Southend and Basildon hospitals hire firm to run blood tests

Echo: Southend and Basildon hospitals hire firm to run blood tests Southend and Basildon hospitals hire firm to run blood tests

HOSPITAL bosses in Southend and Basildon are hiring a private company to run the blood testing service.

The move comes just over a year after both hospitals campaigned with the Echo on keeping blood testing local following a plan to outsource the service 90 miles away to Bedford.

The shock announcement was made by Clare Panniker, Basildon Hospital chief executive, and Jacqueline Totterdell, chief executive of Southend Hospital on Friday.

Pathology staff at both hospitals will be transferred to Integrated Pathology Partnerships, a joint venture between two French companies that already runs a similar service in the south west.

Sam Older from Unison, said: “We have real concerns about this meaning that there will need to be redundancies either now or in the future in order to make it work.

“We have also heard about the possibility of tests moving to one site between Basildon and Southend, which may mean not all staff can transfer, and for patients, if you need a result very quickly, but the sample had to travel through traffic, it could take longer.”

It is understood the hospitals have been working on bringing in a private contractor since June 2013.

The hospitals maintain that local staff will "continue to interpret the results", but do not say where the blood will be analysed.

Both hospitals said they could not comment further on the changes due to a "ten day standstill period" - required under European procurement law - so the deal with IPP can be finalised.

In a joint statement the chief executives said: "We are delighted to have agreed this joint venture as we believe this move will bring additional expertise, innovation and experience to the service and put it in the best possible position to bid for future contracts such as local community pathology services.

“We would reassure all interested parties that all clear and definite advantages to this project have been fully assessed to enable us to meet our overall objective of maintaining and securing a high quality and sustainable pathology service for our local population.”

In December 2012, NHS bosses announced plans to outsource blood tests to private company Community Pathology Services for analysis.

The blood would have been transported by road to Bedford prompting fears of delays due to traffic jams on major motorways.

More than 16,000 people signed our petition to keep services local, and the health service put the brakes on the plan in April 2013.

Echo:

Basildon Hospital

CAMPAIGNERS against the privatisation of the NHS and those who fought to stop blood testing being moved to Bedford are concerned at the plans.

The hospitals claim the move will allow them to save money by “maximising economies of scale” and told staff on Friday morning that they would have all their contracts transferred to the new company.

However, Norman Traub, secretary of Southend Keep our NHS Public and a retired doctor in the pathology department at Southend Hospital, fears the move won't be in the best interests of patients.

He said: “Private companies are not there for the benefit of patients, they are there for the benefit of their shareholders. They look to reduce staff or services to make money.

“The hospital’s services belong to the public – the people who raise funds for new equipment when it is needed – it is wrong to involve private companies.

“The Echo, doctors and patients had a wonderful campaign to stop services going to Bedford, but this seems like a case of what they couldn’t do in public they are trying to do by the back door.”

Westcliff GP and Southend Hospital board member Dr Marimuthu Velmurgan said: “We achieved what we wanted to do last year with the campaign and services won’t go to Bedford, but the hospital doesn’t want to lose any funding and they need to make changes to get it.”

 

Comments (9)

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12:26pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Nebs says...

If a private company can do it cheaper, and still have money left over to pay their shareholders, then why can't the hospitals join together to set up a private company to do the blood tests with the profits or dividends going to the hospitals instead of the French shareholders.
You don't need a middleman taking a cut to get economies of scale.
If a private company can do it cheaper, and still have money left over to pay their shareholders, then why can't the hospitals join together to set up a private company to do the blood tests with the profits or dividends going to the hospitals instead of the French shareholders. You don't need a middleman taking a cut to get economies of scale. Nebs
  • Score: 7

12:27pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Happy Chickie says...

"joint venture between two French companies"

So are there no English companies capable of doing this?
"joint venture between two French companies" So are there no English companies capable of doing this? Happy Chickie
  • Score: 18

12:49pm Mon 3 Mar 14

ThisYear says...

NHS into private hands?
NHS into private hands? ThisYear
  • Score: 10

3:23pm Mon 3 Mar 14

News Bunny says...

