On Saturday 26th February 2022 Greg Dropkin, a long term campaigner for Keep Our NHS Public spoke at the SOS NHS event in Liverpool against the Health and Care Bill, which is being put into place ahead of the legislation being agreed.
Greg described one of the vicious changes to our health care that is being developed.
“In an emergency, all of us expect to go to A&E and be seen, no matter who we are or where we’re from.
In law, Clinical Commissioning Groups must ensure that emergency care is provided for every person present in the area. But it’s changing. In September, a badly burned Rochdale nurse went to A&E and was
advised to go to Bury given the long delay in Rochdale. When she got there, staff told her “we don’t take patients from Rochdale”, due to a directive from the Northern Care Alliance.
Lord Davies told this story when proposing an amendment to stop any provider from refusing treatment on the basis of which Integrated Care Board the patient belonged to. In response, government Minister Lord Kamall didn’t even# mention emergency care. He said no provider could be expected to provide treatment for which they were not funded, and each Integrated Care Board must be free to decide what treatment to commission. So it’s policy. Even in an emergency, funding flows will trump patient care. Bring an electricity bill and your passport to A&E.
The National NHS is being broken into around 40 separate financial systems. Their budgets will be set
with a new Payment Scheme. The cost of a treatment will depend on where it is given, who provides it, and who is being treated. And, providers including the private sector will be consulted on the prices to be
paid. This means a postcode lottery rigged to suit private firms. If the Integrated Care Board is going over
budget, NHS England can intervene to stop spending. With local budgets and a variable payment scheme, ICBs may say, why should staff in our area be paid the same as other places with better budgets? They may impose local pay and conditions for NHS staff in their patch. That would destroy national agreements, and unions should be screaming about this threat.
Who profits? Around 240 organisations, most of them private companies, are accredited by NHS England
to develop Integrated Care Systems through the Health Systems Support Framework. Several dozen are US transnational corporations supplying the health insurance market.
Operose, which controls dozens of GP surgeries, is wholly owned by US transnational Centene, a $100bn enterprise. Under the Framework,
Operose is accredited for 22 topics, like population health management and payment reform. Its former boss Samantha Jones became Boris Johnson’s Expert Advisor for NHS Transformation and Social Care.
She is now Permanent Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of 10 Downing Street.
The Framework aims to transform the NHS into a digital and data-driven system, where clinicians rely on algorithms, remote monitoring, big data, and artificial intelligence. Labour peer Lord Hunt of Kings Heath tabled 7 amendments to the Bill promoting digital transformation. One requires all NHS organisations to spend at least 5% of their budget on digital transformation. Hunt also chairs the Advisory Board of Octopus
Tenx Health, a health technology investment company. When Octopus took over, the Tenx Board included the husband of Samantha Jones. Tenx Health co-founder Joe Stringer stated at the start of lockdown that coronavirus could be the catalyst for the mass adoption of tech across the health system. He predicted venture capital funds would take it up.
Despite Government spin, the private sector is not barred from Integrated Care Boards. They can sit on committees and the provider collaboratives where private companies and NHS Trusts will come together
to carry out the functions of the ICB using delegated budgets.
New procurement regulations will allow ICBs to award contracts without competition. Just like the crony covid contracts were handed out, overpriced, some to firms with no relevant experience, or which failed
We should fight it all the way. But if the Bill becomes law, we want it repealed and the NHS restored as a universal, comprehensive service, publicly provided, publicly accountable, free at the point of need with decisions taken on clinical grounds, not ability to pay
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