Circle takes on NHS integrated care contract

by JoelLane 13. August 2013 16:10

Circle web Bedfordshire CCG has named private health company Circle as the preferred contractor for its musculoskeletal integrated service.

Under the five-year contract, worth £120m, Circle will manage services that were previously handled by more than 20 different providers.

This is the first time that a major integrated NHS service has been led by a single private sector contractor.

Circle will work in partnership with Pennine MSK, which developed the original integrated service in Oldham, and with local charities and clinicians.

Biggleswade GP Andy Edwards said: “I look forward to working with Circle and their partners in this exciting and innovative new venture and to seeing the benefits this new model will deliver in improved care for local patients and their families.

“As a local GP, I want my patients to have access to high-quality, modern, integrated services as close to home as possible.

“This plan offers our population now and in the future this opportunity and by working together with patients, national and local experts we can see real improvements very quickly.”

In February 2012, Circle became the first private firm to take over an NHS acute trust; however, its management of Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire has struggled financially, and in December 2012 Circle CEO Ali Parsa resigned.

“This new integrated approach is essential for the NHS to meet the growing challenge of delivering high-quality care at an affordable cost,” said new Circle CEO Steve Melton.

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with local doctors and other healthcare professionals to join up musculoskeletal service in Bedfordshire and help improve care for patients.”

UK private health providers are liable to quit

by JoelLane 7. January 2013 18:36

ruined factory The major private companies that provide NHS services are financially unstable and liable to pull out of their contracts.

A study by The Guardian found that of the six major private health providers involved in the carve-up of the NHS, three are already in crisis and none has a reliable financial basis.

Ramsay Health Care, Virgin Care, Harmoni, The Practice, Circle and Care UK all depend on parent companies or private equity investors, which have no obligation to maintain any loss-making enterprise.

Lack of profit from some NHS service contracts has already taken The Practice, Harmoni and Circle into financial crisis as service providers.

The Guardian analysis summed up the problem: “those who provide the care for patients are not the ones who decide whether that care can continue to be provided.”

Ramsay Health Care and Virgin Care depend on the investment of parent corporations that have widely varied interests, and the other four leading independent providers of NHS care are dependent on private equity investors.

In both cases, this is not a relationship traditionally associated with long-term consistency of service provision where profit margins are low.

The analysts predict that as the NHS struggles to cut costs, these providers will be caught between a demand for increasing profit and a demand from the NHS for lower operating costs.

Harmoni has already withdrawn from health provision, selling to Care UK in December 2012.

Circle, the first private health provider to take over an NHS hospital, has seen Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon lose £4m in six months – double the rate it had forecast. The company’s high-profile Chief Executive, Ali Parsa, has resigned.

The Practice has withdrawn from many service contracts it took over from United Health. In early 2012, GP practices run by The Practice in north London, Nottingham, Leicester and Woking were shut down, without consultation, because they were loss-making.

The analysts conclude that transparency and continuity of service provision are liable to be compromised by such arrangements.

Fear and loathing on the conference trail…

by Admin 17. December 2012 10:33

A savage trip through the heart of NHS reform with John Pinching.

 My arrival at the Royal College of Physicians, for the annual Wellards Conference, was greeted by a thumping disco beat and the unmistakable brotherly harmonies of the Bee Gees. A quick scan for white polyester garments and ill-advised medallions allayed a nagging fear that I might have boogied into the wrong gig (there were one or two Barry Gibb-inspired beards, however).
I can’t lie, with the effects of three hastily consumed espressos coursing through my frontal lobes, and noticing that the walls were festooned with horrifying surgical instruments from a bygone age, the scene was becoming trippy.

When the funky grooves finally faded, charismatic master of ceremonies and resident DJ Alan Jones (ajc healthcare) explained the nostalgic intro. “We have gone for 70s music because the themes of this conference feel very retro,” he said. “Many of these subjects have done the rounds for decades!” This cat had obviously been here before – who could blame him for turning to Donna Summer for the answers? Granted, Donna is now gyrating across the great dance floor in the sky, but I felt sure that if anyone could resurrect those haunting tones, it was Alan.

Never say ‘never’ again
Among the hired guns at this first shindig was Dr Amit Bhargava, who – in his capacity as a clinical accountable officer at the Crawley Commissioning Group – provided hot gossip straight from the coal face, enthusing about some elements and speculating about others.

He insisted that “the time has come for change in the health service”.

“The structure of the NHS is like a game of Jenga and it is bound to topple eventually as a result of paying more and more for less and less,” he added.

Curious metaphor. Indeed, how interesting to note that, generally, the people who remove bricks from the lurching tower are usually hopelessly drunk. If any analogy should fall down (assuming it has), I suppose it should be one about Jenga.

