It has certainly been an interesting couple of weeks. Our local health bosses, Ealing CCG, have picked the bidder who they want to run our community health services in a massive contract. It’s a consortium of West London NHS Trust & several other partners using a “corporate structure”. Plus this week, we heard NW London health bosses have confirmed that Ealing & Charing Cross Hospitals were unlikely to lose any beds before 2023.
NHS bosses forced to admit beds cuts at Ealing & Charing Cross Hospital can’t be done:
North West London health bosses have been forced to acknowledge that their plans to cut hundreds of beds at Ealing & Charing Cross have to be postponed yet again and that no bed cuts will be taking place in the next 5 years.
In their statement on 18th October, NWL NHS said –
“We have always been committed to revising our initial projections for future hospital bed numbers in line with actual activity. Our latest analysis suggests that the number of beds in NW London has gone up slightly since 2012 and we expect the number of bed numbers to stay more or less constant for the next five years at least.”
Of course this is good news as far as it goes BUT these health bosses have STILL NOT CHANGED their plans to downgrade our hospitals merely delayed them until they think it’s safe. They have two problems – local opposition which has been very strong, combined with the fact that their plans would only work if they can reduce hospital admissions, which hasn’t been happening.
This obviously shows how right Ealing Save Our NHS, Ealing Council, health workers and the people of Ealing have been, and how wrong the management consultants and Health bosses have been.
Sadly, Ealing Hospital has been and continues to be deliberately starved of support in the meantime and has lost a number of services. Now more than ever our Hospital needs a big boost of funding and commitment if it is to survive. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel so let’s keep on fighting to save it!
The whole story has been reported in Get West London, which is the online Ealing Gazette.
Here’s how Ealing Council reported it to the public in a recent press release –
If you want to read it from the NHS bosses it’s here
Consortium of NHS trusts to ‘run’ our community health services
Ealing’s health bosses (Ealing CCG) have put our community health services on to the market place. They asked for bidders to run these NHS services in a 10 year, £1.3 billion contract, claiming that Ealing community health services would be more integrated and co-ordinated if they were run by a so-called ‘single provider’. This is nonsense as most of our community health services are already provided by London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust (London North West Trust), who also manage Ealing Hospital. There will probably be less integration, not more.
The latest announcement from Ealing CCG is that the contract has been won by a ‘consortium’ of NHS Trusts led by West London NHS Trust (previously – Mental Health Trust). There may well be a single contract, but it is laughable to call it a ‘single provider’. The winning consortium consists of three NHS Trusts (Central & North West London, Hillingdon and West London) plus at least 2 charities and inevitably many sub- contractors. On top of that the integration of Ealing Hospital and community health services has been broken, and the London North West Trust will be deprived of considerable finances.
Cuts to our community services seem inevitable as the winning consortium has to deliver a greater amount of community health services within a very tight budget. No wonder that both London North West and Central London Community Health NHS Trust pulled out of the bidding as they felt they couldn’t provide safe, quality services for the money.
Of course we are pleased that a private company didn’t win but this rotten contract system has pitted NHS Trust against NHS Trust, wasting millions of pounds of scarce NHS money in preparing rival bids. It forces NHS Trusts to behave more and more like private businesses. In fact the contracting system probably wastes between £4 -10 billion pounds of NHS money a year – outrageous!
As the saying goes ‘it’s not over until the fat lady sings’. This contract still has to be approved by the NHS at a national level and Ealing Save Our NHS has submitted a long list of objections so watch this space to see what happens. We have also requested that Ealing Council use its powers to scrutinise the contract and the impact on the local NHS including Ealing Hospital.
More NHS bureaucracy and name changes
One thing you can be sure of these days is that money can always be found for more NHS bureaucrats. Health bosses in North West London have set up yet another body, catchily called – ‘NHS North West London Collaboration of CCGs’, with a raft of highly paid officers to run it. This new body will be commissioning services across NW London, including acute services, so what we ask, will be the role of local health bosses, Ealing CCG, and any possibility of local accountability- none or next to none we think.
The NHS seems very keen on name changes these days, particularly when they become a bit unpopular, so the North West London STP (the mechanism set up to implement cuts under the guise of integrating health and social care) has now become the ‘North West London Health & Care Partnership’. It is a funny kind of partnership given that two local authorities, Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham, didn’t sign up to the STP because it meant supporting the closures at Ealing & Charing Cross hospitals. Since they didn’t toe the line they have been told they can’t be on the Partnership Committee!!
Get Involved – come to our Campaign Meeting Tuesday 20th November:
Ealing Save Our NHS always welcomes new people to helping with campaigning and our campaign meetings are a good place to start. The latest announcements on the future of Ealing & Charing Cross and the Community Health Services contract will certainly be one of the main discussions. We will also be making plans for a Day of Action in local shopping centres before Christmas. We would love to see you on the 20th.
Please come if you can: 7.30pm, Tuesday 20th November in Northfields Community Centre.
Health tourism – fact or fiction?
A weeny part of the NHS budget is spent on ‘health tourism’, but it’s a great excuse for the Government to pretend we have no money. What are the facts? Check out this excellent leaflet hot off the press from Keep Our NHS Public.
Reclaim Social Care Conference – Birmingham Saturday 17 November
This very welcome conference organised by Health Campaigns Together, aims to kick start a much needed major national campaign to reverse privatisation and demand decent publicly funded and accountable social care services for all.
It’s open to all – just register in advance. There will be speakers from Health Campaigns Together, MPs, Care Unions, Disabled People against the Cuts, National Pensioners Convention, Relatives and Residents Association, leading social care policy experts and more with plenty of time for discussion and debate.
More details here
Health Campaigners to get day in court to stop dangerous NHS reorganisation
NHS England is planning a new model of health and social care provision that could see multi billion pound contracts handed over to the private sector. These new contracts called ‘Integrated Care Provider (ICP) contracts will be enormous, covering up to half a million people for 10-15 years.
Health Campaign group, ‘999 Call for the NHS’ have challenged the legality of these plans on 7 grounds. The protracted legal case is up at the Court of Appeal, probably on Tuesday 20-21 November (confirmation due any time soon) Once again – watch this space.
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