Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public
Our campaign aims to:
– Keep Our NHS Public! This means funded from taxation, free at the point of use, and provided as a public service by people employed in the NHS and accountable to the people and Parliament.
– Build a broad-based non-party political campaign to prevent further fragmentation and privatisation of the NHS.
– Inform the public and the media about what is happening as a result of the government’s ‘reform’ programme.
– Call for a public debate about the future of the NHS and halt the further use of the private sector until such a debate is had.
Contact Oxfordshire KONP: email@example.com
Oxford KONP meets on the second Tuesday of every month. Our meetings are in the Oxford Town Hall and begin at 7.30. All meetings are open to the public.
Next meeting: 8 October, 7.30, Town Hall
Horton Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee rejects CCG closure of Horton maternity unit
Keep the Horton General’s reaction to HHOSC meeting
A large group of KTHG members attended the meeting organised by HHOSC in Banbury Town Hall on Thursday 19 September.
In response to the Clinical Commissioning Group’s decision, made public the previous Monday, to permanently remove the Obstetric unit from the Horton, six speakers addressed the committee. These included MP Victoria Prentis, High Steward of Banbury Sir Tony Baldry, three Councillors and KTHG Chairman Keith Strangwood.
There could be no doubting the speeches’ level of passion which was wholeheartedly supported by the committee members and Chairman, Arash Fatemian. Speakers described their reaction to the decision variously as ‘staggered, profoundly disappointed, betrayed, furious’ but with an absolute commitment to keep fighting for the people of Banburyshire. Cllr Mallon said he wanted to ‘thank KTHG for the work they have done over the past 20 years’ which was endorsed by Cllr Fatemian.
Of particular note was the praise for the mothers who had addressed the HHOSC meeting in December 2018. The Chairman promised that the committee would ‘continue to be their voice’.
Charlotte Bird, KTHG Deputy Chair said ‘anyone who attended that meeting will never forget it. The harrowing experiences, told with such eloquence and bravery, will stay with those that heard them forever. It is for those mums, and the mums of the future, that we will never stop campaigning until a full Obstetric service is returned to the Horton’.
The committee moved to refer the issue to the Independent Review Panel – via the Secretary of State for Health ‘on the grounds that it is not in the best interests of local people’ – if the recommendation is approved by the OCCG board on 26 September.
ends 20 September 2019
For more details contact our Chairman, Keith Strangwood:
Tel: 07740 599736
Oxfordshire KONP condemns ‘partnership deal’ between OUHT and the private firm, InHealth.
The recent announcement of the signature of a ‘partnership agreement’ between InHealth, NHS England and Oxford University Hospitals Trust has been hailed by by some as a victory. Oxfordshire KONP has a different view. See the letter to local councillors, below.
60 Great Clarendon St
Oxford OX2 6AX
13 September 2019
To: The Chair and Members of Oxfordshire Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee
We have heard that a ‘partnership agreement’ has been signed between InHealth, NHS England and Oxford University Hospitals Trust. This is directly counter to the recommendation of Oxfordshire’s Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny’s that the matter be referred to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel.
Furthermore, none of the concerns about mobile scanners raised in a letter from three Oxfordshire MPs to the Secretary of State for Health in July have been addressed.
It was clear weeks ago that – following massive public concern – the Oxford Churchill Hospital PET scanner service would continue to be run by the NHS on that site. It was a victory to have kept InHealth out of our local cancer scanning service. service. It still is, but nothing has improved since then.
There was concern this would be via a subcontract whereby InHealth contracted the Oxford Hospitals Trust to continue to run PET scanners at that site. If there is now to be a direct PET scanners contract between NHS England and the Oxford Hospitals Trust – as reported by the Banbury Guardian – that is good. But we are still seeking clarification on that point.
* Mobile scanners continue to be inferior to the OUH scanner set-up. This is what the clinicians had said.
People outside Oxon – in Reading, Swindon and Milton Keynes – will receive an inferior (mobile scanners) service.
* The mobile scanners in those locations will be provided and run by a private company, InHealth. This is part of a carve-up of contracts for PET scanners across the country between InHealth and Alliance Medical. Such privatisation is in conflict with the ‘no privatisation of the NHS on my watch’ professions of the Minister of Health.