He also reflected on the challenges CCGs faced when trying to improve patient experiences, with reference to the life span of residents in the Crawley area. “If you take the number 10 bus, within three miles [depending on the stop] you get a seven year age difference,” he said. “Crawley is a relatively new town; these areas don’t look deprived.”

“Look at the maps to identify the need,” Bhargava concluded, “And you’ll do all right.”

All very helpful, sure, but when – like a sniper in the thicket – I fired a slippery missile from the crowd regarding whether Hunt, in light of the Murdoch ‘affair’, was the right cat for the job, he shot me a dead-eyed stare and dodged the ol’ bullet – “I hope so, but I’ve never met him”, he choked. Ye gods, Amit, I’ve never met the Führer, but I’m telling you now, I won’t be breaking Battenberg with him anytime soon. Surely it’s essential for people with influence to hold their ‘leaders’ to account – unelected leaders at that – while forming opinions about their performances, if not their character?

As if by design Hues Corporation’s 1974 hit ‘Rock the Boat’ began playing. Freaky.

Circle of life
Circle Health’s Dr Ali Parsa’s stint at the lectern produced a captivating speech, dispensing with boring Powerpoint slides, and instead relying on the zeal of entrepreneurial spirit. It was a man and his voice, and that voice meant business (quite literally).

After lamenting his own lack of height – “Sorry if you can’t see me!” – Parsa philosophically considered the ‘micro economics’ that influence the future of every individual.

“If I was born in communist Russia or Mao’s China, I was going to do substantially worse than if I was born in the West,” he said. “Bill Gates used to say that the genius in Mumbai did fundamentally worse than the average person born in Baltimore. That world has now changed.

“I look at my children and I ask that question: what will be the micro economic trend that dictates their destiny? The answer to that lies in where Britain sits among those trends. When I first arrived thirty years ago Britain was top five in the prosperity league, it is now 28. One position ahead of Greece.”

He then pontificated about the possibility of a British resurgence, inspired by the candid investment in ‘Team GB’ throughout the years building up to the Olympic Games. He warned, however, against arrogantly assuming we could compete with the manufacturing in Germany or workforce flexibility of China.

“Why can’t Britain have global healthcare companies that sell to the world, like Tesco?” he mused.
Ali reflected on his own rise: from humble beginnings in Iran to a leading light in hospital innovation. He canvassed a firmly held belief that Britain used to be a fertile hotbed of pharmaceutical innovation and could rise once again if only it was prepared to embrace change and look at the situation through the prism of modern patient demands.

Most poignantly, Ali told a story about how he had shown guests around his first private hospital – designed by Sir Norman Foster. The surroundings were so comfortable that after a while someone had asked, “When are we going to see the hospital?” The NHS has conditioned us to assume that hospitals are grisly corridors of uncertainty. How refreshing to hear that it doesn’t have to be this way.

With much to ponder, I lunched on the chicken and apple casserole which – despite my reservations about mixing fruit and flesh – went down well.

The next port of call on my magical mystery tour was the ABPI conference and, while Wellards had provided some interesting sparring, Stephen Whitehead, ABPI’s Chief Executive, ensured the gloves were off straight away, landing some lusty blows.

He started by admitting a handwriting test had revealed he was psychotic and that he was here to explode the myth of a bright new NHS which made pharma a priority.

“Something odd is happening in the UK and I want to take this opportunity to speak out. I don’t want cry fire in a crowded room, but I was raised to tell the truth.”

At this point I sat up and brushed the remaining crumbs of pain au chocolat from my sweater. I think I was about to witness – what do they call it – ‘a happening’.

“The UK is a tough and difficult place. We [pharma] are down 16,000 jobs in four years; we have suffered closures and decline. Pressure is immense. Patients are denied choice and we have the lowest uptake of innovation in Europe,”
he said.

“We have strong new products from the likes of Shire, Novartis and Pfizer, [but] the deal we have, to discover healthcare and provide it to patients, is broken. The industry has changed from the one it was ten years ago. It used to be that the UK was the second market behind the USA: a proud place for discovery, development and launch.

“We still launch great medicines, but suffer from pathetically low levels of uptake. There have been superb breakthroughs in Hepatitis C, for example, but orders are dwindling because of agonising referrals.

“The NHS won’t invest to save longer term and its decision making is often dictated by provider interest rather than patients. Why is my dad, with crippling shingles, given Paracetamol? Why was my good friend given a cancer drug privately, but unable to get it on the NHS? Why was my mum put on a waiting list with a prolapsed bladder for six months? When I called a consultant three days later he said he would do it for £3000.

“The NHS is a religion, but we know what happens to countries that don’t revaluate their faith,” he added.

It’s been emotional
It was a passionate, robust and at times emotional response to what he considered an NHS that was failing miserably in its objectives. What defined Whitehead’s speech was a frustration that manifested itself both professionally and personally. It was terrific to hear him refer to his own personal experiences, adding a devastating cocktail of brutal honesty and spearing clarity, which surely some of the NHS’s policy-regurgitating line-toers can learn from?

