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.

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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: Thank You and Happy Christmas!

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Dear friends of the NHS

Thank you! In fact 32,000 thank-yous. That’s the number (still rising) who signed petitions protesting against Wirral CCG’s plans for our walk-in and minor injuries services.

The petitions (from Defend Our NHS, all the centres and a number of patient groups) were collected at street stalls and in Wirral GP practices and hospitals and on-line.

They not only call for a total rethink of the CCG’s urgent care proposals but also demand a meeting in every single Wirral council ward. This is so that the CCG (and Wirral councillors) can explain just what they think they are doing to our NHS. There has never been any meaningful public engagement or consultation on the massive changes – as the Borough first became part of the ‘sustainability and transformation partnership’, then adopted ‘accountable care’, and then sneaked in ‘integrated care’.

Even councillors on the important scrutiny committee were kept in the dark. (We are challenging the legality of that.) And last week, at the packed meeting when the boxes and boxes full of petitions were presented, all the CCG could offer was ten minutes for protesters to have their say – and then promise to ‘listen’.

Who has the CCG’s ear? 32,000 Wirral residents? Or the few hundred (they can’t be specific) who they claim were ‘confused’ by current arrangements? In fact it’s the boss of NHS England. The man who has famously said, “The worldwide need for healthcare in ageing populations will lead to a demand for goods and services that can drive sales of American insurance, medical devices, and record-keeping technology.” (US health corporations already operate in Wirral. Did you know?)

Meanwhile Wirral Council (in the month when it has fulminated without any obvious effect against the CCG walk-in plans) has effectively amalgamated our health and care services and budgets with the same CCG. Without any of the required scrutiny (merely bombastic speeches) they have confirmed their acquiescence to the notorious ‘Section 75’. A minority of councillors stood on our side but they were outvoted by a majority coalition from three parties.

All of this means we will have our work cut out to DEFEND OUR NHS in 2019. There will be no let-up in our campaigning and we hope we can count on your active support. Tens of thousands of Wirral residents are with you.

Stay in touch.

AND have a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

On behalf of Defend Our NHS

Find all the information you need on Facebook

Enter Stage Right

Red Right

One thing that we failed to mention in our Exit Stage Left story concerned with Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin’s bitter and twisted ‘personal statement’ at Monday’s full Council meeting was her mention of the threat of  the ideological driven ‘hard left’ and those who have ‘no ideology but will do the bidding’ . Like that’s never happened before! For far too long Labour councillors have been willing to back all kinds of abuses of power as long as they got an easy ride and the only ideology at play was pure self interest.

However Matron may want to do some research as to whether the ‘lefties’ are quite as ideologically pure and driven as she makes out.Also at Monday’s meeting Bromborough Labour councillors Jo Bird and Joe Walsh vote in favour of building a housing estate with a golf course attached on  Wirral’s Green Belt. Perhaps they think it’s for social housing and communal sporting facilities and not luxury homes and an exclusive private golf course?

Another example of Matron applying the blinkers when it came to having a pop at former Labour council leader Yvonne Nolan and her being ‘parachuted in’ to safe Labour ward was when it came to up and coming Labour councillor Liz Grey. As you can see from correspondence we’ve received below there is currently a ‘wrong’ and a ‘right’ sort of socialist. Which is which is becoming increasingly hard to tell!

Hi

So as Frank Field prepares to embark on his new career as an ‘Educator’ with his new Free School for Birkenhead perhaps he has a position in mind for the rapidly rising star on Labour’s benches at Wirral Council

Elizabeth Grey ( Liz to the comrades) managed to convince the good members of Bidston St James to select her despite being another emigre . They also don’t seem to have a problem her being the Head of Religious Education at the prestigious (and private fee paying) Birkenhead School.

Comrade Grey obviously doesn’t see any problem with private education and would no doubt be an asset to Mr Field’s new school.Either way it’s reassuring that despite announcing his ‘retirement’ Phil Davies is still scrabbling around gettting as many of his place men (or women) into position as possible to try and force his Golf Course, Growth Company and privatisation of the NHS through before he leaves the people of Wirral to clean up his shitty mess…

A festive message from Defend Our NHS : one last effort before Christmas (then celebrate with us!)

Dear friends of the NHS

Here are some reminders of events which really need as much support as possible. Please attend and/or share this information.

Wednesday 21st November 7:00pm St Albans Parish Centre, Liscard. Public meeting to save our walk-in centres AND other public services. DONHS will be speaking.