* Clinicians have voiced grave concerns about communication between out-of-Oxon InHealth doctors and radiologists and NHS NHS doctors and radiologists at the Churchill Hospital. We do not believe these have been resolved. ‘Cancer pathways’ for individual patients will not be managed by a single integrated team but will be divided between InHealth and NHS employees, including booking I appointments via a call service. This will be detrimental to the health of patients outside Oxfordshire.
* It may also be detrimental to patients in Oxfordshire, as our Churchill cancer diagnostics and treatment service becomes frustrated and clogged up with problems deriving from the InHealth sector.
* The introduction of more mobile scanners is in breach of the consensus view of clinicians in the NHS that scanners should in future be fixed-site, a view promoted by NHS England itself.
* For Reading, Swindon and Milton Keynes, this remains a top-down privatisation, the imposition of an inferior service in breach of NHS England’s own stated policies.
* Oxon HOSC was not consulted by OUHT or NHS England before the award of ‘preferred bidder’ status to InHealth, as it should have been.
* The procurement process and decision to make InHealth ‘preferred bidder’ for the Thames Valley contract did not have the confidence of clinicians and political representatives. We called for those people responsible for the procurment process in NHS England to resign and will continue to do so.
* Clinicians were threatened by NHS England lawyers with legal action if they spoke out in public about their concerns if privatisation went ahead. This is shocking and HOSC should demand that it is never repeated.
* Oxford University Hospitals Trust has not correctly dealt with Freedom of Information Act requests from the Banbury Guardian, either in terms of the content of what has been released or in terms of adhering to the correct time limits for answering. Some requests are still outstanding. HOSC should require better performance on this from OUHT on being open to public scrutiny.
The PET scanners episode is far from over. In future, there will be the issue of a private company providing fixed-site scanners in Milton Keynes, Reading and Swindon to contend with. And there is no guarantee that private companies will not come back looking for the scanning service at the Churchill Hospital.
We ask the HOSC:
1 to contact its counterparts in the other three local authorities concerned with a view to coordinating work in support of publicly provided health services; and
2. to require from NHS England a detailed clinician-led performance review report on a regular basis, at least six-monthly, against which progress on the points raised above can measured. We believe it is the responsibility of the HOSC on behalf of the people of Oxfordshire to do so.
With best wishes,
secretary, Oxon KONP
A recent local scandal around the NHS PET-CT scanner service showed how small private contracts can cause large scale damage to the NHS, writes Liz Peretz. 1
How Oxford’s cancer scanning service is being privatised
By Roseanne Edwards
The Banbury Guardian has tried to track the progress of a secret privatisation of the Churchill Hospital’s advanced PET-CT scanning service. But attempts to obtain information through Freedom of Information have been only partially successful.
An incomplete set of correspondence we have received, released by the Oxford University Hospitals Trust (OUH), reveals a massive internal struggle – and ultimately capitulation – over privatisation of the Churchill Hospital’s world famous, advanced scanning service.
See full story in the Banbury Guardian.
Oxfordshire KONP Response to NHS Consultation on its Proposed Long Term Plan
NHS England (NHSE) is running a form of ‘engagement’ with campaigners and the wider public, on proposals for changes to the almost universally hated 2012 Health and Social Care Act.
As opponents of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act and all it stands for, Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) will support any changes which may offer the chance to unpick and reverse even parts of this damaging legislation.
However, we are also aware that this limited ‘engagement’ process is linked with a wider agenda for NHSE which we do not share or endorse. We do not lend any support to proposals that may prove part of a wider strategy that we have already made clear we reject. Read our full response here.
Stop our PET scanners being privatised !
PET (positron emission tomography) scanners are used in cancer care in the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the Churchill in Oxford. This location is convenient for patients, consultants, and nurses. Trained and qualified staff operate the scanners, which are a key part of the ‘patient journey’ for certain forms and stages of cancers. The scanners are part of the hospital equipment at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH).
NHS England has decided that our PET scanner services – NHS ones – should be put out to tender. Even though the Churchill ones are working perfectly well. They have put all PET scanner services out to tender across the South East, whether they were working or not. This meant that OUH had to put in a bid to run its own scanners. Which they did, explaining how the existing budget is needed for the service to function.
They lost the contract. InHealth, a private, for-profit company undercut the OUH and the NHSE commissioners awarded InHealth the contract.
