Controversial care contract folds without warning

UnitingCare17:09 Thursday 3rd December 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

CHRIS MANN: It’s been revealed this afternoon that a consortium which was set up to look after community care in Cambridgeshire has ended, with all parties saying it’s no longer financially sustainable. The consortium was made up of Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. The £800 million contract was the biggest outsourcing of the NHS care in its sixty year history, and yet eight months later it has apparently broken down. Only back in July, just three months into the contract, the Chief Executive of UnitingCare, Keith Spencer, told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire they’d made a promising start.
KEITH SPENCER: From 1st April we managed to transfer services safely, and 40 from the Community Services staff transferred to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. But we’ve also introduced two new services. So on 6th May we introduced OneCall, which is a 24/7 single point of contact co-ordination and source of advice, in the first instance for GPs. But we will be extending that to patients later in the year.
CHRIS MANN: So that was Keith Spencer speaking in July, the Chief Executive of UnitingCare. Then today came that news. Well earlier I spoke to Jo Rust. She’s the Regional Organiser of Unison, and she began by giving me her reaction to the news.
JO RUST: Well I’m totally shocked, because we were actually at a management meeting with senior managers in CPFT the mental health trust that oversees UnitingCare, and there was no inkling of it whatsoever there.
CHRIS MANN: When was the meeting?
JO RUST: Yesterday.
CHRIS MANN: And they didn’t say anything?
JO RUST: No. Nothing at all. We know that the Finance Director wasn’t there. He was at a meeting with the CCG, so it could well have been that was the reason for his absence.
CHRIS MANN: I think ordinary people will be baffled. Patients will be baffled at what’s going on here. Give us your interpretation.
Continue reading “Controversial care contract folds without warning”

Alcohol and violence against public sector workers

drunk07:41 Friday 20th November 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: New figures from the East of England Ambulance service show a small rise in the number of staff at the NHS Trust being attacked. There were 195 physical assaults reported in 2014/15, compared to 188 in the year beforehand. 36 of these assaults last year were reported in Cambridgeshire. This included a Cambridgeshire paramedic who was bitten on the arm by a drunk patient. 90 people were found guilty of attacks. Joining me now is Tim Roberts, who is the regional organiser for the public service union Unison. Tim this must be a horrible thing really, if you’re out and about trying to help ill people and you get bitten on the arm by someone who has had too much to drink.
TIM ROBERTS: Yes. This is the problem which many of our members face working in the public services, particularly those in the emergency services such as the ambulance service. They face a range of problems, and it’s invariably down to people’s over-consumption of alcohol.
Continue reading “Alcohol and violence against public sector workers”

Cambridge Health Emergency – a voice for Addenbrookes

addenbrookes07:26 Wednesday 14th October 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: A few weeks ago when the Trust that runs Addenbrookes and the Rosie was put into special measures plenty of you got in touch wanting to show your support for the hospitals. Well three weeks on it seems that the fightback for those places is starting to find its voice. Last night a meeting took place in Cambridge for people who want to defend Addenbrookes. They formed a campaign group called Cambridge Health Emergency. Martin Booth joins me, a retired Addenbrookes worker who helped organise last night’s meeting. Morning Martin .
MARTIN BOOTH: Good morning.
DOTTY MCLEOD: So why organise this meeting last night?
MARTIN BOOTH: Well as you said a lot of people have already expressed their concern and alarm really about events at Addenbrookes over the last few weeks. First of all we had the Chief Executive and the Finance Director resigning out of the blue with no notice at all. And then following that the Care Quality Commission report saying that the Trust was ‘inadequate’, something which a lot of people would disagree with to be honest, but at the same time highlighting very serious problems, which the report indicated many of them were caused by a lack of sufficient funding and resources, particularly the lack of staff to fully provide the services that are needed. And then the Trust being placed in special measures.
DOTTY MCLEOD: But what’s your campaign group going to do? What’s your aim Martin with this group?
Continue reading “Cambridge Health Emergency – a voice for Addenbrookes”

Healthcare assistants employed while nursing posts remain unfilled

healthcare_assistants08:09 Monday 23rd March 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: Would you be happy for a healthcare assistant rather than a fully trained nurse to take your blood, to dress your wounds, or to give you injections while you’re in hospital? Well healthcare assistants from Cambridgeshire have told the BBC that is exactly what they are being asked to do in some cases. An investigation for Inside Out spoke to staff from ten hospitals across the Eastern region. Let’s find out more about exactly what a healthcare assistant is. Joanne Bennis is the Chief Nurse at Peterborough City Hospital. Joanne, roughly how many healthcare assistants do you have at PCH?
JOANNE BENNIS: Good morning Dotty. We have on average on clinical area about 65% of the nurses that we have on the ward are registered nurses, and 35% of those are unregistered, or healthcare assistants.
DOTTY MCLEOD: And let’s talk about the training. What is the difference between the training that a nurse has and the training that an HCA has?
Continue reading “Healthcare assistants employed while nursing posts remain unfilled”

