We have to defend the NHS as a source of comprehensive healthcare for all, in the face of a new NHS and social care business model based on the USA’s Medicare/Medicaid.
Taking the National out of NHS
From next April, at least 10 Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships – including South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw and West Yorkshire and Harrogate – are set to become a new form of local NHS and social care organisation called an Accountable Care System.
So what is so bad about these new Local Health Service and social care organisations and the contract they will operate with?
Whether or not they use the new Accountable Care Organisation contract, they will all use a form of contract with payment processes that we believe are unlawful under current NHS legislation.
These new contracts would be based on a fixed pre-set budget for an area’s population. This goes by various names including Whole Population Area Payment. It would be unlikely to cover all the necessary costs of providing comprehensive healthcare for all of us – because payment isn’t tied to the number of patients treated, or the complexity of their clinical needs. It is just a lump sum.
Caroline Lucas MP has asked the Sec of State about safeguards to protect comprehensive healthcare for all, in the face of this new business model for the NHS. The answer is not reassuring.
And we know the Clinical Commissioning Groups’ and local authorities’ social care and public health budgets are shrinking relative to population growth and need, because of government underfunding.
Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships/Accountable Care Systems are designed to cut spending in order to bridge the underfunding “gap” between current levels of NHS and social care service provision and what is deemed “affordable” in 2020/21 by a government intent on shrinking public services.
Threatening patient safety standards and restricting access to healthcare
This is already happening. The slash trash and privatisation blows are falling on Barnsley and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw NHS.
But this is just the beginning. From next April, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Sustainability and Transformation Partnership is due to become one of a handful of Accountable Care Systems in England. Barnsley locality STP is also set to turn into an Accountable Care System at the same time and their Shadow Accountable Care Board is meeting already.
In addition, West Yorkshire and Harrogate Sustainability and Transformation Partnership has just announced it is to become an Accountable Care System from April 2018 – although they have omitted this information in their update to the 28 November meeting of West Yorkshire and Harrogate Joint Health Scrutiny Committee.
The other 35 STP footprint areas will soon follow – all Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships are heading towards becoming Accountable Care Systems to deliver NHS and social care.
A new business model for health and social care
These new local NHS and social care organisations are based on an American system where health care companies provide managed care for Medicare/Medicaid – which provides state-funded health insurance for people who are too poor or ill to get private health insurance.
Managed care is standardised treatment protocols for specific diagnoses – rather than patient-cented care that meets the needs of individual patients.
ACOs are a new business model for the NHS and social care in England that is designed to impose cuts, limit services to patients who offer the best return on investment and dismantle our NATIONAL Health Service into local health and social care systems.
Bolted together behind closed doors, in secret and in haste
South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw NHS Action Group is doing a great job explaining and campaigning against this area’s new Accountable Care System, which they rightly say is NOT accountable. It is being bolted together behind closed doors, in secret and at great speed, to enable unelected government officials to cut our NHS services to shreds.
Private health care companies and their lobbying organisation the NHS Partners Network explicitly see as a route to increased NHS privatisation and the government is committed to ACOs as means of long term partnerships with private sector. They said so in the 2015 Comprehensive Payment Review that announced sustainability and transformation funding.
NHS Improvement, the hospitals regulator, is working on how to licence non-NHS organisations to hold Accountable Care Organisation contracts – potentially putting US companies, like Centene, in charge of our NHS and social care. Centene already is in charge of setting up the Greater Nottingham Accountable Care System.
DON’T GET ANGRY – GET ORGANISED.
We need to use all available means to protect and safeguard comprehensive healthcare for all.
This is why 999 Call for the NHS are marching on the court.
999 Call for the NHS are also working on resources to support other ways of defending the NHS and comprehensive healthcare for all. These resources will be for all and any campaigns and concerned individuals to make use of and amend as you see fit. Please check in here for more info – coming soon.