Tuesday 27 November 4:00pm: Wallasey Town Hall. Wirral councillors meeting to decide how/whether to untangle the mess into which local decisions have put the NHS. In officialese it’s the ‘Section 75 call-in’ meeting. We are organising a mass lobby because Wirral Council really does need to throw into reverse its collaboration with government plans. Its scrutiny committee has rightly condemned the plans for our walk-in centres. But these are only a part of the overall strategy of STP (‘slash, trash and privatise’) and ‘[un]accountability’ and ‘[dis]integration’.

Thursday 6 December 6:30-8:30pm: Wallasey Town Hall. Wirral CCG (the local arm of NHS England) is holding its final public meeting of the year – the first since it said it would ignore the Council’s demand to halt the walk-in process. We’ll be there.

Saturday 8 December 11:00am: rally supported by local GPs (90% of whom oppose the CCG’s plans) at the Miriam Health Centre, Laird St, Birkenhead.  Following the rally we will march to Hamilton Square.

Tuesday 11 Dec 1:00-4:00pm: Birkenhead Town Hall. CCG Governing Body meeting. All campaign petitions will be handed in at this meeting. There should be lots of media interest and GPs and campaigners will be attending in large numbers.

Later that evening is the DONHS informal Christmas get-together. We’ve cancelled the event for which you’ve already received an invitation because of problems with the venue. Instead from around 7.00pm we’ll be in ‘The Shrew’ pub in Oxton, Birkenhead:

Best wishes and thanks for all your support

On behalf of Defend Our NHS

https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/

DEFEND OUR NHS WIRRAL

#DefendOurNHS

Facebook and Twitter: Defend Our NHS

Email: defendournhswirral@gmail.com

A Scary NHS Story for Halloween

Mental-PowerBoy

It would appear that this week ‘His Lordship’ will be mainly having an editorial role as the good people of Wirral continue to flood us with leaks and newsworthy articles. As we usually like to do something appropriate for Halloween – read our past stories here – we’ve saved this one for today as it’s one of the scariest stories we’ve ever read…

Amongst other denials from the soon to disappear Council leader was that he had ever welcomed US health corporations into Wirral.

“I don’t accept that Wirral has done what you claim [granted enhanced entry to our local health services to major US and/or US-owned corporations] and you do not produce any evidence to support your assertion.” (Cllr Phil Davies)

He did.

In April 2015.

He denied it in January 2018.

This is what the papers reported three years ago.

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And this is the outfit which has been providing guidance ever since . ‘Faith-based’…

Advocate Health

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There is a direct line from April 2015 to the closure of walk-in services. All part of the US and McKinsey/PWC/Tory drive to undermine our unique health service and send people into the arms of insurance companies.

There is more, much more, to follow. Our plodding amateur research is unearthing all sorts of horrors.  Not just Davies but he has certainly contributed to what we will publish soon – the story of how Wirral’s health services are effectively run from the USA…

 

Wirral’s NHS crisis : petition to save five walk-in centres and other news from Defend Our NHS

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Dear friends

There are four things we would like to bring to your attention. As usual we would be grateful if you could take action and also share this message with your contacts.

Make no mistake: in the past week Wirral’s NHS crisis has turned into an emergency. The proposal from the local branch of NHS England (the clinical commissioning group/CCG) to close all five of Wirral’s walk-in clinics is shocking.

It is a further nail in Wirral’s NHS coffin and follows the phoney logic of the CCG and Wirral Council’s ‘integration’ of health and care, and their move to ‘place-based care’ (whatever that means*).

Our well-attended public meeting (with GPs and other health and care professionals speaking and in the audience) in Birkenhead last week discussed this and launched an immediate campaign to SAVE OUR WALK-IN CENTRES.

Please support these four actions:

  1. Read, share and display the attached leaflet. Thousands of these are being distributed around Wirral with the support of local GPs who, like us, believe that the proposed closures are idiotic.
  2. Try to attend and spread the word about the meetings and events listed on the leaflet. In particular we urge your attendance on: Tuesday 16th October: a lobby of Wirral’s new joint commissioning body meeting (the Council and the CCG): gather from 1.00pm outside and then inside Birkenhead Town Hall. Thursday 18th October: Defend Our NHS public meeting from 7.00pm also in Birkenhead Town Hall to discuss the GP and walk-in crises.
  3. Sign and share the petition which is gathering signatures all over Wirral. It is attached for printing and further use but also on-line at https://www.change.org/p/defend-our-nhs-save-our-wirral-walk-in-centres
  4. Support the judicial review which will challenge the legality of the national and local plans for NHS ‘integration’ if we can raise the funds. Find out more at: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/justice4nhs-stage5-courtofappeal/

