Merger being pushed by Monitor

Peterborough_City_Hospital

In March it was reported in the Health Service Journel that Monitor, the NHS Improvement organisation, which is responsible for overseeing NHS Foundation and trusts and holding providers to account and where necessary intervening, is pushing hard for the merger between Hinchingbrooke Hospital NHS Trust and Peterborough and Stamford NHS Foundation Trust.

The “merger” between both hospitals is set to be completed by 1 April, 2017, but Hands Off Hinchingbrooke has grave concerns for the potential merger, and not just the timeframe in which the merger would be implemented from.

As the merger is being rushed this could have acrimonious consequences not just for Hinchingbrooke Hospital but also Peterborough Hospital. The HSJ also reported that a senior source which is familiar to negotiations claimed Monitor desperately wants the trusts to merge “as soon as possible”.

Plans for the merger have been on the table since March 2016 and both boards have pressed ahead, even though there has been opposition from Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly and Hands Off Hinchingbrooke as it could see services lost.

Hinchingbrooke has always been questioned on the viability of the hospital as it sits within a small catchment area – where as, Peterborough has had large amount of debts due to the Private Finance Inicitive deal which lead to the new hospital being built in Peterborough.

Let’s not forget though, the NHS hasn’t had a great number of mergers over the years. Their has been mergers where everyone buys into it and these have been very successful, but as the merger between both hospitals is being rushed through by Monitor, it could have disastrous consequences.

The source also told HSJ “If the trusts looked to merger at a slower pace, say over two to three years, they could then ensure thinks like all the back office and IT systems were integrated properly, and it could be done in a way that protect patient.”

From that claim, it begs the question that we have been asking ourselves, they’re not protecting patients.

In January plans had been announced in a joint statement by both CEO’s that both hospitals have started work by a Memorandum of Understanding, which only came to the public domain after Huntingdon MP, Jonathan Djanogly forced both boards to release the MoU.

Another question then arises. Why keep the MoU secret from the public? What are they hiding? Where there deals going on behind closed doors?

Daniel Laycock, Secretary for Hands off Hinchingbrooke asked Lance McCarthy at the Special Meeting, Overview and Scrutiny (Communities and Environment) on Tuesday 28th June in Huntingdon, “Why was the MoU kept from the public domain, until Jonathan Djanogly forced you to release it into the public domain”  but Mr McCarthy only replied that there was a MoU in the public domain.

Accusations had followed from Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly, that key services such as accident and emergency would be lost at the district general hospital as Peterborough is palling to take over Hinchingbrooke.

Hinchingbrooke chair Alan Burns, told HSJ in January that he was “relatively agnostic” about “merging” with Peterborough, providing that business case stacked up on “clinical ground and benefits to patients” as well as financial ground.

Monitor nor the trust responded directly to questions asked by HSJ that the regulator was pushing for Hinchingbroooke and Peterborough hospitals to merge.

A Monitor spokesperson claimed to HSJ back in March: ” We are aware that Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke hospitals are exploring options for increased collaboration between their organisations for the benefits of patient.

“We want people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to receive quality care on a sustainable basis, and stand ready to support all providers in the area to make this happen”

Damning Indicment

Update: 29th July 2016

Cambs and Pboro CCG logo

John Lister has compiled report on the collapse of the Older Peoples and Adults Community contract on behalf of Keep Our NHS Public and in the report he states, “the underlying cause of this collapse was Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act 2012 that opened the door to the privatisation and marketization of the NHS. The contract failure and the debts that have ensued have serious implications for Cambridgeshire’s health services. The prospect is one of continuing cuts and search from ‘savings’ to remedy a vast financial black hole that has been opened up by six years of austerity- driven funding, a costly market system, the failure of this contract, and several more years of virtual cash freeze to come.”

OPACS Report

July 14th 2016

The report released by the National Audit Office (NAO) on Thursday 14th July into the collapse of the contract for older people’s health services in Cambridgeshire is a damning indictment of the Tory government’s drive to privatise our NHS.

In April last year provision of older people’s and adult community health services in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough was taken over by Uniting Care Partnership (UCP), a joint body set up by two local NHS Trusts, Cambridge University Hospitals and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust. This followed a lengthy and very expensive tendering exercise by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which could have resulted in the contract – worth close to a billion pounds over five years – being awarded to a private company. However, after just eight months the contract with UCP collapsed after the CCG refused to meet demands for extra funding to continue with it.

The NAO, an official government body, has delivered this verdict on the situation: “This contract was innovative and ambitious but ultimately an unsuccessful venture, which failed for financial reasons which could, and should, have been foreseen. It had the strong potential to join together all bodies in the local health economy and to deliver better patient care. However, limited oversight and a lack of commercial expertise led to problems that quickly became insurmountable.”

