11 Nov 2018

NHS privatisation: Letter to the press

Following my recent work in highlighting the threat of creeping privatisation in the NHS and Wirral Council's complicity in this, the following letter has been published in both the Liverpool Echo and the Wirral Globe:

On October 16th, Wirral Council and NHS Wirral agreed to establish an Integrated Commissioning Hub. Wirral's Clinical Commissioning Group will be using it to procure a range of NHS services from April 2019.

This rather mundane sounding agreement has huge implications for health services in Wirral. The background papers confirmed that this agreement "will facilitate the introduction of a wider Accountable Care Organisation across the Wirral." Accountable Care is widely recognised as a means of facilitating privatisation within the NHS.

Currently, in most NHS contracts a needs-based payment is made for each treatment provided to individual patients. But the new contract would pay the provider a fixed lump sum at the start of each year, to cover the costs of a range of treatments for the whole population. This switch from a needs-based payment to a fixed contract is crucial. It means the introduction of rationing for health services. Fixed capital budgets will be allocated which are no longer based on clinical need and must not be overspent.

Despite warnings from myself and others, Labour councillors have chosen to proceed with this agreement. As the campaign group Defend our NHS has said "Members of the DONHS executive are alarmed that Labour councillors have defied their own party policy and voted to open the door even wider to the privatisation of health services in Wirral".

It is clear that the Conservative government is working to privatise by stealth our treasured NHS. It is deeply worrying that Labour councillors in Wirral have helped to facilitate this.