Wake up to the Accountable Care Organisation threat!

Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS article of 1st March 2017

 

Simon Stevens, the NHS England Chief Executive,  just told the Public Accounts Committee that some Sustainability and Transformation Plans will soon get going as Accountable Care Organisations or systems.

This sounds like more tedious, senseless jargonising.

Indeed one MP, Anne Marie Morris, was so bemused by what Simon Stevens was saying, she asked if they were all smoking dope.

But behind the jargon smokescreen – whether wacky baccy or not - setting up Sustainability and Transformation Plans to run the NHS as Accountable Care Organisations opens up the NHS to privatisation on a bigger scale than anything seen so far.

And it is a mechanism for limiting the range of care that the NHS offers, and for denying care to patients who are judged to offer poor value for money.

This would mean the end of the NHS as a service that provides the full range of health care to anyone who has a clinical need for it.

How does this work?

Sustainability and Transformation Plans require the speedy dismantling of the NHS to turn it into a health service that is based on American private health insurance systems – such as United Health,  the former employer of Simon Stevens, now NHS England’s Chief Executive.

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STPs must “encourage” long term NHS “partnerships” with the private sector

Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS - article of 10th November 2016, updated on 9th March 2017 for the Budget announcements.

 

Far from the Sustainability and Transformation Plans marking the government’s shift away from NHS marketisation and privatisation – as some are mistakenly claiming – the opposite is true!

Since the Autumn 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review that created the Sustainability and Transformation Fund, both the government and its quango NHS England have explicitly linked the Sustainability and Transformation Plans to the requirement to “encourage” increased private sector involvement in the NHS.

Update 9 March 2017

Behind the derisory £325m STP funding in Hammond’s Spring Budget (for a few “most advanced” STPs)  is the plan for 50% of STP funding to be sourced from private companies via Local Economic Partnerships by 2020 – please see section below: “Strategic partnerships with the NHS and the 39 Local Economic Partnerships”

Some key aspects of STPs’ mandatory “encouragement” of long term NHS “partnerships” with the private sector include

  • Strategic partnerships with the NHS and the 39 Local Economic Partnerships.
  • The abandonment of  “old-style contracting” and the  imposition of private company-friendly contracting.
  • Embedding digital technology in STPs.

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Virgin Health suing NHS for contractual rights

Today's (13th March 2017) HSJ headline:

"Virgin Care starts legal proceedings against NHS: Virgin has launched legal proceedings against eight NHS commissioners after losing a bid for a £82m children’s community services contract"

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The view from the ‘burning platform’ - Medicine Balls, Private Eye Issue 1439 10th March 2017

 

 
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Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has the gall to repeat the lie that the NHS is not for sale.

ACCORDING to Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, the NHS stands on a “burning platform” with 11 percent of trusts rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and 70 percent requiring improvement. Understaffing and overcrowding put patients and staff at risk every day.

Meanwhile, private providers lead by Virgin Care are busy “conquering the community care space”, says HealthInvestor magazine. “A market worth around £10bn has suddenly become a private affair.” Virgin has already hoovered up more than 400 health, social care and local authority services’ contracts, worth more than £1bn. It’s “quite the portfolio”, according to HealthInvestor, and other companies are lining up to conquer what’s left. “The chance to drink in a £9bn pool is tantalising.”

There is a clear underfunding and privatising trend in NHS and local authority services. Between April 2013 and April 2016, 45 percent of the community health services that were put out to tender went to non-NHS providers.

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