British P3 Lab Looses Money

The flagship public-private lab partnership in Britain between Kings College Hospital Trust, Guys and St. Thomas Hospital Trust and Serco, a multinational government services company, lost money in its first half-year of operation.

The audited financial statements for the first six months show that Kings College, which owns 33% of the partnership, lost 217,000 pounds on the venture.  Frank Wood, a biochemist and Union steward, reports that this is a dramatic  turnaround for a pathology service that used to make money for the hospital.  Historically, the hospital’s labs have successfully competed for, and profited from, selling services to private hospital and other trusts.

While it is early in the history of this public-private business, similar attempts in  Calgary and Toronto in Canada all eventually dissolved with the work going back into the public system.  The ventures were not profitable enough for the private business and two cumbersome and costly for the public system with little added value.

In the spirit of Edmund Burke’s words, “those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it,” perhaps Britain’s National Health System would be better off trying to improve its public laboratory services rather than repeat failed public-private approaches.

Explore posts in the same categories: Funding-Cost For-profit Delivery, United Kingdom

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