Tower Hamlets Watch

The slow lingering death of Tower Hamlets PCT? | August 12, 2010

Tower Hamlets Primary Care Trust (PCT) has removed all support for Locum Doctors within its GP Surgeries. This is now being felt on the ground by busy GP Surgeries who complain at the lack of support by the PCT. Previously to this new agenda, the Tower Hamlets PCT provided replacment (Locum) doctors at those surgeries that needed the service. This meant that if a doctor themselves went ill, or on holiday or was missing from their post for whatever reason then the surgery could ring the service that deals with supplying Locum GP’s and send one out. This service has now been withdrawn. GP surgeries can no longer rely on this service, and most I’ve spoken too are now at a loss as too how they can provide the same level of service.

Yesterday in one GP surgery I rang, they were missing 3 doctors due to annual leave, which was now providing an extremely reduced service. Both admin staff and medical personell alike were feeling the increased strain. Without the re-provision of these missing doctors, the surgeries feel as if they are at breaking point. One doctor i spoke to over the weekend stated;

“It looks as if they will be eventually privatising the service”

I was always under the impression that provision for Locum services was already privatised and that there had already been concerns across the board for such services being privatised. Concerns such as agencies colluding to increase the prices for NHS services reflected this.

Talking to sources within the PCT and also the PALS service, they also expressed concerns about the future of the PCT’s themselves. As part of the spending cuts that have been placed on us by our governments, bailing out the bankers has led to cuts accross the board within the PCT.

As early as last June, chairman of the British Medical Association promised that;

“We are not going to allow doctors to be the scapegoats for the failures of the politicians or the bankers”
Dr Hamish Meldrum
British Medical Association

But as part of the new NHS whitepaper Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS, it looks as if we may be witnessing the a full frontal assualt on our PCT;

The key highlights of the document, entitled Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS, are listed below:

* The government will devolve power and responsibility for commissioning services to GPs and practice teams working in consortia.
* Every GP will be a member of a ‘shadow’ consortium by 2011/12.
* Consortia will start taking on duties from 2012/13 and full financial responsibility from April 2013.
* Management allowances will be available to help fund commissioning.
* An independent and accountable NHS commissioning board will allocate and account for NHS resources.
* NHS commissioning board will calculate practice-level budgets and allocate these directly to consortia and will hold practices to account.
* GP consortia will include an accountable officer.
* Each consortium will hold its constituent practices to account.
* GP consortia will agree local priorities each year, taking account of the NHS Outcomes Framework.
* GPs will need to engage patients and the public in the commissioning process.
* Over time the DoH will seek to establish a single GP contract and funding model.
* PCTs and SHAs will be phased out.
* Patients will be able to choose which GP practice they register with regardless of where they live.
* The current performance regime will be replaced with separate frameworks for public health and social care.
* A new NHS Outcomes Framework will provide the direction for the NHS.
* The government will incentivise ways of improving access to primary care in disadvantaged area

As you can see from the above link it looks as if the bell for the last round of the PCT’s within England and Wales has been called.
Within that page its also revealed that;

Health secretary Andrew Lansley confirmed “that PCTs would cease to exist in 2013 and that SHAs would be replaced by 2012/13.”

The editor of Health Care Republic is also concerned that this new governement whitepaper, far from allowing greater freedom to local GP surgeries is actually paving the way for privatisation of our beloved NHS.

“that GP consortia are ‘odds-on’ to fall into deficit and be taken over by private firms when they take on commissioning, “according to east London GP Dr Kambiz Boomla.

So is this the final call for the NHS, I know this has been asked before, but under the current climate and the proposals being put forward eminent doctors are coming forward and complaining that privatisation is just around the corner.

“‘It seems odds-on that a number of GP groups will be struggling financially. If you marry that with the explicit pledge that the government will not tolerate failing organisations, groups will be either taken over by neighbouring groups or private organisations.’

Dianne Conduit, director of commissioning support at Humana, said the company would consider taking over consortia where local GPs are not performing.

‘We can provide elements of the service or look at providing the whole package,’ she said.” – Firms to bid to run GP consortia if they fail

…..What will this mean for our borough?

Posted in Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. And we have already seen the consequences of these private companies specially

    MRSA!!!!!!!!! Result of private cleaning companies not using new and innovative disinfectants but writing bigger pay cheques for themselves

    Air Line meals!!!!!!!!!!!! again by private copmpanies. Malnutrition and patient usually prefer to stave or buy fish and chips out side the hospital

    Transport!!!!!!!!!!! Ward staff have to give them 48 hours notice, patients discharge after 2pm on the same day don’t go home without added Taxi payment.


    Comment by rsjiva — August 26, 2010 @ 9:14 am

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