UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Private health contractor's staff 'told to cut 999 calls to meet targets'

The Guardian reports that a leaked email from Serco managers tells workers to manipulate a computer system to 'stop the clock' on emergency calls. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jan/23/private-health-contractor-999-calls

The revelation comes shortly after over 50 MPs had backed Grahame Morris MP's Commons motion calling for private companies with NHS contracts to be bound to the Freedom of Information Act like the rest of the NHS. He says that the government’s “backdoor privatisation” of the NHS has so far delivered £7 billion in new contracts to private contractors. http://www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk/news/local/quick-killing-out-of-nhs-1-5274093

The Hartlepool Mail quotes Morris as saying: “There is a growing scandal that the procurement model that favours the private health sector over the NHS, and allows private companies to hide behind commercial confidentiality.”

He condemned the “revolving doors” practice where Government health advisers move to lucrative contracts in the private healthcare sector, especially at a time when the privatisation of the NHS is proceeding by stealth. "That is deeply unfair with advantages being handed to private healthcare companies", he said.

Last week in the Scottish Parliament, opposition amendments to extend FOI legislation to cover all providers of public services, including private firms, charities and housing associations, were defeated.

But ministers will add Local authority arm’s-length bodies to the list of designated bodies using powers under Section 5 of the original legislation for the first time.

While welsoming the move, Labour’s Paul Martin called the Bill a missed opportunity for a new approach, and said there had been broad civic support for the opposition amendments rejected by the government. http://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2013/01/sturgeon-agrees-to-include-arms-length-council-bodies-in-foi/