The rose-tinted privatisation of maternity services is under way

This is a question I’ve been meaning to ask the Clinical Commissioning Groups at the hospital cuts consultation drop ins:

  • Where are the community midwives coming from to provide the increased home births proposed in the Right Care Right Time Right Place Have Your Say Consultation Doc (p30)?
  • And are the CCGs relying on the recommendations of the National Maternity Review, that women employ private midwives through the £3k voucher scheme? And what happens to such women if things go wrong in labour and they need specialist obstetric help which will cost far more than £3k?

Continue reading

Calderdale community mental health service for the chop

Right when proposals are afoot to cut hospital services on the grounds that it’s better for patients to have “Care Closer to Home”, users of an NHS community-based Art Psychotherapy service in Calderdale are fighting to save it from closure after the therapists were given compulsory redundancy notices over the Christmas period.

If the redundancies go ahead then vulnerable people with complex mental health problems will have their therapy terminated prematurely on the 31st March with no suitable alternative in place for them. Continue reading

More privatisation and cuts for Calderdale mental health services

In her deputation statement to the Calderdale & Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee yesterday, the Chair of Calderdale 38 Degrees NHS Campaign warned of the risk that the plan to move many services out of the hospitals into the “community” would repeat the the disastrous Care in the Community scheme of the 1980s/90s, that resulted from the closure of mental health hospitals.

Jane Rendle told Councillors:

“Once the hospitals had closed, funding for mental health Care in the Community was whittled away, leading to inadequate care and no hospital back up. Today we have the disastrous situation that sometimes there is not a single available mental health bed in the country.”

Now, history is repeating itself.  Clinical Commissioning Groups are pushing the un-evidenced “Care Closer to Home scheme” – while effective and cost-efficient community mental health services are for the chop. Users of an NHS community-based Art Psychotherapy service in Calderdale are fighting to save it from closure after the therapists were given compulsory redundancy notices over the Christmas period.

And increasingly, mental health services are being privatised. Continue reading

Mysterious disappearing Consultation Document to appear on 12th Feb

Terry Hallworth reports on the Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Governing Body meeting on 10th February

Update to Terry’s report

On 11th February Richard Dunne, Kirklees Scrutiny Officer, emailed that the draft Consultation Document and Questionaire will be publicly available on the Kirklees Council’s Joint Health Scrutiny Committee Webpage on 12th February (not the 15th as Greater Huddersfield CCG reported), along with the Agenda.

If you want to address the JHSC, tell Richard Dunne and he will put your name of the list of deputations. Further info from Richard Dunne is that the consultation will not proceed until this meeting has taken place.

Consultation Document to be released 12th Feb, with Scrutiny on 22nd

The CCGs will be releasing the final draft of the Consultation Document on 12th February.

The CCGs and Joint Health Scrutiny Committee will have a public Scrutiny meeting on the 22 Feb, in the Council Chamber at Halifax Town Hall at 3.45pm

The Governing BodyChair, Dr Ollerton, and Carol McKenna, the CCG’s Chief Officer, will then sign off the document. That seems to presume no alterations will be necessary.

Consultation will then start on 27th Feb and will be for 14 weeks Continue reading

Care Closer to Home – too bad there’s little or no evidence it would work

People are rightly very exercised about the proposed hospital cuts and A&E closure – but the proposals to move hospital services into the “community” are equally devastating.

This bit of the “Right Care Right Place Right Time” shake up – which should really be called “Less Care, Fragmented Hither and Yon” – has the potential to wreak destruction on the bit of the NHS that most of us use more than anything else – our GP/primary care services.

This is Part 2 of Plain Speaker’s attempt to begin to answer some key questions about so-called Care Closer to Home. (You can find Part 1 here) Continue reading

Care Closer to Home – “Patients Will Suffer”

Kirklees and Calderdale people are very upset about the proposed hospital cuts and changes and A&E closure – but related  proposals to move hospital services into the “community” are equally devastating. Continue reading

Huddersfield and Calderdale hospitals on black alert again due to shortage of beds and staff

On Wednesday 27 January, both Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH) told staff they were  on “black alert” – not for the first time this year.

At the 12th January Junior Doctors Strike picket, a junior doctor said that CRH had been on black alert for most of the previous week.

Black alert is when the hospital can’t take any more patients because it hasn’t got beds for them. This means patients who come to A&E may spend time on trolleys in corridors before they can be admitted as inpatients. Continue reading

Bilfinger tries to resuscitate Todmorden Health Centre white elephant

Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group’s Head of Service Improvement Debbie Graham has said that Todmorden Health Centre belongs to the people of Todmorden.

In fact, it belongs to a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) called Assura Group Ltd.

And Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has hired a commercial property development company, BIlfinger GVA, to work out how to bring in new tenants to fill all the unused spaces in Todmorden Health Centre  and make it work as the “hub” for the Vanguard/Care Closer to Home scheme. This aims to cut acute and emergency hospital services and replace them with care in the community for frail elderly people and people with chronic illnesses. Continue reading

Monitor has hospital in stranglehold – hospital cuts and changes consultation on hold

As expected, both Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield NHS commissioners today agreed to postpone the public consultation on proposed hospital cuts and changes. The consultation had been scheduled to start this month.

One burning issue for the public is what NHS bosses want to do to our A&Es. A slide presented at the meeting showed we could end up without a full A&E at either hospital. The slide said that one emergency centre or specialist emergency centre is planned – but draft specifications from NHS England say that only specialist emergency centres provide full A&E care.

The delay to the public consultation is because the Clinical Commissioning Groups don’t know if the hospitals Trust will be financially viable in five years time and are waiting for it to produce a Five Year Financial Plan.

The Trust – along with half the Foundation Trusts in the country – is in deficit. It is under special measures from Monitor, the NHS competition enforcer and financial regulator. Monitor is telling it to make big spending cuts, since Foundation Trusts are not allowed to operate at a loss. Continue reading

Calder Valley NHS Vanguard – fast tracking the 5 year plan to dismantle the NHS

The not-so-hidden agenda of the government and its NHS privatisation quango (the NHS Commissioning Board, aka NHS England) is to de-fund, run down and privatise the NHS by the end of this Parliament.

Here is how this is playing out in Calderdale.


Cutting £20m/year from Calderdale’s NHS budget until 2019

The Care Closer to Home scheme, which NHS England is imposing in Calderdale and across the country, is dressed up as an improvement to NHS and social care services, but it’s really about making £22bn worth of NHS cuts by 2020.

According to Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group, Calderdale’s share of these cuts amounts to £80m in the four years between 2014/15 and 2018/19, and its Care Closer to Home scheme is key to making these cuts. (Source: Calderdale Care Closer to Home Service Specification, 20 Jan 2015 Version, Draft 13.1, p19) Continue reading