Thursday, 12 May 2011

We Really Know How To Waste Public Money




Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbet, Stirlingshire, boasts some of the most modern facilities in Europe.

It was opened last August at a cost of £300 million and was built to replace the nearby Falkirk and Stirling Royal Infirmaries which are being changed to community hospitals. The 860-bed hospital is the largest NHS hospital ever built in Scotland and provides medical services for 300,000 people in central Scotland.  Patients benefit from free TVs, free internet access and meals cooked on the premises while state-of-the-art robots - which local school pupils are being encouraged to 'adopt' - are used to transport clinical waste and dirty linen, deliver food and dispense drugs.

The visitor isn't forgotten either because the hospital employs its own Ranger to oversee its 70 acres of woodland walks, ponds and visitors' garden.

It sounds just the place to be should hospital treatment be required.

I'm reliably informed by someone who has recently been an inpatient, that there are more staff than patients and the building has a desolate atmosphere. The reason isn't hard to find - there is no A and E department and people still have to travel to Falkirk or Stirling in an emergency.

That's not the only internal planning flaw. Confidential patient records are having to be taxied around the area because there are no facilities to store medical records in the new hospital. The local health authority is now spending £40,000 to decontaminate an old X-ray department in Falkirk Infirmary to store them.  The reason given for the lack of storage is that 'it was planned to transfer all Forth Valley records to an electronic system and therefore paper records would not be required'.

The transfer of old records to an electronic system will take between three and five years a local councillor, who is on the board of NHS Forth Valley, was told.  Meanwhile the Falkirk based Express Taxi firm, which is contracted to transport the records between the three hospitals, is making a handsome profit.

We really know how to waste public money.

The subject of pouring taxpayers' money down the drain is further highlighted by the Edinburgh trams fiasco. The latest news that Princes Street will be closed (again) from July until next spring to 'allow works on the tram line to be repaired', leaves me dumbfounded.  Repaired?  It's only just been built.  This whole project should be binned.

Update:  A reader (thanks Ian) kindly sent the following information:
It is indeed an impressive facility and the actual build cost of £286million will, under the PFI contract cost the taxpayer £1.6 Billion. Thanks Gordon!

18 comments:

JRB said...

Who would have though that people might injure themselves and require urgent medical attention. Certainly not a Hospital Administrator.

Who would have thought that any clinician might have to refer to a patient’s previous medical history. Certainly not a Hospital Administrator.

We all seem to have a common misconception. Hospital Administrators are not paid to think, their sole purpose is to keep an endless stream of paperwork circulating in apparent perpetual motion.

However, I do believe the Hospital Administrators actually did have the hospital running perfectly ….. that was until the first patient arrived.

I wonder when a robotic Hospital Administrator might take over? …. Exterminate! Exterminate!

RMcGeddon said...

Was it a PFI hospital SR ? The costs will spiral forever if it is.

'it was planned to transfer all Forth Valley records to an electronic system and therefore paper records would not be required'

I always thought the so called 'patient opt out' of the electronic record keeping system was worthless.
I wonder how many folk actually applied to opt out. Maybe they could sue under the data protection act or something. I couldn't imagine records in electronic form not going online 'for ease of use'. Their use.

Demetrius said...

Old habits die hard in Labour areas. I recall a Poulson multi storey hospital design from the start of the 1970's. It had got to the stage of final approval when at the meeting I asked where the lifts where and what size. It turned out that there were two tucked away in a corner of the size needed by a two floor retailers so impossible to get a trolley into. What was even stranger was that the intervention was not appreciated.

Anon said...

The administrators have taken over. We need to sack most of them. This applies to hospitals and schools.

- Aangirfan

Dramfineday said...

BooooooooHooooo Edinburgh being dug up again, what did poor auld reekie do to deserve this? What a scunner.

Anent the hospital - another well manged project.

petem130 said...

The hospital isn't fit for purpose then? If not why aren't our guardians the politicians asking difficult questions and trying to expose those who got things wrong? Will the new and shiny SNP politicians try to get this sorted out?

The trams the trams... No one wanted them. Who is at fault on this one? Do I remember the Lib Dims and noble old Labour being the ones pushing this through? Again who is asking questions and exposing error?

Come on Eck jump on the bandwagon and get these things sorted. I can't help thinking people would be more inclined to vote yes to an independent Scotland if Wee Eck sorts these things out.

