A tip-off given to The Slog last Thursday has resulted in some startling facts coming to light about the people behind overseas replacement GPs.
The case of Daniel Ubani – an overseas locum GP who killed a patient through overdose – was an inevitability, not an accident, medical sources alleged late last week. But as usual with the NHS when under fire, the real reason for this doctor’s mistake has been covered up.
Take Care Now (TCN) once provided services for five local NHS Trusts. It also employed Daniel Ubani. But it was very quickly sacked by these trusts after news of Ubani’s unfortunate accident occurred…and had to be rescued in a ‘fire sale’ takeover.
Ubani administered ten times too much of a painkiller to seriously ill patient David Gray. But this wasn’t a random miscalculation. The reality is that:
1. All TCN’s locums were issued with a GP’s bag. To save operational money, they were routinely given tenfold dose batches of medication – as this was much cheaper than equipping them with individual vials.
2. The GPs frequently did not have English as a first language. This also lowered the cost of hiring.
3. They were frequently put into service straight off the plane….when they were far too tired to work a shift from scratch.
An employee of a similar supplier of weekend/emergency locum services to the NHS alleges:
“Everyone doing this has had to cut costs to the bone…but the pressure comes from the NHS, not us. Once the media found out the truth about foreign doctors, we were all told to charge less or lose our contracts.”
The root causes of David Gray’s death were first, an inexplicably poor piece of negotiation between Patricia Hewitt and Primary Care doctors (GPs). And second, an attempt by Trusts involved in salvaging something from it to minimise the damage.
Last week – as Channel Four viewers saw to their dismay – the woman behind this mess was busy sexing up her ‘consultancy’ services to private health concerns. And indeed, she is already being retained by various private sector interest groups.
Nobody – not the suppliers, or the Trusts, or the Minister of the time – comes out of this with any dignity. It would be too easy to simply say “this is what happens when you mix business with medicine”. But the truth is that parliamentarians, civil servants, accountants and private suppliers all played their part in the lead-up to David Gray’s death.