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Monday, November 15th, 2021, 4:15 pm

Seemingly Defunct and Surely Unfit to Operate: YORKSHIRE HEALTH SOLUTIONS LTD (Updated)


Companies House document
Source documents below

I‘ve just got off the phone (about 20 minutes) with the NHS after waiting for 4 hours in a queue — to no avail — to speak to a private company registered as YORKSHIRE HEALTH SOLUTIONS LTD, operating in Yorkshire and Manchester, based on their Web site. I also sent an email to “YORKSHIRE HEALTH [sic] SOLUTIONS”, but they’ve not responded. The issue has now been escalated to a manager at the NHS, but I want to state the case and put everything in the public domain in case other people experience equally awful service. As I explain later in this post, I shall pursue a formal complaint as well. This is a matter of public interest because the general public is harmed by private interests.

Let’s backtrack a bit and provide a little background information without revealing names and other sensitive details that can infringe privacy. All the above (and below) documents are available, without registration, to the British public and to the international crowd as well, so we’re not in breach of copyright law.

It’s no secret that I do not support the Conservatives (“Tories” for short), partly because they are are crippling the health services across the country; it took 3 weeks from the time of a referral from a GP to this private company doing something concrete. 3 weeks! Just to receive a letter! That’s just to book the appointment! Not results or anything like that…

And this does not take any account of the time taken to see a GP. In this case, 3 calls on 3 different days were needed just to book an appointment with the GP (a necessary prerequisite to seeing a specialist). Those calls weren’t toll-free, they cost quite a bit of money (and also time; 3 days in this case).

Now, with the NHS being covertly privatised, and services made worse (non-free phone numbers!), maybe it shouldn’t be so shocking that one spends 4 hours on the phone just trying to book an appointment, then failing! They should have hired more staff to answer calls! But in the world of capitalism, why would they bother? In short, if you need something health-related checked by today’s NHS, bear in mind it can take months, not days/weeks, to see a specialist. No wonder so many people die needlessly (those deaths could be prevented). Aral Balkan noticed the same thing happening in Ireland and I heard from people with similar experiences in other countries across Europe. As he said to me earlier today: “What we have in Ireland cannot be compared to the NHS. The NHS – which has been under constant sabotage by over a decade of conservative rule in the UK – is a shining example of what we must protect instead of following the greed-based insurance industry model of the US.”

Our experience has lately been even worse than stories I hear from the US. Phone the firm to book an appointment. You are then placed on a queue. “You are caller number 28″ (that’s at 11AM, which should be quiet). Half an hour later: “You are caller number 20″. So one might expect that after about 2 hours on the phone one might be able to book something. 2 hours! For many homes the battery won’t even last that long (landline). What about old people desperate for treatment or screening? What I think we deal with here is the cruelest form of capitalism at work: having privatised the services, they give a non-free number (no incentive to answer fast), and then they let people wait for hours on the queue just to book an appointment. I bet the phone companies love this! They make a lot of money this way.

So as it turns out, the estimate of 2 hours was wrong. After 4 hours on the line, and well over an hour being told that I am first in the queue, nobody picked up. I fired off an E-mail to the company:

Do you think it is acceptable that in order to book an appointment (today) one needs to wait in a queue for over 2 hours? Some people’s phones do not even have a battery to last that long on a call.
Please explain why you cannot hire more staff to handle calls.
This isn’t about placing an order for a product, this is an essential service. Making appointments should not require the hiring of highly specialised staff.

Did they reply? No. They cannot even bother answering calls, so why expect a reply electronically? They’re based near us, a walking distance, but of course we cannot book appointments this way.

I was just about to hang up after waiting in line — for just a booking (over the phone) — when it was approaching 3 hours! But they said “first in queue”, which sounded promising. After gradually going down from 28 in the queue ahead of you… to just 1.

As it turns out, it was nowhere near the truth; unless someone was holding up the line for over one hour (or 1.5 hours), there’s no reasonable explanation for this and they give a false sense of expectation. Maybe being first in line simply means that everyone before you gave up and decided to hang up; once I too hang up, people “behind” would get an illusion of advancing. Is anybody at all answering the phone? Imagine 30 people simultaneously being connected for hours. For nobody to actually serve them, only for other callers to call it quits and hang up the phone (as I did after 4 hours).

