Defend Our NHS: another urgent request – this time to save your GP from a stealth attack

NHS

Dear friend of the NHS

Please urgently help to annul the Dept of Health’s stealth changes to legislation about how GPs work

Please will you help to stop the government from bypassing MPs as it sneaks in big changes to the way GPs work?

All it takes is to ask your MP to support National Health Service Early Day Motion #2103.

You can download this template letter to MPs and change it in any way you like. You can find your MP’s contact details here.

Regulatory changes that bypass MPs’ scrutiny and debate

NHS England knows that 999 Call for the NHS has applied for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court against the contentious Integrated Care Provider contract (formerly called the Accountable Care Organisation contract).

But the NHS Long Term Plan has announced that the NHS England quango will make the contract available for use in 2019.

To enable this, on 13th February the Department of Health sneakily introduced big changes to the way GPs work, without giving MPs any say in the matter. It did this through Statutory Instrument 2019 No. 248 – The Amendments Relating to the Provision of Integrated Care Regulations 2019.

Statutory Instrument 2019 No. 248 makes major changes to the existing contractual arrangements for providing GP Primary Care services. These changes are to enable Integrated Care Providers (formerly called Accountable Care Organisations) to run a whole range of hospital, primary care and community health services for their given area and its population.

praying hands

Now Jeremy Corbyn, Jon Ashworth and other MPs are sponsoring a Prayer Motion (National Health Service EDM #2103) that calls for the Statutory Instrument’s annulment:

“That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Amendments Relating to the Provision of Integrated Care Regulations 2019 (S.I., 2019, No. 248), dated 13 February 2019, a copy of which was laid before this House on 13 February 2019, be annulled.”

Please will you call on your MP to support this PRAYER MOTION?

Time is short. The deadline for the Prayer Motion is 24 March. The Statutory Instrument is due to take effect on 1 April.

Please visit this web page to find out more.

The last time a “prayer” was answered was in 2000. If it succeeded then it can succeed again. But it needs us all to push it, so that it has wide support from MPs.

Please get in touch if you need any further help or information.

WHY WE’RE ASKING FOR YOUR HELP

Statutory Instrument 2019 No. 248 makes major changes to the existing contractual arrangements for providing GP Primary Care services.

It would enable new Integrated Care Providers (formerly called Accountable Care Organisations) to directly employ GPs to deliver a model of primary, mental health and community health care that would radically change patients’ (and GPs’) experience of the NHS. This is likely to damage an area’s NHS organisations AND the health needs of the public.

Recent reports by the National Audit Office and the Nuffield Trust say there is no evidence that this new model would meet the intended aims of reducing costs and improving quality of patient care. And the Chair of the BMA has told GP members they ‘should not feel pressured into entering an Integrated Care Provider contract as to do so could leave their patients worse off.’

We must take this seriously. We feel strongly that these major changes should not slide through Parliament in secondary legislation without any oversight by MPs.

THERE IS HOPE

Getting this Prayer Motion passed is a long shot. But we hope you’ll agree it’s worth trying. The stakes are high and we should seize any chance of stopping this undemocratic move by the Dept. of Health and NHS England.

If a Prayer Motion succeeded in 2000, then it can succeed again.

The Integrated Care Provider contract aims to “manage demand” for NHS care

This means it could threaten patient safety standards and restrict patients’ access to treatments.

Standards of NHS care are already under pressure, and all of us will have begun to see restricted access to a full range of high quality health care in our local areas.

The Integrated Care Provider contract is set to make this worse.

In and out of the courts, we continue to oppose its introduction.

Thanks and best wishes on behalf of Defend Our NHS

 

Defend Our NHS report : Theresa May’s launch of the NHS Long Term Plan should fool no-one

 

Dear friends of the NHS

Please read and share widely.

This email is based on press releases by Merseyside KONP and national KONP/Health Campaigns Together (to whom thanks) and information from the Defend Our NHS team.  The photograph is from the Guardian web site and the cartoon from the Times.

On Monday Theresa May was welcomed to Liverpool by Merseyside KONP, Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital campaign, Defend Our NHS and a hundred protestors who gave her a very clear message on her plan.

alder hey

Protestors know the reality – and how things are getting worse. At Arrowe Park Hospital bed occupancy has been 99.3% against a safe level of 85%. And last year ambulances had to wait more than an hour to hand over their patient to the hospital 2,477 times, up from just 80 in 2013/14.

The Royal Liverpool Hospital has been on ‘Red Alert’ at least 25 times since 1 December. Bed occupancy is 92.3%, In December, 495 ambulances waited over 30 minutes to discharge their patients, and 135 of these waited over 60 minutes. Last week, some patients waited over 3 hours to be seen in A&E, and some in A&E waited 24 hours for a hospital bed.

