Thursday 12 July 2012

Care UK or DON'T Care UK?

Guest blog by Sarah Cox:

If the Accident and Emergency Department at Central Middlesex Hospital closes, as proposed in every option in the NHS NW London consultation document Shaping a Healthier Future, residents in Brent’s poorest wards with the greatest health needs will be at the mercy of private health care provider Care UK which runs the Urgent Care Centre at Central Middlesex.

Urgent Care Centres are designed to take the pressure off A & E departments by dealing with minor injuries and less serious illnesses. Fine, but one of the reasons people go to their doctors or to A & E when the doctor isn’t available, is that they are not medically qualified so don’t necessarily know how serious (or not) their condition is. One of the NW London NHS documents gives the example of a mother who takes her baby to A & E with a high temperature. She is told that the baby is just teething. One of the functions of qualified medical staff should be to reassure patients. What about the case where the baby’s high temperature is not caused by teething but is a symptom of meningitis? Meningitis is hard to diagnose, but if not treated very quickly, can be fatal. There have been reports of Urgent Care Centres failing to spot meningitis and sending a stroke victim home
As a patient, Care UK’s record doesn’t fill me with confidence: 

X-rays: At the CMH Urgent Care Centre, Care UK failed to carry out the required checks on 6,000 x-rays, missing such details as broken bones All x-rays should be reviewed by a specialist to make sure that nothing has been missed, they should also be checked against the child protection register and GPs should be informed when their patients have attended the UCC. Care UK neglected to do this and took more than a year to find the flaw in their system and start to review the x-rays. Channel 4 reports, ‘Asked how it had happened, Care UK blamed it on "a couple of changes in the management structure of the team that ran the centre". They also failed to report it to the Care Quality Commission. Care UK said that although it was not legally obliged to do this, it "probably should have told CQC, but nobody picked up the phone".’ What a caring attitude!

The contract to run the CMH Urgent Care Centre was given to Care UK by the former Brent Primary Care Trust. All eight Brent NHS clinical directors wrote urging them not to sign the contract, but were told they were too late. Former members of that PCT are now non-executive directors of Care UK and NHS Brent is tied into a contract with Care UK that they cannot get out of.

Friends in high places: The wife of Care UK’s then chairman gave £21,000 to Andrew Lansley when he was shadow Health minister to help run his constituency office in the run up to the general election, an investment that has certainly paid off when you see how many contracts the firm has been awarded in the NHS and social care sectors. 

Tax avoidance  Care UK, which operates NHS treatment centres, walk-in centres and mental health services, has a reduced tax bill by taking out loans through the Channel Islands stock exchange and coming to an agreement with HMRC Guardian 17.3.12 Care UK join the likes of Vodaphone and Jimmy Carr in claiming that they’ve done nothing wrong.

There’s more about Care UK, but I’ll leave that for the next instalment. What’s your experience of Care UK or specifically of the Urgent Care Centre at Central Middlesex?


Anonymous said...

The fact remains the closure of some A&E departments should be supported.

Better a 20-minute trip to a large hospital in a well-equipped ambulance, than a 3-minute trip to a small one.

bigbreadeaterellis said...

we have all been born and and grown up in a world and society in which the very ones that love to play god have created an unjust system in which they choose for themselves certain people who they permit to manipulate and exploit us.
and the purpose as always is for money...we can always visualize those democratically elected hypocrites rubbing their hands with glee @ the thought of raking in billions in tax revenue from a set up that causes according to one website 130,000 people to die every year.
and then suddenly those wicked hypocrites who are experts when it comes to deception come up with this so called plan for healthy lives and healthy people.
and I guess they expect us to be impressed right?
after decades of allowing people to destroy their own health and reaping the financial rewards they start pretending that they are concerned about the public...that is as laughable and insincere to say the least as the things can only get better and helping to build a better borough.
the reality is if the government and the councils truly cared we would see it by what they do...but the fact is it is the governments that have allowed people to learn to abuse their health because that is how they run the show by permitting businesses to exploit the public.
and when you have wicked hypocrites like them @ the heart and steering wheel of government we cannot expect health to be something that is treated as important.
yes people the government have consistently exploited us and we have allowed them to do it...when they say they believe people have the right to smoke why do you think they say that?
it is because that is how they run the show.
we are here they believe it seems to be manipulated and it is no wonder this country is in such a mess.
in what way does smoking for example benefit the people that do it?
all you are doing every time you light up is ruining your own is a reckless and senseless habit and the reason why it is so widespread is because that is how the government wants it to be because one way or another they have to find a way to get us to do what they want us to do...the only benefits of smoking is to the people behind the tobacco business and the so called government...I say so called called because governments should not manipulate the people that put their trust in them.
by what the politicians have done even by means of permitting smoking them have made themselves into legitimate crooks who like to use high sound names such as lord and sir and honorable and yet by what they do they are in no way honorable but are disgraceful...hypocrites made fit to be judged harshly and given the most severe punishments for what they have done.
when you have a government that makes it legal for people to exploit the public for profit, you should not and cannot expect that same government to ensure that there is a top quality health care system for us when we fall ill.

Anonymous said...

Some people use the 'Anonymous' entry route for a comment for the simple reason that we do not have Facebook, Google account, or whatever; others might simply be doing so for less scrupulous reasons -- say, being a paid propagandist for the proposals that should be of real public concern.

A difference between a 20 minute journey and a 3 minute one could well be a matter of life-and-death -- however well-equipped the ambulance. I wonder whether the 'Anonymous' who posted a comment on 12 July 2012 @ 16:47 has ever attended any of the monthly meetings of the Patients Forum to London Ambulance Service, that meet generally on the 2nd monday of each month?

Would not greater public investment in a publicly run NHS -- and an end to lies about the need for austerity -- be healthier for
- the public purse
- climate change and
- local community employment

Alan Wheatley