EDP: Health minister ‘immensely disappointed’ as Norwich hospital ditches staff-ownership plans

Tom Bristow of the EDP reports:

Mr Lamb, MP for North Norfolk and care minister, suggested the [Norfolk & Norwich] hospital dropped its interest in becoming a mutual because it was under investigation by regulator Monitor for persistently missing waiting time targets.

“It is immensely disappointing,” Mr Lamb said. “I obviously understand that they are under investigation from Monitor and they are focusing a lot of their attention on addressing that.”

We’re sure Anna Dugdale and the Board of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH) will be delighted by Norman Lamb’s attempt to deflect attention away from his unpopular, misleading and failing Pathfinder programme by blaming NNUH’s ‘persistently missing waiting time targets’.

A spokesman for the N&N said the hospital would proceed with its own programme to engage staff instead of pursuing mutualisation.

“Our particular interest in the mutuals project was to learn from others about their experience of enhanced staff engagement and the potential for that to result in benefits for patients,” the spokesman said.

“Since then we have received further information about the project which has highlighted the opportunities that are already available to us as a foundation trust.

“In light of that, we are withdrawing from the mutuals project so that we can instead progress our own comprehensive staff engagement programme.”

The NNUH Board has seen that staff engagement is a red herring and that the true purpose of the Pathfinder programme is privatisation. We’d loved to see the ‘further information’ NNUH received from the Cabinet Office and Fieldfisher Consulting: it must have been very persuasive for them to decide to turn down £100,000 of free management consultancy.

Mr Lamb said it was vital for the NHS to find alternative methods of operating

Perhaps Norman Lamb would like to explain why? Because he has overseen disproportionate cuts to mental health funding whilst claiming to be a mental health champion and bleating on about parity of esteem?

“There are those who think this is privatisation. It is nothing of the sort,” he said.

Norman Lamb recently wrote to all NHS Foundation Trusts with his coalition buddy, Francis Maude, encouraging mutualisation. Here’s what Francis Maude told The Spectator:

Maude says that mutualisation is a form of privatisation.

The Cabinet Office confirms:

“Public service mutuals are organisations which have left the public sector

Francis Maude and the Cabinet Office say one thing, duplicitous Norman Lamb claims the opposite. Who to believe?

Even Liberal Democrat Voice knows the answer:

As Ed Mayo (the head of Co-operatives UK) has recently pointed out, many of these newly created entities struggle to meet the traditional definition of a mutual: ‘…the government’s entry definition of mutual ownership, with a paltry 25% for staff and no rights for service users, gives no guarantee of member control and leaves investors in charge.’

Given this, the reality of the Coalition’s enthusiasm for mutuals begins to look less like a revolution of worker democracy and empowerment, and more like an opportunity for keen-eyed private investors to work their way into the very infrastructure of public services.

Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) is currently under investigation by Monitor and was rated as inadequate by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). If, according to Norman Lamb, NNUH hasn’t got time to investigate leaving the NHS, how can the NSFT Board find time to discuss leaving the NHS?

How long will it be before the NSFT Board admits that staff, service users and carers are opposed to the proposal to leave the NHS? The Board of NSFT needs to concentrate on delivering decent mental health services to the people of Norfolk and Suffolk rather than dreaming of share options and privatisation.

How ‘immensely disappointed’ will Norman Lamb be if both of his local NHS trusts withdraw from his attempt to privatise the NHS?

Come on, NSFT! Do the right thing! Roast Lamb!

Click on the image below to read the full story on the EDP website:

EDP Health minister ‘immensely disappointed’ as Norwich hospital ditches staff-ownership plans

8 thoughts on “EDP: Health minister ‘immensely disappointed’ as Norwich hospital ditches staff-ownership plans”

  1. Google Maps says the roundtrip distance is 58 miles and the journey time 1 hour 56 minutes from ‘local MP’ Norman Lamb’s house in Norwich South to the Blakeney Hotel on the north Norfolk coast for that EDP photoshoot.

    Assuming the photographer, journalist and Norman Lamb travelled from Norwich to Blakeney in separate cars, that’s hardly environmentally friendly, is it? Nearly six hours of car driving so that Norman Lamb can pretend to live locally?

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