The Independent reports that outsourcing giant Serco is embroiled in a fresh misuse of public funds scandal after a company it set up overcharged NHS hospitals millions of pounds. Internal documents leaked to Corporate Watch indicate Britain’s biggest pathology services provider, which was established by Serco in partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals, overcharged the NHS for diagnostic tests.
The venture – first called GSTS and now trading under the name Viapath – has also been dogged by allegations of cost-cutting and clinical failings. Internal documents show increasing concern amongst senior consultants who claimed that staff cuts and a lack of investment since privatisation left some laboratories close to disaster. In internal emails clinicians said the company had an “inherent inability… to understand that you cannot cut corners and put cost saving above quality.” The trust and Viapath say the problems have now been resolved. But this only happened after the intervention of senior medical staff and changes to the structure of the joint venture that reduced Serco’s role.