It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say


Posted by chrisrick13 on July 13, 2012

It is obvious: you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

The hospital my son was born in was pulled down a few years ago.  There is a brand new one in its place.  I have been there.  It is certainly new but it does not have the feel of endurance.  Already I can see signs of wear.  The NHS trust that uses the hospital was created a few years ago by combining 3 failing trusts.  (In my first draft I put ‘owns’, but they don’t.)  I’m not sure how putting the three failures together was supposed to create a success.  However there was an existing model that they followed: in Spain three failing cajas where combined to create Bankia which now needs 30bn to survive.  (Not the only example in Spain which is an indicator of problems to come.)  Were I a cynic (sic) I might say that the aim was deceit and delay.  The trust has now declared bankruptcy with large debts.  Would you want to be lying in a bed in that hospital?  In fact there are 3 new hospitals in the trust and it is these that have caused the bankruptcy.  Don’t get ill in Croydon

How did the losses occur?  Step forward one of my favourites: PFI.  The Private Finance Initiative was introduced by the last Conservative government but they were kicked out of power before they could really crank it up.  That was left to the Labour party.  PFI is a way of spending capital money but making it look like current account expenditure.  This is an old trick from company accounting used over many years.  The accountants were there long before the politicians.  Its operation is simple.  A company builds a hospital for £100mn and charges the NHS nothing.  The NHS lets a contract where they pay £20m a year to the company to use the hospital.  They also pay the company £40m a year to run the hospital.  The cost of running the hospital is about £20 a year.  The contract is let for 10 years.  You work it out.  When you have done that I’ll be round for your cheque if you live in Croydon.

It is obvious: you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  They aren’t that hot on old ones either.

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