Monday, 28 August 2017

Cover ups, increased waiting times, and NHS contract sell-offs

During the general election campaign Healthwatch bodies were told they could not publish factual financial information that showed the true scale of NHS deficits, indicating another “cover up” to deny the public the true picture of the NHS. [1]

The head of the NHS and previous vice president of the largest private healthcare insurer in the U.S. 'Simon Stevens' was accused of abandoning waiting times targets after he said some patients would have to wait longer for treatment.
  • 3.78 million patients are now waiting longer for NHS treatment - a rise of more than 50 per cent since 2012.
  •  1,573 patients are now waiting more than a YEAR for planned operations, compared with 886 just a year ago - a rise of 78 per cent.
  • 382,000 patients are now waiting longer than 18 weeks for routine surgery, the largest since September 2008
  • Over the past three years, the number of patients waiting more than 26 weeks for treatment has increased from 60,402 in April 2014 to 136,030 in April 2017 [2].
  • Touchscreen advertising within NHS GP practices are now offering patients facing waits of almost a month a same-day appointment for £39. Evidence that the NHS is moving towards a “two-tier” system, where only those who can pay upfront could get the care needed.
  • Senior NHS managers have been told to “think the unthinkable” as part of a national programme to cap costs. This 'capped expenditure process' could be seen to be forcing many trusts to bypass public consultation and implement draconian cuts, downgrades, and service contract handovers to the private healthcare sector.
Closing wards and surgical theatres, cutting back on staff, and systematically lengthening waiting times for operations are among the moves being discussed between NHS England, health trusts. and some management consultancy firms such as McKinsey and Deloitte.

Fourteen areas are under particular pressure to make swingeing cuts because they are on course to miss agreed “overdraft limits” so have been told to follow the capped expenditure process (CEP) [3]. This includes 'Morecambe Bay' which is in the same STP footprint as Chorley & South Ribble.

CCGs to sell off more NHS services affecting Chorley & South Ribble

■ Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit (CSU) are working on behalf of Chorley & South Ribble and Greater Preston CCGs and in December 2016 put four more NHS services out to tender to the estimated value of £12,751,970.00 per year. These are: Musculoskeletal [MSK], Physiotherapy, Pain Management and Rheumatology Services.[4]

Considering the Lancashire Teaching hospital trusts current deficit the above four services are likely to go to the private sector but as yet the tender is still open. The MSK contract is currently held by Virgin Care so it's unknown if the CCGs are renewing this or holding out for split bids (Lots) along with the other services (Physiotherapy, Pain Management and Rheumatology) .



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