Wednesday, 26 February 2014

How outsourcing works - for Atos

There was a lot of fuss about the fact that Atos is getting out of its £500m WCA contract early, citing all the abuse it has been getting.  Will they incur a financial penalty for this?  Well, if they do they can recoup the loss from their latest contract - "to extract patient records from GP surgeries as part of the controversial NHS data sharing scheme", in the words of the Telegraph yesterday.  Some boggling went on at that revelation.  Dr Sarah Wollaston (a Tory MP but sensible) asked whether the DWP would be allowed access to the database.  The answer appears to be no, but don't bank on it.  A big question in my mind is how they can maintain confidentiality when the project involves, I assume, the work of an army of people looking at both paper and digital records.
So Atos can't lose.  They still have the PIP contract, carving up the country with Capita.  That isn't going too well.  The last we heard was that most of the potential subcontractors listed on its bid pulled out, and Atos didn't have the scope to provide enough facilities.  But with another contract in the bag, shareholders need not worry.  That's the beauty of outsourcing.  Once your company is big enough there is no competition, and bodging one contract after another doesn't matter.


  1. Looks like I'll be opting out of this as I would have no problems sharing information with other hospitals, Doctors etc but why should insurance companies have access to this too.

  2. "Dr Dan Poulter, Health Minister said such requests sould not be allowed, stating: “It must be in the interests of the providers and recipients of healthcare and social care in England - that does not mean the DWP.” " So says the Telegraph article qquoted by Historian.

    Does it not, incclude the DWP Dr Poulter? If that iswhat you imagine, I don’t believe you, chum. According to your own govt, the DWP provides “social care” to sick & disabled people via the Benefits called ESA and/or PIP, does it not? .

    Which said version of providing “social care” seems to have been largely outsourced to Atos, Capita, etc, has it not?

    So what’s with your own glib claims, Dr Poulter? Or are you merely even more gormless than I imagine?

  3. Getting health data (any of it) has historically been quite difficult, although the latest revelations suggest that whether one consents or not, at least some medical data is for sale for commercial advantage. I'm quite shocked that this has happened at this point, and it takes a fair bit to shock me these days. At least some types of the data proposed for release will be relatively easy to link to individuals, and you'd have to be absolutely mad to trust this government (and most possible future ones, in fairness) to not flog it to any bidder.

    What's interesting is that some parts of the system are safer than others, although I'm reluctant to say which. I suppose it remains to be seen to what extent these fiefdoms can continue to hold out against the drive to monetise everything and everyone.

    Finally, whilst the Downfall meme has been done to death, this raised a smile (and includes an Atos namecheck):

  4. Wollaston might be sensible (and even fairly sane) by the standard of the Tory party, but I have no time for her. Although she was selected via an open primary, she presumably had to join the party and meet a few fellow members before standing and ultimately sitting as a Tory MP.

    Since being elected, she's done nothing but complain about her party colleagues and leadership: too male, too public school, too easily bought by the alcohol industry, too keen to build all over national parks and so on.

    It wouldn't have taken more than a minute's due diligence to discover that the party is full of chiselling sociopaths more concerned with feathering their own nests than any sense of responsibility for the health, prosperity, happiness and wellbeing of the nation. I can only conclude that she's either stupidly negligent (she didn't bother) or mind-bogglingly naive (she did, but thought she could challenge from the inside).

    I suspect the leadership are happy to tolerate her occasional, minor dissent (and let's not forget that in interviews, on Twitter, Question Time and so on she's generally a loyalist and provided a helpful internal contrasting view on the dismantling of the NHS while voting for it) - helps them look more diverse, open-minded and less like the used car salesmen they actually are.

    1. I don't disagree - she's a Tory - but it's all relative. The right wing talks about being "tribally Labour", but the same is true of conservatives.

    2. The National Audit Office discovered that the new personal independence payment, which will replace the disability living allowance, will cost almost three and a half times more to administer and take double the amount of time to process. FuLL STORY -

  5. MIsmanagement by ATOS and the DWP -

    and the editorial

  6. I suspect that Atos will now be allowed to wriggle out of their WCA contract quite quickly. According to last night’s Radio 4 News, Mike Penning MP (the new Disabilities Minister) told other MPs yesterday that the ESA/WCA contract between the DWP & Atos is a “mess” because it doesn’t foresee the possibility of a desire for early termination by either side. That contract can soon be altered if both sides want to do so, which – I suspect – they both now do, probably fervently!

    There was a debate yesterday in the HoC. Apparently it was a backbench Motion held in response to an on-line petition by WoW. The whole thing is now available via the BBC iplayer.

    It sounds like Atos and Capita are now also both getting flak from MPs about their involvement in the “fitness” assessments for the PIP Benefit.

    Meanwhile, Atos also seem to be getting flak over their involvement in the now-delayed, govt-inspired scheme for conning people into releasing the medical records that GPs hold on their behalves.

    If I were Atos, I’d catch the first train, plane or ferry back to France and leave Les Anglaises to deal with our problems on our own, frankly!


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