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

Virgin Care’s Meadowdale GP centres contract to be extended despite unanswered quality and cost questions

Without ever mentioning the private health care companies by name, a recommendation to extend Calderdale’s Virgin Care and Locala GP contracts without putting them out to tender was agreed pretty much as a formality at the first meeting of Calderdale’s Commissioning Primary Medical Services Committee.

The Virgin Care GP contract was the main topic of discussion, since it runs out this September. The extension will take it up to April 2017.

The possibility of not extending the Virgin Care contract was only mentioned once and then dismissed immediately, on the grounds that this risked causing the company to walk away, and patients would have to find other GPs.

But no one could answer questions about the Virgin Care GP practice’s quality and value for money. Continue reading

Upper Calder Valley to be “Vanguard” testbed for cost-cutting model of NHS and social care

Last year saw big protests against proposals to close Calderdale A&E and other acute Calderdale Royal Hospital services like acute paediatrics and complex maternity, and to transfer hospital services for the frail elderly and people with chronic illnesses into GP-run services in four “localities” in Calderdale, in the hope that this will reduce acute and emergency admissions.

Although there is no evidence that this will work, these so-called “Right Care Right Time Right Place” and “Care Closer to Home” plans haven’t gone away – far from it.

Dr Matt Walsh, Chief Officer of Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), told the 11th June CCG Governing Body meeting that these plans are now accelerating, as a result of the Tory government’s pressure since the election. He said,

“Work is going on apace on future models of service delivery.” Continue reading