Shock as NHS maternity unit first to go private


2:37 pm - December 7th 2011

by Newswire    


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NHS Wirral has become the first NHS trust in the country to sign a contract with a private company to provide maternity services to women, it was announced today.

The move was received with scorn by Unite the union, who said it was part of the full-scale privatisation of the NHS.

Women opting to go with ‘One to One’ care would get a midwife who would take them through the process. Usual NHS services are being kept as an alternative for now, however.

Unite’s general secretary, Len McCluskey said in a statement to the press:

Before the Health and Social Care Bill is even law, the Tories are pressing full steam ahead with the privatisation of NHS – this is an affront to the democratic process.

Unite is very concerned that as private companies take over more and more services in the NHS, the profit motive will take priority over patient care – and that the pay and employment conditions of NHS staff, such as midwives and maternity staff, will be seriously eroded over time.’

The fact that this is the first time the NHS has signed a contract of this nature, with the backing of the Department of Health, is nothing to be proud of – it is the thin edge of the wedge.

One to One is in talks with other NHS trusts to take over their maternity services too.

Jacque Gerrard from the Royal College of Midwives’ said they had “reservations” regarding the impact the move had on jobs for midwives in the NHS.

She added: “We have formed a professional relationship with One to One to gain recognition for our members, as they will be an alternative employer for midwives.”

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Reader comments


No mention of cost. I also do not understand this sentence:

‘Women opting to go with ‘One to One’ care would get a midwife , though usual NHS services are being kept as an alternative.’

Women opting to go with ‘One to One’ care would get a midwife

Which would be a step up from the maternity care my wife got in London a couple of years ago.

@ 2

Yes, before I actually ever saw one in action, I assumed midwives were an even nicer form of nurse, likely to be supportive of a pregnant woman and kind to newborns.

The lazy, stupid, callously indifferent and downright unpleasant reality was a bit of a shock.

I must admit the phrase “wouldn’t get away with behaving like that in the private sector” went through my head several times.

3 – Whereas, when my 2 year old was in hospital with pneumonia a couple of weeks back, the care was remarkably good (and 24hr too, as well I bloody know, what with sleeping in the HDU with her).

I think there’s a bit of an attitude that women in childbirth are just making a bit of a fuss and need to get over themselves.

3
You should try dealing with B.T. and their customer services (a misnomer if ever there was one)

We’ve had very good experiences with midwife and postnatal services in Sussex. I know others who had bad experiences in London but who have found it better elsewhere. It may be that there is much wanting in the services provided in our metropolitan hospitals.

The NHS works on a midwife to pregnant woman ratio of 1: 98. One to One work on 1:70. A Wirral GP says that the NHS “routinely” fails to book women in until it’s too late for the 20 week scan. One to One establish contact at 10 weeks.

I can’t see why anyone would oppose this reform………..

8. Leon Wolfson

@7 – Because when the NHS services are shut down, that will change sharply. Gotta raise profits, after all. Then they’ll shut down the free service and start charging, and the NHS budget won’t support re-opening their services. The Government? Well, all he they to do is say “whoops”, and that’s it.

A friend was involved in a company who took over the running of a group of GP practices. They found many ridiculous and intolerable inefficiencies, including, GP’s that took 6 weeks annual holidays instead of 4; staff that routinely turned up for work at 10am instead of 9 and get this – not one member of staff in a practice could use a computer. Even though they had plenty of computers in the building, no one could use them. As a result of this private group taking over the service productivity and the service to patients was massively improved.

10. Flowerpower

@ 8

Because when the NHS services are shut down, that will change sharply.

So don’t shut down the NHS services. Run ’em side by side.

Why is it that socialists always think competition is to the death?

Do you seriously think the guys at Sainsbury’s, lowering their Christmas pud prices, are rubbing their hands thinking gleefully “when Tesco, ASDA, Morrisons. M&S and Waitrose all are forced into recievership, we can put our prices back up again….tee hee…”?

