Sunday, November 25, 2012

Exclusive: NHS Information & Technology Department At Leicester Hospital Trust Under Threat of IBM Takeover


Well, well, well Malcolm Lowe-Lauri former CEO of the Leicester Hospital Trust, looks like you jumped to join KPMG just at the right time! (Just as predicted)  Mr Lowe-Lauri's departure from the Trust was exposed on this blog last June see HERE

Seems that Mr Lowe-Lauri  has a lot in common with a former NHS adviser to the Prime Minister, David Cameron who recently jumped ship to join a lobbying company! See: HERE how many people who previously worked for Government and had dealings with Lansley's Health & Social care [Bill] Act are now leaving Government and NHS trusts, in order to join the private sector and lobbying companies in order to make themselves rich? Companies like KPMG, IBM and lobbying firms like MHP Communications etc it seems are the beneficiaries of people that would have a lot of inside information. Of course they all state they are under post contract obligations not to work in certain areas and I expect they will "officially" fulfill those obligations!

Recently it has come to my attention that IBM, who are the world's largest IT and consulting services company have put in a bid to run IT services and supply software to Leicester Hospital Trust. 

The idea was originally suggested by a non executive director (NED) of the Board, but now apparently negotiations are in full swing and due to be signed off before the New Year, strangely, before a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Leicester Hospital Trust has been appointed! 

Jim Birrell, who last summer was named as the fifth most expensive interim chief executive in the health service, was appointed Interim Chief Executive at Leicester trust. I've no idea what Mr Birrell gets paid by the Leicester Trust, however, as he commanded a salary of around £1,250 a day while in his previous role as Director of Delivery at the Birmingham and Solihull primary care trusts, one hopes that the Leicester Trust is paying their staff properly, and on time, after hiring such an expensive acting CEO?

  • Who was the NED that originally suggested the IBM deal and does he/she have any connections with IBM? 
  • Has the Trust ever put this contract out to tender? If not why not?

As there appears to be a relatively short time to wait before the new permanent  CEO is appointed in the New Year, it does seem a bit odd that the Trust is rushing in to sign off a deal between the Trust and IBM before the new CEO takes up position. As the new CEO, who will be the highest ranking officer in the Trust, surely he/she will want to have input into such an important and costly deal? Especially as IBM appears to have run into difficulties in delivering one of their contracts at South West One (SW1). 

IBM has bailed out troubled Somerset shared services firm South West One with a £10m loan as the local authority venture starts bidding for work as an IT services company. 
The supplier extended a mortgage to cover its 75% interest in South West One (SW1) after managers tore up the troubled public-private partnership's original business plan to avert its collapse. Computer Weekly

If the Leicester Trust was so cash strapped that at one point their then CEO, Malcolm Lowe-Lauri, sent out an email to staff warning that their salaries may not be paid, then how can they afford the services of a giant IT specialist like IBM as well as hiring the fifth most expensive interim CEO in the health service? If the Trust is struggling to provide its own IT services how will they manage taking a loan to cover it? Could it possibly be because IT suppliers like IBM can win big government contracts by cutting prices to suicidal-levels, and then make up the difference by brutally cutting costs and avoiding disaster in the interim by claiming tax rebates? 

The losses are built into the outsource model, say accountancy experts. Non-payment of tax is built in too - since companies only pay tax on their profits. But a loss-making outsource will still generate income for its parent - in the form of inter-group payments that go unrecorded under UK accounting rules.

If this is the case then the loser is going to be the public who will suffer reduced and poor quality services, and the staff, who may begin to lose their jobs.


If Leicester hospital has financial problems why are they even thinking of a deal with IBM? Could it be a deal deliberately set up to fail?
I've heard that the Head of the IM&T Department told the Leicester & Mercury that "nothing was going to be done" and that he knew nothing, however, it now looks like the deal will be signed off before the start of the New Year. If the head of IM&T is telling the truth and actually "knows nothing" then it looks like they too have been kept in the dark about this possible deal with IBM -  why?

