A grassroots NHS campaign. Not affiliated to any of the political parties.
Summer 2019: An NHS Foundation Trust - Warrington & Halton Hospitals - advertised very openly about the 'OPTION to Self-Fund some procedures'.
Campaigners were right to be outraged. But should we be surprised? No.
Following the 2018 NHS England NATIONAL CONSULTATION (that the majority of the public never heard of) NHS England has designated some treatments to be of 'low clinical value'.
NHS England is now dictating to the bodies that manage our public funds to commission clinical and medical care - Clinical Commissioning Groups - that they "MANAGE DEMAND" - an economic term according to the Cambridge Dictionary:
In reality this just means that NHS England are looking to cut the budget, turn more patients to private healthcare or this new SELF PAY/SELF FUND - and Clinical Commissioning Groups are restricting and cutting the local NHS in order to meet this NHS England "Demand Management" regime.
"Balancing the Books" is an Austerity obsession and one that paints a picture of hospitals and health providers overspending (being "in deficit") and an NHS that is out of control and continually plagued with CRISIS. Simply not true. Providers are being placed in DEFICIT by NHS ENGLAND not giving them what they need to provide fully functioning healthcare service.
NHS Hospital deficits all over the country are inflicted on them by the government quango NHS ENGLAND who then dictate: "That's all you're getting so find some 'efficiency savings' and deal with it."
Efficiency Savings is code-word for CUTS, Downgrades and Mergers of course. But this new SELF-PAY move also plays into the trap of the "Ever Shrinking NHS Menu".
Now that technically NHS Foundation Trust hospitals are independent businesses they are being 'encouraged' to create income from these "low clinical value" treatments . So what you have is an NHS Foundation Trust providing once free NHS treatments as SELF FUND NHS treatments.
In a deeply cynical choice of words the Warrington & Halton NHS FT Chief Exec. has the nerve to use the word "OPTION". The only option it seems a patient has in making a choice is either self-fund or go without.
Warrington and Halton CEO - Mel Pickup (real name) now moved on to Bradford Teaching Hospitals said:
"For the avoidance of doubt, I would wish to be very clear that Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust does not charge NHS patients for NHS treatments and we have no intention of doing otherwise."
Clever words because technically she was right. This new list of 17 "low clinical value" treatments (more to come) are no longer identified as being automatic NHS Treatments. Your GP can no longer automatically refer to a hospital consultant.
"It is not the role of hospitals to determine which treatments are funded by the NHS and which are not; this is the role of NHS commissioners".
Clever diversion. She's putting the blame for the scheme on the Clinical Commissioning Group who are just following orders from NHS England's orders to "manage demand".
"If a patient does not meet the criteria laid out by commissioners, patients have two choices: they can either seek the procedure through the private sector or not have the procedure at all".
Blunt and to the point. In the words of Lilly Allen "Fuck you very much".
"What we are trying to do, like many others, is to improve the offer for patients with a third choice if they do not meet the criteria required by commissioners; that is to self-fund their procedure within their local NHS hospital at a cost that is potentially more affordable than the private sector, at a price based on the NHS national tariff".
Why not write to your local hospital CEOs and Trustee Board and ask about their plans to offer similar schemes to Warrington. No one can believe this Foundation Trust in the North West is alone in doing this. Once you know this is good information for your local campaign.
A list of NHS Foundation Trusts can be found here: NHS FOUNDATION TRUSTS
SHRINKING THE NHS
For a full in depth analysis
of this issue visit this article
by Jenny Shepherd
- 999 Call for the NHS
THE BIG QUESTION
If the treatments in question have been deemed to be of LOW CLINICAL VALUE - based on evidence apparently that tells us the treatments are poor in effectiveness WHY are they even being offered for Self-Pay? Isn't that ripping patients off?
Mel Pickup says this: “Procedures of low clinical priority do not mean low value to our patients, and we are pleased to be able to make a large number available at a really affordable price at their local hospitals and by our most trusted NHS staff. ‘My Choice’ is by the NHS, for the NHS”
This is a clear example but this will not be an isolated incident. Hands Off Hinchingbrooke campaign group were dismayed to find similar at their hospital with the Mulberry Ward. A fact they made public very quickly.