Posts Tagged ‘Barry’

From 1997: Failure of Privatised Welsh Hospital

January 31, 2015

Mike over at Vox Political has been covering and refuting the Tories’ accusations of poor performance in the NHS in Wales. This is part of the Tories’ campaign to try and discredit the NHS throughout Britain, and replace it with an insurance-funded system on the American model. It is also deeply mendacious, especially considering the failings of various private health initiatives, which have been introduced into the NHS by them and New Labour. Like this story from Private Eye’s edition of the 4th April 1997. This reported the failings of private enterprise community hospital in Barry.

Redwood’s Net on the Tiles

The new unreadable book by John Redwood, sensitively published during the election campaign to cause maximum embarrassment to John Major, devotes many pages to the glories of privatisation, especially in the health service.

Anyone who wants to test these theories should pay a visit to the brand new community hospital in Barry, South Wales.

The hospital was built by Sir Robert McAlpine, the family firm of the former treaturer of the Tory party, Alistair McAlpine. But there was an irritating element of public enterprise in the project in the shape of the Welsh Health and Community Services Association (WHCSA), which acted as project manager.

When Redwood became secretary of state for Wales in 1993, he ordered a clean-up of any nasty deposits of public enterprise still lying around. Thus the project management at Barry hospital was privatised. The better – and more expensive architects and surveyors – were replaced by “more affordable” personnel, and 1996 the whole project management of Barry Hospital was handed to Beard Dove Ltd, a subsidiary of Capita Plc.

All sorts of things have gone wrong at the hospital. Tiles from the roof have been falling off in the high winds. To contain the tiles, the whole roof has been covered in green plastic netting, earning the hospital the nickname, the Ena Sharples Memorial Home. The boilers were so disastrous that throughout last winter patients were shoved from ward to ward to keep warm.

Last month the Landough Hospital Trust (chairman: former chairman of the Welsh Tory party Sir Donald Walters) discovered to its horror that, in its own words, “minimal progress has been made” in putting any of this right. The remedy was obvious. Beard Dove was “relinquished” from it contract and project management went back to, er, WHCSA … whose operation at Barry Hospital John Redwood at Barry Hospital John Redwood had insisted on privatising.

WHCSA is now negotiating with McAlpines to see how much more public money has to be spent to save the hospital from the private enterprise disasters which have engulfed it.

John Redwood was one of the group of extremely right-wing Tory MPs, who tried to unseat John Major in the 1990s. He used to refer to them as ‘the bastards’, or, according to Private Eye, ‘Ward 8 from Broadmoor’.

A few weeks ago we saw a similar process occur, as Circle Health walked away from their contract to administer NHS hospitals amidst a scandal of appallingly low performance and disgusting neglectful treatment of patients. Circle Health complained that they simply couldn’t make a profit from the management of the hospitals.

The failure of the privatised project management of the Barry community hospital and its effective renationalisation was a prefiguration of the failures to come.

And we can expect more such failures as the Tories’ privatisation of the NHS continues. Though if the Tories are successful, there won’t be any remaining NHS to return them to.

Just a future of public expense, private profiteering, poor performance and ultimately zero, or near zero patient care unless you can pay.