June 22, 2017

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Will STPs finally wreck the NHS? -

Sunday, June 18, 2017

STPs – A new way to wreck the NHS -

Friday, February 17, 2017

Private health insurance doesn’t cover A & E!! -

Monday, January 30, 2017

The real costs of NHS contracting out -

Monday, September 26, 2016

Taxpayers subsidising private pharmacies? -

Saturday, September 10, 2016

In Sickness-In Health-In Profit

In the old, simplistic days of the NHS, your doctor referred you to your local hospital. You were given a letter; you phoned the appropriate hospital department and made an appointment. Not now, as you can only be seen at your local hospital if your GP has a contract with them, or with what is now known as any ‘qualified provider’.

At my GP’s surgery, I have requested to be treated only by the NHS, not by private for-profit providers. Needing an MRI scan for a back problem, I was amazed to be told that my GP did not have a contract with the local hospital, Whipps Cross in East London. The practice only had a contract with a private supplier, called In Health, and it was ‘take it or leave it’. Reluctantly, I agreed to have the scan done by In Health.

Eventually, a large sheaf of paper arrived through the post, including a form for me to sign, consenting to share my medical information with third parties. I had already signed a document at my GP’s practice, to the effect that neither the practice nor the NHS is entitled to share (sell) my medical information, so I was not going agree to In Health sharing my medical information either.

When I arrived for the scan, I was astounded to discover that it was going to take place in a trailer, in a public car park!! I explained to the young man in the trailer that I would not be willing to sign the form, and he conferred with the technicians. I was then told that no signature, no scan!! So I left and returned to my GP’s surgery.

It was then arranged that I’d go to the Whipps Cross spinal clinic, and they would order the scan at Whipps Cross Hospital. Does one department in a hospital have to have a contract with every other department?

The cost of this scan to the NHS, the taxpayer, will be much greater than if I had simply been sent to Whipps Cross in the first place. Part of this extra cost will be borne by Whipps Cross, a hospital that is part of the Barts Foundation Trust, which includes the London Hospital and a massive PFI (Private Finance Initiative) debt that is already threatening Whipps Cross Hospital’s survival.

This is another example that shows how privatisation/contracting-out is not more efficient and does not save money, because the administrative costs of tendering and chasing paper more than negate any savings. My frustration at the cheap and nasty service offered by In Health made me want to find out more about the company.

A simple search showed that In Health is owned by the Damask Trust, and a little more searching showed that the Damask Trust is owned by Ivan Bradbury (a British businessman) and the Embleton Trust Corporation Ltd. In turn the Embleton Trust is owned by MacFarlanes Llp; a firm of international lawyers that offers, amongst other services, tax advice, in other words, avoiding paying tax.

In Health has a subsidiary, Preventicum, which carries out ‘preventive diagnostics’, and questions of concern have been raised by Which? magazine. They argue that tests “are likely to cause more harm than good, some give widely inconsistent results and little useful information and some detect disease when it’s not really there.” They add that “false results cause worry, more investigations and even unnecessary treatment – at a cost to the individual or National Health Service.”1

This scenario sounds suspiciously similar to the wasteful medical system in the USA, where health costs are 17.6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).2 In the UK, health costs were 7.9% of GDP for 2011/2012, but this figure should be seen in the context that at its inception, the NHS costs were just 3.5% of GDP.3

The more companies like In Health that are allowed to infiltrate the NHS, the more the costs to the taxpayer will spiral, and the less that will be spent on actually treating patients.

If we need to have private qualified providers, that ‘qualified’ should include transparency re ownership, profits, and most importantly, tax paid.

Michael Gold,

michael@radicalsoapbox.com

@radicalmic

 

1 http//news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4790473.stm

2 http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/10/health-costs-how-the-us-compares-with-other-countries.html

3 http://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/publications/anatomy-health-spending-201112-review-nhs-expenditure-and-labour-productivity?gclid=CPu227bymLgCFSfLtAoddg0AOQ

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Comments
2 Responses to “In Sickness-In Health-In Profit”
  1. Linda Schmidt says:

    I’m shocked but my eyes (not shut in the first place) are wide open now!

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