Stop all NHS Commissioning Group Mergers! Please sign this petition to Parliament

Stop the imposition of USA-style accountable care on our NHS, that makes it more difficult to get hospital services and risks patient safety – Please sign this petition to Parliament– “Stop all NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups’ mergers.”

Click this link to see the petition, sign it and share it:

The extra NHS government funding this year will disappear into paying off the deficits and debts accumulated by NHS providers and commissioners due to years of savage underfunding.

One consequence is a rash of mergers of the local NHS Commissioning Groups, that plan and buy NHS services for their areas.

So far 99 plan to merge by April 2020, reducing their number to 22, with a further 6 proposing to merge into 2 by April 2021.

Is your clinical commissioning group applying to merge?

Since we made that list, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and West Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups have announced their proposal to merge into one, covering the whole BOB Integrated Care System. And a member of the public who attended Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group Annual General Meeting on 19 Sept reports that the Clinical Commissioning Group announced a proposed merger of itself, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Groups by April 2019

The Health Secretary must stop Clinical Commissioning Groups’ mergers

Here’s the link to the Petition that tells him so!

Why this petition matters

The government quango NHS England wants more of these mergers and is considering a stricter approach to drive a reduction from 191 to around 40 Clinical Commissioning Groups.

This is to make sure there is one Clinical Commissioning Group for each Integrated Care System – a new, non-statutory agglomeration of an area’s NHS, social care and public health organisations, voluntary and community sector organisations that can also include private companies.

Turning the NHS into a business that puts money ahead of patients’ clinical needs

Integrated Care Systems are the next stage of the highly contentious Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships that were secretively set up across England at the end of 2015, in order to cut £20bn NHS costs by 2020, without any new legislation.

Sustainability and Transformation Plans must all become Integrated Care Systems by April 2021.

The government and its NHS quangos require that Integrated Care Systems finalise the imposition of cheaper, market-based financial and clinical models imported from the USA’s Medicare/Medicaid system. This provides “managed” or “accountable” care, designed to reduce patients’ access to costly hospital services.

Adoption of this accountable care model – started in earnest in 2014 with NHS England’s 5 Year Forward View – means cutting and centralising District General Hospital services, moving many of them into the “community”, and most of the rest into a “group hospital model” which would see staff and services shared across an area’s hospitals. This will have damaging effects on patient safety.

These moves are not popular

And the non-statutory Integrated Care Systems have no legal power to make any of this happen. But they need this power, in order to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan.

Having one statutory Clinical Commissioning Group per Integrated Care System would get round this problem. Because the Clinical Commissioning Group would assume legal responsibility for these strategic planning and contracting decisions.

For example, individual NHS Commissioning Groups in the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System are apparently fighting to protect hospitals in their own areas, making it difficult for the Integrated Care System to bring the area’s spending within the limits set by the NHS quangos.

Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System now want to merge the eight Clinical Commissioning Groups into one, that would operate as its statutory decision-making proxy.

Regarding their proposed “commissioning reform” to “establish a single Clinical Commissioning Group…to act as a strategic commissioner”, Lancashire and S Cumbria Integrated Care System says:

“This work aims to create a focus for the health and care system to work very differently…bringing the system back into financial balance.”

Lancashire County Council Health Overview and Scrutiny Meeting
Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria System update 17.9.19 , p 24

These mergers are a ‘work around’ (or fiddle) to sidestep the extra-legal status of Integrated Care Systems

These mergers are a typical “work around” by NHS England’s Chief Executive Simon Stevens, to reorganise the NHS in a top-down fashion, without changes to legislation through the democratic process.

They are rushing ahead without public consultation – on the grounds that there would be no significant change in the delivery of services.

This claim is incredible. given that the NHS Long Term Plan requires further cuts and “transformation” of NHS, social care and public health services in all Integrated Care Systems.

Significant service change requires full consultation with the public AND with Local Authorities’ Health Scrutiny Committees.

We demand a halt to Clinical Clinical Commissioning Group mergers until these consultation processes have been completed.

We demand the restoration of the #NHS4All

As well as petitioning the Secretary of State to stop all CCG mergers, we also call for the ABOLITION of clinical commissioning groups and the end and reversal of NHS marketisation and privatisation, through primary legislation to reinstate the NHS as a comprehensive, universal publicly funded, managed, provided and staffed service.

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