It has emerged that Andrew Taylor, head of the Co-operation and Competition Panel has been liaising extremely closely with private-sector lobbying groups to produce the report claiming that PCTs impose waiting so that patients either pay for treatment or die. There’s a feint, familiar ring to that … a circular echo, something in a spin?
Anyway then he got taken to a Health Investor’s dinner. Of course, Health Investor’s dinner would be packed with higher management of private health care companies – the perfect situatuion for Taylor to be networked.
Hypocrite Andrew Lansley condemned PCTs for the actions claimed by the report when – of course – he is largely responsible for them. It is Lansley and the Con-Dems that are destroying the NHS and imposing huge cuts. It is clear that this was the intention.
There are reports on Labour’s analysis that deprived areas will see greater cuts than relatively prosporous areas. The Con-Dems’ are stealing from the poor to give to the rich.
- Conservative election poster 2010
A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
The close links between a private sector lobby group and an NHS regulator in the runup to the launch of a groundbreaking inquiry into competition in the health service have emerged in a series of documents passed to the Guardian.
Emails released under the Freedom of Information Act show that NHS Partners Network, a lobby group which represents companies including Care UK, Circle, General Healthcare Group, Bupa and United Health, helped draft a letter requesting a formal investigation into how firms were being blocked from getting NHS work. A week later the private healthcare lobby group took the regulator out to a £250-a-head gala dinner.
The network began lobbying the Co-operation and Competition Panel (CCP) last October for an inquiry into restrictions on the use of non-state companies in the health service – an investigation that was given the go-ahead two months later. The result was a report published this week which included recommendations to offer patients “more choice” because people were “dying” while waiting for operations in NHS hospitals.
Since 2006, patients have had a right to choose where they go for treatment for elective surgery, including private hospitals. In this week’s landmark ruling the panel found that almost half of NHS primary care trusts, the state bodies which control health budgets, were unreasonably restricting patients’ choice over where they go for operations.
The tactics employed included setting minimum waiting times before patients were getting treated – even when private providers could treat them – and directing GPs to refer patients to keep cash flowing into a local hospital.
In a contentious passage the regulator claimed that “we understand that patients will ‘remove themselves from the waiting list’ either by dying or by paying for their own treatment at private sector providers”.
Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, leapt on the findings, telling the BBC that “too many [trusts] have been operating in a cynical environment where they can game the system – and in which political targets, particularly the maximum 18-week waiting time target, are used to delay treatment.”
However, David Stout, director of the PCT Network, described this claim as “unsubstantiated”, pointing out that average waiting times were just eight weeks for what were non-emergency and therefore non-life threatening operations. He said the regulator’s statements “cause unnecessary public anxiety and alarm”.
Emails, obtained by Spinwatch which campaigns for greater transparency in government, between the head of the CCP, Andrew Taylor, and David Worskett, the director of the NHS Partners Network, reveal the inquiry followed a letter from the lobby group to the Department of Health, which Taylor helped draft.
You really have to wonder what it’s like in the world of a Tory minister. It’s evidently a place where nobody has to rely on a public service. David Cameron’s gratitude to the NHS for treating his son Ivan, frequently repeated in the run up to the election, seems to have been conveniently forgotten.
First we have Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s director of ‘strategy’ (for which his qualification are…ummm…I’ll have to get back to you on that one), suggesting the abolition of maternity leave, job centres and consumer rights legislation.
Then Oliver Letwin claiming public sector workers need more ‘fear and discipline’ (how about a spot of whipping?). Thanks for that, boys – if that’s the direction of travel, we’ll soon be opening workhouses again. Let’s admit this government is devoid of intelligent ideas for deficit reduction, or indeed, any grasp on the realities of life for the majority who don’t have a trust fund and didn’t go to Eton.
Then we have the Cooperation and Competition Panel doing what it was set up to do – clobbering the NHS and cosying up to the private sector. Its report last week claims that PCT’s are unfairly giving work to local hospitals, and restricting access for elective surgery to save money.
Making patients wait for treatment, we’re told, is designed expressly to force those who can afford it to go privately. Not only that – those wicked managers are hoping that many others will tidy themselves off the waiting list by dying before they finally get an op date. With breathtaking hypocrisy, the government piles in with expressions of horror, completely ignoring the reason why PCT’s are so desperate to save money. It’s a shame PCTs are so strapped for cash that they can’t treat CCP members to the same corporate entertainment package that lobbyists from the private healthcare industry recently did, according to a report in The Guardian. It was obviously be money well spent.
What the government also fails to acknowledge, is that this was always the plan – i.e. to force NHS waiting lists to increase so that the private sector is able to ride in and save the day – patients will either pay privately, or demand an alternative provider. And this is before the Health and Social Care Bill has even become law.
Deprived areas in England will lose out to affluent parts of the country under health spending reforms, Labour has claimed.
Changes to funding formulas means poor health rates will be given less consideration when cash is allocated, the party said.
It suggested areas like Manchester and the London borough of Tower Hamlets would lose out to parts of the wealthy south east, such as Surrey and Hampshire.
Labour based the claims on an assessment of funding reforms by public health bodies in Manchester.
27/11/13 Having received a takedown notice from the Independent newspaper for a different posting, I have reviewed this article which links to an article at the Independent’s website in order to attempt to ensure conformance with copyright laws.
I consider this posting to comply with copyright laws since
a. Only a small portion of the original article has been quoted satisfying the fair use criteria, and / or
b. This posting satisfies the requirements of a derivative work.
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