The ‘Great NHS Carve-Up’ is already under way with Serco & Virgin leading the way. They are the ones who at least so far, appear to have most benefitted from the passing of the Health & Social Care Bill into law, and others measures introduced by the Coalition Government.
Dr Éoin Clarke writing on his ‘The Green Benches‘ Blog, believes that one of the best ways to communicate to people the carve up of the NHS carcass since the passing of the NHS Bill, is to show them the changes in graphical form as they occur.
The map on the Left shows the changes so far. He intends to update the picture regularly as new details emerge. He has included the logo of the private company profiteering from the carcass feeding.
He further writes: “We know that Royston Hospital (Herts.), Heatherwood Hospital (Bucks) and Hinchingbrooke Hospital (Cambs) have been subject to decisions to close all or parts of their hospitals in the past month. A Freedom of Information request showed that McKinsey had been plotting this (certainly in Heatherwood’s case) since October 2011. The plan is to flog the land to the highest bidder. In the case of Hinchingbrooke’s Acer Ward closure that decision was taken by SERCO who own the hospital.
“In addition, the £140m contract to run the community health services in Suffolk was handed to SERCO just before Easter as it also emerged that they were the preferred bidder to run Devonshire Children’s Services. Today, news has also broken that SERCO have won a £60m annual contract to provide ambulance services in the East Anglia, Cambridge and Peterborough areas. Lastly, SERCO already have 2 contracts in the Norfolk region to: a) provide hospital maintenance and b) run the ambulance services that were both signed under a Labour Government.” (Editor’s Emphasis) “But I have been contacted at the weekend to be told that a third and much more extensive contract is in the offing. When I know more details I will divulge them.”
“That brings me to Virgin. Richard Branson has established a company called Virgin Care that have been seeking aggressively to expand into the private healthcare market. They failed in their bid to profit from children’s ill-health in Devon but they have in the last week had 3 bids accepted in West Sussex (Sexual Health), Surrey (Community Care) and Buckinghamshire (Sexual Health). We know that the value of these bids come close to £1bn. Members of the Clinical Commissioning Group in the West Sussex area contracted me directly to express concerns that there was no formal and transparent decision making process that involved the CCG, nor was there any accountability.”
EMERGENCY HOSPITAL MEETINGS ON CLOSURES & SELL-OFFS!
In addition to all of this Dr Clarke states: “I have been contacted by other medical professionals notifying me of emergency meetings at their hospitals with a view to closures or potential sell-off. In order to protect their anonymity I cannot yet reveal the details of the areas affected. But as soon as I can I will. I leave you with this thought, if the carve up illustrated above can be carried out in less than one month since the Tory NHS Bill became law, what will the NHS look like by the time of the next election? Given that Cumbria NHS and Manchester NHS preferred this week to merge struggling NHS Trusts with successful ones, there is some hope that the North of England might avoid the same blood bath that is occurring in the South East of England. But hope is all we have to go one now as the entire process seems to lack transparency, accountability and democracy.”
We need to remain vigilant in our own area where a number of new NHS Foundation Trusts have, or are being been established, as well as willing to respond strongly to any threats of closures, cutbacks and/or further privatisation of existing NHS services. Sadly, not a sufficient number of people were concerned enough to do much about Andrew Lansley’s Bill becoming Law in the first place, despite the Government having no mandate for it whatsoever. Indeed, as even Michael Portillo admitted on the ‘This Week” BBC TV Show, had the Tories mentioned they intended do it prior to the General election they “wouldn’t have got in!”
However, if the experience of the poll tax campaign is anything to go by, then the fight to save our NHS is far from over. This is because the fight against the poll tax only really took off after it too had become law, and when people started to get their poll tax bills. As the threat of people’s own local Wards and Hospitals facing the axe or sell-off start to emerge, it’s possible a similar opposition might arise to the so-called NHS Reforms. Wigan Borough Green Socialist members and supporters will be in the thick of it, when it does.