The Independent London Newspaper
22nd September 2018

Hospitals and firm link up to supply blood tests

    Robert Naylor

    Sir Robert Naylor: 'We have never been frightened about teaming up with the private sector when we know we can deliver savings for the NHS'

    Published: 7 August, 2014
    by TOM FOOT

    A PROFIT-making private company has gained a major new stake in the NHS after bosses of Camden’s two main hospitals signed a 10-year pathology contract.

    The Royal Free and the University College London hospitals have teamed up with The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) company to set up a new corporate body that will sell blood services to themselves and other NHS organisations.

    Hundreds of NHS staff will transfer onto the books of the new Health Services Laboratories LLP, which will be responsible for all blood testing and results at the two hospitals. It will employ 690 staff currently working for the NHS in Camden.

    UCLH chief executive Sir Robert Naylor said: “We have never been frightened about teaming up with the private sector when we know we can deliver savings for the NHS and – most importantly – better outcomes for patients. This is a model that is likely to be used more frequently in the NHS in the future.”

    The chairman of the newly-formed Health Services Laboratories LLP is Lord Patrick Carter of Coles, who conducted a government review of the country’s pathology service in 2007. The review concluded that independent providers should be brought in to save the NHS money. 

    UCLH and the Royal Free are free to set up corporate partnerships and embark on financial ventures of this kind because they are foundation trust hospitals.

    In the press release accompanying the ann­ouncement last Thursday, the Royal Free said Health Services Laboratories LLP would “deliver substantial efficiencies to the NHS” with its “leading-edge technology, adoption of best working practices, investment in infrastructure, IT and economies of scale”.

    Last year, when the plans were first revealed by the New Journal, a senior member of staff at the Royal Free raised ethical concerns about the implications of transferring 690 staff from NHS books, saying: “I joined the NHS to work for the NHS, when I could have earned more working elsewhere. That choice is being taken away from hundreds of other staff. There appears to be no fight from the unions against this.”

    At that time, deputy chief executive Caroline Clarke said: “We don’t have as much money as we used to, and this is one way of getting investment into pathology. GPs are paying us less. Eventually, they will pay you so little you have to consolidate. We can sell this to the NHS and put the money back in the Royal Free.”

    TDL is a subsidiary of Sonic Healthcare, an Australian company that is the third largest provider of pathology services in the United States.

    >>NEW JOURNAL COMMENT: Privatisation of NHS by stealth is not what the public want (click here)

    Comments

    Oh No!

    As an ordinary lay person this frightens me imagine I am ill and a doctor thinks I have mental health issues because i am displaying signs of whatever they perceive to be MH now a blood test could confirm that in fact I am not with MH but have toxicity in my body. Have we just sold our selves to the devil? Hmm!

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