I'd take the GPs objections more seriously if they would agree to stop being self employed sole traders themselves. Why is it okay for them but not someone else (sole trader or company) to sub-contract to the NHS? It was only when the government agreed that doctors could remain self employed (rather than employed like the nurses) that they agreed to the formation of the NHS in the first place.
I'd take the GPs objections more seriously if they would agree to stop being self employed sole traders themselves. Why is it okay for them but not someone else (sole trader or company) to sub-contract to the NHS? It was only when the government agreed that doctors could remain self employed (rather than employed like the nurses) that they agreed to the formation of the NHS in the first place. News Bunny
  • Score: 3

4:54pm Mon 3 Mar 14

jolllyboy says...

So if they couldnt get us patients to agree to outsource the tests one way they are doing it in another. Is there nothing in this country that we can do ourselves. This is privatisation because our hospitals are capable , willing and able to do these tests. Once set up outside the hospital there is still the transport prob that we said before. All this in secret shows it is known that us patients would not like it.
Long armed/outsourcing never works - it may start off as cost cutting but it gets more and more expensive as time goes on and also there is no control and where does the responsibility for errors rest? Will this company guarantee no hackers, or privacy, or will they then sell on our details like the Care Data Harvesting can. If it is a french company it is not making money for us, who are the shreholders of this un-named company I wonder.
So if they couldnt get us patients to agree to outsource the tests one way they are doing it in another. Is there nothing in this country that we can do ourselves. This is privatisation because our hospitals are capable , willing and able to do these tests. Once set up outside the hospital there is still the transport prob that we said before. All this in secret shows it is known that us patients would not like it. Long armed/outsourcing never works - it may start off as cost cutting but it gets more and more expensive as time goes on and also there is no control and where does the responsibility for errors rest? Will this company guarantee no hackers, or privacy, or will they then sell on our details like the Care Data Harvesting can. If it is a french company it is not making money for us, who are the shreholders of this un-named company I wonder. jolllyboy
  • Score: 3

5:58pm Mon 3 Mar 14

yagetme says...

ThisYear wrote:
NHS into private hands?
Happened already, we're just not paying for it...yet
[quote][p][bold]ThisYear[/bold] wrote: NHS into private hands?[/p][/quote]Happened already, we're just not paying for it...yet yagetme
  • Score: 1

7:29pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Kim Gandy says...

"Both hospitals said they could not comment further on the changes due to a "ten day standstill period" - required under European procurement law - so the deal with IPP can be finalised."

Here we go... "required under European procurement law"....

S0d EU
"Both hospitals said they could not comment further on the changes due to a "ten day standstill period" - required under European procurement law - so the deal with IPP can be finalised." Here we go... "required under European procurement law".... S0d EU Kim Gandy
  • Score: 2

9:44pm Mon 3 Mar 14

whataday says...

yagetme wrote:
ThisYear wrote:
NHS into private hands?
Happened already, we're just not paying for it...yet
We do pay for NHS already via income tax, national insurance, and other taxes
[quote][p][bold]yagetme[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ThisYear[/bold] wrote: NHS into private hands?[/p][/quote]Happened already, we're just not paying for it...yet[/p][/quote]We do pay for NHS already via income tax, national insurance, and other taxes whataday
  • Score: 1

9:52pm Mon 3 Mar 14

whataday says...

This contracting out needs to stop. These contractors are profit making companies therefore, they have to do everything at a speed which ensures they make a profit. Look at other parts of NHS that already contracted out e.g. cleaning services - the domestics are given unachievable targets which is why people moan about things like dirty toilets, floors under beds, etc. etc.
Also look at the standard of hospital food - another area which is contracted out. They too have to make a profit so how do they do it - the quality of meals goes down. If the services are kept in house there is the same amount of money to provide a service but there does not have to be a profit margin. There is also the opportunity to control the standard of service.
When services are contracted out they are binding for the length of time of service agreement whether standards are met or not.
This contracting out needs to stop. These contractors are profit making companies therefore, they have to do everything at a speed which ensures they make a profit. Look at other parts of NHS that already contracted out e.g. cleaning services - the domestics are given unachievable targets which is why people moan about things like dirty toilets, floors under beds, etc. etc. Also look at the standard of hospital food - another area which is contracted out. They too have to make a profit so how do they do it - the quality of meals goes down. If the services are kept in house there is the same amount of money to provide a service but there does not have to be a profit margin. There is also the opportunity to control the standard of service. When services are contracted out they are binding for the length of time of service agreement whether standards are met or not. whataday
  • Score: 3

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