AN NHS hospital in Birmingham was handed over to private management last week. The NHS trust's board signed a £1.3 million agreement with health service consultants Secta. The management of Good Hope Hospital was put out to franchise after it dropped from a three-star rating to zero because of mistakes in waiting list figures. Secta has appointed a former senior official from the NHS, Anne Heast, to take over as chief executive. She will be seconded to the hospital on a salary of £122,500.
Unison union officer Phil Green says, 'What possible justification can there be for paying a private company to provide an NHS manager? This confirms what a nonsense this policy is.'
A healthy bonus
HOSPITAL BOSSES are to grab 30 percent bonuses, taking their annual pay close to £200,000. Foundation hospitals will be able to grant the whopping bonuses without the approval of local health authorities.
This will fuel fears that foundation trusts will form an elite layer in the NHS and attract the best staff. London's Guy's and St Thomas's Hospital chief executive Dr Jonathan Michael earned £171,000 in 2001-2.
Chair of the trust Patricia Mobley defended his salary saying, 'These people are rare. You won't get them if you don't pay them.' The same doesn't seem to apply to nursing, portering and catering jobs.
NEW LABOUR is set for a new drive to get tuition fees accepted. The government is facing a massive rebellion from its own backbenchers and a public outcry over its plan to charge students thousands in fees. In an attempt to spin away problems, the government is to rebrand tuition fees as an 'individualised graduate tax'.
Such cosmetic changes should fool no one. New Labour is ruthlessly pursuing its agenda of education for the rich, and work training for the poor.
Brown's latest victim
ELIZABETH LEWIS is the latest victim of the chaos of Gordon Brown's tax credit system. She is a nurse and single parent who had to cut her working hours when her mother was diagnosed as terminally ill.
She extended her overdraft, remortgaged her home and even sent her 12 year old daughter to her sister's house in an attempt to survive while waiting for her tax credit payments.
She told the Guardian, 'I was at rock bottom. I have never had a credit card or a loan. I have been trying to get an answer since April. When I rang the helpline they gave me a different answer every time.'