11. In stitches

@ Anne 9
Cool story bro!

12. Leon Wolfson

@10 – That’s far too costly. The money’s being *spent* on the private service.

Healthcare isn’t like shopping for commodity items, strangely enough. If you want a market, look to America. More cash, less service. This is your “model”, and I oppose it.

13. Leon Wolfson

@9 – Oh no!

So, doctors were taking 6 weeks holiday, rather than the 5.6 week legal minimum? Shocking.
And staff were turning up when the practice was open? Shocking.
And nobody was willing to show external people patient records? Shocking.

I’m sure the charges which drove the poor patients away benefited them SO much.

On NHS maternity care services, try this Guardian report in October:

NHS maternity deaths: patients still at risk, Care Quality Commission warns

Watchdog publishes damning report into deaths at two London hospitals, Queen’s in Romford and King George’s in Goodmayes
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/oct/27/nhs-maternity-deaths-cqc-watchdog-report

I’m unclear as to why we should be concerned about private sector healthcare businesses running healthcare services through NHS contracts. It seems to be overlooked that most neighbourhood GP practices are privately run businesses with NHS contracts. From time to time, the NHS strikes a practice off for unsatisfactory service.

Btw in continental mainland western Europe, healthcare services are not run by the state. Why do we need a state managed organisation in Britain employing 1.4 million staff to provide healthcare services? What concerns me as a patient is the quality of care delivered and how much that will cost me.

15. Leon Wolfson

@14 – They have FAR stronger controls on those services than the UK is demanding. With oversight COMPLETELY lacking in the UK system.

And yes, when you slash funding and oversight, these things happen.

@15: “And yes, when you slash funding and oversight, these things happen.”

C’mon. Compare this news report from 2007 with the New Labour government in power:

Accidents, errors and mishaps in hospital affect as many as one in 10 in-patients,
claim researchers.

The report in the journal Quality and Safety in Health Care said up to half of these were preventable.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7116711.stm

From personal experience: in August 2007 I received a letter from the pathology department of my local hospital requesting that I return so they could take more blood because they didn’t take sufficient for my recent blood test. That “recent” blood test was in April. It took the pathology department from April to August to realise that they didn’t have enough blood to do all the tests requested. Fortunately for me, the omitted blood tests were not criticaL.

17. Leon Wolfson

@16 – Yes, and what’s happened is those oversight systems have been slashed, when they needed improving.

There is essentially no way of verifying proper service delivery by the private companies, even, beyond personal complaints!

A Wirral GP says that the NHS “routinely” fails to book women in until it’s too late for the 20 week scan. One to One establish contact at 10 weeks.

We missed the slot for an NHS 20 week scan for both our girls, despite catching the pregnancy very early. Had to go private for both.

@17: “There is essentially no way of verifying proper service delivery by the private companies, even, beyond personal complaints!”

I’ve previously posted many critical comments about Lansley’s proposals for reforming the NHS but can see no reason for believing that private healthcare businesses with NHS contracts will provide worse care than state-run healthcare provision. This was with the New Labour government running the NHS:

More than two years after the scandal of poor care at Stafford Hospital was exposed the reverberations from what happened there are continuing to echo throughout the NHS.

Following 139 days of dramatic evidence to the public inquiry, charged with investigating why the catastrophe was hidden for so long, what lessons are there for the wider health service?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/healthcare-network/2011/dec/07/mid-staffordshire-total-system-failure?newsfeed=true

In other west European countries, healthcare service providers are not owned and run by the state. I’ll go with the evidence. In 2001, the official Commission for Healthcare Improvement nominated my local hospital trust as the worst in England. I don’t believe that the interests of patients are best served by pretending that the NHS isn’t flawed.

20. Leon Wolfson

@19 – Really? When those companies have a profit margin to short care, as opposed to the non-profit NHS? Your faith in them is touching, but…

And while things might be “bad” now (although the NHS WAS ranked highly), how does making them worse help? How does allowing healthcare funds to be syphoned off without oversight make things BETTER?

