Pretty clueless BMJ editorial on Primary Care Networks

On 5th September, the BMJ Editorial opined that Primary care networks are well intentioned but overambitious.

Interestingly, the Editorial confirms that population screening for atrial fibrillation is not recommended by the National Screening Committee. This is what we’ve been telling our West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System Joint Clinical Commissioning Committee for yonks.

But population screening for atrial fibrillation is something the Integrated Care System crows about in their draft 5 year plan 2019-24, as a demonstration of

“how open we are to innovation and how the whole system can
work together with organisations such as the Yorkshire and Harrogate Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), Leeds Academic Partnership and the health tech industry.”

DRAFT 1 [27 August 2019] Five Year Strategic Plan [Better Health and Wellbeing for Everyone / Planning for the Future Together – title to be decided] p17

Too bad the drive for innovation and working with the health tech industry to promote sales of mobile electrocardiogram (ECG) devices overrides the drive for evidence. Still and all, we live in a post-fact culture so I guess it’s only to be expected.

Although the BMJ Editorial contains such nuggets of useful information, for anyone seeking to know more about Primary Care Networks, I don’t think it is as informative as these CK999 blog posts:

The BMJ Editorial seems a bit clueless to be honest.

For example, it says

“Anticipatory care – one of the new national service specifications -looks good, but what it might look like in practice is unclear.”

In fact it is very clear and has been for ages that anticipatory care is about population health management – based on risk stratification of patients and shoving the potentially most costly ones into virtual wards to be remotely monitored by multidisciplinary teams in Primary Care Networks, via wearable apps and other digital technology gizmos.

All as specified by Optum – which NHS England is paying pots of money through various schemes, to set up the required data analytics and contract systems for Clinical Commissioning Groups – so effectively privatising NHS commissioning.

Not to mention the other companies on NHS England’s so-called Health Support Services Framework, that are approved suppliers for clinical commissioning support services. 

NHS England is now going to add another “lot” to the Health Support Services Framework – an “Innovation Greenhouse” specifically to enable Integrated Care Systems and their key building blocks, the Primary Care Networks, to quickly buy the technology they need to do all this Accountable Care/Managed Care bs.

All the better to serve up the NHS on the post-Brexit trade deals table.

There’s more info about the Health Support Services Framework and privatisation of NHS commissioning if you scroll down to the section headed “What lurks beneath the buzzwords?” in this blog post.

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