2021-03-25 15:00

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Privatisation Of NHS England Boost As Top US Healthcare CEO Hired

Job to increase use of digital health monitoring and GP video appointments for NHS patients
in place of person to person surgeries.

The chief executive of a leading US healthcare organisation has been hired as NHS England’s new director of transformation.

Timothy Ferris, who is currently an NHS Improvement non-executive director, is moving to a full time executive role, from his current role as chief executive of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, a not for profit healthcare group.

He is a primary care physician by background and has carried out extensive work on healthcare systems, improvement, and population health in the USA.

Dr Ferris will lead NHSE’s new transformation directorate, which is intended to bring together its operational improvement team and digital body NHSX. Its purpose is to maintain and improve the rapid service transformation seen during the covid-19 pandemic, making it a permanent feature in order to reduce even further GP appointments and mitigate the closure of GP practices and the short-fall in the number of GPs currently needed.

It is also the backbone of the Government’s reduction on hospitals and in making new hospitals a lot smaller bed-wise.

Currently based in the US, his involvement in the NHS has been there for the last three years as a non-executive director of NHS Improvement. His pay and that he will receive in the new role, has not been disclosed. He will move to England full time in May, on a secondment basis, and become an executive member of NHSE’s board.

His private hospital in the US, Massachusetts General, proudly includes his current involvement in NHS England: 'a non-executive director on the board of England’s National Health Service (NHS Improvement).'

The fact that the he leads the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization which is non-profit is irrelevant, as it supports the private medical insurance industry. Without patients having a plan with one of the recognised insurance companies, patients get no treatment at the hospital. Possibility of death as a result of not being treated, is of no consequence!

HSJ revealed that the role was created in February and that it has never been advertised. Clear proof of the Government’s policy of moving the NHS to an America based healthcare insurance system, with private non-disclosed salaries and subject to a commercial confidentiality culture in order to ensure no public oversight and accountability.

Katherine Hignett of the Health Service Journal gives some background on Timothy Ferris, in her report for the Journal:

‘The MGPO, a not-for profit provider group closely linked to the Massachusetts General Hospital, is a key part of the state’s largest healthcare system.

Dr Ferris, who practices in primary care, has also held posts as a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, as vice president of population health for Partners HealthCare, and founded the Center for Population Health, an industry partnership aimed at using prevention and data to improve health and reduce inequalities.’

Speculation exists that the current head of NHS England Sir Simon Stevens, himself an ex-CEO of the USA’s United Health, the 6th largest private healthcare company, and head of their European operations; will be leaving in September.

This is all part of the Government’s engagement of US private healthcare companies leading the transformation of the NHS into 42 autonomous Integrated Care Systems from April 2021, which is the main aim of new legislation previously subject of an almost secret public consultation exercise, previously reported by Unionsafety in January of this year.

Since then, leading Labour MP in the North West (Wirral West) Margaret Greenwood and others are campaigning against the privatisation of the NHS by stealth.

Her Early Day Motion, tabled 6th March and numbered 1606; makes clear exactly what the Government’s intentions are via this text from the motion:

‘That this House notes the Government has published a White Paper setting out proposals for a major reorganisation of the delivery of health and social care in England;

further notes that the Government plans to divide the NHS into local statutory Integrated Care Systems creating the potential for organisations which are not publicly accountable to take key roles in developing plans to address the health, social care and public health needs of local systems;

is concerned that such organisations will then be in a position to influence decisions about the deployment of public resources and that this presents the possibility for conflicts of interest;

recognises there is concern that local plans will differ and lead to a postcode lottery;

notes that NHS England and NHS Improvement carried out a consultation, Integrating care - Next steps to building strong and effective integrated care systems over Christmas and New Year which proposed fundamental changes to the NHS;

is further concerned that the consultation was held over such a short period during the covid-19 outbreak, particularly given that the NHS and social care workers who would be affected had been working incredibly hard under immense stress and many would have been unlikely to engage with that consultation;

is concerned it was not possible for people to attend public meetings during this time; and calls on the Government to pause the whole process until all covid-19 restrictions are lifted and then carry out a public consultation setting out clearly what those proposals would mean for patients and staff.’

The original text and signatories of EDM 1606 can be found on UK Parliament website here

Many will see this EDM as the first test for the Parliamentary Labour Party in showing it's opposition to the privatisation of the NHS by stealth.

However, there are those who believe that too many Labour MPs and Lords have links with private healthcare companies since the Tony Blair Governments of the 1990's with notably Alan Milburn playing a major part in employment by private healthcare companies and Cherie Blair's own healthcare company, Mee Healthcare which went bust in 2015 despite being backed by American Gail Lese, and registered ion the Caimans Island tax haven!

So, far only 20 MPs have signed the EDM - has yours? If not why not urge them to do so by sending them an email or letter or using social media to ask? Doesn't matter which party your MP represents. Find your MP here

Source: unionsafety / HSJ / NHS CQC / UK Parliament / Massachusetts General Physicians Organization

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