We tend to get nervous whenever Richard Branson gets mentioned. I am not sure why. You see (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/dec/29/richard-branson-virgin-scoops-1bn-pounds-of-nhs-contracts), we see two parts. The first is “Richard Branson’s Virgin Care won a record £1bn of NHS contracts last year, as £3.1bn of health services were privatised“, the second is “Its growing role has prompted particular anger among anti-privatisation groups. It pays no tax in the UK and its ultimate parent company, Virgin Group Holdings Ltd, is based in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven“, my two issues here are ‘So what?‘ and ‘What did you expect would happen?‘ You see, the solution I had in mind is still not in the roll out and as such Richard has a few issues to deal with soon enough, but the larger extent is not the solution to get it on the rails, it is that both sides of the political isle have been sitting on their hands for over two years and the previous labour administration wasted 11 billion with no results to show. I have shown over half a dozen times in the last year alone that actions were needed and Richard saw options to fulfil the need, so as we read: “Privateers continue to win huge new NHS contracts“, we need to realise that the NHS can no longer make it happen and that the health care costs in the UK will go up, all largely due to politicians not seeing eye to eye on the solutions needed.
So when we now look at the need for the people we see that not only is the interpretation of the mess wrong, the issues that we saw last February (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/28/labour-nhs-jeremy-corbyn-hospital-theresa-may) is still not improving. With “Labour’s failure to counter the right’s message has left more people blaming the NHS crisis on migrants and patients’ bad lifestyles than Tory underfunding or rising numbers of older people“, this too requires scrutiny, because the coffers are empty, all sides in the UK were impacted, so that includes the NHS. In addition, when we see “Whoever follows Corbyn will now find it ferociously hard to regain that lost NHS ground” we see that the message got lost in many ways, because it is about owning the issue and resolving it, not to win lost NHS grounds, because that is merely a conversation on things that are nice to have and the patients will still die as the ‘conversation‘ continues. It is largely too late for conversations, it is time for actual solutions. I am not of mind whether Virgin Care UK is the right step or not, but it is an ACTUAL step being made, which is every time better than merely talking to the press on how hard things are. The people in the UK have had a few years of that with no resolution into any real solution. So as the papers go on regarding the death of a bullied girl and eating disorder services, we seem to forget that the two extreme (yet not ignorable issues) are not the centre piece, it is brought as the outliers in the game that is actually larger and has a few other problems that are digging itself to the surface. So as we see the blame of neglect, we forget to ask the question in regard to “Becky Romero, 15, was let down by ‘gross NHS failures’ an inquest heard“, yet where were the parents? Where were HIS/HER responsibilities? And when we see “The troubled school girl was victim to more than a decade of bullying before her death earlier this year“, what EXACTLY did the school do in the end? It is not a secret that the service is massively underfunded, it is not an excuse, it does not clear the NHS of any blame, but it seems to me that the school had already massively failed this student, and where are they in the dock? Where are the parents in all this?
It seems to me that there is plenty of blame to go around and the NHS has been given the black card for a few times too many. If anything, we could state that Parliament itself might be seen as the guilty party as they had no funds available. The buck gets passed around and around and there has been way too much of that.
In my view it is time that the parents themselves are getting the responsibility to some degree. Now, this is not fair and there should be a better way, but should child care and child wellbeing not be with the parent? I know that there are exceptions, but it seems to me that there have been too many exceptions in too many places and ways and the NHS is no longer able to meet the challenges it faces. Changes will be needed in the immediate and even to the longer extent for now.
So is Virgin Care the solution?
As I stated before, there is no way to tell, but it is an active step in resolving issues, which is better than looking at it and whining about shortages to the media whilst no actual actions are taken, except for planning stages that cost thousands of pounds and merely result in a report. You see, it was only 2 weeks ago that we saw “One CCG – NHS Surrey Downs – accidentally disclosed in its October public finance papers that its liability over the case was £328,000“, in my view it was not an accident, or the mere fact that it might have been shows not merely a flaw, but a larger lack of competence in this regard. Like any firm it went to court after the firm was confronted with “a “serious flaws” in the way the contract was awarded“, yet the petition was all about Branson being rich and not bout the NHS chapters screwing up AGAIN, whilst also dragging its feet regarding confidential issues. So as we get misinformed on 2 million versus the Branson estimated wealth of 3.5 billion, whilst in the same setting forgets that the NHS bungled issues for a decade and as such they can no longer get things done and private options are all that remains, that is a business decision and as such, business decisions are a game that come with rules and regulations.
In all this there is a side that people seem to ignore. You see, if Virgin Care UK gets even as little as 10% of their contracts done, with passing grades, we see that a for profit organisation has been able to do what the NHS no longer could, showing that a harsh overhaul had been overdue for well over a decade. I showed part of that earlier this year in both ‘Choosing an inability‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/02/09/choosing-an-inability/) and ‘Healthy or Smart?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/02/10/healthy-or-smart/), two moments where we see the usage of funds that are debatable. Now, whether it should have been done is not the question, what is shown is that the NHS is so short of cash whilst the privatised versions are optionally now making a profit. Considering that Richard Branson is in it for the cash (to some extent), showing that it can be done is merely meat for the grinder showing that the NHS has a few more logistical flaws than any of us are realising. As such there is a clear chance that we need to ask a multitude of serious questions at the address of the NHS and not at the setting of Branson incorporated, that is the evidence we might be harshly confronted with at the end of 2018.
The fact that the people at large are starting to realise that harsher acts are needed are an initial first in resolving the issue. The fact that the Daily Mail reported on Drunk Tanks, an issue I raised in 2014 shows the additional part that the actions by the NHS have been too lacks and too slow, it could be the evidence that drove Richard Branson in entering the UK care field more energetically over the last 5 years.