Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Another Serco fuckup

Last week we learned that Serco - the company we're getting to run our prisons - had been caught systematically falsifying its performance data in the UK. now it turns out they've fucked up another contract, this time for pathology lab services:

The takeover of the NHS's biggest pathology laboratories by the multinational Serco has led to a series of clinical and financial failures and saw London hospitals being forced to lend money to the company, it has emerged.

GSTS Pathology, a joint venture between Serco and King's College and St Thomas' hospitals, described itself as "an exemplar of public private partnership in the health sector", when it took over the hospitals' pathology services in 2009 – deals worth £800m over the next decade.


But documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Corporate Watch, a not-for-profit research group, detail 400 clinical incidents in 2011 – including losing and mislabelling samples – at GSTS's St Thomas' labs. The service exceeded the agreed monthly turnaround times for tests 46 times in 2011, with critical risk levels breached 14 times.

They're blaming computer problems, but in addition there are problems with staff training and supervision, and with health and safety procedures (which saw one staff member potentially infected with meningitis).

The message from overseas is clear: if you want something run badly, ask Serco. So why are we trusting them with running our prisons again?