Thursday, 14 August 2014

Who picks up the bill when private health companies hurt people?

Disturbed by an article in The Guardian which reports on how the Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton had to cancel a contract for eye surgery operations that it had with Vanguard Healthcare after some 30 patients reported complications including blurred vision, pain and swelling.

According to the report:
"The [hospital] trust refused to talk in detail about what happened pending the conclusion of its own investigation. It also refused to discuss who would pick up any bill for compensation or details of its contract with Vanguard."

And therein lie the worries.

One concern with the prvatisation of services such as healthcare is that private companies take the profits but socialise the costs back to the taxpayer.

Another concern is the private companies can hide behind "confidentiality agreements" so the ordinary citizens, or even the NHS, cannot hold them to account.

Both of these issues may at play here.

So BFTF asked a few questions of NHS Nottingham, who are "Responsible for the healthcare of Nottingham City (340,500 people). In partnership with other organisations we're 'Working together for a healthier Nottingham' "

"Dear NHS Nottingham

I've recently read a disturbing account of how, in Cornwall, a contract by Musgrove Park Hospital with Vanguard Healthcare has been terminated because of poor quality eye operations and am concerned that the NHS will have to pick up the cost of rectifying Vanguards mistakes.

What reassurance can you give me that, in Nottingham :

a) Private companies working with the NHS will not be allowed to privatise profits while socialising the costs of mistakes.

b) Private companies will not be able to hide behind "confidentiality agreements" when they are working with the NHS.

Also, how can you ensure that these concerns actually reach the CCG?

Hoping you can advise on these points "

Their response can be found here.

Related Posts

Campaigns to protect the NHS Interview with Prof Ian Shaw on the NHS Bill
Report on a Broxtow Save the NHS meeting
Falsification of data at SERCO
Report on a talk on Financial Incentives for Healthcare
Challenging the BBC on their coverage of the NHS Bill
This is what is wrong with the NHS Bill


  1. Similar issues arose with the PIP scandal:

  2. Good point, I had forgotton about that debacle....