Tuesday was a truly horrible day in the West Midlands.
I took a day out to attend a radiologists' meeting at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham, only 70 odd miles away, and spent a total of 5 hours on the road driving (or sitting in stationary traffic) in heavy rain and half an hour queuing for lunch for the sake of around 4 hours of lectures.
I did, however, end the day a happy man. During the meeting, Tom Goodfellow, a radiologist in Coventry, announced that the Department of Health had terminated the contract with Mercury Health to provide "2nd wave diagnostics" scans in the West Midlands. Care UK, the company which bought Mercury Health earlier this year for £77million, makes a curt announcement on their website. The news was also briefly covered in the Guardian.
I have written about the Mercury Health contract before on this blog. The second wave diagnostics program was a central pillar in support of Nulabour's plans to close down District General Hospitals (DGHs). The plan was to divert the easier scans to the private sector leaving the complex, difficult and unprofitable scans to the DGH x-ray departments. These would not support continued investment in staff and equipment and within the five year period of the contract most DGH x-ray departments would have become obsolete. Modern medicine demands on-site access to MRI and CT for a DGH to be viable so this would result in a downgrading or closure of the DGH.
The news was greeted with clapping and cheering from the 150 odd consultants and trainees at the meeting. As it happens, the radiologists at Heartlands Hospital were involved in the Mercury contract and we heard from the horse's mouth that the failed endeavor will cost the taxpayer £84 million in compensation payments. From the figures given to us by Mercury last month (see earlier blog) I would guess they have done a total of around 840 scans, costing the taxpayer £100,000 per scan compared to £200 which we charge for a private scan at uk-radiology. The reason the contact was canceled was the lack of demand. It seems that Mercury was only working at 5% of anticipated capacity.
Dr Ray is not one to gloat over Nulabour's discomfort caused by this pigheaded pursuit of political dogma against the advice of almost every radiologist in the UK, the National Audit Office and a House of Commons Select Committee on Health but I will make an exception in this case.
Ya boo sucks-- We told you so!! Ha Ha Ha!!