Serco, one of Britain’s largest facilities management companies, has further extended its grip on pathology services in London.
Following the £500 million joint venture with Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Trust in 2009, Serco has now established a similar joint venture with King’s College Health Trust worth an estimated £300 million.
Serco expects to clear £110 million from the King’s deal. It also expects to expand into other hospitals in London so as to recoup the investment. Pathology services are estimated as being worth £2.5 billions in Britain.
The joint venture companies are further examples as how the NHS is being marketised, with ownership and provision of the core services, like pathology, being fragmented. Staff will remain as NHS employees, primarily to protect their pension rights, but will be seconded to Serco – effectively “sold” like any other chattel, asset or piece of furniture.
After pathology, look out for hospital pharmacies, as out-patient pharmacies will be contracted out to organisations like Boots or Lloyds Pharmacy and NHS hospitals attempt to save millions by not then having to pay VAT on patients’ prescriptions. Wait for the TV adverts – not just any old NHS hospital, but an M&S NHS hospital…