Thursday, October 09, 2008

Mental Health - Have Foundation Trusts Banked NHS Money Abroad ?

UserWatch Asks

Has the UK Birmingham And Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) exposed itself to financial risk by banking NHS money abroad ?

There is a powerful furore in the UK at the moment over Local Authority Councils having invested in collapsing Iceland banks. The exposure could be as much as one billion pounds - and this now includes stories about Police finances too .. It appears in the mass zeitgeist of financial hypnosis over years that a kind of boundaryless "global" has been good and "local" is boring - thus some serious public money in the UK is locked away in debatable foreign areas of financial nothingness just as confidence in banks everywhere has disappeared ...Suddenly the notion of real boundaries has re-asserted itself - Yeah ....Like Iceland is in fact another country ...Whoops that's geography for you, rather than virtuality...

We do not know about BSMHFT. Not as yet . What we do know is there is evidence that a NHS London Foundation Trust has been looking at banking abroad in Dec 2007 - Feb 2008 . The banks are listed in the document we are linking you to . There are quite a lot of Foundation NHS Trusts in the UK now

"Foundation Trust" status was intended to set the Trusts free from centralised Dept Of Health control . Over time the FT Trusts would become ideally free to make autonomous financial judgments about how they invested money they had "saved" on their functions and to "invest" it where they saw fit "for the good of the patients"...

At UserWatch we have criticised this mentality and practice and always said "Patient Choice" should be the driver not NHS Trusts because we've seen care services shaved away and patients partly abandoned . Govt we have argues should enable "Patient Choice" the closer to the local General Practitioner (Doctor) the better .. New Labour though we think has undermined the GP patient axis . Its our opinion .At local levels its an experience of many .

But anti-local boundarylessness is also a very strong feature of New Labour - NHS Trusts are using lottery money for preferred groups they support and at least one Strategic Health Authority is, as well as the DOH created Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP related to NIMHE). We are talking several million pounds here . This strategy creates more bureacracy not local autonomy and locally led growth ..

The point is, public money , serious, rather then ritual local deomcracy and boundaries are actually needed. Perhaps the dreaming is over regarding a lack of accountability, for in Local Council banking and finance of council-taxpayers money we see at last the democratic deficit built up by politicians so local control is diluted or virtually lost and local people are under thrall to bureacracy "gone a bit global" ...Maybe up the pole too ..

Boy do we need a UK democracy to seriously re-assert itself - and the same in other democracy dreaming countries .. We had all better wake up .

Ps : The UK Housing Associations may well have some very serious risk exposure to foreign banks - Journalists should checks this out with the London Housing Coporation


So far two NHS Trusts and some Housing Associations are exposed to risk by having their money deposited in banks outside the UK (Source Channel 4 news UK 10th October 2008 ) some charities look likely too to be exposed to risk

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