Saturday, August 11, 2012

The danger of corporatised health care

More evidence in this Guardian piece of the dangers of allowing corporations and private business to run health services that should be provided by the public sector.
Six people are feared to have suffered irreversible sight loss because of the failings of a privately run clinic at an NHS hospital, raising fresh fears about the government's plans to open up the health service to the commercial sector.
In an unprecedented move, GPs have been advised to consider alternative clinics for their patients because of "worrying concerns" about the services offered at a hospital in Hertfordshire. The surgical clinic, owned by Carillion, a construction firm which was formerly part of Tarmac, has only carried out NHS services at Lister hospital since October but it has already been the subject of criticism from the Care Quality Commission regarding waiting times for a range of services.

The government's drive towards NHS privatisation is leaving patients vulnerable to poor care and support at surgery centres like the one at the Lister hospital. It is potentially the tip of the iceberg in terms of the clinical risk of fragmented health services.

"The Conservatives talk about patient choice, but many patients would have been unaware of the difficulties that they would face by choosing the privately run Surgicentre. These companies see the Health and Social Care Act as a big opportunity to increase their business, but safeguarding patients has to be the number one priority

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