The report says that around £25,000,000 has been wasted as a result of this fiasco – money which clearly the local health economy desperately needs. It also says that lessons have not been learned from previous experiments with privatisation, particularly the Circle contract at Hinchingbrooke.

Stop the NHS Sell-Off – an umbrella group of health campaigns, trade unions and others – warned throughout the whole process that the contract was unworkable and unnecessary, and that the CCG should instead focus on working with existing providers to integrate and improve services. We lobbied all the meetings, collected thousands of signatures on petitions, and ultimately played a significant part in stopping the contract being awarded to the private sector. However, our call for the process to be halted went unheeded, resulting in the sorry – and scandalously wasteful – mess exposed by the NAO. It gives us no satisfaction to say ‘We told you so’ – this fiasco should never have happened in the first place.

We will shortly be releasing our own report into the UCP contract collapse, and its implications for local health services. We are clear that whatever the failings of local health bodies, the chief responsibility lies with the government and its obsession with opening up health services to the private sector, as detailed in the notorious 2012 Health and Social Care Act, the brainchild of former South Cambridgeshire MP and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. We call on the new government to repudiate this discredited piece of legislation, end experiments with privatisation, and restore the NHS as a fully-funded public service.

John Lister has complied a report on behalf of Keep Our NHS Public and has

Government downgrades Care Minister role

The social care brief has been handed down to parliamentary under-secretary of state for community health and care, David Mowat

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David Mowat, parliamentary under-secretary of state for community health and care, will take on the adult social care brief.
Photo: Department of Health

The role of social care minister has been downgraded following new prime minister Theresa May’s government reshuffle.

The adult social care brief will now be overseen by parliamentary under-secretary of state for community health and care David Mowat.

It was previously a minister of state position, a more senior role, held by Alistair Burt.

Burt was appointed minister of state for community and social care in May 2015. He announced his plans to resign in September earlier this month, but his resignation has taken effect earlier than expected due to Theresa May becoming leader of the Conservative party and prime minister.

This is the first time in eight years that the adult social care brief has been handled at junior minister level. When Labour MP, Phil Hope, took up the post in 2008, it was upgraded to minister of state level.

The last four post-holders – Hope, Liberal Democrats Paul Burstow and Norman Lamb, and Burt – were all ministers of state.

Government reshuffle

Secretary of state Jeremy Hunt will now lead on mental health, which previously sat within the care minister remit, alongside his responsibilities for all areas of health policy. Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow in Shropshire, has been appointed minister of state for health. He will lead on hospital care, patient safety and NHS performance, operations and workforce.

Mowat, who is the MP for Warrington South, will be responsible for adult social care, carers, community services, cancer, dementia, learning disabilities, and all elements of primary care, including dentistry and pharmacy.

Mowat previously served as parliamentary private secretary to Greg Clark, the former secretary of state for communities and local government. He was also elected to the public accounts committee, which scrutinises all aspects of government expenditure, in 2015.

Prior to his political career, Mowat chaired a charity dedicated to improving the life chances of young people and also set up Warrington Jobs Club, an initiative that aims to help local residents get back into work.

He lists his political interests as nuclear power, energy, and pensions.

Directorate restructure

The move follows a substantial reorganisation of the Department of Health, which has reduced any single focus on social care.

The new arrangement, which came into effect on 1 July, saw the separate directorate for social care come together with digital, technology, and local government to form one single directorate for community care. The office of the chief social worker, Lyn Romeo, also sits within this directorate. It is overseen by director general for community care, Tamara Finkelstein.

Jon Rouse, former director general of social care and local government, stayed on at the DH to oversee the changes, but leaves today to join the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership as chief officer.

 

[Source www.communitycare.co.uk]

It’s Our NHS

At the packed meeting with over 200 people attending, Defend the NHS Sussex held an organising meeting on Saturday 30th June in Brighton with speakers from Brighton’s MP Caroline Lucas, Joanne Land from Co-convenor NHS Momentum, Mike Campbell – Protect Our NHS Bristol, Danielle Tiplady from the Bursary or Bust campaign for nurses bursaries, Dr Todd Leckie who’s a junior doctor and fighting against Jeremy Hunt and with other junior doctors across the county on their contracts, Marion Macapline; How come we didn’t know?, Vicky Penner who’s campaigned for Save Lewisham Hospital campaign and also a works for 38 Degrees and others.

At the meeting each speaker spoke about the Nurses bursaries, junior doctors contract, privatisation and  Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) and the continuing campaign for the NHS up and down the country.

Watch the video to find out more.

