Friday 15 Jan was the day that Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS market bureaucrats finally published their pre-consultation business plan for the hospital cuts that have been hanging over us all in Calderdale and Huddersfield for 2 years now.
It was also the day that members of Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS handed in 49 letters of protest to Monitor, the NHS market competition enforcer. (Kind of like Ofgem for the NHS.)
The surprised security guard said it is the first protest there’s been at the Monitor offices at 133-135 Waterloo Road, SE1. It won’t be the last. (He also said photographs at the Monitor offices are not allowed, but by then it was too late.)
The letters, signed by Halifax shoppers on a cold rainy Saturday morning in November, told Monitor that Calderdale people didn’t appreciate them imposing the profiteering global management consultancy Ernst and Young on the hospitals Trust, at a cost of £500k for 3 months work, to come up with a plan for how and where to make cuts to hospital services because the government’s demand for impossible “efficiency savings” forced the Trust into deficit last year.
The hospital cuts Pre Consultation Business Case (PCBC) shows what Ernst and Young were up to in the 3 months they were working on a cost-cutting 5 Year Strategic Plan for the hospitals Trust – at a cost to the Trust of £500k.
The Right Care Right Time Right Place Pre-Consultation Business Case is geared to make the hospitals Trust maximise the Calderdale Royal Hospital PFI deal. It aims to do this by making it the only hospital in both Calderdale and Huddersfield to provide A&E, acute and clinically high-risk planned care services.
In fact it aims to make it the only hospital, leaving Huddersfield with its hospital knocked down so the valuable site can be sold off to developers, and a profitable elective care centre with 10 operating theatres, to be built across the road at Acre Mill alongside the new outpatients centre. (Update: After Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee decided that the plans were not in the interests of the public and the local NHS, and referred them to the Secretary of State, the hospitals Trust now plans to retain the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary building for a small planned care hospital for both areas, along with outpatients and a downgraded walk-in A&E.)
We are worried about the future of elective care in our hospitals. Earlier this year at the Health Finance Managers Association Conference, the Monitor boss repeated the Dalton Review suggestion of handing over hospitals to private companies. And also that private companies or “successful” NHS trusts – ie those without a deficit – could take over a lot of hospitals and operate as a hospital chain. Private companies would have a role in deciding which NHS Trusts would be judged “successful” and so able to take over other hospitals and operate as a chain.
This is right out of Oliver Letwin’s 1988 blueprint for stealth privatising the NHS, which Margaret Thatcher’s Health Secretary Ken Clarke ordered to be suppressed as it would have been electoral suicide.
How times change – what was inadmissible in 1988 became law in the Health & Social Care Act 2012. And Oliver Letwin now runs the Tory Government’s Cabinet Office, making him effectively Minister of Everything.
The Right Care Right Time Right Place Pre-Consultation Business Case is downloadable here. All 262 pages of it.