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