@20: “And while things might be “bad” now (although the NHS WAS ranked highly)”

That’s just more propaganda. In the independent Health Powerhouse Index for 2009, the NHS ranked at 14 out of 33 countries:
http://www.healthpowerhouse.com/files/Index-matrix-EHCI-2009-090917-final-A3-sheet-substrate-5.pdf

By the standards of healthcare systems in other west European countries, the NHS ranked as mediocre.

The interests of patients are NOT best served by pretending that all was well with the NHS before Lansley. On the evidence, it plainly wasn’t.

22. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

Healthcare isn’t like shopping for commodity items, strangely enough. If you want a market, look to America. More cash, less service. This is your “model”, and I oppose it.

The US has no healthcare market, all the firms involved have antitrust exemptions which is why prices consistently rise whilst everything is done to deny coverage.

Is that what will happen here? Wouldn’t surprise me, particularly given our standard of rentier shill and their seemingly endless supply of free time.

But it is inaccurate to call it a market.

23. Leon Wolfson

Never is. You can’t afford to duplicate most of the functions of hospitals. (Look at say BUPA in the UK, they duplicate very limited parts of hospitals, and rent NHS space for a lot of what they do).

24. Man on the Clapham Omnibus

Finally got to the end of everyones stories…. (am now lying down at back of bus)
I think the observation from Flowerpower @7(democrat that he is) is probably the most relevant. The question surely, is why can’t the NHS deliver equivalent or better care than the private sector at equalivalent cost?

25. Leon Wolfson

@24 – Because the safety and accident record of private hospitals in this country would lead to five or more times the rates of death.

24.

The question surely, is why can’t the NHS deliver equivalent or better care than the private sector at equalivalent cost?

Who says it doesn’t?


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Ian Kerr

    Shock as first maternity care at NHS goes private http://t.co/vdkYeumv

  2. Suella Ember

    Shock as #NHS maternity unit first to go private | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/okrOCjb2 #saveOURnhs from #Privatisation #DropTheBill

  3. Cyrus Bulsara

    RT @sunny_hundal: Privatisation continues: NHS maternity care unit in Wirral first to go private http://t.co/clOFZugf

  4. Jamie

    Privatisation continues, and the NHS bill isn't even passed yet! http://t.co/fdvcdoq6

  5. Barbara Hulme

    Shock as NHS maternity unit first to go private | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/80nVO2Ys via @libcon

  6. Nick H.

    Shock as first maternity care at NHS goes private http://t.co/vdkYeumv

  7. Caroline Molloy

    RT @SaminStroud: Shock as first #NHS maternity unit goes private http://t.co/qa2AqqMt <how is this even legal?

  8. Wayne Williams

    Shock as first maternity care at NHS goes private http://t.co/vdkYeumv

  9. elornen

    Shock as first maternity care at NHS goes private http://t.co/vdkYeumv

  10. Pam

    RT @DefendourNHS: "Shock as first #NHS maternity unit goes private http://t.co/eWIyXQ3S&quot;
    #saveourNHS

  11. David Davies

    Shock as NHS maternity unit first to go private ~ http://t.co/Jz0p7FfT

  12. For Richer for Poorer, In Sickness and in Health | Think Left

    […] suspect not. Already we have seen NHS maternity services privatised. Understaffing, unreasonable working conditions where doctors, midwives and nurses can work 13 hour […]

  13. For Richer for Poorer, In Sickness and in Health | Brummy Gems

    […] suspect not. Already we have seen NHS maternity services privatised. Understaffing, unreasonable working conditions where doctors, midwives and nurses can work 13 hour […]

  14. saramo

    Shock as NHS maternity unit first to go private | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Hqr3YnD6 via @libcon

  15. HAARP Exposed

    And it begins, the shut down of the NHS, post for the UK peeps! (Jan) http://t.co/uyARGbH0





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