Unison protest against erosion of NHS salaries

08:27 Monday 24th November 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: A second week of strike action by NHS workers is starting this morning. There are picket lines at hospital buildings across Cambridgeshire. Staff including midwives, nurses and paramedics are involved. They’re not happy about a Government decision to give them either a 1% pay rise or an annual increment, but not both. Sue Marchant’s been at Addenbrookes Hospital this morning. She caught up with Martin Booth who is the Cambridge Health Unison Branch Manager, and asked him about the turnout at the picket line.
MARTIN BOOTH: Well we’re certainly pleased with the response that we’re getting. We’ve got a number of members as you might have seen here, picketing the various entrances. And the people going into work, a lot of them not on strike for various reasons, but they are very supportive of the case that we’ve been making this morning.
SUE MARCHANT: So for those who are not aware, why are you striking?
MARTIN BOOTH: Because 1% which is what all public sector workers have been offered is way below the rise in the cost of living. In the case of health workers it’s even worse, because we’re recommended to get a 1% pay rise, but Jeremy Hunt said we’re not even going to get that. The only people getting that are the people at the top of their pay bands, but there’s about two thirds of health workers who are not at the top of the pay band. They’re getting no pay rise to make up for the rise in the cost of living this year, and next year we’ve not been promised anything at all. We can’t go on like this.
SUE MARCHANT: This isn’t the first strike though, is it? So where does this fit in with the strategy of what you’re trying to achieve?
Continue reading “Unison protest against erosion of NHS salaries”

Unison And Management At Loggerheads Over Hinchingbrooke Hospital

hinchingbrooke07:39 Thursday 26th September 2013
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[P]AUL STAINTON: A Cambridgeshire hospital has come in for some serious criticism at the Labour Party conference. Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon was taken over by a private company of course, Circle HealthCare, around eighteen months ago. The hospital was nearly £40 million in debt at the time. Yesterday at the Labour conference Linda Hobson from the union Unison said things at the hospital had actually gone from bad to worse since they took over.
(TAPE)
LINDA HOBSON: The Circle franchise at Hinchingbrookes in Cambridgshire is failing to make the savings as promised. It has had to be bailed out by the NHS, and is cutting jobs. Conference, far from being protected from the cuts, our NHS has been starved of the funds it needs. So-called efficiency savings, rather than being reinvested back into patient care, have been clawed back by Osborne as he tries to buy votes, ahead of the 2015 election.
(LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Let’s speak to Tracey Lambert. She’s the Head of Health for Unison in the East of England. Good morning Tracey.
TRACEY LAMBERT: Good morning.
PAUL STAINTON: What does Linda know? She’s a councillor in Newcastle, isn’t she?
TRACEY LAMBERT: Well we’ve had running now for at least three years a campaign and an information campaign in relation to the franchising of Hinchingbrooke by Circle. So it’s well known throughout the organisation. And it was a national publicity campaign, national BBC took up the issue. And of course now Circle are bidding to franchise for hospitals in the West Midlands and in the South West. So they’re trying to take what they’ve done at Hinchingbrooke, which I would agree with Linda has not worked ..
PAUL STAINTON: Well why? Why would you say it’s not worked? Where’s your proof? Because we hear from time to time that they’re doing a good job, that things are going well.
TRACEY LAMBERT: Well, you have to measure, in terms of how well they’re doing, by the eradication of the debt, and the reducing of the debt, which is why they were given the franchise in the first place. And that debt remains the same.
PAUL STAINTON: Well with us is Dr Hisham Abdel-Rahman, the Chief Executive of Hinchingbrooke Hospital. Is that how you measure it? Success.
Continue reading “Unison And Management At Loggerheads Over Hinchingbrooke Hospital”

Peterborough Hospital Faces Multiple Issues – Dr Peter Reading

pch08:12 Wednesday 13th March 2013
Bigger Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[P]AUL STAINTON: Now there are accusations this morning that Peterborough City Hospital just isn’t big enough. The claims by Unison follow the cancellation of 38 operations this week due to a shortage of beds. It’s not just Peterborough City Hospital that’s affected. It’s Addenbrookes too that says that due to an exceptionally busy Emergency Department earlier this week, 37 operations have had to be rearranged. Well Phil Green is the Regional Organiser for Unison. He says that Peterborough Hospital is not fit for purpose. (TAPE)
PHIL GREEN: The Peterborough City Hospital was always built too small. And considering the cost of it that’s unforgivable really. We said at the time that the Hospital was going to be too small, that being funded by PFI it was going to cost far too much. And we said again the same recently. .. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: We’ve got Dr Peter Reading, Interim Chief Executive at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals with us right now. Let’s get to the bottom of this. What is going on? Because that’s not acceptable, is it? Continue reading “Peterborough Hospital Faces Multiple Issues – Dr Peter Reading”

Peterborough Hospital PFI – Who Signed It Off?

17:15 Thursday 29th November 2012
Drive BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Note: Answer at foot of post

CHRIS MANN: Peterborough City Hospital’s crippling debt is being described as a very serious situation. An investigation by the National Audit Office revealed that Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Trust had a £46 million deficit last year, one of the worst debt-ridden hospitals in the whole of the Health Service. .. So let’s bring in Dr John Lister now from the pressure group London Health Emergency, who’s written a detailed report looking into Peterborough City Hospital’s PFI. John, hello to you.
JOHN LISTER: Hello there.
CHRIS MANN: You’ve looked at all the hospitals actually in the Eastern Region. So put Peterborough in perspective. It’s the worst, isn’t it? Continue reading “Peterborough Hospital PFI – Who Signed It Off?”