The controversial American healthcare designed Integrated Care System now set up to takeover NHS NHS healthcare in England, is a business based healthcare model; designed to ensure profiteering from poor health.
The key figure on the ICS Boards is that of the Chair, which will steer the ICS towards profit, leaner and reduced healthcare interventions and services; mostly run by the private sector.
Given this, it is no surprise that at least one ICS, has twice rejected the most highly qualified and front runner candidate for the job as chairperson.
With the Government’s aim of having business leaders as heads of the already established 42 ICS in England, it is no surprise that Cheshire And Merseyside ICS has rejected a candidate who is world renowned and is an outspoken individual on public health and Covid in particular.
Professor John Ashton CBE was the the outspoken former director of public health in the North West with a track record - from blowing the whistle on care provided by the maternity and neonatal services at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust from January 2004 to June 20, to helping expose the organ scandal at Alder Hey involving the retention of hearts and organs from hundreds of children, and suspending breast screening in Carlisle after breast imaging carried out at North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust had not being adhered to established protocols; resulting in one patient with a potential Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS - non invasive cancer), needing to be recalled urgently for assessment and biopsy.
John holds chairs in the Liverpool medical School, Liverpool John Moore’s University, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Manchester Medical School, the Valencia Institute of Public Health in Spain, the Universities of Central Lancashire, Lancaster and Cumbria.
He was the highest scoring candidate among the initial stakeholder panels, but the final decision panel ultimately decided not to appoint him to the role; not once, but twice!
Instead, the ICS will continue with ex-national regulator David Flory as interim chair, while a third attempt to recruit to the role is prepared for the new year.
However, John Ashton’s response was not one of silence!
On Twitter, he posted a Private Eye clipping which had referenced his shortlisting for the position of chair for the Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care System, commenting that he had been rejected by the “usual suspects”.
This, despite it being understood he was the highest scoring candidate.
There was some strong support for Mr Ashton, particularly among some of the local government stakeholders. But this is an ICS where, to put it mildly, local government and the NHS are not always singing from the same hymn sheet.
This still leaves a bitter taste for Mr Ashton and his supporters, who question why Mr Flory was on the final interview panel, given the failure to appoint means he will now stay on longer as interim chair of C&M, and suggested he may want the job for himself.
NHS England’s regional directorate, which ran the process, said in a statement: “[Mr] Flory has agreed to continue as chair for Cheshire and Merseyside ICS on an interim basis at our request until March 2022 at the latest, and has been clear that he does not wish to take on the role in the long term.”
It is understood the panel consisted of six other senior figures, including regional director Amanda Doyle, and Mr Flory’s inclusion was in his capacity as permanent chair of neighbouring Lancashire and South Cumbria ICS (he currently holds both roles on a joint basis).
Source: Liverpool Echo / North by North West, HSJ