Hypocrisy of Sturgeon’s NHS pledge: US private healthcare giant behind SNP’s cost-cutting

0

A MASSIVE cost-cutting drive designed by a US ­private healthcare giant and linked to a hospital bullying scandal is being imposed on the NHS in Scotland. The revelation has seen Nicola Sturgeon accused of “breathtaking hypocrisy” after she launched her general election campaign on Friday with a pledge to ban US involvement in the health service.

Opposition parties are now calling for a full investigation of the major role played by an American company in the NHS in Scotland – in the form of links between Miss Sturgeon’s Government and the Boston-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). The firm, which has won NHS contracts worth millions of pounds, is helping to introduce the new “Value Management” scheme across six Scottish health boards.

It was trialled at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness last year and saw costs per patient slashed from £800 to £600 before it was rolled out across the Highlands.

The project was linked to the Highland Quality Approach (HQA), also drawn up with IHI and another US healthcare firm, the Virginia Mason Institute in Seattle.

Both Virginia Mason and HQA were named as “possible causes” for health board bullying in John Sturrock QC’s report into the scandal, which was commissioned by Health Secretary Jeane Freeman.

Despite this warning, the Value Management “journey” will be launched in Edinburgh on November 19 and will run until at least March 2022.

The Healthcare Improvement Scot-land website states: “Value Management is a new collaborative that aims to test and spread an innovative model developed within NHS Highland that supports clinical, care and finance teams to apply quality improvement methods with combined cost and quality data at team level to deliver improved patient outcomes, experience and value…

“We are recruiting five NHS boards to be part of the new collaborative, led by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS)’s ihub, working in partnership with NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).”

Highland and the other five boards – Tayside, Lothian, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Forth Valley and Lanarkshire, who care for 3.7 million people between them – will receive extra funding, and “improvement coaches” will be appointed.

In Highland, improvement coaches from Seattle were dubbed “senseis” – a martial arts term for teachers.

Mr Sturrock’s damning report, published in May, highlighted concerns about the “appropriateness, effectiveness and transferability of management ideas from the United States”.

One senior consultant said that managers had visited Seattle “many times… at significant cost” and anyone who did not agree with the new approach was “marginalised and ostracised”.

Others described the American ideas imported from IHI and Virginia Mason as “poorly understood box-ticking” which created “distrust” and “low morale” among staff.

The President and CEO of IHI is Derek Feeley, who resigned as chief executive of NHS Scotland in 2013 after a waiting list scandal which left Miss Sturgeon, then Health Secretary, feeling “shocked and extremely angry”.

But she has clearly forgiven Mr Feeley. 

She met him at Bute House last year before hosting a lavish IHI dinner at Edinburgh Castle, weeks before the firm won a £2million contract to implement the “Scottish Approach to Quality Improvement”.

Over the years, IHI has been paid at least £10million by the NHS in Scotland. 

Numerous Scottish delegates have attended the not-for-profit company’s conferences around the world. 

Last October, there was anger when NHS Highland used £25,000 from its endowments fund to send five staff members to an IHI event in Boston.

Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary, said: “The breathtaking hypocrisy of Nicola Sturgeon is quite incredible.

“The First Minister is busy ‘protecting’ our NHS from American private firms and all the while giving contracts to her favourite private American firm.

“The SNP has clearly been in bed with these private American firms for years, and all the while the First Minister has condemned private involvement – how she can keep a straight face is beyond me.

“It’s time we had full transparency from Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP Government on what Scottish NHS contracts the SNP have been signing over to private American health firms.”

Mr Briggs has also written to Auditor General Caroline Gardner and Permanent Secretary Lesley Evans to call for a full investigation into the awarding of the latest IHI contract.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government has repeatedly set out our absolute commitment to keeping Scotland’s NHS true to its founding principles – publicly owned, publicly operated, and free at the point of need. 

“The not-for-profit Institute for Healthcare Improvement works with Healthcare Improvement Scotland to empower NHS staff to improve patient safety. The IHI does not deliver any NHS Scotland patient services.”

Share.

About Author

Leave A Reply