A FRESH row has broken out over the company which runs Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after it awarded itself near-perfect marks for performance.
Consort Healthcare – which has a £60m-a-year contract from NHS Lothian to operate the hospital under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) – gave itself a score of 99.14 per cent in its March performance report.
The score comes after the Evening News revealed there had been a series of life-threatening mistakes at the hospital – culminating in a surgeon being forced to finish an operation by torchlight after Consort staff cut off the power supply – and has been slammed by critics.
Consort is required by the terms of its contract to produce monthly reports on how it is doing in areas such as security and maintenance.
Following the recent blunders, NHS Lothian has announced it is consulting with lawyers to see what steps it can take against the company.
Margaret Watt, chairwoman of the Scotland Patients’ Association, said: “They are having a laugh and if that’s the kind of facts and figures they are producing then I would suggest they are in the wrong job.
“I hope NHS Lothian throws the figures right back at Consort and asks them to check them again because they are far from how the public feel – and I would ask them to get an independent analyst to go in and check out the figures.”
She added: “I think it’s high time the hospital was transferred back to the NHS.”
Jackie Baillie, Labour’s health spokeswoman, said: “This report is clearly not worth the paper it’s printed on – for them to award themselves 99 per cent strikes me as a sign they are in complete denial.”
Tom Waterson, the Unison union’s Lothian branch chairman, was reported to have said: “To award itself a score so close to 100 per cent when it had an incident as serious as this where a patient could have died is just farcical. This is just the latest example of a failed PFI contract that quite clearly favours the private sector over the public.
“Consort is paid tens of millions of pounds each year without there being a proper monitoring exercise in place.”
Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw was reported to have said: “It would have been a tragedy if any loss of life had ensued. If an investigation concludes a fine is appropriate, that is the course to follow. I would be comfortable with that.”
A Consort spokesman was reported to have said: “The figures which are being quoted for the March report have not been ratified. This process will be carried out by NHS Lothian next week.”