All too often we are bombarded by a politically sterilised dogma that jars with reality and falls off the cerebral cortex like so many white papers off a shovel. This was in evidence when one of the NHS’s knights of the realm, Sir Ian Carruthers OBE (no less), attempted to tackle the blaze Whitehead had ignited by randomly dispatching buckets of barely legible civil service twaddle. The numbing jargon that followed was like some kind of linguistic water boarding – “innovative approaches”, “operating framework”, “technology appraisals”, “delivery uptake”, “personal incentives”. Stop, stop, stop! I can’t take it any more!

One sentence contained the word “implementation” half a dozen times. Is it possible that when these ‘honours list parasites’ pick up their prefixes and suffixes, they also agree to wander around in a clanging armour of jargon?

Again, the private sector’s clarity and verve of expression was in stark, embarrassing contrast to some of the insipid management speak on offer here.

Johnny’s final thought
Since the beginning of civilisation words have needed meaning. Organisations which grow out of all proportion to their original concept – like the NHS – often use a dribbling dialect designed to vaporise instantly, lest it should actually seep inside a human brain.

As the multi-tentacled other-worldly creature of NHS reform continues to loom over two very different cultures, it is clear that communication simply has to change – at the moment they are speaking entirely different languages.

Aclimatisation for the NHS has often been the bitterest pill to swallow but now – as Alan would no doubt agree – it’s time to change the record.

Coffee break with... Kate Evans

by Admin 17. December 2012 10:10

This month John Pinching is in the big smoke with Crucell’s high-flying city slicker Kate Evans. She has an almost Dickensian ‘rags to riches’ tale to tell – forced to wash pots in order to make ends meet, Kate had a ‘road to Damascus’ moment, and now she’s one of the industry’s shining stars. What better way to kick off the festive season?

 A frosty winter’s morn, Oxford Circus (exit 8, to be precise), I meet Kate Evans (right) – resplendent in an aquamarine cardigan – and we alight to a nearby hot beverage purveyor. This ain’t called ‘Coffee Break’ for nothing, dear reader. Realism is essential – we do actually go ‘for coffee’. Having said that, Kate orders a tea, shattering the illusion. I, true to my word, request a latte. The checkout girl seems a bit stroppy, but we proceed with the interview, we are professionals after all...

What do you think of the new mag? It was very eye-catching when it came through the post, which is a good thing, because usually it gets shoved on a pile. It looked different, therefore I read it. It was fun, more relaxed and sharp.

Thanks, the cheque’s in the post. So, Kate, what’s your story?  I was born and brought up in Middlesbrough and went to university in Durham. I got a 2:2 and was mortified; I cried for an entire day. I thought I’d never get a job, but I’ve realised that it’s actually your personality and drive that get you through, not what’s on your degree certificate.

Where are you based now? I arrived in London two years ago when I joined Crucell. My mum still thinks it’s another country, but I had to go and see what it was all about. I go into the office a couple of days a week in High Wycombe and the rest of the time I’m out meeting people. I prefer to be on the road, speaking to the NHS payers at the coal face: finding out about how the reforms are affecting them and how we can work together. I’m nationally based, so I go wherever people want to talk and engage in interesting projects!

How did you get into pharma? After uni I got a position as a peptide chemist, which after doing a Biomedical Science degree seemed the job of choice. It was based in the north east and we were making synthetic proteins for pharmaceutical research and development. After about a year of doing that I was ready to leave the North East and I got a job at Nottingham City hospital as a tumour immunologist researching how to create a blood kit which could detect breast cancer earlier than a mammogram.

What happened to make you change career direction? I used to chat with the reps who came in to sell pipettes and lab equipment to us. Talking to them was the highlight of my day and I used to think, ‘What am I doing every day, just staring down a microscope?’ What they were doing seemed much more ‘me’. You got to chat to people..  At the time I had to work in a pub during the evenings in order to pay my rent. That was when I became obsessed with becoming a pharmaceutical rep.

How did you get your big break? I started trying to find a rep job, but a couple of companies said you’ve got no sales experience, ‘go and work in a call centre.’ There was no way I was going to do that. Eventually I got into the industry through Innovex and worked with them for two and a half years selling MSD products. From there I went on to various positions at Sanofi Pasteur, MSD, and then on to Crucell in 2010.

How is the relationship between NHS and pharma changing? There is still a lot of mistrust stemming back to the era when everything was about a hard sell. Now you have to be able to sell a value proposition, focusing on the new NHS targets. It’s much more about ‘how we can help you with your care pathway, reduce health inequalities and improve patient outcomes’.

