Sunday, 13 April 2008


Catching up with local papers today, reveals no mention of our own NHS Trust buying the business of our previously private wing at QEQM so I copy our North Thanet MP's press release for information about it.

North Thanet`s MP, Roger Gale, has today (Monday) welcomed the purchase, by the East Kent Hospitals Trust, of the Spencer Wing of the QEQM hospital, Margate.
Speaking in Margate following the announcement the MP said:
"There will inevitably be both those who say that this is the beginning of the privatisation of the Health Service and those that will say to the contrary that this is the first step towards the nationalisation of private health facilities! I see it as neither.
In a compellingly innovative move the management of the Hospitals Trust have boldly sought to secure the future of orthopaedic and endoscopy capacity on the Margate site and to preserve, prior to re-location, the post-graduate medical training facilities that are essential to the continuing development of medical practitioners.
We need to remember that the buildings and the site are already owned by the Trust and were leased to the Spencer Unit. What has been purchased, therefore, for what I understand to be a fair price, is the business itself.
During the past year some 50% of the business of the Spencer Wing was generated as a result of NHS patients using the facilities and the Wing itself has always bought NHS x-ray, theatre and other facilities from the NHS.
This deal means that NHS money will be re-cycled back into the NHS while business profits will also be ploughed into additional NHS treatment.
The Department of Health may have been taken aback by the audacity of the move but it has been subjected to due diligence and legal advice and found to be sound.
I would like to think that this purchase will see still better end of year financial and patient treatment results for 2008/2009."

So do I. What are your views?


Anonymous said...

My husband had physiotherapy in the Spencer Wing on the NHS and said the place was virtually empty so the NHS buying their services helped both the private wing and the QEQM. I know someone whose family offered to pay for an operation at the Spencer Wing but saved their money when the NHS came up trumps in days so she had her essential treatment free (discounting the taxes she'd paid, of course). Interesting how many stories are not being featured in the local press like the Broadstairs Bowling Club wanting a private car park in the Memorial Recreation Ground so they don't have to pay parking charges. They justify their application by saying Cliftonville bowlers get free parking. Don't seem to mind taking another large chunk of our green spaces in a park donated by the guy who made his fortune from Cherry Blossom boot polish, Mr. Mason.

Rick said...

I worked in Medical Physics when the first lithotriptor was installed at an NHS Hospital (I think it was paid for by BUPA with a 50 50 BUPA NHS patient useage)

The Dornier engineer who installed it told our physicists that UK is the only country in Europe where he has to sto installing at 5PM and come back next day at 9AM

At our hospital only the Chief Tech and Principal Physicist had keys to the dept. It opened 8 till 5.

For the linear accelerator it was shut down Thursdays for service.

So NHS patients got treated four days per week 9 to 5.

The lack of linac availability did not, I think, impact just on reducing quantity of treatment but also on quality. As if a patient might benefit from more radiations but at lower strengths .. they might not get it ?

Absolute madness.

On each Friday the Chief Tech would come in and ask me to spend up to reach our 1500 pounds per week spares and project budget (there being no greater sin a a management overloaded parallel departmentalist cock up than for any dept to underspend its budget)

So I would get out the farnell and RS catalogiues and order up to 1500 quids worth of components at random

One day a question came down from on high. And the Chief Tech asks why I don't buy the same electronics components as my predecessor.

So I asked did he by any chance come from a family who owned TV shops.

"How did you know that" asks the Chief

"Because he has been buying about 700 quids worth of TV and video components some weeks"

"Heck" says the Chief tech "Well you order some of the same so they don't spot it"

Which is to say ... get some commercial discipline in there.

If you invest a million in a linear accelerator (and the rest) then use it seven days of the week and not just for eight hours a day.

Roger Gale ring the Guiness Book of Records I just appear to have agreed with you.

Rick said...

Oh yes. In my short time with Medical Physics in the NHS (by the time I commuted to London I was 35 quid a week worse off than if I had been on benefits and our mortgage went into arrears. Maggie Thatcher decided that repossession of our home was essenial to balance the national books .. and enough was enough. off I went contracting with as totally selfish profit motive. We all Thatcherites now)

Anyway I did a project on infra red physio treatment machines. Modifying them with a timer controller system to free up physio time.