Campaigners Issue Stark Warning Over NHS Cuts Programme

Hands Off Hinchingbrooke have issued a stark warning following the release of the draft Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, in what they describe as a ‘thinly detailed blueprint for cuts which has more holes in it than a “sieve” and it is a disgrace and insult to the people of Cambridgeshire to put forward such an ill-thought-out document’.

The ‘Fit for the Future’ document, which was overseen by NHS Improvement, outlines a 10 point plan to deliver four key priorities for change, however the group believe that the lack of detail is masking savage cuts and downgrading of services in order to make the £250 million savings imposed by central government.

They believe that the lack of transparency and the fact that the STP plans are being forced through at an alarming pace will mean that the cuts programme may be agreed before the public are fully aware of the situation. Although there have been some reassurances offered over Accident and Emergency services, it is not clear whether some may be downgraded or lost altogether.

Cambs and Pboro CCG logo

Campaigners have stated that they will fight tooth and nail against any cuts. Daniel Laycock, Secretary of Hands Off Hinchingbrooke said ‘ This is the latest in a long line of threats to our local hospital and the NHS as a whole. Our local services have been used as a testing ground for NHS privatisation in an experiment that we fought and said would fail. It gives us no pleasure to say that we were right. The release of the STP for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough seems nothing more than a thinly detailed blueprint for cuts which has more holes in it than a “sieve” and it is a disgrace and insult to the people of Cambridgeshire to put forward such an ill-thought-out document’. We fear that this is being rushed through behind closed doors and contains a massive programme of cuts. This is the result of Tory government policy towards the NHS, deliberately starving it of funds in order to break it up and sell it off to the private sector.

Our communities need full Accident & Emergency services. They are already stretched and yet again this week we have the situation where Hinchingbrooke Hospital has pleaded with people not to use A&E unless absolutely necessary. There is a massive financial crisis across the NHS. If our MP Jonathan Djanogly is serious about campaigning for Hinchingbrooke then now is the time for him to join us in appealing to the government to fully fund the NHS and stop their damaging cuts agenda. We will fight tooth and nail against any cuts or closures and continue to campaign for a fully funded, publicly owned and publicly controlled NHS’

For more information on the Sustainability and Transformation Plan or ‘Fit for the Future’ for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

 

Campaign in the heart of the coummunity

Hands Off Hinchingbrooke attended the Unity in the Community event at the Medway Centre, Huntingdon on Saturday. With the day being fully packed and hundreds turning out, the campaign was in the heart of the Oxmoor. With a good turnout we spoke to different people in the community about the merger between Hinchingbrooke Hospital Healthcare NHS Trust  and Peterborough and Stamford Foundation NHS Trust and a number of departments possibly being closed and the impact of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) will have on Hinchingbrooke.

Huntingdon Mayor and CEO of Magpas, Cllr Daryl Brown spoke to one of our committee members say ing that he has spoken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital’s boss Lance McCarthy, and he has expressed his worry and concerns over the merger. Unfortunley he would’t “sign our petition as he has already signed another petition”

Deputy Mayor Cllr Jay Dyne did sign our petition and agreeing to our Mission Statement (pictured below)

Hands Off Hinchingbrooke Mission Statement

We collected over 60 signatures so in total we have over 320 signatures for our petition with only attended two events in the last several weeks. We will be arranging to attend more events across the district and county in the coming months and we will keep you posted.

If you want to sign our petition please click the link.

Daniel Laycock

Secretary

Resist Hinchingbrooke Hospital acquisition by Peterborough and Stamford NHS Foundation Trust

Peterborough_City_Hospital

Some years ago in a series of lectures I gave, I said that if the NHS were a patient, it would be locked up in a secure unit, to prevent it from damaging itself further with self-inflicted wounds.

It seems in the intervening years, nothing has changed.

The current proposed acquisition of Hinchingbrooke Hospital by Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, needs to be resisted by anyone who wishes to see Hinchingbrooke retained as a clinically sustainable and financially viable district general hospital, publicly provided, publicly funded and publicly accountable.

Accountability has never been a strong point of NHS management. For instance the two previous chairmen of what was the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority have never been held to account for the financial basket case they permitted Hinchingbrooke Hospital to become between 2006 and 2010. Neither were they asked to explain what led to the privatised fiasco of the Circle Contract. More recently is the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group’s (C&PCCG) abysmal handling of the Older People’s and Adult Community Services Contract (value £725Million) which was terminated in December 2015, only a few months after the contract was awarded.

To-date, no one has been held accountable for this debacle. The subsequent internal audit by the West Midland Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust found that the Pre-Qualification Process and contract award carried out by C&PCCG was deficient in the extreme. They also apparently found the C&PCCG did not carry out a sufficient due diligence test on the selected provider before awarding the contract.

