Thursday, November 19, 2009

Latest Shopper Triumph

Great data... shocking shopping

"An NHS trust has hired dozens and possibly hundreds of illegal immigrants through one of its biggest private cleaning contractors.

The company involved is ISS which employs over 40,000 people around the UK through contracts it holds with the NHS and blue chip companies.

The UK Border Agency has uncovered hundreds of fake documents submitted to Kingston Hospital, including security passes, national insurance numbers and passports.

A senior manager of ISS has been arrested on suspicion of skimming money from the illegal immigrants for cleaning and catering staff."
So who's to blame?

Well, according to C4, ISS is in the firing line:

"ISS is being questioned about the status, role and pay of hundreds of its cleaners and catering staff, facing allegations over the issuing of fake passports and national Insurance numbers and facing the possibility of a multi million pound fine."
If those allegations turn out to be true, then ISS must be fired from all its government contracts, and never ever hired again.

But beyond that, this has all the hallmarks of a problem only too familiar to BOM readers - the Simple Shopper.

Our guess is that the Shopper hired ISS to clean Kingston's Hospitals because they looked cheap. And our guess is that once hired, ISS got very little by way of practical day-to-day supervision from the Shopper. In all likelihood, the Trust didn't even want to consider the possibility that its non-English speaking cleaners might be illegal immigrants.

(A quick Google reveals that Kingston Trust has got previous. In 2008 they were suspected of massaging their MRSA data by cutting down on the number of blood tests conducted - don't ask, don't tell.)

The fact is - as we've blogged before - contracting out vital services like hospital cleaning is fraught with difficulty.

Unless the contractors are subject to close supervision - which generally they are not - all kinds of nasties develop. Illegal immigrants are the least of them (see this classic post by the Doc - Joseph Lister and the plastic dog turd).

As we've blogged many times before, when Tyler's Mum was a nurse in a pre-NHS flagship hospital, the ward sister was responsible for keeping the ward clean. Yes, there were cleaners who did the work, but Sister was responsible for the results, and had authority over them.

Which is why hospitals were infused with Dettol rather than MRSA.

And why they weren't cleaned by anonymous illegal immigrants.

PS As for the rest of C4 News this pm, I gathered that Europe's High Representative boonies have now been divvied up amongst a bunch of grey commissars nobody has ever heard of (cf the Soviet Union), our Deputy Prime Minister has been charged with serious motoring offences (including the offence of Gross Hypocrisy in respect of using a mobile whilst driving), and a bunch of sharks are moored in Lyme Bay (as cribbed from this morning's Mail). My friends, we are rapidly heading into the darkness.

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