Unless we show this would have a bad impact on the services and the patients, and would risk poorer outcomes, the change will go ahead. The scanners may well be moved onto a private site – this is still to be arranged – and will be operated by less trained staff, as we understand the situation.
This can’t be right! We should support our NHS Trusts to stand up to this, and keep the PET scanner service in the Churchill, run by the Department of Nuclear Medicine.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Write to your county councillor (this should have come to the Joint Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee and it hasn’t – so urge them to halt the process until it has been scrutinised).
- Send a post card to Dame Fiona Caldicott, chair of Oxford University Hospitals Council of Governors, and of its board of directors, or email her here: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Send an email to Dr Kiren Collison, chair of the Oxon Clinical Commissioning Group here: email@example.com and the chief executive, Lou Patten at firstname.lastname@example.org
They need to know that you are outraged at this privatisation of a fully functioning service, and are concerned about the impact this will have on patients, the patient’s cancer care journey, the quality of care, and the staff who rely on timely access to highly trained staff who run the service.
P&P Oxon Keep Our NHS Public: https://keepournhspublicoxfordshire.org
Guardian article on the Churchill PET Scanners, 6 March 2019
Despite its international reputation for cancer care, Churchill hospital in Oxford has lost its contract to carry out PET-CT scans to InHealth, a private company, as part of the tendering process, the Guardian can reveal.
See also KONP’s postcard to the Dame Fiona Caldicott, Chair of Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust
SHOCKING failings behind an NHS decision to hand care for 63,000 people to a private company have been revealed. A damning new report exposes the fiasco after Oxfordshire health bosses handed physiotherapy services for the county to Healthshare Ltd. Read full article in the Oxford mail.
BY PAUL EVANS
The government has the power to overturn NHS competition rules without the need for new legislation, according to an analysis by health academic Peter Roderick.
It means that ministers could grant the request of NHS England to end the much criticised competition rules within the NHS, which it made within the NHS long term plan.
Under the current rules NHS commissioners are obliged to advertise contracts, which has resulted in over £25bn worth of NHS clinical work being put out to tender, according to figures from the NHS Support Federation.
Nearly 40% of the value of the awards has been won by the private sector.
Care Quality Commission condemns hygiene at JR
The John Radcliffe Hospital has been ordered to make urgent improvements after inspectors from the Care Quality Commission found unhygienic and dilapidated operating theatres posed a potential risk to patients.
Secretary of Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public Bill MacKeith, slammed the CQC findings pointing to last week’s National Audit Office report which claimed the current NHS funding situation was not sustainable.
He said: “It is heroic that our NHS staff continue to operate in these circumstances so that the population get treated. The chronic underfunding and drive for efficiency savings/targets in the NHS has led to a firefighting, crisis driven atmosphere, and the high use of agency staff – over 800 in the OUH – and continuing use of the private sector to clear waiting lists is both costly and not joined up, which makes it inefficient at the same time as further depleting the hospital’s funds. Lets hope the CQC report will shame NHSE into action on our operating theatres.” See full story in the Oxford Mail.
Protest against NHS Long-TermPlan
Major restructuring of the NHS goes forward at pace. What is shocking is what is missing from the Plan – the virtual absence of discussion and proposals to address the severe problems facing the NHS. Some positive concessions and considerable window dressing; but a major danger is the pushing ahead to impose new structures; forced mergers of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs); the break-up of primary care and forced mergers of GP practices; extending the reach of privatisation and NHS charges; enforced fire sales of NHS estate.
This is unacceptable. JOIN US: to rally outside NHS England, Skipton House, 80 London Road Elephant and Castle London SE1 6LH 10am 31 January
National Audit Office Reveals Weakness of Long-Term Plan
The National Audit Office (NAO – that deals with numbers and not propaganda) has had a detailed look through the Tories’ long-term NHS plan launched a couple of weeks ago. Their conclusion is quite different from this government’s narrative that they are supporting our NHS. The NAO estimates that £700m is what would be necessary to restore the surgical waiting lists to the level of last March, but trusts have said that even with additional funding this target is largely unobtainable due to difficulties in recruiting staff.
