The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) is the main body which manages healthcare in Oxfordshire. It purchases healthcare services and decides which bodies deliver health services in our region. Its meetings are open to the public and it is supposed to be both accountable to the public and transparent in its decision-making. On this page we will try to keep you up to date with issues and concerns relating to the OCCG.
KONP Press release: 6 October 2016
Oxfordshire health consultation a sham
Campaigners from Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public today criticised the decision of the body responsible for buying health services on our behalf for completing contracts before consulting the public and patients on a controversial plan that will mean service cuts, and department and hospital closures across the county.
By the time the formal consultation process on the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) begins in January 2017, the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) will have already had its currently secret plans passed by its controllers – NHS England (NHSE). If the plans are not approved, then it will be deprived of Transformation money allocated by NHSE to fund the service improvements it hopes to deliver. By January 2017 OCCG will also have completed its two-year operational plans and agreed contracts with service providers.
A necessary process undoubtedly, but one that cannot be said to support proper
consultation, which to be meaningful must allow the possibility of the public having the opportunity to make changes. Chair of the House of Commons health select committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston, has stated that: ‘The lesson we learn from every major reorganisation has been that if we take local people with us on the journey, and on the thinking behind it, it is much more likely to be successful. We should not see genuine local consultation and engagement as an inconvenience but as something that improves the eventual plans.’
Julia Simon, until earlier this month the head of NHS England’s commissioning policy unit and its co-commissioning of primary care programme director, warned ‘forcing health and care organisations to come together so quickly to draw up the complex plans was likely to backfire. Up against tight deadlines, organisations were likely to make unrealistic financial forecasts and claims about benefits to patient care.’ Ms Simon added: ‘Everyone will submit a plan, because they have to. But it means there is a lot of blue sky thinking and then you have a lot of lies in the system about the financial position, benefits that will be delivered – it’s just a construct, not a reality.’
Chair of Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public, Dr Ken Williamson, said: ‘When even a former member of NHSE speaks out against the secrecy and pace of the Sustainability and Transformation Plans, we are right to be suspicious and to question whether these plans are less about improvements to patient services and more about continuing to severely defund the NHS, secreted within the Trojan horse of ‘cost-efficiencies’.
Response from OCCG to Questions from KONP and others to the July Meeting and the Extraordinary Board Meeting of 10 August 2017
Questions from KONP to July 2017 Meeting of OCCG Board, 26 July 2017
Questions from KONP to the May Meeting of OCCG, Answered after the June Special Meeting, 22 June 2017
Oxfordshire KONP Response to the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s ‘Big Consultation’ on Phase 1 of the Oxfordshire Transformation Programme, 12 March 2017
Questions asked at meeting of Oxford Clinical Commissioning Group, (including those from OKONP), 29 November 2016
Contacts: Dr Ken Williamson, Chair of Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public, Mobile: 07831570936
Bill MacKeith, Secretary of Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public 01865 558145
KONP press release: 27 September 2016
SECRET PLANS FOR OXFORDSHIRE STILL UNDER WRAPS
The body that has agreed to cut £9.7 million from local health services, but has yet to admit where the axe will fall, now refuses to reveal its involvement in secret government plans that could see further threats to patient care in Oxfordshire.
Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) continues to stall by not answering direct questions put by campaigners Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public, and by its repeated delays in responding to an information request from our local Healthwatch, challenging the secrecy of the plans.
And the local Health Scrutiny Committee, which has a public duty to ask searching questions about significant changes to local health services, has once again failed to see this blueprint, officially known as a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), which will impose further drastic cuts on local health and social care. Leaks of STPs from other parts of the country reveal planned cuts that will see more GP practices closed, community services reduced or removed altogether, hospital wards and whole departments downgraded or axed, beds permanently lost, A&E threatened, and staff terms and conditions weakened. The tell-tale signs are already visible throughout Oxfordshire, with the downgrading of maternity services at the Horton, GP practice closures in Witney and Bicester, and hospital and community beds no longer available.
Chair of Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public, Dr Ken Williamson, said today: ‘That the public is being prevented from seeing these secret plans until the end of the year is shocking. It isn’t good enough to say that the plans have to have government approval before the public can comment on them. By Christmas, these plans will be a done deal, and any consultation will be a cynical PR exercise, and totally meaningless. These plans (STPs) are being imposed by central government as part of a massive de-funding of our National Health Service, deliberately starving it of much-needed investment. Chomsky said that the standard technique of privatisation was: “defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, hand it over to private capital”. They want the NHS to fail. They want people to get angry. All the easier to introduce co-payments and private health insurance.’
Contact: Dr Ken Williamson, Chair of Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public, Mobile: 07831 570936 Bill MacKeith, Secretary of Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public 01865 558145 keepournhspublicoxfordshire.org.uk; ttps://www.facebook.com/konpoxon; @keepNHS_oxon
Keep Our NHS Public was formed in 2005 and has a broad-based, public membership. There are 65 local groups, plus a national association. It has the explicit aim of countering marketisation and privatisation of the NHS by campaigning for a publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable NHS, available to all on the basis of clinical need. It is opposed to cuts in service which run counter to these principles. Further details of national organisation: http://www.keepournhspublic.com
OCCG Big Conversation Roadshow: OCCG consultation on the future of the NHS in Oxfordshire, July 2016
Oxfordshire KONP questions to the OCCG extraordinary governing board meeting, April 2016, with answers from OCCG.
January 2016: Oxfordshire KONP has sent these Questions to the OCCG Governing Board on new government regulations on tendering services, on the devolution of health and social care, on outcome-based contracting and other issues that concern us. Read here the response of the OCCG.
December 2015: Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group favours what is known as ‘Outcome-Based Contracts’ (OBC). In this article, Caroline Molloy argues that outcome-based commissioning is inappropriate for the NHS and has dramatically failed in Cambridshire, creating what she describes as a ‘shambolic mess’. In Oxfordshire we have a huge OBC mental health contract and one is planned for elderly services – we need to ask our Commissioners some searching questions before we’re faced with our own ‘shambolic mess’.
Questions to OCCG Governing Board July 2014
Questions to OCCG Governing Board from Oxfordshire KONP, January 2014