We have a bit of good news for a change with regards to Ealing Hospital which is getting a bit more investment.
We’ve even got a good news story on fighting privatisation, though there are more reports of the Government’s underhand deals and dodgy appointments.
You can check out the latest figures for take up and please complete the ‘Peoples Covid Inquiry’ Survey.
Campaign Meeting next Tuesday 20th April – ‘GPs and the threat of privatisation’
It’s our monthly online meeting next Tuesday and we will be discussing the increasing threat of privatisation of our GP services, the vaccine rollout, mental health campaigning, the Peoples Covid Inquiry and what else is happening in our local NHS.
GUEST SPEAKER: GP, Dr Jackie Applebee from ‘Doctors in Unite’ and ‘Keep Our NHS Public’.
Jackie will be speaking about the threat of privatisation for GP services and how this is possible, the impact of digitalisation on patients and other changes to the way that GPs now operate. Jackie is currently very involved in the campaign to stop the US Company ‘Centene’ taking over 49 GP surgeries in London.
This should be a stimulating and informative discussion and you will be very welcome to join.
Tuesday 20th April, 7.30pm. PLEASE CONTACT ME TO BE SENT THE ZOOM LINK
Ealing Hospital Update:
A bit of investment:
The Trust (London North West) who manages Ealing Hospital is spending £1.2 million in modernising Ealing’s Catheterisation Laboratory (Cath Lab). This will allow Ealing Hospital to offer digital imaging to Ealing patients with heart conditions – definitely a good thing which means they don’t have to go to Northwick Park except while the work is being carried out. They also plan to ‘modernise’ the cardiology services, but we have no details yet on what that actually means. It’s good to see some more money being spent on Ealing.
Reinstating 24/7 Emergency Surgery and Trauma & Orthopaedics:
We have once again written to the London North West Trust asking when 24/7 emergency general surgery and the suspension of the Trauma & Orthopaedics service will be reviewed and restored. Currently emergency surgery is only operating from 1.00- 6.00pm while all Ealing Trauma & Orthopaedics patients requiring urgent surgery, who are in ambulances are diverted to Northwick Park. We will continue to lobby for these vital services to be restored to our community.
Vaccine Rollout in Ealing – the latest news:
This continues to be the good news story thanks to the fantastic dedication of so many NHS staff and volunteers. It seems to be a major factor in reducing hospital admissions, deaths and lowering the infection rate, which is down to 46 per 100,000 in Ealing.
It’s interesting to note that the infection rate in Westminster at 21 per 100,000 is less than half that of Ealing and is the lowest in North West London, further underlining the impact of health inequalities on Covid infections.
First vaccines in North West London reached 1 Million on 9th April, so well done to NHS workers and everyone who helped reached that landmark.
The latest figures we have been able to obtain for Ealing for 1st vaccines show:-
Care home residents – 91.6% vaccinated
Over 80s – 89% vaccinated
75-79 year olds -92% vaccinated
Clinically Extremely Vulnerable – 83% vaccinated
70-74 year olds – 94.8% vaccinated
65-69 year olds – 92.5% vaccinated
At Risk – 70.4% vaccinated
60-64 year olds – 96.3% vaccinated
55-59 year olds – 95% vaccinated
50-54 year olds – 87.5% vaccinated
Unfortunately the figure for care workers in both residential care and home care continue to be much lower, ranging from 74% for Local Authority care workers to only 56% for social care workers.
The priority in April for the NHS is to ensure that as many people over 50 years of age, those who are extremely clinically vulnerable and those with learning disabilities are vaccinated.
‘HAVE YOUR SAY’ – The People Covid Inquiry needs your help:
The People’s Covid Inquiry wants to hear your stories and experiences of COVID-19, to gather evidence from as many people as possible about the personal impact of the pandemic on our health, work and wellbeing.
Across the eight inquiry sessions, the panel are hearing from a wide range of witnesses, from professors of public health to frontline NHS staff and more. Of course eight sessions only offers a limited amount of time and they want this inquiry to be as far reaching as possible, reflecting the fact that everyone in the UK has had a unique and varied experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can also sign up for other sessions or watch previous ones at your leisure here:
New NWL Body to decide local Health spending:
On 1st April a single North West London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) came in to being abolishing Ealing and all 7 of the Borough based CCGs.
Clinical Commissioning Groups were set up by the Government in 2012 to ‘buy NHS services’ for their local area, which has led to a greater involvement of the private sector in running our NHS services. Now all the local CCGs in England are being abolished and the decisions about how NHS money is allocated in Ealing will be taken by this single body covering all of North West London.
