George criticises Hospitals Trust plans to privatise Cornwall’s pathology services
West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, has warned the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust that its apparent decision to put pathology services out to private tender would be a false economy. There was an outcry at Mr George’s public meeting at Penzance at the weekend, when 200 people heard from GPs on the panel that they had not been aware of the plans and had not been consulted. The threat to Cornwall’s pathology services could see lab testing taking place outside Cornwall, with the loss of crucial skills and dozens of jobs in Cornwall.
Mr George wrote to Bill Shields, Interim Chief Executive of RCHT, a fortnight ago to raise his concern that outsourcing pathology services to a private company would damage staff morale and patient outcomes. The privatisation of pathology services at other hospital trusts across the country has been proposed, with Dorset County Hospital Trust recently rejecting plans for privatisation of pathology due to the job losses that would result from outsourcing.
Mr George, who is a member of the House of Commons Health Select Committee said, “This decision could see up to 180 staff in Cornwall lose their jobs and cause delays in patients receiving critically important results. There has been no consultation with patients or GPs.
“This should be a major source of income generation, and should not be put out to tender. This is a false economy. Outsourcing one of our few money making hospital services to a private company makes no economic sense. We must put patients before profit.”