So many revolving doors – was Bootham Park Hospital closed in the interests of patients or profits?

Bootham Park Hospital was closed at the end of September 2015 on the sudden instruction of the Care Quality Commission, following their unannounced inspection five days before the contract for running the hospital was due to be taken up by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys mental health trust.

The inspection was apparently triggered by whistle-blowing from a ward manager who used to work for the Care Quality Commission.

Despite massive public opposition to the hurried closure – and an assurance to the Care Quality Commission from the head of Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys mental health trust that they had £2m earmarked for fixing the maintenance problems that were the reason for closing Bootham Park Hospital – the Care Quality Commission refused to budge.

None of this story makes any obvious sense. So what’s been going on?

Do fast-revolving doors between key public organisations and private health sector companies create a shadow NHS, where decisions are made in the interests of profit not patients? Continue reading

New-build mental hospital for York – the murky workings of a post-democratic, privatising NHS

The sudden closure of Bootham Park Hospital in York at the end of September 2015 with just five days warning –  followed sixteen months later by the proposal for a replacement new build mental health hospital in York, provides a case study in the murky workings of a fast-privatising NHS that lacks democratic accountability

Revolving doors between the NHS and private companies mean that conflicts of interest are rife – but barely examined.

Bootham Park’s closure, on the order of the Care Quality Commission following an unannounced inspection, forced the immediate discharge or relocation of 30 inpatients  and affected 400 outpatients.

It was met by public outrage and opposition as the mental health hospital – the only one in York and the surrounding area – had been vital to the wellbeing and survival of many patients. Continue reading

Hospitals Trust director promises fewer patients will be stuck in hospital

Calderdale attracted national attention earlier this year as one of the worst places in the country for delays in hospital discharges of patients who are medically fit to leave, but still need nursing or social care afterwards.

Helen Barker, the hospital Trust’s new Interim Associate Director of Community Service and Operations, said that she is confident that the situation will be better in six months time, although she conceded,

“I’m a bit disappointed at this month’s performance”.

Together with Pippa Corner from Calderdale Council’s Adults Health and Social Care (AHSC) Directorate, Ms Barker attended the Council’s AHSC Scrutiny Panel on 11 August 2015 to explain the delays in discharging patients who need ongoing care once they leave hospital. Continue reading

A plague on both ConDem and New Labour for failing their duty of care to the NHS

Allyson Pollock, professor of public health research and policy at Queen Mary, University of London, points out that by removing the NHS from direct democratic accountability, New Labour reforms are at the root of a lapse in NHS standards. These have seen the Care Quality Commission (CQC) cover up an investigation into baby deaths at Furness Hospital in Cumbria, and investigate failures at Mid Stafforshire Hospital.

In 2009 New Labour “stripped out public accountability for the NHS,” moving it to arms-length, market-based inspection and enforcement under the new Care Quality Commission and Monitor – the economic regulator for the newly-marketised NHS. Until New Labour’s meddling, the NHS was directly accountable to the public, since it was under the direct control of the government.
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