Does Labour’s plan to "rescue the NHS" involve further privatisation?

Does Labour’s plan to “rescue the NHS” involve further privatisation?

Does Labour’s plan to “rescue the NHS” involve further privatisation?


Arrowe Park Hospital's Chief Executive explains to politicians why Monitor is investigating it
Arrowe Park Hospital’s Chief Executive explains to politicians why Monitor is investigating it

Earlier this week Councillor Phil Davies was quoted in the Wirral Globe as saying “Voters have a straight choice between the Tories’ cuts and failed austerity measures, and Labour’s plan to rescue Arrowe Park Hospital and introduce policies to raise living standards for hard-working families.”

So what is Labour’s plan to “rescue Arrowe Park Hospital”?

A report to the Health and Wellbeing Board (chaired by Councillor Phil Davies), which meets on the 15th April shows a bid to be a “vanguard site” was recently agreed. £200 million of public money will be shared across the 29 vanguard sites across England.

The vanguard site bid was jointly submitted by Wirral Council, various NHS bodies including the part that runs Arrowe Park Hospital, Cerner Ltd, Advocate Physician Partners ACO Inc and the Kings’ Fund.

So let’s just look at the history of one of these organisations involved in the joint bid.

Cerner Ltd is a subsidiary of an American corporation called the Cerner Corporation. Both Cerner Ltd and its parent company Cerner Corporation provide software for electronic health records to hospitals.

In 2005 Cerner Corporation paid the RAND corporation to write a report which stated the US healthcare system could save $81 billion by switching to electronic healthcare record systems.

However, after the American government had changed funding rules to give hospitals an incentive to switch to electronic health care records, the RAND corporation in 2013 decided that their earlier figure of $81 billion savings was “overstated”.

The vanguard site bid has phrases in it which echo the overly optimistic tone of the 2005 RAND report:

“This will have the dual focus of reducing health inequalities while achieving costs savings through and reduced inefficiency and duplication.”

“Our proposals will further catalyse these developments aimed at delivering a de-hospitalised model of care, reducing health inequalities and reducing costs.”

“During this time, Cerner UK has delivered Cerner Millennium® across 22 Trusts including WUTH, supporting NHS providers in the delivery of high quality care to patients, safely and cost effectively.”

“This results in more efficiency, improved health outcomes and significant cost savings for patients.”

So is this Labour’s plan to “rescue Arrowe Park Hospital”? To hear more about why Monitor (the regulator) are investigating Arrowe Park Hospital you can hear the detail at a recent meeting of the Families and Wellbeing Policy and Performance Committee below:

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Health & Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee 8/11/2011 Vascular Services move from Arrowe Park Hospital to Countess of Chester hospital

Unusually about forty people were in the audience of last night’s meeting, so many that Committee Room 2 had to be opened up so everybody had somewhere to sit.

The proceedings were interrupted several times, with the Chair calling for calm. The committee heard from one of the consultants at Arrowe Park Hospital Mr R Chandrasekar. It also heard from:-

Kathy Doran, Chief Executive of NHS Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral (West Cheshire)
Gary Doherty, Acting Chief Executive Wirral University Teaching Hospital (the NHS Trust that covers Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge hospitals) NHS Foundation Trust
Peter Herring, Chief Executive Countess of Chester NHS Foundation Trust

The Labour Chair read out the long history of the matter, stating that more people would be inconvenienced by longer journeys to the Countess of Chester, that Wirral had higher rates of vascular disease, that Arrowe Park Hospital was a renal centre and that it met the four criteria.

She then proposed a motion. Her motion called for the matter to be referred to Wirral Council’s Cabinet, however a Conservative amendment (accepted by Labour as friendly) agreed that vascular services shouldn’t be moved from Arrowe Park Hospital to Chester but called for a report to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee after the 12 week public consultation on the change (which will run from December to February of next year).

The amended motion was accepted and agreed unanimously by all councillors.

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