Since 2010 any funding injection has not been nearly sufficient to account for historic underfunding and is merely utilised on spending for current pressures. Both the NHS, (and indeed social care which is inextricably linked), must be sufficiently funded and staffed if we are ever to see a return to a well-functioning and truly sustainable health service.
The chart below demonstrates the trend since 1950 – in real terms the NHS is currently underfunded by billions #OurNHS #GTTO
Oxfordshire Mental Health Cuts Criticised
Local campaigning group the Socialist Health Association slams ‘’inadequate” County Council consultation on Mental Health cuts. As part of a draft budget proposal for 2019/2020, Oxfordshire County Council are proposing two major cuts in Mental Health spending: £1 million over two years to the Community and Volunteer Organisations (CVO) providing mental health services; and £600k in mental health social workers. Read more.
Cathy Augustine, Didcot Town Councillor and Oxfordshire delegate to national KONP, spoke to Oxfordshire Health & Wellbeing Board, 15 November 2018
“We are deeply alarmed that the new Integrated System Delivery Board (ISDB), the main driver behind the proposed Integrated Care System, is buried deep in the structure, and virtually invisible from the scrutiny of elected representatives, meeting in secret and producing no public minutes. We are also concerned at the fact that today the CCG is hosting this meeting – another blurred line. The draft terms of reference of the ISDB (at item 9), if passed, will confirm this unhealthy inter-dependent structure. We want the HWB to think again.” Read more.
The NHS recently carried out a consultation on the contractual arrangements for the proposed system of Integrated Care Providers (ICPs). The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group plans to create such a system in Oxfordshire. In the Oxfordshire KONP December 2018 Newsletter you can read how this plan is being developed in secret and what it could mean for our local health and social care system. Oxfordshire KONP’s response to the online consultation can be read here.
Keep Local Hospitals
The Clinical Commissioning Group’s plan for Oxfordshire is to close a number of local hospitals, shift more acute care to the big central hospitals and replace local hospitals with “up to four hubs”. But recently the Nuffield Trust published a report which stressed the importance of keeping and supporting local hospitals. It said
“There is an urgent need to create sustainable models for acute medicine in smaller hospitals. Too often, the knee-jerk reaction has been to try to close or downgrade these services rather than to develop solutions that better suit the needs of the local community. As a result, attempts to close these services have tended to fail, while the problems they were trying to address remain.” Read the report here.
Horton Campaign Wins Appeal
Keep the Horton General (KTHG) has learnt this week that it has won its right to appeal the December 2017 judicial decision into the legality of the split consultation process by the Oxford Clinical Commissioning Group regarding the downgrade of the Horton General. Read more
Health bosses told to reopen Wantage Hospital
HEALTH bosses have been ordered to either re-open a community hospital or hold a formal consultation on its future – more than two years after it closed. Wantage Community Hospital remains in a state of limbo after the ‘temporary’ closure of in patient services July 2016 following an outbreak of Legionella. A government-backed review into the closure subsequently stated, however, that anything more than six months should not be labelled ‘temporary’. Members of the Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) have told the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust (which runs the hospital) that bosses must develop ‘concrete plans’ for the future of the hospital by November. From Oxford Mail, 21 September 2018
NHS patients will be sent for surgery to private healthcare companies
Hundreds of NHS patients in Oxfordshire will be sent for surgery at operating theatres run by private healthcare firms this winter as hospitals desperately try to clear a backlog of patients. Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) has revealed plans to treat more than 500 patients over the next five months at private hospitals in Banbury and Headington, with negotiations ongoing over the possibility of more referrals. Health campaigners say the move is ‘the wrong way’ to go about reducing the trust’s ‘atrocious’ waiting times, with nearly 8,000 patients waiting longer than the target of 18 weeks in the latest available figures. Read more
All Change for Banbury GP Services
GP services in Banbury are changing as surgeries merge and patients are encouraged to use new technology in place of face to face consultations. Principal Medical Ltd (PML) is steering the merger of West Bar and Woodlands practices while Banbury Health Centre patients will be absorbed by all town surgeries. Diane Hedges of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group told a Banbury meeting her group had engaged a technology specialist to help practices launch GP Online services to help patients avoid face-to-face appointments. Read more…
Lets Convert NHS Pride into Action, by Dr Elizabeth Peretz (Oxford Times) 12 July 2018
WE are all proud of the NHS. We depend on it. Every major political party says it will defend it when they ask us to vote for them. But, under the present government, it seems to be in constant crisis, amid horror stories of A & E trolley waits and old people sent home from hospital without care to keep them safe. Read more
This month we celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS. But the NHS is threatened as never before by deliberate underfunding, top-down reorganisation, and privatisation. In this Newsletter, read about the increasing lack of transparency in Oxfordshire NHS, the ongoing campaign around the Horton in Banbury, and privatised endoscopy in Witney.
