Big business, boards of directors, remuneration committees are now embedded into the healthcare provision in England. What is next? Shareholders?
The Integrated Care Systems (ICS) model has been developed with American Healthcare Companies such as Kaiser Permanente, Centene, and of course Simon Stevens ex-Ceo of America's United Health in Europe.
Healthcare is now being referred to as 'Systems' and not NHS this or NHS that. The reality is that once the Health & Care Bill becomes an Act, the NHS will no longer exist. NHS England will be the only mention of the NHS as ICS Boards take-over in April '22 and pay and terms and conditions for doctors, nurses, surgeons and all clinical staff will b e introduced by each individual and autonomous ICS!
Further, the future amalgamation of ICS and even takeover of them by American Healthcare company Centene, will be a real possibility when you consider the US company has recently taken over 41 GP services in the London area, making them the largest single private healthcare company running GP services in England.
Indeed the Government and NHS England are encouraging the absorption of one ICS with another over the next few years, and eventually the ICS in the UK to become one huge private American healthcare company! The NHS long-term plan covers a 5 year period and so we can expect this to be completed by 2027 the latest.
Already ICS across England are developing their own Boards structures, own handbooks and crucially their own constructions. Included in that is a 'Remuneration Committee' usually found as part of big companies like BT, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank, Energy Companies and of course Insurance Companies.
These ICS Board Remuneration Committees will determine future pay of the ICS CEO and directors aka members of the boards of their ICS Board members and clinical and clerical staff within the ICS.
Currently, the pay for the ICS Board Chair starts at a massive eye watering £270,000 - money which comes from the budget given to each ICS by NHS England, for the health care for NHS patients.
No doubt continueing pressure in reduced funding for Healthcare that the Tory Government has done of the last 10 years, will be part of the 'savings' culture that has reduced the NHS resources, staffing and hospital beds, not to mention GP services and clinics.
So far little has been done in terms of public consultation in order for them know what is being done to the NHS and how their healthcare will dramatically change with reduced healthcare services on the NHS and increasing privatisation.
The response to a letter to the Cheshire and Merseyside Healthcare Partnership currently setting up their ICS, makes it clear that 'corporate responsibility' will be a business principle that will make a joke of the NHS Constitution which is designed to ensure full public knowledge of what the NHS is doing. Commercial confidentiality will be used to minimise information being provided to the public, in line with majority of businesses.
It is also clear that the budgets they are given will be determined by central government and will therefore ensure that ICS will be contracting healthcare providers wh9 submit the cheapest contract as opposed to the care needs of the people in their ICS Boundary. This will introduce further competition between each ICS and the need to use increasing numbers of private providers and to cut the pay of their staff and that of nurses and clinicians. The incentive will be to NOT use the NHS and to move away from national NHS terms and conditions.
A 'clue' to this bering the way forward for healthcare in Cheshire and Merseyside area, comes from a statement issued by the designated Chair of it's ICS, one Graham Urwin latterly the Director of Performance and Improvement at NHS England and Improvement North West.
“I look forward to working with all partners to focus on eliminating those unwarranted variations in the quality of our services; tackling the unacceptable inequalities in the health of our population; and providing excellence, affordability and sustainability for the people of Cheshire and Merseyside.”
In short healthcare in England is being transformed into a big business with the American healthcare insurance industry as it's model! This just as Oliver Letwin Tory MP predicted in 2004 and laid out in his 1988 policy paper for Thatcher, The Greatest Enterprise co-written with Jonathon Redwood.
The NHS is dead - long live American healthcare in England!
Source: NHS England / Gov UK / HSJ / Cheshire and Merseyside Healthcare Partnership / Northern Care Alliance / 999 Call for the NHS / KNOP
See also: NHS Privatisation News Archive