LEWISHAM AND GREENWICH HOSPITAL DECIDES AGAINST CONTRACT WITH SERCO
The Save Lewisham hospital Campaign is delighted that Lewisham & Greenwich Trust (LGT) has decided that a contract with SERCO does not represent good value for taxpayers’s money. And that the Trust recognises that SERCO is under investigation (for fraud). We welcome the Trust’s decision and thank our supporters who lobbied the Trust and asked them to reject the relationship with SERCO. SLHC is opposed to the privatisation of NHS core services, including essential services such as procurement. Wherever possible trusts must retain NHS skills in-house and we hope that LGT will seek to collaborate with other like-minded trusts
Photo from lobby Tues 14 January by SLH members, union members and others many of whom attended the board meeting
EMAIL STATEMENT FROM HOSPITAL TO CAMPAIGN CHAIR, LOUISE IRVINE
We are contacting you as you recently expressed an interest in the discussions Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust has been holding with Serco Group PLC (“Serco”) around forming a partnership in procurement.
The Board is responsible for providing the best quality health services within our allocated budget and has a duty to provide best value for money. With constrained budgets in the NHS, the Trust entered into discussions with Serco to look at making savings in procuring goods and services; lowering the cost of these would have allowed the Trust to improve patient care.
At the Board meeting in December 2013, we stated that no decisions had been made and that there would be a full review of Serco’s proposals by early 2014. This has now been carried out and the Trust Board has today (14 January) decided not to pursue working with Serco to outsource procurement services.
In reaching a decision the Board firstly considered the potential economic benefits from working with Serco. The Board decided that the case made did not represent value for tax payers’ money.
The Board does share the concerns which have been raised about Serco’s reputation. If Serco had passed the economic test, the Trust would have needed to know the outcome of the central Government review into the organisation before making a final decision on whether to proceed.
Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust
- SERCO’s reputation both in the health sector and in the public sector is extremely poor. They are currently being investigated by the serious fraud office for allegations of fraudulently charging for tagging offenders. The allegations go back to 2005.
- These allegations are so serious that the government has decided not to give SERCO any more contracts until and unless it receives a clean bill of health. The government has called for “corporate renewal” before Serco could be considered fit to run more contracts (judgment is awaited).
In the health sector SERCO has recently given up its contract to run out of hours services in Cornwall following allegations that it had falsified data and provided an unsafe service. http://gu.com/p/37pev/tw
- It had won the contract with a bid that undercut the local GP co-operative by £1.5m. Whistleblowers later raised the alarm over safety, highlighting an occasion when only one GP had been on duty for the county for the night. The revelations triggered an inquiry by the parliamentary accounts committee. The committee said Serco’s service was substandard.
SERCO’s reputation is that it is very good at winning bids because as a global company it has a large team dedicated to winning bids and that it has the resources to undercut other bidders to get contracts. However when it comes to delivery it is, as we have seen, not trustworthy.