Friday, 7 October 2016

Are Clinical Commissioning Groups Awarding themselves contracts?

Chorley and South Ribble Clinical Commissioning Group have seemingly failed to declare conflicts of interest and awarded themselves contracts.

The following details are from the Chorley & South Ribble (C&SR) Clinical Commissioning Group report....

GP Out Of Hours - OOH
(1) The GP OOH services are currently delivered in Preston by Preston Primary Care Centre Ltd (PPCC) from their base located on the Royal Preston Hospital (RPH) adjacent to the Emergency Department (ED).

(2) OOH services are also provided in Chorley via Chorley Medics Ltd (CML) from their standalone OOH base at Euxton.

Point (2) above clearly shows that the CCG buy services from Chorley Medics Ltd. The Chorley medic GPs are also registered with the C&SR CCG under the 'any  qualified provider' accreditation process. GP's sit on the CCG. The CCG buys services from Chorley medics so it would be a huge conflict of interest, if not corrupt, if the CCG awarded a contract to Chorley medics Ltd (effectively awarding itself a contract). Yet the contract was still awarded....

Contract awards

The contract below has been jointly procured with NHS Greater Preston CCG.

Adult (over 16) direct access physiotherapy
■        Chorley Medics Ltd, 114 Wigan Road, Euxton, Chorley, Lancashire

Each time a GP refers an Adult to physiotherapy, Chorley Medics Ltd are paid for the session + any other expenses. The referrer doesn't even have to work for Chorley Medics Ltd, they don't even need to be a GP to direct funds to Chorley Medics.

GP-led commissioning has become a lucrative venture for many. Indeed, this financial year alone (2015/16), the part-time chair of C&SR CCG collected £155,000 from the taxpayer, for being the CCG chair, and that's not including the fact they collect another salary as a partner in their own GP practice. source: C&SR CCG Annual Report
The part-time chairpersons annual CCG salary alone would pay for a blood pressure monitor in every single GP surgery waiting room in Chorley and Preston.

Greater Preston CCG chair collected the highest remuneration for sitting on the part-time CCG committee. A whopping £305,000 including pension benefits remuneration.


CCGs, the beginning of privatisation

Chorley & South Ribble (C&SR) Clinical Commissioning Group have wasted no time in privatising local NHS services. As soon as the CCG was formed in 2014, they sold off musculoskeletal (MSK) services to Virgin Care on a £6.9m contract then proceeded to sell off Elective service contracts to the private company Ramsay Healthcare.

Since its advent, little is known about CCGs and how they consult other GPs in their area on service contracts. There's certainly no consultation with the public about how they feel on which services should remain in the NHS or otherwise. 

A CCG cannot even claim to have any popular mandate or support, since CCGs were set up without any public consultation or involvement. The process makes a transparent nonsense of the Tories assurance of ‘no decision to be taken about me, without me’.

For the most part, GPs recognised that if they were forced into the role of commissioners, they would have to take the blame for imposing cutbacks and the rationing of care to their own patients, which were integral elements of the reform package. Clearly this has created a fractious relationship between GPs and their patients.

Some also recognised that GPs would have little day-to-day control over running their local CCG. As clinicians with a caseload of patients, most GPs lack the time, energy and inclination to take on a major strategic management job involving a nine-figure budget, or for planning services in much wider areas than their own practice.
So how can any GP sat as a CCG chair justify collecting  £155,000  per year of tax-payers money?

It's quite clear that those GPs who jumped on the CCG gravy train are in it for financial gain and to forward the agenda of their paymasters, that of privatisation of NHS services.

A handful of well-meaning but misguided idealists have hung in and engaged with the development of the new CCGs, but the involvement of doctors has been mostly limited to a group of willing ‘reformers’, many with an eye to potential personal gain and increased local influence available under the new scheme.extract from NHS SOS

Finally, we must remember that the local CCGs have just sold-off a £35m contract for Urgent Care Centre and associated services that they themselves will likely be employed to use.

I was shocked to see the Health & Social Care bill make its way into an Act of parliament, thus paving the way for privatising NHS services to 'any qualified provider'.

Unless we do something NOW to stop such perceived corruption we will inevitably arrive at the bus stop of no return, and we will have lost our NHS forever...


C&SR CCG annual report salaries & remunerations

C&SR Contract Awards

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