Thursday, 20 July 2017

Private interests around the NHS

[UK Column News 19 July 2017]

"Although the government says it is protecting the NHS the evidence, easily accessible, is that privatisation of the NHS is taking place. "

"Let`s come in on the subject of memory...."

A viewer sent in the NHS document Getting help for forgefulness

"Forgetfulness is common particularly as we get older", reads Brian Gerrish. "Well that`s certainly true. `Often this is nothing to worry about. However, forgetfulness that interferes with your daily life is not a normal part of getting older`."

"So this is all very gentile, measured stuff. I decided to follow it through a little bit more. Where has this come from and what`s it about?"

"So let`s bring in this one. And I noticed in the recommended organisations we had Admiral Nursing. I thought that looked particularly interesting. I didn`t recognise it. So I followed through that link that`s been provided by the NHS. That brought us into Dementia UK."

"Now I found that interesting that the initial brochure is simply saying, `Well, a little bit of forgetfulness as you get older is fine. If it interferes with your daily life, yes, maybe you`ve got a little bit of a problem. You can always speak to your GP about that`. But behind it we`ve got an organisation who is interested in dementia and in fact they are interested in providing dementia nurses - this is Admiral Nursing - and of course we`ve got a limited company backing up this charity providing this service. So if you were cynical you could say: `Well actually this is about money`."


"We had a look at some of the individuals involved and this lady caught my eye, Lady Barbara Judge, one of the trustees; experienced international corporate lawyer with significant experience as a senior executive;  Chairman and non-executive Director in the private and public sectors; First Woman Chairman of the Institute of Directors; worked in US, Hong Kong and the UK; also it says here, Chairman of the UK Pension Protection Fund and Deputy Chairman of the Tepco Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee."

"So this is quite a lady Mike. In fact she`s recently left that UK Pension Protection Fund, but interesting you`re working on one hand with a Pension Protection Fund and with people getting near the end of their life in another role. I`m not sure I have a comfortable feeling about that. But if we follow her through it gets more interesting because this is Tepco; this is taking us to part of the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings and this is into nuclear safety. So this lady has got many talents and if we bring in this part which is a short summary of her CV we find that in 1978 she starts off with a large American law firm but by 1980, a mere two year later, she`s appointed by the President as Commissioner of the US Securities and Exchange Commission. How do you do that?"

"I`m not sure," says Mike Robinson. "But I don`t see any health care in her career at all."

"No it`s fascinating. She then jumps on through a lot of money work; 1994 to 2009 she`s Director and subsequently Deputy Chairman of Friends Provident plc and in that same period she also becomes Director of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. So that is really an amazing career progression."

"But she`s now working to help people with their memory."

Mike Robinson: "So we`ve got people ...deep into private interests circling the National Health Service at the moment. So it might not come as a surprise then that transformation is what it`s all about. We`ve got local partnerships."

"This is sustainability and transformation partnerships of the NHS. And £325million, it`s been announced, is going to be invested in NHS transformation projects. We don`t quite know what the NHS is being transformed into. We believe it`s being transformed into something which is ready for privatisation. The government continues to deny that, but we as a matter of course, don`t believe them."

"So this is Jeremy Hunt and also NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens who has announced this £325million capital investment for local projects that are going to help the NHS modernise and transform care for patients. And it all sounds very good. In Greater Manchester hospitals will deliver significant improvements in urgent and emergency care by concentrating services in four hub sites across the city. It is expected to save around 300 lives each year in general surgery alone. In Bedfordshire local doctors and nurses are developing a primary care hub on the site of Bedford Hospital which is expected to improve access to same day appointments for around 50,000 patients and reduce the number of patients attending the hospital`s A & E department. In Derbyshire the urgent care village will be created at the Royal Derby with GP services, a frailty clinic and mental health services to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time."

"So, what do you think ?"

Brian Gerrish: "It`s privatisation. It`s being clustered around the NHS, a little bit done at a time. It`s all about collaboration, hubs, networking, linking, partnerships. But what it really is, is privatisation."

"Well, actually it`s even more interesting than that. Here`s what Jeremy Hunt said: `This funding will support strong local plans to help the NHS modernise and transform care for patients`. In fact, what they`re talking about in amongst all these projects is the merger of the NHS and local authorities, effectively, in some departments. So why would you have close collaboration and close merger between NHS functions and local authority functions? "

"Because that will link you in with everything to do with social services as well and therefore you`ll effectively be captured in a net. The state will operate a net around each individual."

"Absolutely. And it goes even further than that too. Let`s have a look at one of their examples. `Nottinghamshire: turning ambitious IT plans into reality`. So this is one of these projects. And what are they talking about? Data sharing...."

"`Qualms about sharing` is what they say on here. We have a portal that is capable of bringing data from different health and care systems for new ways of working as joint assessment. There has been a lot of emphasis on improving data quality and the implementation of summary care records. To this end, Connected Nottinghamshire is using the medical interoperability gateway to share patient data regardless of the clinical system used. This was first implemented in greater Nottingham and has since been rolled out across all GP practices within Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ... and it supports safer prescribing, apparently, improved diagnosis and patients` full history is accessible. Who is it accessible to ?"

"Private corporations ultimately Mike."

"And the local authority."


"And that is of concern."


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