The health secretary Jeremy Hunt's visit to Preston Hospital on Tuesday was to promote his version of an English 'Kaiser Permanente' which he believes will solve all financial and clinical problems in the regions.
And technically it will, since his and Simon Stevens' Transformation Plans drive all profitable services towards the private sector thus dismantling the NHS and killing off thousands of patients in the process.
A few of our campaign team were there on Tuesday outside Preston hospital to remind Hunt that our NHS is not for Sale and that we continue to fight for a 'publicly provided' and 'publicly owned' Universal Healthcare System available to everyone, free at the point of need.
We've always paid into a publicly provided healthcare system and we will NOT TOLERATE any more interference from politicians who's sole purpose is to transform our health services into profitable ventures just to their suit their own political ends.
Healthwatch UpdatePAGE 6 of Yesterday's Chorley Guardian highlights the hypocrisy of what's supposed to be a body representing patient's views. Healthwatch Lancashire are supposed to scrutinise and question existing and proposed changes to healthcare in our region.
Instead, in response to excessive attendances at Lancashire's hospitals the chairman of Healthwatch Lancashire Mike Wedgeworth claims the 'NHS' is looking to establish new 'urgent treatment centres' open 12 hours a day 7 days a week staffed by GPs with simple diagnostic tests and accessed using the 111 phone line.
These 'urgent treatment centres' referred to are private/public partnership clinics run by the likes of Serco and VirginCare and are referenced in all STPs as 'Multi-specialty Community Provider clinics (MCP).
Remember - we are already short of hospital staff, GPs, and funding, one reason for more patients attending urgent care/A&E. But... Ironically, the Healthwatch chair then contradicts himself saying..
"it's an ambitious plan, and to be successful it depends on the right staff being available at the right place and at the right time. The fear must be that the increasing shortage of GPs and nurses will frustrate the big hope".So what is this 'big hope' the chairman of Healthwatch Lancashire speaks of?
Do Healthwatch Lancashire have an agenda of their own? Why aren't they scrutinising the plans to transform healthcare in Lancashire?
- Where's the money coming from to pay for these clinics on every street corner?
- Where's the staff coming from to fill all the vacancies?
- Where's the evidence that these changes will result in better patient care and better outcomes for ALL patients?
- What effect will this have on destabilising existing hospital and GP services?
- Will the new models of care be implemented before we see any evidence that they are financially and clinically sustainable?
Why isn't Healthwatch Lancashire scrutinising these STP plans and reporting back to the public on the feasibility of the plans with any potential risks to patients and to financial stability in the NHS?
Because it's likely, just like everyone else, Healthwatch have been kept in the dark about Jeremy Hunt's covert STP plans to dismantle the NHS. Yet the worst thing a Healthwatch body can do is to forge ahead and promote plans that have no evidence-base and jeapordise a publicly run healthcare service putting the quality of patient care at risk.
All these questions, and I have yet to see a single valid answer from Healthwatch Lancashire.
Proper scrutiny is needed..... Healthwatch can do much better, and must start by using a common sense approach to analysing plans that have no evidence-base whatsoever and are based on a model of care from a country that's just been ranked LAST in terms of healthcare provision, efficiency, effectiveness, and availability to all...