300 GPs end Virgin partnership over conflict of interest

Well here is interesting news (from The Guardian of Wed 24th Oct).  “More than 300 GPs  have ended their partnership with Richard Branson’s Virgin Care to provide healthcare services after criticism that the arrangements might see doctors personally profit from sending patients to clinics they part-own under the coalition’s health reforms.”   This is exactly the kind of conflict of interest that people have been warning about since the bill to privatise the NHS was passed back in the spring.

I assume (but cannot confirm) that this includes the 15 GP surgeries in Wiltshire that are partnered with Virgin Care. This is particularly important as the Chair of the new Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is a senior GP from a Virgin Care ‘Partner’ Surgery.

So it looks like one small step in the fight against the rapidly increasing take over of the NHS by the vested interests of big business.

First Chair of new Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is a senior GP from a Virgin Care ‘Partner’ Surgery

‘Virgin Care’ partners in Wiltshire

The NHS is threatened by legalised corruption

And so it continues: Some updates on the end of the NHS

Cancer, heart and stroke specialists face NHS axe. Charities and doctors warn that planned reductions in teams of experts will affect fight against killer diseases (The Guardian, Thursday 4 October 2012)

Ministers have dropped plans to prevent private hospitals profiteering through “cherry picking” NHS patients by paying providers a reduced rate. (Financial Times October 1, 2012)

GP commissioning champion resigns because she “won’t be an instrument of privatisation” (Helena McKeown GP, The Guardian, Tue 2 Oct 2012)

NHS clinical commissioning is already in a critical condition (Kailash Chand, Guardian, Monday 1 October 2012)

NHS rationing ‘forcing patients to go private’ (Daily Telegraph 24 Sep 2012)

Serco Shareholders have donated £1m to the Tories & Lib Dems as 5 government politicians benefit directly. (The Green Benches 25  SEPTEMBER 2012)

Patients have to go private for ops in Sussex (The Argus, Friday 28th September 2012)

How the BBC betrayed the NHS: an exclusive report on two years of censorship and distortion(Open Democracy, 27 September 2012)

Serco takeover of NHS pathology labs ‘led to clinical and financial failures’ (The Guardian, Sunday 30 September 2012)

Health / NHS

More evidence of the involvement of Virgin Health in our local NHS

The Joint Board for NHS Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) and NHS Wiltshire Cluster PCT has two members who are Doctors in GP Practices that are in partnership with Virgin Care.

Dr Ian Orpen B&NES CCG Chair:  Member of Assura Minerva (part of Virgin Health – practice is a shareholder)  also GP Partner providing NHS services under PMS Contract

Dr Stephen Rowlands Medical Director NHW Wiltshire and Interim Wiltshire CCG Chair: Practice member of GP practice which is in an LLP with Assura Medical (part of Virgin Health)

Source: http://www.wiltshire.nhs.uk/Downloads/Board-Papers/Joint%20Board%20ROI%202012-2013.pdf

For further background see: ‘Virgin Care’ partners in Wiltshire

Conflict of interest fears in NHS shakeup plans (Bureau of Investigative Journalism, June 2011)

Bed numbers at North Devon District NHS Hospital to be cut to allow focus on orthopaedics and private patients.

Not much information on this at the moment but the article below describes a memo from trust chief executive Jac Kelly, which says that “cuts to bed numbers in the Lundy Ward would allow focus on orthopaedics and private patients”.

Beds and theatre at risk as North Devon District Hospital outlines cuts (‘This is Devon’, Aug 16th 2012)

NHS Update

Its seems that, in order to meet government cuts, the NHS has so severely cutback on Nurses that it is now having to pay huge sums for agency nurses.  Clearly agency nurses cannot provide continuity of care and the cost of agency nurses is extortionate and of course represents yet another funneling of tax payers money into the hands of the private sector. In fact it seems that a major  beneficiary might be Tory donor  Lord Ashcroft.

Meanwhile, here in Salisbury, a freedom of information request has been submitted to Salisbury NHS Trust requesting further information on the supply of medical agency staff to the trust from 2009 to 2012 to including the following information: 1 Cost to the trust/authority; 2 Grade; 3 Supplier/Agency; 4 Speciality.

It will be interesting to see the result of the FOI request.

NHS pays £1,600 a day for nurses as agency use soars (D. Telegraph)

Lord Ashcroft’s Co. makes £7,000,000 supplying agency staff to the NHS as Lansley sacks 28,610 staff (Éoin Clarke)

Freedom of Information Request

A leading Surrey GP practice dumped elderly and disabled care home patients to save money, an NHS investigation has ruled.

A leading GP practice dumped elderly and disabled care home patients to save money, an NHS investigation has ruled. This happened in Surrey – we need to ensure it does not happen here in Salisbury.

“GP practices were furious when Churchill Medical Practice deregistered 48 patients from Kingston Care Home last July and expected them to take vulnerable patients on at short notice.” (Surrey Comet, 26th May 2012)


How to Sell and Market Successfully to the NHS

Here are some quotes from an advert for a seminar showing you how “you could be eating a slice of the [NHS] cake whilst others are still looking in the shop window!”  You will find no mention of patients or integrated care or improving public health – take a look at the advert.

