Thursday, August 12, 2004

 

Poisoned Chalice(s).

Camden New Journal: on our local hospital UCLH which has recently achieved Foundation Hospital Status.

UCLH Chief Executive Robert Naylor is interviewed in an item titled Hospital faces challenge of move to £422m centre:

'...he says the controversial political battle over foundation hospitals, which pitted him against the unions and former Health Secretary Frank Dobson, the Holborn and St Pancras MP, is nothing compared with the test of moving to a new £422 million hospital campus in Euston Road from next year...
...the move to foundation status, designed to free the hospital from Whitehall bureaucracy and increase local democratic control, was a fraught one. Critics argued that neighbouring hospitals would suffer as a consequence, a charge that Mr Naylor dismisses.
He said: “Frank Dobson kept saying we would pay our staff more and that that would damage the NHS, but it hasn’t happened yet and it’s not going to. “It wouldn’t be in our interest because all the patients would then come to us, and we’re not ready to deal with them.
“But I understand Frank Dobson’s arguments and have great respect for him, as I know he does for us. He has his opinions and as an MP that is his right...”

Chances are that in the medium term Foundation Hospitals will drive most of it's employees wages further down.

Some background.
One of the main reasons for Labour winning the 1997 General Election was that the public had lost faith in the Tories ability to deliver on public services. Gordon Brown decided to continue with the same budgetary model that the Tories had for New Labour's first three years in power.
Dobson was given one of the most critical posts in Government -especially a Labour one- Minister of Health. Yet he was given no extra money to sort out the mess that the Conservatives had left them. In effect his hands were tied.
He was then cajoled by Tony Blair into another no-win situation of becoming the official Labour candidate for London Mayor against Ken Livingstone.

NB: Parliament is in recess till September 7th so things are fairly quiet.


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