Still not happy being in a red bit of Scotland. The shame of it.

Apogee said...

Hi SR, Looking at the update and the quoted figures, One wonders what would happen if the PFI contract was rejected as being unaffordable to the Country, and the people responsible for the contract being required to justify what appears to be 6 times the actual cost. One wonders if in open court the figures could be justified and if a much lower figure could be negotiated.One also wonders if criminal charges should be brought against the people and departments responsible for this incredible waste of money,can it be justified to the public?

subrosa said...

The following comments were lost by Blogger but I'm reposting them.

subrosa said...

RMcGeddon has left a new comment on your post "We Really Know How To Waste Public Money":

Was it a PFI hospital SR ? The costs will spiral forever if it is.

'it was planned to transfer all Forth Valley records to an electronic system and therefore paper records would not be required'

I always thought the so called 'patient opt out' of the electronic record keeping system was worthless.
I wonder how many folk actually applied to opt out. Maybe they could sue under the data protection act or something. I couldn't imagine records in electronic form not going online 'for ease of use'. Their use.

subrosa said...

Demetrius has left a new comment on your post "We Really Know How To Waste Public Money":

Old habits die hard in Labour areas. I recall a Poulson multi storey hospital design from the start of the 1970's. It had got to the stage of final approval when at the meeting I asked where the lifts where and what size. It turned out that there were two tucked away in a corner of the size needed by a two floor retailers so impossible to get a trolley into. What was even stranger was that the intervention was not appreciated.

subrosa said...

Dede has left a new comment on your post "We Really Know How To Waste Public Money":

The administrators have taken over. We need to sack most of them. This applies to hospitals and schools.

subrosa said...

The last post was from Aangirfan.

subrosa said...

Dramfineday has left a new comment on your post "We Really Know How To Waste Public Money":

BooooooooHooooo Edinburgh being dug up again, what did poor auld reekie do to deserve this? What a scunner.

Anent the hospital - another well manged project.

subrosa said...

petem130 has left a new comment on your post "We Really Know How To Waste Public Money":

The hospital isn't fit for purpose then? If not why aren't our guardians the politicians asking difficult questions and trying to expose those who got things wrong? Will the new and shiny SNP politicians try to get this sorted out?

The trams the trams... No one wanted them. Who is at fault on this one? Do I remember the Lib Dims and noble old Labour being the ones pushing this through? Again who is asking questions and exposing error?

Come on Eck jump on the bandwagon and get these things sorted. I can't help thinking people would be more inclined to vote yes to an independent Scotland if Wee Eck sorts these things out.

Still not happy being in a red bit of Scotland. The shame of it.

subrosa said...

Apogee has left a new comment on your post "We Really Know How To Waste Public Money":

Hi SR, Looking at the update and the quoted figures, One wonders what would happen if the PFI contract was rejected as being unaffordable to the Country, and the people responsible for the contract being required to justify what appears to be 6 times the actual cost. One wonders if in open court the figures could be justified and if a much lower figure could be negotiated.One also wonders if criminal charges should be brought against the people and departments responsible for this incredible waste of money,can it be justified to the public?

subrosa said...

JRB has left a new comment on your post "We Really Know How To Waste Public Money":

Who would have though that people might injure themselves and require urgent medical attention. Certainly not a Hospital Administrator.

Who would have thought that any clinician might have to refer to a patient’s previous medical history. Certainly not a Hospital Administrator.

We all seem to have a common misconception. Hospital Administrators are not paid to think, their sole purpose is to keep an endless stream of paperwork circulating in apparent perpetual motion.

However, I do believe the Hospital Administrators actually did have the hospital running perfectly ….. that was until the first patient arrived.

I wonder when a robotic Hospital Administrator might take over? …. Exterminate! Exterminate!

RMcGeddon said...

Thanks for re posting our comments SR. It must have been a chore.
I notice blogger is making it more difficult to post comments now. Maybe time to switch to wordpress or ask us for a wee contribution to a site of your own. I'll happily toss in £50 if you give us a link to pay to.

subrosa said...

It wasn't too bad Dram because I get a copy of comments by email.

Thanks so much for your kind offer but I wouldn't have a clue how to move to 'free-standing' and from what I know about those who do, their fees are large.

I did think about moving to 'owner Blogger' where I pay for hosting etc but the problem this week would still have happened.

Sorry you're having problems with comments. It's ok this end but then maybe that's because I'm the author.

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