NHS Detectives report an unholy marriage is on the cards between Brexit and the Sustainability and Transformation Plans – with their not-so-hidden agenda of turning the NHS into a Medicare-type service for those who are too poor or too poorly to afford private health insurance, and driving those who can afford it to go private.
The New Economics Foundation reports that Brexit has driven a wedge between the UK and its closest allies in the EU, and Theresa May is looking to the USA for protection.
“But that unpleasant pact cannot end well.
Trump’s protection comes with a price: locking in a downward spiral of regulatory standards in order to appease the interests of corporate power.”
What has this to do with Sustainability and Transformation Plans?
Just that the “transformation” bit of the Plans is about remaking the NHS in the image of the USA’s limited public/private health insurance system Medicare/Medicaid that takes limited care of people who are too poor or old to buy private health insurance.
And a key – though barely noticed – agenda for Sustainability and Transformation Plans is the aim of increasing “external” funding for carrying out the STPs, through Local Economic Partnerships.
This is why it matters that there are people out in the street protesting against Trump. It is all One Fight against corporate takeover of our government, our public services and us – turning us all into corporate serfs.
US companies are snapping up UK private Mental health companies
The Financial Times reported in early February that that US investors are leading a “dealmaking spree in British mental healthcare”:
“Britain’s £16bn mental healthcare market is braced for a wave of consolidation as investors seek to take advantage of a rise in NHS outsourcing.”
This US interest in the UK is because their home market is expensive and congested.
The UK mental health sector is also receiving an extra £500m of funding from January 2017, after pressure from charities and celebrities. This means more money for private companies.
Last year the number of takeovers of mental healthcare providers rose from 16 in 2014 to 22 in 2015
Big US mental health companies entered the UK “market” last year
US companies Acadia Healthcare and Universal Health Services entered the UK “market” for the first time last year.
18 months ago Acadia – one of the biggest mental health care companies in the world – bought Partnerships in Care for £394m, from the private equity firm Cinven.
Acadia has now bought the Priory Group, Britain’s biggest mental healthcare chain, for £1.33bn. This purchase makes it the biggest private sector provider of mental healthcare in Britain. It accounts for about a third of the UK’s private behavioural services.
In 2015-16 Calderdale CCG had a £368,225/year contract for two years with The Priory (Craemoor Holme House) for Learning Disabilities for Adults – Nursing Home.
The £1.33bn price for the Priory Group is more than 10 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. Arcadia obviously thinks it’s worth getting a foot in the door in order to clean up later.
It is planning to merge Partnerships in Care – which has at least 23 inpatient psychiatric clinics – with Priory, which has 322 facilities.
PIC/Acadia has also bought the private equity firm Care UK’s mental health division.
Universal Health Services bought Cygnet Healthcare, the addictions specialist, for £205m in 2014 and nowCygnet/UHS has purchased Alpha Hospitals.
In 2015-16, Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group had a £415,884 contract with Cygnet Health Care Ltd for Hospital Services/ Rehabilitation- Mental Health/OP/Young Adults.
Private mental health companies clean up from cuts to NHS services
Private mental health companies are benefitting from cuts to NHS mental health services, increased diagnosis of mental healthcare issues, an ageing population and a trend towards specialisation.
Mental healthcare has been one of the biggest casualties of the government’s underfunding of the NHS — but this has benefited the private sector.
Since 2010, the number of in-house beds provided by the NHS for people with mental health issues or learning disabilities has fallen by 23 per cent. But the number of beds provided by the private sector has grown by 8 per cent, according to LaingBuisson, the healthcare consultancy.
NHS fees account for 87 per cent of private companies’ revenues, with the rest paid for by patients or private medical insurance.
This is part of the government’s plan to turn the NHS into a logo and a revenue stream for its corporate cronies to profit from.