Why is Leicester Hospital trust being so secretive about this deal with IBM? What will be the full effect of this deal with IBM on the existing IM&T department at the Trust? Will this inevitably lead to reduced services as IBM seek to make profits for shareholders? Will this deal inevitably mean the closure of the Trust's IM&T department and the loss of jobs?


I am told if the IM&T had a thorough reconfiguration in the department then it could be run a lot more efficiently.  Following an external review of Management for Change conducted for the IM&T department, it was found that more Engineers were needed to cope with the call demand, and less managers. But since then, no additional Engineers have been appointed, but in fact one Engineer was made a Team Leader pulling him off the call work. 

Who made this poor decision which is opposite to that of what the review suggested and why? From where I'm standing it looks like the Trust is deliberately running the Information & Technology department down in order to bring in IBM.m If this is the case, who is leading this?
I'm told there are 4 team leaders for 9 permanent IM&T engineers. The engineers are struggling to cope and they have a backlog of calls, why don’t the ‘team leaders’ help them? This would never happen in a private company so why is it allowed to happen in the NHS? Why isn't Jim Birrell stepping in to help sort this problem out?
The radiology department has their own budget and 6 IT staff, but has been so poorly managed that there are now 550 calls for IT service and no one to do it (surly they need to look into where their staff are working?) The Trusts main IM&T engineers are being pulled of their already overloaded workload to help them – why? Poor management, or is it to make the IM&T service appear poor, so the staff will want IBM to run it? 
The so called relocation of IT services out of the hospital to the county council offices. This was done at a huge expense; only to discover when they got there that staff couldn’t work or connect to the hospital systems due to a formality not being signed off. Staff couldn’t work, and in the end they had no option but to pack up their computers in their cars after days of just sitting at their desks and moved themselves back to the hospital.


If Leicester Trust outsources its IT department they may then be charged for any additional services, such as installing new software which could take many days and cost around  £20,000 to £30,000 labour which is as much as the software. 
Once the Board sign off the proposal to IBM, the main services will be relocated to India, leaving a lot of people out of work in Leicester.

The IBM proposal exposes a story that is actually taking place across the country, where hospital trusts are being deliberately run down, so when the private sector is brought in to run them, people think they are saving them and this could not be further from the truth. What will happen is services to patients will be seriously reduced the quantity and quality of care will be badly affected. The number of different surgical procedures will be cut and many procedures will become only available if you pay for them. It's happening already in Trusts and in GP surgeries.
Recently there was a huge drop in the number of people waiting for treatment, this was primarily because people on waiting lists for surgery were actually reassessed and taken off the list, then they were informed they no longer needed their operation, this was done without further consultation between doctor and patient.

Nurses are losing their jobs every single day, operations are being cancelled, procedures limited, our hospitals are being deliberately run down so the Tory controlled government can flog them all off to the private sector, who are circling the NHS like a flock of vulchers waiting for the rich pickings. 

The number of cabinet and Government ministers who stand to gain from the privatisation of the NHS is alarming, they have interests in virtually every department. If people do not wake up and realise this soon, then it is when we lose our NHS and not if. It's happening now at great pace.

Anyone who seriously doubts what I am saying need only to read this piece in the Telegraph by two doctors Dr Clive Peedell and Dr Richard Taylor who are forming the new National Health Action party and intend to put up candidates in Coalition seats in order to try and save our NHS. See HERE

28 comments:

Gracie Samuels said...

This is part of an anonymous email I received, the sender has given permission to publish it.

"The same sort of thing is happening at the hospital I work in too. It also concerns our IT department.We were wondering if the government is involved - which would account for the secrecy"

______________________________

If anyone else has something they are concerned about regarding the NHS and they want it published without come back, then I can do it here. Just get yourself a throw away email account and email me from there to this address. gracie.samuels@hushmail.com
Your identity will be kept secret at all times.

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