After a successful demo of the prototype. The Physio boss said he wanted all his machines modded.

Then the trouble started. I can do that for about two hundred quid apiece ? So I can do seven this month out of our project and spares budget ?

No says the Chief Tech we can't let on to physio that we have money to spend on that sort of thing.

Then physio phoned claiming he could not afford the mods fro his budget could we do one every two months on the physio budget.

Stand by for incoming all the NHs employees denying what a cock up the system is.

bertie biggles said...

Glad to see Roger and Rick in agreement! A sorry tale of waste though Rick and perhaps explains why Labour's spending of billions of tax-payer's money has not resulted in big improvements?

Rick said...


We had links (hon posts) with two other teaching hospitals and the Richard Dimbleby charity "Rayne Institute"

Our principal physicist decided that if he set up an asset register then rarely used test equipment would not need to be pourchased by each single electronics unit (biomed, med physics etc) So if we bought one piece of expensive kit then Guys could buy something else etc so we would all end up with a wider variation in the kit available in London.

That idea was scotched by management.

Management (parasites) who oversee a parallel dept structure maintain a bogus need for their employ by preventing communication across professionals in the depts and ensuring that the only communication goes up and across and down (as management see it they are at the top of a pecking order)

In electrical contracting there are oddly enough no managers. It is too complex to have them on the case. So an electrician foreman and site engineer run the show.

If only the NHS would take a lesson.

Self managing professionals. And as a German engineer told me their mangement is retired technical professionals and they take a pay cut to drop into management which is a semi skilled support role.

The UK has declined since the 1890s on the issue of knowing yer job versus knowing yer place. Being UK knowing yer place won and now we have very few people who know their job.

Even an Armenian laughed to me about UK reputation "Obsessed with having people in charge who have nothing else to contribute. Hence the most easily sabotaged western democracy."

We have bneen maneged almost to death. And to throw money at a structure like that of the NHS is akin to the military folly of reinforcing an indefensible position.

I wonder if Roger noted his diary ?

Next thing he might reciprocate (by agreeing with me) and do something about Kent Police admin of firearms and range law ?

Rick said...

Oh and Midstone MRSA Hospital. How much was the last Chief Exec paid and how much severance ?

yet 19.4.2005 (during the election) Tony Blair directed a letter to me (about sabotage and unreliability of backup generators). The letter told me that he had just ordered copies of my reported concerns to be sent to the Northern Ireland office.

It just happens to have been the day Maidstone Hospital emergency genny had a phut phut. And A and E was evacuated for two days at a time of heightened terrorist threat due to elections.

So what are we to conclude about is it THREE failures of the emergency backup power at Maidston Hospital ?

They got how much to pay a chief exec and how much to get rid of her after the MRSA deaths scandal

Rant ends. Best wishes.

Rick said...

Other than to add perhaps, she should forego her severance and donate it for a backup genny ?

Anonymous said...

The press release on the Spencer Wing story arrived on local newsdesks just as the Scenic Railway fire was taking hold.

Consequently, pages which had already been prepared were quickly - and correctly - rearranged to give maximum coverage to the fire thus meaning S Wing information was probably swept away inside. It did get good telly coverage on Tuesday and may do so in this week's Thanet papers.

Still, Thanet Extra managed to include a small piece inside as well as beat the IOTG to Scenic Railway coverage. The fire happened just on TX's deadline, I'm told, while photos of the event were on Kent Online by 6pm Monday. Very quick off the mark - the fire was still raging at the time.

Your Thanet could only manage a miserable pic of the railway after the blaze by its front page lead story while the IOTG had plenty of time to put together their spread for Friday.

It is about luck though when something like this happens. It could have happened Thursday afternoon when none of the papers would have appeared with the news until the following week!

Nick, Whitstable

bertie biggles said...

Her severance pay seems to about to become a small battle with the issue being its size!

bertie biggles said...

Nick, its all about timing, dear chap, isn't it! After all didn't our Government release a story expecting far more serious events to effectively kill it? I felt a degree of frustration whilst 'oop north' when the news of the Scenic's demise was sent via mobile! Blogging seems to get a grip of one.