Sunday, 15 December 2013 petition to keep Weston Hospital out of private hands

Please sign the petition to keep Weston as part of the NHS.

It reads:

NHS Trust Development Authority: We want our local hospital, Weston General, to be partnered by an NHS trust and we want reassurance that a full 24/7 A & E Department will remain at Weston General.

A big petition from local people will be very effective indeed because this whole fiasco began with the decree that all hospitals should become Foundation Trusts, so that they would be more responsive to local needs. If local people reject the privatisation of Weston services, the Trust Development Authority will have difficulty explaining the logic of privatisation.

Serco Lose Cornish Contract

Serco, one of the potential private bidders for Weston Hospital services, has lost its contract to provide out of hours services in Cornwall following evidence that it has been falsifying its performance data to pretend it was meeting targets. This is in addition to its criminal investigation for claiming to be tagging prisoners who did not exist.

This makes it increasingly likely that it will have to withdraw from the Weston franchise, although we do not yet have any firm indication of this. Weston's MP John Penrose, who is clearly pro-privatistation, has taken a hands-off approach with regard to Serco so far, but even he must be feeling uncomfortable at the prospect of handing local health services over to such an flawed corporation.

Assuming that Serco is rejected, this leave four corporations still circling over the hospital -
Interserve, Capita, with its conflict of interest, tax-dodging Care UK and - excuse the pun - Circle, who are getting into difficulties over their take-over of Hinchingbrooke Hospital..

Update 3.1.14
 The Serious Fraud Office is currently looking into whether Serco have been charging the Ministry of Justice for tagging offenders who did not exist.. This may take many months or even some years. So unless Serco is asked to withdraw its expression of interest, the franchise contract for Weston Hospital may be handed to a company who could later face legal prosecution for fraud.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Some surgical activity down in North Somerset

The BBC has an NHS activity monitoring chart here.

Cataract operations for North Somerset are down 7% in 2012 compared to 2010.
Hips are up 7% in the same period.
Knee ops are up 0.95%

Overall they are down 2.8%, because cataracts are much more numerous than the others.

Why the change? It is suggested that the ops are being rationed, possibly to save money.
But we would need to have more detailed information to get any significant knowledge.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Cabinet ministers with financial interests in private health corporations

This is an amalgamated version of info that is spread on 3 pages of this site

Interest of Cabinet Ministers, and those with access to Cabinet, in private heath corporations

Prepared for John Penrose MP by Dr Richard Lawson
Friday, 06 December 2013

1 David Cameron  (DC) Prime Minister has received £22,000 from Huntsworth, which has health interests. £10,000 went to his leadership campaign.

DC received £25,000 shortly after the health reforms were started from Lord Popat's TLC Group, which funds private nursing homes. Popat was made a Lord shortly after Cameron got into No 10.

DC has an adviser called Mark Britnell. He is/was head of KPMGs Global Health group. KPMG is heavily involved with the NHS  reforms and CCGs. Britnell said the NHS should be shown no mercy.

In 2005 Cameron received £1,500 from care home property company Chiltern Care Holdings according to the electoral commission.

2 George Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer) invited Lord Nash, chairman of Care UK and founder of Sovereign Capital, which runs a string of private Health Care firms, to join his HM Treasury Independent Challenge Group, whose remit is to “question the unquestionable” in the Treasury's austerity drive.

3 Philip Hammond, Defence Secretary was chairman of Castlemead Ltd for 2 years in the 90s. Castlemead has interests in design and procurement in the NHS. He still has a financial interest in Castlemead's performance.

4 Maria Miller (Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport) is a former director of Grey's Advertising Ltd, who work extensively with clients in the healthcare sector.
Former director of the Rowland Group, which became Publicis Consultants, who are also a marketing company working extensively with private healthcare.

5 Andrew Lansley, the architect of the controversial Health and Social Care Bill that lies at the root of the current issue for WGH, was replaced as Secretary of State for Health by Jeremy Hunt after his bill was forced through Parliament.

Lansley received £21,000 for his personal office from John Nash, former chair of Care UK, one of the corporations who are interested in Weston Hospital.

One of his aides, Christina Lineen, went to work for Circle, again a corporation interested in Weston General.

Lansley was director of Profero, a marketing agency that acted for Diageo, an alcohol company that was accused in 2008 of flouting voluntary agreements, but whom Lansley nevertheless later allowed to "educate" midwives in alcohol advice.

6 Francis Maude has access to Cabinet. He was a director of Huntsworth until 2005, which has health and pharmaceutical interests. He is also non executive director of two other companies with interests in health care and software supplies to the NHS.

7Oliver Letwin: has access to the Cabinet. He was a non-executive director of N.M. Rothschild Corporate Finance Ltd until 2009. Rothschild Group are one of the world's largest investment companies and invest heavily in healthcare.

8 David Willetts has access to the Cabinet. He had financial support paid to his research account by HgCapital private equity manager, Ian Armitage in 2008. HgCapital funds healthcare companies.

9 Dominic Grieve has access to the Cabinet. Has shares in Reckitt Benckiser, GlaxoSmithKline, Diageo , Astrazeneca, Standard Chartered (Health insurance).

10 William Hague, Foreign Secretary, was in 2008 a director of AMT Sybex, a supplier of IT (computer technology) to the NHS.


Weston PB4Profits makes formal complaint over CCG Chair's Conflict of Interest

Today the Campaign has made its formal complaint to the NS Clinical Commissioning Group against the conflict of interest of its Chair, Kathy Headdon, who is also a consultant for one of the corporations interested in WGH. Here is the text:

Dr Mary Backhouse
North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group
Post Point 11,
Tickenham Road
North Somerset
BS21 9BH

Dear Mary

I am sorry to have to make a formal complaint against the Clinical Commissioning Group on behalf of the Weston Hospital Patients Before Profit Campaign. I know that complaints are distressing for the recipient, and we do not undertake this lightly, but only because we believe that the long term medical interests of the people of North Somerset will be benefited by our action.

Our complaint is that there is a clear conflict of interest for Kathy Headdon in holding the chairmanship of the NSCCG (and also the Stakeholder and Quality Assurance Group, though this does not concern the CCG directly) while also holding a consultant position within Capita Symonds Ltd, one of the corporations who have expressed an interest in the WGH franchise, as a consultant. There is a clear and direct conflict of interest here. In addition, as Chair of the NS CCG she has to have "Experience of giving an independent view on possible internal conflicts of interest", and her own CoI will clearly inhibit her discharge of this role within the CCG.

We have read the response of the Group, which is that she will absent herself from discussion when Capita is under discussion, and we are not satisfied. There is much more to the dynamics of a committee’s thought processes than the precise words spoken in specific debate. There is an ethos and an emotional undercurrent at play at all times in any group of people, but especially with a decision-making committee. One of the most onerous decisions that your committee and the Project Board face is whether the partner organisation chosen for WGH should be NHS or private. We cannot be persuaded to believe that is it possible that such a decision could be made in a neutral and balanced way when the Chair of the Committee is known to be a consultant for a private corporation.

If, despite our representations here, Kathy Headdon stays in position, and ultimately the decision is made to give the franchise to a corporation, the campaign will not accept the decision, and will request a Judicial Review. The Committee should also consider that a rival corporation might also request a Judicial Review. I do not need to remind you of the financial and opportunity costs implicit in defending your decision in a Judicial Review, costs which will diminish the service that the Hospital can offer to the community.

It is for these reasons that our Campaign is making a formal complaint, and having exhausted all local processes, is prepared, regretfully, to take our complaint to the NHS Ombudsman.


Richard Lawson