Whilst our local CCG in Ealing was not exactly a haven of local democracy, far from it, it was possible to question them and put them under some pressure as local campaigners. The new single NWL CCG which is chaired by ex- Ealing CCG chair, Dr Mohini Parmar, currently lists a maximum of 5 meetings in the next year, a far cry from the 30 + local CCG meetings. The first meeting takes place this week, on Thursday 15th April and only lasts 90 minutes with only 10 minutes for public questions – not much democracy or accountability there then!
We are liaising with other campaigns in North West London to ensure we question the single CCG as effectively as possible on Thursday and try to hold them to account.
Yet another US company in Ealing – this time delivering patient record systems!
The London North West University Healthcare Trust, who run Ealing Hospital, and the Hillingdon Hospital Trust have signed a contract with private company ‘Cerner’ to supply a new ‘electronic patient record system’ (EPR). Cerner are an American supplier of health information technology and specialise in these systems.
This new system will also allow patient information to be across North West London with all the other trusts and hospitals. Whilst there are significant benefits in Trusts being able to effectively and quickly share clinical data, the Public need to know that this data is only for the eyes of appropriate NHS staff and cannot be used in anyway by Cerner or shared with other private companies.
We have written to the London North West to seek further information and assurances.
PM hires Chief Executive of US Operose as Health Adviser
Samantha Jones, currently chief executive of Operose Health, the UK arm of US health giant ‘Centene’, a post she took up in January 2019 has recently been hired as a health adviser to Boris Johnson.
Previously she was Director of New Care Models at NHS England, having been appointed by its chief executive Simon Stevens and before that Chief Executive of West Hertfordshire hospitals, and previously of Epsom and St Helier Hospital.
According to the ‘Health Service Journal’, her title in Number 10 will be Expert Adviser for NHS Transformation and Social Care Delivery.
‘Centene’ have been very much in the news recently for their take- over of the 49 GP Practices in London.
Her appointment is further evidence of the revolving door of NHS privatisation in action – senior figures in the private health sector take on senior jobs in government and vice versa.
Clearly a former private health company boss advising the government on health policy is unlikely to make the case for a publicly owned and publicly funded NHS!
Legal challenges can halt privatisation – ‘Palantir’ data deal to be curbed
Well done to campaigning organisation ‘Open Democracy’ who successfully sued the Government over their secretive deal with Palantir, a CIA-backed data firm to process our sensitive health data, for forcing a climb-down.
Back in December, after spending months on legal efforts to get transparency on Government NHS contracts, a massive £23m two year deal with Palantir was sneaked through.
The Government had claimed that initial deals were short-term emergency COVID response, but the new contract revealed mission creep well beyond the pandemic.
Government lawyers claimed that citizens have no right to a say in major NHS contracts with big tech. But ‘Open Democracy’ believe the public does have those rights. So they sued and faced with the lawsuit, the government caved in. They’ve pressed pause, committing not to extend Palantir’s contract beyond COVID without consulting the public. They have also agreed to engage the public, via “patient juries”, about whether firms like Palantir are appropriate for a long-term role in the NHS at all.
One of the many casualties of the Covid pandemic has also been the knock-on effect on waiting lists. The figures are pretty staggering with estimates of waiting lists doubling up to 10 million by this month and the likelihood of increased deaths in the thousands.
Whilst steps are being taken to expand capacity, mainly from the private sector, these are being undermined by the failure of the Government to properly fund a Covid recovery. The shock of there being no extra money for the NHS in the Budget was partly offset by an extra £6.6billion hurriedly announced by Matt Hancock, but well short of the £8bn requested by NHS England.
As this excellent article in ‘the Lowdown’ explains, waiting lists were already growing and targets not being met well before Covid due to under investment, creating the perfect storm!
Serco paid £15 million to leave Pathology Contract:
Here is yet another story of NHS money being wasted on settling legal action by private companies losing a tender. This time its NHS Foundation Trusts Kings and Guys & St Thomas, who felt they had to buy off Serco to stop Serco’s legal action against the awarding of the pathology contract to Synlab.
They paid £15m to pay Serco to leave Viapath – their public-private partnership company running pathology services since 2009 as an outsourced company – what a disgrace! (NB: The pathology contract was vigorously opposed by KONP campaigners in South London)
You can read the full story from the Health Service Journal here