Maybe you are relaxed about the privatisation of NHS provision or may be you are concerned that outsourcing often seems to have one of two results: fewer, less qualified staff, on worse terms, offering a more restricted and lower-quality service.  Or alternatively a much more expensive service available only to those who can afford the bills.  What do you think?

“you need to act now to place your business on the frontline and take advantage of these exciting new developments.”

“It would not be unreasonable to envisage an independent sector penetration, over and above the social enterprise spin-offs, of perhaps 20 per cent or more of the (NHS community services) market over the next five years.  This would give independent sector providers approaching a £2bn per year share, or more of this market”.  (Laing and Buisson report)

“There needs to be dialogue between Health Service and private sector partners.  To understand what the opportunities are can only open doors – and we need to ensure that those doors are fully open because our need to understand and take advantage of those opportunities has never been greater”. (Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell, Chair – Health Select Committee)

How to Sell and Market Successfully to the NHS

We should not be surprised about this, a year ago Mark Britnall was telling an audience of health care executives that the NHS was being privatised and that there would be an impending gold rush in the wake of Anrew Lansley’s health reforms. “The NHS will be shown no mercy and the best time to take advantage of this will be in the next couple of years.” Mark Britnall was NHS director general for commissioning and system management before joining the private sector as global head of health at KPMG. He was recently appointed to a panel of senior health policy experts by David Cameron.

The NHS is threatened by legalised corruption

The Health and Social Care Bill is hugely complicated, few have the time to read it and it is difficult to predict the consequences with any confidence.  So instead of asking if the NHS reform bill is a disaster waiting to happen, let’s ask a different question – do we trust those who are doing the re-organisation?

All the evidence suggests that private health care corporations from all over the world are queuing up (with government encouragement) for some of the action – a 100 billion pound budget.  When you view the links below you will find evidence that every level of the NHS reform, including the government, has been infiltrated by the private sector and it is very difficult to detect anyone who will be looking after the interests of the patients or taxpayers.

In the run up to the 2010 election, David Cameron warned that lobbying was ‘the next big scandal waiting to happen’, unfortunately he has done precious little about this issue since gaining power and there have already been a series of scandals. The control of NHS reform by corporate lobbyists looks set to be a scandal on a massive scale. If we are not vigilant this will result in the bulk reallocation of huge sums of tax payer’s money to private sector profits and CEO million pound bonuses. It will make the sums of money involved in the  A4E scandal look like pocket money.

Let’s not wait until it’s too late to expose this threat.  The NHS needs continuing reform, perhaps radical reform, but reform based on evidence and reason, cooperation and collaboration, not the blind ideology and self interest of free market libertarians.

There will be a place in any NHS reform for private contractors to earn a reasonable profit by providing quality services but the evidence and track record of some of the big players suggest they are in this for a lot more than reasonable profits. In the US, the health care industry has usurped democratic control with the result that health care is run for the benefit of insurance companies and private health care providers. This is to the detriment of the people, many of whom experience third world standards of health care or no health care at all. Any meaningful attempts at reform in the US are always vetoed by the industry despite a strong popular mandate for reform.

In the UK we need to be sure that those leading the reforms have the best interests of patients and taxpayers at heart and  are not influenced by, at best, massive conflicts of interest, or at worst, a form of legalised corruption.

Note: Monitor is the new regulator of the NHS. Whoever controls Monitor controls the reforms. Monitor’s chief executive is a former private equity financier and McKinsey man, seconded from a private health business. Its chief operating officer and director of strategy are both from KPMG, which has recently acquired substantial NHS contracts, with many more to come as such firms move in on commissioning.  Who is representing the patient and taxpayer???

NHS fairness tsar urged to quit by doctors over ‘conflict of interest’ following £799,000

NHS privatisation: Compilation of financial and vested interests.

Conflicts of interest and NHS reform

The firm that hijacked the NHS: MoS investigation reveals extraordinary extent of international management consultant’s role in Lansley’s health reforms

“This NHS Bill has the handprints of the US insurance industry all over it’ Wendell Potter US Insurance Industry Whistleblower

Lords conflict of interest investigation: Letter of complaint sent into Commissioner for Standards

Public services, big earners: a sector-by-sector analysis

Click here for even more evidence of: The revolving door between healthcare companies, lobbyists, think tanks, special advisers and government

Click here for more information on the NHS Bill: It looks like people are finally paying attention to the government’s Health & Social Care Bill – let’s hope it’s not too late

Here is a list of the latest reasons for being very wary of attempts to outsource public service  contracts to the private sector:
Welfare boss Emma Harrison made a pile renting out her stately home to A4e

IT firm behind ‘unworkable’ NHS database keeps IT deal

A4e employee forged signatures to boost job placement numbers

The insidious, incremental growth of a huge, private shadow state has taken Britain by surprise