Thank you and best wishes on behalf of Defend Our NHS

https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/

* You may have more luck than us. We have yet to find a councillor who can answer the questions in this test in their own words. The questions originated in Calderdale which is experiencing the same mayhem as we are in Wirral: http://www.energyroyd.org.uk/archives/16190

Petition sheet Oct 2018Screen Shot 2018-10-08 at 14.13.15

Wirral Council and the NHS …what is the truth?

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In advance of a report of tonight’s public meeting at Birkenhead Town Hall where the headline issue is the threat to close all Wirral’s NHS walk-in centres we provide some background information indicating that this threat is the tip of the iceberg. Which is an appropriate metaphor as what Wirral Council and Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group  (CCG) are doing is rearranging the deckchairs of Wirral’s NHS Titanic.)

The fundamental issue is that the Council and CCG have amalgamated health and care services and ‘pooled’ related budgets. (This will end in tears.)

To finalise the shenanigans on 16th October they will sign something called a Section 75 agreement (laid down by the Tories in their 2012 Health and Social Care Act). Incredibly the agreement has not been shown to Wirral councillors on the scrutiny committee, let alone the public. And they have refused to release the associated ‘due diligence’ report until the same date even to their councillors!!! The ‘due diligence’ was done for £40 by the very very iffy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

The Labour Party nationally is dead set against S.75 because it allows whatever is its subject to be subsequently contracted off (as will be inevitable as the two parties discover that trying to do twice as much with two slashed budgets is not an easy trick to pull off and so they will have to sub-contract the mess to the highest bidder).

But then the Labour Party nationally (and apparently some of its councillors locally – who knew?) are dead set against most of what Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies is seemingly prepared to go along with.

It could, for example, end up with a group of GPs bidding for the contract… or a health company of which some Wirral GPs are very fond? Only speculating, of course…

There is a judicial review of the contract about to be heard so the whole caboodle could end up being illegal! http://999callfornhs.org.uk/999-judicial-review-aug-2018/4594401565

Pip could land in deep water with the law – and with his party nationally.  But does he care?

 

More Transport Trauma

Wirral Screwed 007

Yesterday’s story prompted one of our readers to forward a story from the latest edition of Private Eye which also concerns local transport woes. This particular story is about non-emergency ambulance services.

Strangely this is one that , as far as we know has evaded the local press. However as you can see for yourself it speaks volumes about the shambolic decisions being made Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group and others. And it is you dear reader who pays through the nose for procurement failures and poorer services every single time !

*whispers* The people running the show on Wirral (both at  Wirral Council and Wirral University Teaching Hospital)  don’t know what they’re doing. Just sayin’……….

Audit Trail of Destruction

Frank meat cleaver

The latest Private Eye reports that our very own local MP Frank Field has (quite rightly) been tearing strips off auditors/accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers  (doing business as PwC) in the House of Commons.

Their summary is:

Field Day 005

As you can read for yourselves we once again witness Frankenfield’s flair for Gothic melodrama. “Waving his cleaver'” (oo-er missus!) as if he’s auditioning for the lead role in a remake of ” Mommie Dearest” ( “bring me the axe!)  – but then as we’ve said before he’s always been a Freudian case study waiting to happen.

Wirral Leaks readers will know that PwC are internationally renowned as the favoured go-to accountants of the tax avoider[i] and money launderer[ii].

So who does Wirral Council (with their chums in the Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group ) choose to undertake ‘due diligence’ (cue hysterical laughter) as they help to dismantle the NHS locally?

We really don’t need to give you the answer do we?  But we’ll give you a clue – can you spot the business acronym below?

PwC CCG

How much did that ‘due diligence’ work cost us ? And have we heard a peep out of our local hero about PwC’s involvement in it?

Once again we don’t need to give you the answer do we?

Under the circumstances all we can say to Frankenfield is this :  If you’re going to play the people’s champion and defender of the NHS you have to be true to yourself and true to us. If not – what are you? That’s right – it makes you a duplicitous politician! But then we’ve long known that at Wirral Leaks!

[i] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-31147276

[ii] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2014/08/18/pwc-to-pay-25-million-to-settle-money-laundering-report-allegations/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.03f32dddcd