NHS England have just paved the way for the private health sector to run the front end of every major hospital in Lincolnshire.
Simon Stevens, the boss of NHS England and ex vice president of UnitedHealth, the largest private health insurer in the united states, announced his plan to convert the public NHS in England into his American counterpart called an 'accountable care system'.
He did this in what NHS England call the five year forward view, the blueprint document all regional Sustainability & Transformation Plans [STPs] are based on.
Decoupling hospital services such as outpatients and diagnostics and moving them into private-public community clinics is a crucial part of the STPs and privatisation process.
As is closing A&E departments and replacing them with urgent care centres, also ultimately with the facility to be run by the private healthcare sector.
The NHS England plan, that so far has received no public consultation, is to introduce Urgent Treatment/Care centres (UCCs) at 5 hospital sites across Lincolnshire in an attempt to reduce attendances at A&Es.
It's also been revealed there are 150 Urgent Care Centres planned for England by December 2019. It's anticipated the 150 urgent care centres will be located at various places throughout the community and could result in over one-third of A&Es in England either closing or being downgraded.
On a smaller scale this is what NHS England did over at Chorley & South Ribble hospital in Lancashire in 2015 with health bosses claiming the Urgent Care Centre was there to supplement the A&E and to reduce admissions to A&E. The reality is the ultimate plan revealed later in 2015 as the 'STP' was to downgrade the Chorley A&E and replace it with the extended UCC & and to send patients from the Chorley area over to the trusts other hospital A&E at Preston.
It's not necessary to build an urgent care centre adjacent to the A&E unless the UCC is to be privatised and to replace the A&E. With perhaps the exception of 1 or 2 A&Es in Lincolnshire, so is a trial to see if an A&E can still manage demand with reduced numbers redirected to the Urgent Care Centre before eventually replacing the A&E. *Urgent care review.
NHS England claim the walk-in urgent treatment centres will be open at least 12 hours a day and can also be booked via a GP or through NHS 111. They also claim attendances at urgent treatment centres will count towards the four hour access and waiting times standard.Each hospital trust need stats across 4 quarters (1 year) to get the numbers (across 4 seasons) and to satisfy NHSE criteria for a downgrade.
Reports claim a walk-in centre at one hospital in Lincolnshire is to be replaced with a UCC which begs the questions as to how are they to be funded and were the plans scrutinised by the health committees long before the decision being made.
General Practice also stand to gain from further deals established in the five year forward view and a related document called the General Practice forward view (GPFV). The General Practice forward view expands the role of the dwindling GP practices by integrating them into a network partnership similar to that used by USA health maintenance firm 'Kaiser Permanente'. The GPFV provides an opportunity for private practices to invest in new ways of providing primary care.
And of course remember, the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are those GPs and civil servants making the changes in the STPs and reaping any investments. Conflict of interests appear to have gone out the window with CCG co-commissioning. Delegated co-commissioning is illegal in local authorities due to the obvious conflicts of interest.
NHS England claim a urgent treatment centre is a type 3 or type 4 A&E.
The urgent care centres not adjacent to an A&E are nothing like an A&E department and the tag of 'type 3 A&E or 4 A&E' is assigned to appease the public that the 4 hour A&E target to be seen as in a type 1 A&E still applies.
The titles are irrelevant, they are just the same as a walk-in or a minor injuries unit. Same services: lucrative/profitable, high-turnover, low risk, just right for the private sector.
NHS England have just paved the way for the private health sector to run the front end of every hospital in Lincolnshire.
NHS England announce 150 urgent treatment centres
NHSE Guidance telling local areas need hurry up and to get started on setting up the new urgent treatment clinics..
Lincolnshire health bosses identify five urgent treatment centre sites for county