So at this point one might ask aloud, so that’s what it all boils down to? Waiting for 3 weeks for a letter (after 3 calls to see a GP) and then waiting on the line for 4 hours in vain?


This is where it gets interesting. After 3 hours waiting on the line I decided to check what sort of company we were in fact dealing with. Many dodgy companies continue to operate in debt, in effect being insolvent.

Are we dealing with a dead/dying company here? Is “YORKSHIRE HEALTH SOLUTIONS LTD” a bit of a zombie?

So I decided to look at formal documents from the company, especially accounting-related material. Here are documents from 2017 onwards (more recent first) in case they vanish in the future.

These are local copies. There’s no way to directly link to the originals because they use some wonky AWS storage, akin to a CDN with tokens…

I took just two screenshots, added to the top of this post. This is what privatisation looks like. I’m no bean counter, but it seems like this company can operate with like a million pounds, but it also cannot hire more than one person to pick up a phone (maybe no person at all was picking up calls; with privatisation there’s no real incentive to truly improve),

The way I’m reading the documents, they have considerable debt (see 15 Dec 2020/”Total exemption full accounts”).

My cordless phone’s battery is critically low now and almost out of ‘juice’. Well, if you have people in a telephone queue for 4 hours, then maybe you deserve bankruptcy, not just a formal complaint. The cost of the call remains to be seen, putting aside 3 weeks of impatience and unanswered E-mail.

I decided to reach the 4-hours mark (allegedly in the front of the queue) and then, if nothing happens, I would hang up. I’m now speaking with the non-private (non-privatised) part of the NHS and I will file a complaint. As noted above, it has already been escalated.

“4 hours is not queuing,” a friend told me, “it is having been abandoned. Might be appropriate for compensation or legislative changes to the governance.”

“However,” he continued, “keep in mind the bad service is there to drive people to sell off stuff or borrow money to go to private services instead. In that way they can show increased ‘demand’ for the privatized services and cut the NHS further. Thus feeding a vicious cycle.”

“The phone queues can be quite long,” the friend said, but not 4 hours. “I was waiting for about an hour the other day and that task is still not complete.”

Well, you’d think they can hire more people to pick up calls and book; it doesn’t take a university degree. But as my friend put it, “the goal actually is miserable service levels. [...] it seems most everything is designed to waste time rather than be a force multiplier.”

In any case, I now await further feedback, both from the company and from the NHS; I’m not phoning again to be placed on a queue (in vain) for 4 hours. This case may or may not concern me (perhaps a relative), but I’ve not given any details about the name/s and the nature of the case/s. Nor did I name anybody from the NHS and from this private firm. In the future I shall refer back to this post as means of demonstrating what’s being done to the health service that we all fund (by virtue of deductions from our salaries).

Update: I have just spoken with two more people (4 in total today) in The Care Gateway, which is connected to the above firm. They have said they would phone again tomorrow after failing to call back as they had promised earlier today. They then, albeit only after much insistence, gave me an address for a formal complaint. They gave me but TCG (as in “tcg”) stands for The Care Gateway. I asked them if I am basically tricked into sending a complaint to the same party I indirectly complain about and the manager confirmed that this is the case. I insisted on filing the complaint to a party which would not gaslight or obstruct the complainant just to save face and protect its reputation, hence she gave me also (not connected to The Care Gateway; likely above it). On the call she acknowledged that they are having technical problems with calls, but did not disclose sufficient details (like they hide the severity of this problem).

I understand that the system is already overwhelmed by the “Freedom Day” publicity stunt (purely political, placing business interests above national health), which wants us to assume that things are finally under control when in fact this year’s excess deaths significantly exceed last year’s, based on the official numbers from NHS England. However, this does not justify leaving people to wait on the phone in vain for half a working day. Some people do try to make a living in these difficult times and also keep their health checked; it’s not unreasonable to state this and it’s probably unfair to deny them moderately acceptable levels of service.

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