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Privatisation fears over £75million of NHS services in Cornwall

By CMJacqui  |  Posted: June 27, 2014

Fears have been raised over the possible privatisation of £75million of Cornwall's NHS services

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Around £75 million of NHS services in Cornwall have been put out to tender, sparking fears they could be privatised, it has emerged. 

NHS Kernow, the clinical commissioning group (CCG) for Cornwall and the Scilly Isles which buys health services on behalf of patients, has announced it is to put a series of "non-complex" procedures out to tender. 

It will let the NHS and private firms battle it out to provide services including hernia repairs, endoscopies and lesion removal to reduce waiting times and ensure care is available equally across Cornwall. 

While minor trauma care is included, NHS Kernow made clear emergencies including heart attacks, stroke and traffic accidents were not being taken away from Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust (RCHT). 

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Andrew George, Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives, criticised the Government's NHS shake-up, claiming the controversial Health and Social Care Act "forces" local commissioners towards a competitive bidding process. 

Mr George, who sits on the Health Select Committee of MPs, said: "I'm afraid this puts market dogma above patients' interests. 

"Any company from anywhere in the world can bid for those bits of planned health procedures which they believe will make them the greatest profit. 

"If this leaves a fragmented Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust with undermined services, it will also undermine its ability to respond to unplanned and emergency health needs." 

He added: "NHS Kernow is doing an excellent job in its effort to reintegrate out of hours services following the mishandling of the Serco out of hours GP contract. 

"The Government should be doing more to encourage commissioners like NHS Kernow to integrate health services in the patient's interest rather than to risk seeing them fragmented and salami sliced for the benefit of those companies seeking rich pickings from the NHS." 

NHS Kernow said contracts are coming up for renewal and that the public sector does not have a monopoly on the services as it stands. 

Joy Youart, NHS Kernow's managing director, said: "This is absolutely not about privatisation, this is about providing services for people closer to where they live. 

"It is about working with our partners, including RCHT and other NHS providers, but we must begin the process to look at the provision of some non-complex elective care when some of the current contracts end on 2015. 

"These services include outpatient attendances, follow-up appointments and a range of outpatient and day-case procedures including rheumatology. 

"Some of the treatments we are looking at are already delivered by private providers at the Duchy Hospital and at the Bodmin and Probus treatment centres so people don't have to visit the acute hospital. 

"Patients have told us that they want their services to be provided where they live, such as in GP surgeries and community hospitals. We have worked with doctors and other clinicians in our local providers, including RCHT, on these plans and they have also told us that there is a better way of providing these services."

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  • Dantwo  |  June 27 2014, 12:56PM

    Sorry josdave, I didn't mention 'Labour' as they are currently in opposition but the whole decline in the NHS really started with them and their paying GPs more to actually do less work (giving up the out-of-hours duties). So it's LibLabCon policies that are leading rapidly to the demise of the NHS.

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  • twofeetofsnow  |  June 27 2014, 12:09PM

    RCHT has had a number of CEOs over the last few years, most have been kicked out leading to expensive pay offs by the same people who hired them. If they can't get over all the in fighting and bullying, then they shouldn't be in a position to choose the way health services should be provided. There are too many former business people trying to juggle numbers while the medical staff suffer, those who do the caring should have the say about how to care, not some accountant who just sees the bottom line of a balance sheet. Our NHS has fallen apart thanks to these people, I think it is time for them to crawl back under their business world stones and leave the health service to the doctors and nurses.

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  • josdave  |  June 27 2014, 10:45AM

    RCHT is a disgrace and should have been disbanded years ago and replace with a body who have some idea how to run a hospital. As for the continued privatisation this can only lead to increased costs to the NHS whatever the ConLIbDems may say. Private companies are in it to make a profit and pay dividends to their shareholders.

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  • Dantwo  |  June 27 2014, 10:40AM

    Come next year's general election, le's not forget who is doing this: the ConDem coalition government. Don't let the Libdems say it was nothing to do with them. They're in it up to their necks.

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