Once again, our taxpayer’s money has been wasted by another incompetent NHS organisation. Now it is the very same commissioning group together with the Peterborough & Stamford Hospitals Foundation Trust (PSHFT) and its’ horrific PFI contract debt, that is now pressing together with NHS England to force through the acquisition of Hinchingbrooke Hospital by Peterborough. They are seeking to recoup some of the money they have wasted on their ill-conceived contracts at the expense of our beloved Hinchingbrooke Hospital and to the detriment of Huntingdonshire residents and others within the Hinchingbrooke Hospital catchment area.

To ensure that the Hinchingbrooke non-executive board may be held accountable for any future decisions regarding our highly regarded local hospital, it is essential that the existing board is changed with immediate effect as four of its current members have been parachuted in from outside the area, and are making decisions about Hinchingbrooke which fly in the face of the needs of the local population. We need to have a board that is made up of Huntingdonshire residents with appropriate skill sets, and one that is representative of the local population. This would be in line with the Government’s commitment to devolve power to local communities, and is supported by the Hands-Off Hinchingbrooke Campaigners too.

Huntingdonshire has previously demonstrated that when it was controlling its own health budget, as it did with Huntingdonshire Primary Care Trust (2001-2006), it was able to sustain a financially viable and clinically sustainable health system, including Hinchingbrooke Hospital. The hospital only ran into financial trouble in 2006 due the then Strategic Health Authority (SHA) failing to ensure a due diligence audit was carried out before the Diagnostic and Treatment Centre was built under a PFI project. Since that time, the hospital has been a puppet of both the SHA and its subsequent successor paymasters, the Trust Development Authority (TDA) (now the NHS Improvement Commission) and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group.

The health care budget for Huntingdonshire should be returned to a new Huntingdonshire health body, possibly a Huntingdon Community Health Trust (HCHT). Such a proposition will, of course, be resisted fiercely by the existing NHS establishment, but given their abysmal track record both nationally and locally, we have nothing to fear by challenging the existing status quo. A new Huntingdonshire Community Health Trust with the right people in charge and we have such people here in Huntingdonshire and properly funded, can create a health care model of excellence.

Worry over rush to merge hospitals

Jane Howell who sits on our committee has written to the Hunts Post over the concerns that she and the campaign feel will happen if the hospitals eventually merger.

She writes, “The Hands Off Hinchingbrooke campaign group had a very feasible. Many questions were asked but no clear answers given, forcing Mr McCarthy to repeatedly assure committee members and members of the public that nothing has been decided yet, and won’t be until the results of the full business case are available at the end of September.

This rush to merge the two hospitals is worrying, particularly for Hinchingbrooke which could be downgraded overnight and Peterborough has more to gain financially from a merger than Hinchingbrooke, also this short-term plan takes no account of the new housing planned for the area in the next five years. The campaign group will continue to collect petition signatures in Huntingdon and at farmers markets against the proposed merger. Mr Djanogly MP still has an online petition: www.jonathandjanogly.com/ hospital_petition. He also opposes the merger and every signature will help.

I have a personal connection to Huntingdon in that my parents lived there. In their later years they were in and out of Hinchingbrooke and the care they received could not be faulted. I was very grateful for the support they received. I live in Haddenham and at the moment my GP can offer the choice of a referral to Hinchingbrooke or Addenbrooke’s. I fear that this will no longer be an option if Peterborough is allowed to acquire Hinchingbrooke.”

We Won’t stand for ‘Slash and Trash’ warns Hands Off Hinchingbrooke Chair

Cambs and Pboro CCG logo

The Clinical Commissioning Group has announced that “a radical shake-up of future healthcare provision across the county which is due to be published at the end of this month” as part of its Sustainability Transformation Programme (STP).

STP was introduced by Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England. Before being appointed, he had previously spent 10 years working for United Health, the biggest private health insurance in the USA. One of his roles there was to export American-style private healthcare insurance into other countries. He has not been appointed here to support publically-funded, publically-provided, publically-accountable health service. STP only applies to England as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have rejected many aspects of privatisation.

STP has already been proposed in other parts of England where it has been called ‘slash, trash and plunder’. Slash the already meagre health and social care budget. Trash the existing highly regarded services and close them down, and plunder the valuable hospital land assets and sell them off.

In Darlington the proposal to downgrade their hospital A&E, maternity and paediatric services has resulted in a public outcry across the political divide. If a similar plan is announced for Hinchingbrooke Hospital we hope that the public and local politicians will join together to oppose these plans.

Lorna Mansbridge

Chair

Hands Off Hinchingbrooke