Critics warn of more privatisation as UnitedHealth leads firms seeking £1bn worth of contracts
A handful of consultancy firms and a health insurance giant bidding for NHS contracts have been operating a discreet forum at which they receive regular briefings from senior health service managers charged with ushering in the new era of competition among its providers. The revelation has raised fears that the NHS is falling victim to a land grab by a few powerful business interests.
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the campaign group Spinwatch shine a light on the workings of an obscure group whose existence and limited membership has alarmed campaigners who want the NHS to remain public.
The Commissioning Support Industry Group (CSIG) is largely unknown to outsiders. Its members are jockeying to win an estimated £1bn of contracts advising the new doctor-led clinical commissioning groups that will be responsible for spending more than two-thirds of the NHS budget on purchasing patient care.
Mike McNamara's insight:
Why are so many secrets being kept from the taxpayer and how many of the NHS staff involoved in these discussions will end up with jobs at the private compnaies?
The British Medical Association has published a manifesto ahead of the 2015 General Election.
The short manifesto ‘Four Steps to a Healthier Nation’ outlines the key areas that BMA doctors believe should be the priority for a new government ahead of next year’s general election.
The four steps focus on what is needed to deliver high quality patient care in, what the BMA describes as “the face of rising demand and unprecedented funding challenges”.
The four steps identified are:
Working in partnership with doctors to ensure a sustainable NHSSupporting the medical workforceImproving the health of the publicAssuring the quality and safety of patient care
Commenting on the publication of the manifesto Dr Mark Porter (pictured), Chair of BMA Council, said: “The quality of patient care and the enormous challenges facing the NHS will be key issues at the heart of next year’s general election.
As doctors, we need to reflect on how to improve communication with patients when our health beliefs collideI trained as a GP in an affluent rural practice. Often our patients were well-informed scientists, teachers or university lecturers.
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Charity says health service feeling squeeze as shrinking budgets leave specialists struggling to cope with rising demand.
Cancer services have been weakened by the coalition's shakeup of the NHS and lack the money to cope with the growing number of people getting the disease, a report on Monday claims.
Diagnostic and treatment services are under such strain that improvements in recent years are in danger of unravelling, according to the charity Cancer Research UK. Its findings are based on anonymous interviews with 45 leading cancer experts and an online survey of 450 other NHS cancer personnel.
Specialists have been struggling to keep up with the rising demand for care at the same time as their budgets have shrunk amid the NHS's £30bn efficiency drive, it says.
The NHS's failure to meet its target for treating cancer patients quickly enough for the last six months may be a sign of deepening problems in the years ahead, the charity predicts.
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