A huge scandal has broken today with the revelation by the Health Service Journal that a private firm with a public contract for disposing of clinical waste has been unable to execute its contract in a ‘timely’ fashion, leading to a ‘pile up‘ of hundreds of tonnes of human body parts and other waste.
This is staggering revelation. Given number of hospital trusts involved & worries re environmental health implications hugely disappointing Health Secretary didn’t come to Commons to explain. We need urgent reassurance credible contingency plan in place https://t.co/NKJEq75Aps
— Jonathan Ashworth (@JonAshworth) October 4, 2018
But the Department of Health’s management organisation for the English NHS, NHS England (NHSE), was told well over a year ago that the price bid by the winning contractor, Healthcare Environmental Services (HES) was ‘abnormally low‘ – and it went to court to defeat a legal bid to overturn the contract award:
Another firm that competed in the tender, Stericycle (then called SRCL), lodged a complaint that the winning bidder had put in a price that was unrealistically low. Stericycle’s legal action was an attempt to overturn the award – but was defeated in the High Court in July.
Stericycle’s claim, lodged in June last year, pointed out that NHSE had failed to require HES to
explain the prices proposed in its winning bid
and alleged that this was a breach of its duties under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.
The High Court exonerated NHSE of this allegation – but the wound has been reopened by HES’ failure to cope with the demand for its service under the contract it won at the ‘abnormally low’ price.
The government claims it is protecting the NHS, but the clear drive under the ‘efficiency’ drive to save £20bn, which the government imposed on the English NHS years ago, to do everything on the cheap is a major part of what is fuelling the collapse of our greatest national treasure.
So is the government’s ideological determination to push every contract toward private firms. The two have come together catastrophically in this scandal.
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