The Society has vowed to support members affected by the liquidation of a private diagnostics and therapeutics provider.
Rutherford Health announced yesterday that it was in financial difficulties and went into administration with the loss of hundreds of jobs.
The company operates a network of oncology centres known as the Rutherford Cancer Centres located in South Wales, Northumberland, Liverpool and the Thames Valley.
More recently the Group opened the first community diagnostics centre of its kind in Taunton, Somerset under contract with the NHS
Dean Rogers, the Society's director of industrial strategy and member relations, said the organisation would do all that it could to support radiographers affected by the failure.
“This is shocking news for those who work at Rutherford and patients who will be worried about their care pathways. Our priority now is to support members caught up in this. We are asking for urgent talks with the NHS about how they can step in to offer work and continue to support patients," Dean told Synergy.
He added that the SoR would be asking questions about how NHS contracts were awarded to the company in the light of its seemingly precarious financial structure.
"We will be asking for full, honest reflection from those who gave these contracts to Rutherford. We had no direct warning that this was coming although we had warned the NHS about over reliance on firms borrowing huge amounts to compete essentially against the NHS for potential work. When Rutherford awas being awarded the contract in Taunton for the new CDC we specifically asked the NHS about what guarantees they had around their long term financial viability and what plan B might be. We were essentially told not to worry."
Dean said that public funds should not be used by investors to make quick returns while putting patients and staff at risk through financial disaster.
"When taxpayers money is funding contracts it is important that care is taken for contracts to be sustainable. If all other things are equal, the private sector’s profit margin will always be an extra additional public cost. City speculators should realise there just aren’t huge amounts of quick bucks to be made out of frontline treatment in our NHS and any investment is likely to require a long-term partnerships and commitment. Rutherford is an example of a gambler chancing their arm and running out of chips before the end of the hand.”
Meanwhile, Peter Lewis chief executive for Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are looking to maintain the diagnostic centre in Taunton for our patients with minimal disruption. We will contact patients directly to reschedule their scans if this is necessary as we look to implement alternative arrangements."
If you are an SoR member affected by the Rutherford liquidation and need help or advice, email [email protected] and/or contact your Regional or National Officer