Jeremy Hunt is trying to pull another ‘fast one’ on the people of England.
His chief executive, Simon Stevens, has proposed sweeping changes to the way the health service is organised in order to save money.
It’s never about improving patient care with these people, is it?
Stevens was a vice-president of the US private health company UnitedHealth until his appointment as CEO of NHS England in late 2014. His responsibilities for that firm included “leading UnitedHealth’s strategy for, and engagement with, national health reform, ensuring its businesses are positioned for changes in the market and regulatory environment.”
Considering the above, This Writer doubts that he has the interests of the NHS entirely at heart.
It is heartening that the leader of the National Health Action Party, Dr Clive Peedell, has written to Jeremy Hunt seeking clarification about the proposed changes.
Dr Peedell reckons they contradict the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which set up the current framework for the NHS in England, including its brief to allow privatisation of services.
He questions whether the changes are legal and asks for evidence of the legislation that allows them.
Particularly worrying is the plan to remove veto powers, meaning that nobody will be able to object to changes that are imposed by the Tory-run Department of Health.
This Writer notes that the NHS was discussed on the BBC’s Question Time last week, when audience members expressed their dissatisfaction at constant political tinkering with the service and said they would prefer it to be taken away from political control and run independently.
I have no idea how that might work but it has to be better than what’s being proposed – illegal butchery by a corporate asset-stripper.
To the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, MP, Secretary of State for Health
Dear Mr Hunt
I am writing to you on a subject of great urgency regarding the changes to the NHS proposed on 19th May 2016, by Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England.
Mr Stevens has suggested that the health service could create a form of ‘combined authorities’. He talks of spanning hospitals and commissioners and consolidating CCGs.
These proposals appear to run contrary to the provisions of the Health & Social Care Act (2012) and contrary to the stated objective of the Act of a locally driven commissioning service provided by GPs, who have an intimate knowledge of their local community needs.
Whether or not the CCGs have fulfilled this function satisfactorily, they are, nonetheless, a legal creation. I am, therefore, asking for clarification of the legal status of the changes being made under the Sustainability and Transformation Plans.
Mr Stevens has also referred to removing veto powers. Does that mean, in effect, that no-one will be able to object to changes as they will be imposed? Could you clarify which powers are being removed, under what statute were those powers granted, and what legislation been passed to allow their removal?
This announcement was paired with the publication of the funding allocations expected for 2020-2021. Mr Stevens said that these numbers would give a better focus than the funding ‘gap’ numbers people try to come up with. His predicted figures are shockingly low.
I do not write as a legal expert, but as a doctor with great concern for the impact of these extensive changes on my patients. I ask that you clarify with urgency the law that is being used for these changes which are happening on a large scale with great speed.
My specific concerns are about transparency, responsibility and accountability. There does not appear to be adequate time to prepare proper risk or equality impact assessments.
I look forward to hearing your response on these serious matters.
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