The Carillion fiasco should be a wake-up call to those ostriches in Whitehall rushing to award contracts to health service providers in the private sector. Since July, when Carillion issued its first profit warning, it has been awarded £1.3 billion worth of Government contracts. Currently it provides services in the health sector, building hospitals (will they remain shells?) cleaning, catering etc.
I have nothing against private healthcare from reputable hospitals and companies that have a track record of providing good care; people have gone to them for years because they give value-for-money. But it is folly to hand NHS contracts to private companies without due diligence. Then to ignore problems and continue allocating contracts to Carillion, when the company had itself issued profit warnings, proves the folly of politicians thinking they know better than business people.
I feel sorry for all the small companies that had been sub-contracted to work on hospitals, or in them, thinking their money was safe as the company had been contracted by the NHS/Government; only to find that they are left bankrupt.
What is really extraordinary is the lack of response from lobbyists such as 38 Degrees, Save the NHS, etc. They are only too keen to jump up and down and complain about the NHS using private companies, here is a classic case of what can go wrong. But I have yet to see any of them send out a press release deploring what has happened. Here is a golden opportunity to tell everyone of the dangers of awarding contracts to private companies with no track record – yet not one squawk!
Ten years ago I was one of those who complained about Carillion’s performance in out local hospital; they aren’t there any longer. But the writing has been on the wall for a long time, and one wonders what next? See Roy Lilley on
for some pithy comment.