This is my response to Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group’s questionnaire about the future of hospital and community health and social care services in Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield. Have you completed yours? You can download the questionnaire here . You’ll find it’s on page 12 of that pdf leaflet “The future of hospital and community services – Get involved and have your say.” Because it’s a pdf download, if you want to word process your reply, rather than write it by hand, you’ll need to copy the .pdf questionnaire form and save it as a .doc file or whatever word processing programme you use. If you’d like to put your reply on Plain Speaker, please send it in or post it to 19 Unity Street, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8HQ.
My response is here:
I accuse Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group of misleading the public. Imo they are presenting government plans to covertly privatise the NHS as if they are local doctors’ and nurses’ ideas for improving patient care and saving money for Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS. There is no reliable evidence that their proposals improve patient care and people’s health or that they cut costs.
The future of hospital and community services- Get involved and have your say
1. Do you think we have reflected the things people have already told us?
Tick box ❑ Yes
❑ No X
I have no idea what people have told you, since you have not provided any public access to the consultation data you say you have collected. So I have no way of knowing whether the Right Care Right Time Right Place (RCRTRP) proposals give people what they say they want.
But I very much doubt it, because the leaflet and the RCRTRP documents it’s based on use the language and concepts of documents written by pro-privatisation health policy think tanks like the Nuffield Trust. For example there are strong echoes of Chris Ham’s review of the Kaiser Beacons pilot. This pilot ran English trials of the American private health care company Kaiser Permanente’s system for reducing acute and emergency hospital care and replacing it by community health care. It would be very strange if the people of Calderdale echoed the language and ideas of health policy think tanks.
Your leaflet and the documents it’s based on read as if your engagement and consultation activities have asked people leading questions, so that they come up with comments that appear to implicitly endorse the Kaiser Beacons model of health and social care in the community that you want to set up in Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield.
Management consultancies like McKinsey, that successive governments have outsourced NHS policy making to, have been promoting this model to the Department of Health since the first term of the New Labour government. The pro-privatisation think tanks the Nuffield Trust and the Kings Fund wrote this Kaiser Beacons system of health and social care in the community into the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
I have no confidence in the consultations and engagements that you have undertaken. I haven’t heard any member of the public say that they want what your leaflet offers. So, on reflection, I have ticked box No.
2. What do you think about the ideas described in this leaflet?
Only clowns would close our A&E.
I think the ideas in your leaflet are designed to speed up the NHS privatisation that the New Labour government set in motion and that the Coalition government has radically accelerated by means of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. The Coalition government imposed this major top-down reorganisation on the NHS without any democratic mandate. It was not in any party manifesto and David Cameron said before the election that his government would not impose any top down reorganisation on the NHS. Then he went ahead and did it.
The ideas described in this leaflet are a direct outcome of this undemocratic process, which makes your consultation fig leaf particularly phony and pointless.
As well as being aimed at speeding up NHS privatisation, I think the ideas in your leaflet aim to bring a privatised NHS into line with American private healthcare practices. Your proposed system of hospital and community health services copies the cherry-picking system used by the private American healthcare company Kaiser Permanente. By cherry-picking I mean that the system leads to unequal treatment – it incentivises the treatment of patients with illnesses that are relatively easy and cheap to treat, and leaves out patients whose treatments would cost a lot of money and reduce the profits of the healthcare company.
This “harmonisation” of the NHS with an American private healthcare system would make it easier for American/global private healthcare companies to take over the NHS, which they are jockeying to do. If the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is signed by the USA and EU, this process will be legally irreversible.
The ideas in your leaflet are the product of outsourced NHS policy-making that successive governments have handed over to pro-privatisation management consultancies like McKinsey and pro-privatisation think tanks like The Kings Fund and the Nuffield Trust.
You paid PA Consulting nearly £1m of our public money to ”support” the Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield Strategic Review – and also to write the outline business case in 2013, although this will only be released at the end of this month.
There is no reliable evidence that your proposal to reduce acute and emergency hospital services and replace them with integrated care in the community will improve patient care and patients’ health.
These ideas are about cuts that open the door to NHS privatisation, but they are dressed up in the pretence that care in the community will improve patient health and patient care, and also cut costs.
But there is no reliable evidence that the proposed model will be cheaper than the current system.
3. Do you have any other suggestions for changing health and community services?
- Repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
- End the purchaser/provider split.
- Fund the NHS properly, so that its funding matches the average % of GDP that other similarly wealthy countries spend on their health services.
- Increase hospital beds so that the number of hospital beds per 1000 population is more in line with the average in other similarly wealthy OECD countries.
- Stop the so-called NHS efficiency cuts.
- Use the £millions that the Treasury has clawed back from the NHS through the so-called efficiency cuts, to increase the pay of nurses and other NHS staff and make up for the 8-10% real cut in NHS staff pay since 2010. And to make other vital investments in the NHS.
- Remove gagging clauses from NHS staff contracts.
- Create a more open working environment in CHFT and Locala so that staff are not afraid to speak out about their working terms and conditions and about how your proposals may affect them.
- Increase staff numbers in CHFT to the level they were before the NHS efficiency savings/cuts were imposed in 2010.
- Restore GP funding to the level it was at before the “austerity” cuts were imposed.
I could go on.
Most of these changes are beyond your power, but at least you could have the guts to fight for them, instead of taking our NHS to pieces while pretending to improve it.
4. Do you want to tell us anything else about hospital and community services in
Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield?
They are vital for everyone who lives in the area. People value them hugely and appreciate the staff who keep them running.
I am fed up with NHS bureaucrats drooling management-speak gobblydygook and patronising the public with badly written misinformation and infantile graphics – all paid for with our money. I am fed up with a culture of secrecy and misleading the public.
I am fed up with community health services being provided by a private company, Locala, which is run by a man who left behind £600K of unpaid debt when his previous company went bankrupt. I fear that Locala will expand into Calderdale if your proposals go ahead.
I am fed up that SWYPFT has lost hospital beds and has had to send mental health patients all over the country to find a bed.
I love the NHS and think it is one of the greatest achievements of our society. I do not take kindly to attempts by this cheeseparing government to chop it up in pieces and sell it off to their corporate cronies. I do not appreciate you pretending that this is not happening and that the cuts and closures are for our own good and something we have asked for.
Please complete the monitoring information on the reverse, then return this
questionnaire Freepost to:
Freepost, RLTG-JAYY-ZSRX, NHS Calderdale CCG, 5th Floor, F Mill, Dean Clough,
Halifax, HX3 5AX