In Liverpool a major problem is that the half-built Carillion PFI hospital was designed with fewer beds; capacity at the Royal was cut to match the plans. The Trust justified the cuts, claiming that Care in the Community would reduce demand.

And in Wirral the CCG’s proposals to slash services at walk-in centres will compound the problem.

May’s plan, written by NHS England Chief Exec Simon Stevens*, will replicate this all over England, shifting resources out of hospital, promoting digital technology (with the secretary of state Matt ‘Appcock’ anxious to replace GP consultations) and telling patients to look after themselves.

Rationing

Last winter, former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt suddenly postponed all elective (planned) operations to ease the pressure on hospitals. Now, an NHS England document Preparing for 2019/20 Operational Planning and Contracting intends to ensure that ‘as much of [sic] inpatient elective activity occurs in the first half of the year, before winter’.

The document also includes a rationing plan for 17 NHS treatments no longer to be commissioned by CCGs. Trusts are also urged to ‘grow their external (non-NHS) income’ and ‘work towards securing the benchmarked potential for commercial income growth’. Hence the ward at Clatterbridge Hospital recently handed over to Four Seasons Health.

Trusts must set up systems to raise money by charging patients for treatment (‘overseas visitor cost recovery’) – a policy recently denounced by several medical Royal Colleges because of its impact on individual and public health.

Long term agenda

The 44 discredited Sustainability and Transformation Plans, re-branded as Integrated Care Systems, will hold the regional budgets to control NHS Trusts. ‘Planning assumptions’ in each STP area are to be agreed by 14 January. Neither the STPs, nor the ICSs, nor the Long Term Plan have been mandated by an Act of Parliament, let alone by patients or health workers. Yet, despite protests and clear evidence of the dangers, Wirral Council has charged at full speed into the STP and an ‘integrated’ partnership with the local clinical commissioning group. (We will be writing again soon about the ongoing legal challenge to this.)

The private sector could gain control of individual ICSs through long term contracts to manage the entire health system within one region.

Real integration of health and social care can only take place when the profit motive is taken out, with care fully-staffed and resourced, publicly accountable, funded through general taxation, and provided free at the point of need.

point of need

John Lister, editor of Health Campaigns Together said:

All of the main lines of what has been published or leaked about the Plan are a depressing re-run of previous plans and gimmicks: the only novel proposals are for more central control and less accountability, for trusts to run more like and with private businesses seeking profits, and to raise money by undermining the principles and values of the NHS through charging overseas visitors – a government policy widely condemned by NHS professional staff and campaigners as discriminatory and a step backwards from prevention and public health.

There is no reason to believe this plan, with even less local accountability and no serious plans for public consultation, will prove any more acceptable to the public or successful in implementation than the secretive STPs in 2016 or other previous failed efforts.

Campaigners have yet to see anything to recommend the new plans, or any indication NHS England is willing to come to grips with the crisis fuelled by chronic austerity limits on funding – or demand an end to chaos and fragmentation of the Health & Social Care Act.”

Dr Tony O’Sullivan, KONP Co-chair and retired consultant paediatrician, said:

The government has cut £7bn to social care and has underfunded the NHS by £20bn in annual funding over the last 9 years. There is no plan to repair the damage done. Platitudes about prevention and better health are exposed by the £1bn cuts to the public health budget responsible for prevention.

After 9 years undermining mental health, the ‘extra’ now committed is not new money but comes from elsewhere within NHS funding. Theresa May’s assertion that the NHS has never received higher funding is simply not true in relation to NHS funding required to meet need.

Over 210,000 vacancies in NHS and social care and unacceptable stress carried by staff, dangerous waits for A&E, cancer care and surgery, all tell the true story. And the fact that private health providers get 50% of their funds from treating patients diverted from an NHS deprived of the resources to treat them itself exposes the policy direction of government. We cannot accept this situation.’

Watch out for some further analysis of the NHS Long Term Plan which we’ll share by email to this list and on our Facebook page.

DONHS on Facebook

* Mr Stevens’ previous job? “His responsibilities include leading UnitedHealth’s strategy for, and engagement with, national health reform, ensuring its businesses are positioned for changes in the market and regulatory environment.”

 

Defend Our NHS: Tomorrow! Monday! The NHS ‘STP-ers’ are in town!

dwpaasixcaa2pocAn opportunity to give a warm welcome to those responsible for the demise of our NHS, now dressed up as a ‘long term plan’.

There’s lots of other local and national NHS news to share but this event (details have only leaked out late today – Sunday) takes priority for now.

Best wishes – and Happy New Year!

On behalf of Defend Our NHS