2021-06-08 17:43

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Richard Branson’s Virgincare Given Seat On ICS Board Deciding On Local NHS Healthcare

Many have been accused of scaremongering and making stories up about the imminent privatisation of the NHS via the creation of American styled Integrated Care Systems and the ionvolvement of private healthcare companies on their boards and determing the delivery of healthcare services in both primary care (GPs) and hospitals and clinics.

As unionsafety has previously reported over the last ten years, the eventual aboplition of the NHS and its replacement by private healthcare companies, data managing companies and health insurance companies; the worst fears have now materialised in the form of Virgincare sitting on the Board of an ICS which determine who, how and which healthcare services will be delivered in their area!

The Lowdown news website reports that:

‘Virgin Care’s local managing director Julia Clarke is already listed as a member of the Partnership Board, the unitary Board which currently runs the ICS covering Bristol and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW).’

This proves that the concerns of campaigners that proposals in the NHS White Paper (available from the Unionsafety E-Library) giving statutory powers to “Integrated Care Systems” would lead to private healthcare companies sitting on ICS Boards were well justified and indeed, it heralds the biggest threat to the copntunuation of a national healtrh service and enables its ending.

The Lowdown report also makes the lack of transparency and the ‘commercial confidentiality’ argument by private healthcare companies against infiormnation about its services and charges being made public; already being utilised, in this case by Virgincare:

‘But a look at the Board Papers for a meeting on May 28 reveals that the Virgin boss is not only occupying a seat, but actively intervening to protect the company’s interests. Minutes of the March meeting reported a discussion on the extent to which private sector “partners” would be required to be financially transparent towards the other providers within the ICS “for purposes of planning the independent/private sector’s NHS related or NHS commissioned work.”

They noted Virgin’s reluctance to share any information with the public:

“Virgin Care were prepared to consider greater transparency where the contract with BaNES and BSW was concerned, but had reservations about sharing information in public.” (page 6)

In response to this the NHS “partners” tamely rolled over, agreeing to action by Chief Financial Officers to “further discuss how the ‘open book’ approach could be applied to private / independent providers while protecting those providers’ corporate and commercial interests” – in other words how to ensure ‘open books’ were not opened at all, and ICS contracts remain tightly guarded secrets withheld from the local public.’

The Lowdown website provides further information on the threat to the continuation of the NHS that Integrated Care Systems and the awaited legislation to be put before Parliament this year; actually means.

In the meantime just what are trade unions and the TUC doing to warn the public about these changes?
Very little it seems.
Source: Lowdown / NHS


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