Tory worries about privatisation? Some senior cabinet ministers, according to the Health Service Journal, have described the Conservative government’s changes to the NHS as “one of the biggest mistakes made by the coalition government”. On 22 May, the BBC reported that the government was having second thoughts about key aspects of their 2012 Health and Social Care Act. Read more.
Oxon NHS Campaigners join rally to back NHS Judicial Review legal challenge Oxfordshire NHS campaigners joined almost 100 NHS Defenders from across the country at a rally outside Leeds High Court on Tuesday 24 April to show their support for a legal challenge to a contentious new form of NHS contract.
This Accountable Care Organisation contract is designed to ‘manage demand’ – which basically means restricting and denying health care to patients. This would undermine the core principle that the NHS provides comprehensive healthcare to everyone who has a clinical need for it. Read more.
New planning group will discuss changes to Oxfordshire’s health services in secret. Secret meetings allowing NHS bosses to discuss changes to Oxfordshire’s health services will now be held, after a motion was passed by the county’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC). The newly-formed ‘HOSC Planning Group’ will gather twice a month to discuss health matters and upcoming ‘developments’ to health and care services. Read more
Are Accountable Care Organisations a vehicle for even greater privatisation of the NHS? If hospitals, GPs, mental health, and community care are all operating not as separate independent entities but within multiple unitary systems known as Accountable Care Organisations, all with a single provider contract, who will manage these complex contracts? If commissioning contracts so far are any guide, it will be private companies. Read more.
Future of the Horton still uncertain
When the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) decided to close down obstetrics at the Horton and centralise everything at the JR, the County Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee objected and referred the matter to the Secretary of State. The response from the Secretary of State came this month and was very critical of the CCG’s decision. But will it save the Horton? Read more.
Response to draft action plan
Healthwatch Oxfordshire has responded to the action plan produced by Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, following criticism by the Care Quality Commission of services in the county for older people. The response makes a number of observations and calls for greater clarity and financial detail. You can read it here
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY SPECIAL
Women workers, carers, patients: Cuts in health services have fallen disproportionately harshly on women, as they have in education and welfare. Most workers in the NHS and social care are women. They have endured years of real pay cuts. Four out of five such workers are in pay bands 1-4 at rates from £7.88 to £11.60. (Oxford Living Wage set by the Living Wage Foundation is £9.69 an hour.)
Care Quality Commission Report on Oxford NHS The national Care Quality Commission has published a probing and critical report into ‘how people move through the health and social care system’ in Oxfordshire. They find a service with kindness from frontline staff but otherwise lacking leadership, future vision, and collaboration. Read more
Our January newsletter, Oxfordshire NHS News, has information about radical changes to Oxford’s GP services, as well as news about the Horton and a new head at the Clinical Commissioning Group. Plus disturbing news about cancer care at the Churchill.
Judgement Reserved In Horton General Hospital Judicial Review The judge ordered the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) to take no further steps or decisions with regard to the Horton General Hospital until judgement is handed down.
Campaigners in recent years have frequently used the slogan, ‘Austerity Kills’. Now we know that it’s true. A landmark study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), concluded that the cuts to spending on health and social care led to ‘around 120 000 excess deaths from 2010 to 2017‘. If austerity continues, this would lead to 150,000 extra deaths between 2015 and 2020.
Government reorganisation of the NHS has failed to boost community care in England. One of the key aims of government has been to cut back on the number of patients turning up at A&E or being referred to hospital specialists and have them cared for instead within the primary care or community care sector. According to a recent study, this hasn’t worked.
National Konp Briefing on Accountable Care Organizations, November 2017. This briefing outlines how, as little as five years since the massive restructuring imposed by the Health and Social Care Act (HSC Act) of 2012, the NHS is again undergoing radical change, this time at breakneck speed and without parliamentary consent.