What is the best way to ensure relations continue to improve in the future? The key for pharma is deciding who you actually send to the Chief Executive of a CCG, because a Key Account Manager in one company may be very different to another, and some have only ever covered primary care. It is important to understand the whole local health economy and its needs. You need to have at least read the CCG strategy plan, and understood how your product can link to helping them meet their QIPP and QOF targets. I was very passionate about this at the recent Pf Local Insight Forum: many of the people in that room didn’t know what a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) was. In any other business you wouldn’t go and face a client if you knew nothing about what they do. Other feedback I get from customers is that they want someone who can make a quick decision, not someone who has to go back to head office and get agreement.

Have you established some good partnerships with public sector organisations? My own personal experience of working with PCTs has been very rewarding. The uptake of flu vaccines can be low due to various health inequalities, such as transient population, reduced access to clinics, and language barriers. Using local hospital data, you can start to build a business case about how a project may improve vaccination uptake and therefore potentially reduce hospitalisations. It is important to tailor any project to the needs of the local health economy as each has different requirements. I have worked with NHS, pharmacy and other private providers in these ventures. As well as improving patient care, the projects aim to improve uptake and therefore increase the overall market in the process. It shows you can be commercial and still be part of the NHS’s agenda.

You seem passionate about your work. Vaccines, whether they’re paediatric, flu or HPV, have saved millions of lives worldwide and that’s why I’m so passionate about this area. The highlight for me was being chosen by Crucell Global to visit Bangladesh in June this year to see their vaccination campaigns and how money is being put back into developing countries that don’t have a recognised health service. Since merging with Janssen this year it has been very interesting to widen my horizons and apply my skills to other disease areas. I also contribute to the NHS intranet blog for the company, keeping everyone up to date with the reforms.

What other changes excite you? It’ll be really interesting next year to see the emergence of companies like Circle Health, who have already started to fulfil contracts on behalf of the NHS, easing in the whole ‘competition element’ of reform. NHS hospitals are advertising for marketing and business development managers, perhaps because they won’t necessarily get all the referrals from primary care, given that there are some really impressive ‘Any Qualified Providers’ out there.

You’re clearly a bit of a mover and shaker, what does the future hold for Kate Evans? Everyone always wonders where they will be in five years, but I just take opportunities as they come along. As the NHS changes, so will the jobs within pharma. Companies will soon need specific people to handle joint working, for example, and I am sure more even more niched jobs will start to appear as the new NHS goes ‘live’ in April 2013.

Do you have a good work/life balance? In the days when I was winning Rep of the Year in consecutive years, the ratio was more work/work! I don’t stay on the computer until midnight any more; however, sometimes when deadlines are due, work can still start to eat into personal life. I have learnt over the years how to manage my time more effectively; it’s just part of the job. You’ve got to have relaxation time in order to function properly.

Private sector will take £20bn of NHS market, says Catalyst

by Admin 18. September 2012 14:25

 Private health providers are set to take a fifth (£20bn) of the NHS market by 2020, according to corporate finance consultant Catalyst.

CCG commissioning and the new ‘any qualified provider’ rules, combined with the shift to community-based care, will greatly increase the opportunities for the private sector, the Catalyst report says.

Catalyst predicts a major increase in M&A activity within private healthcare, with growing interest from overseas investors in NHS assets and businesses from other sectors seeking to enter the market.

Justin Crowther, Catalyst’s Director and co-author of the report, said that NHS commissioners “are increasingly using the skills and capital of the private sector” – for example, “to turn around underperforming hospitals, operate GP surgeries, deliver community services or create centres of excellence in areas such as pathology”.

The report points to the “landmark contracts” recently awarded to Circle, Virgin Care and Serco as a sign of the growing trend.

In particular, it notes the growing opportunities for private sector providers of primary and secondary care, accelerated by “the removal of barriers” through the new ‘any qualified provider’ rules.

Catalyst also predicts that the shift of healthcare to community settings will open up £2bn of business for the private health sector by 2020, while commissioning support services will create another £1.3bn of opportunities.

In all, it predicts that private health providers will command £20bn of the NHS market – 20% of the whole – by 2020.

Circle eyes £8bn NHS opportunity

by Admin 17. August 2012 14:42

 Circle, the first private healthcare provider to manage an NHS trust, has drawn up proposals which it estimates could make the firm more than £8bn from other failing trusts.

In a presentation given to investors before it took over the management of Hinchingbrooke Hospital, it highlighted a number of other money-making opportunities in the NHS.

The document identified 32 trusts it viewed as “NHS growth opportunities” including Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, NHS Isle of Wight and Barts and the London Trust.

Investors were told how “Circle is well positioned to win new contracts” and how there were “attractive returns on capital invested”.

Delegates at the Jefferies Global Healthcare Conference in New York were also told that St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals Trust was “publicly acknowledged to be a possible contract.”

A spokesperson for Circle said it was well known there were a number of struggling trusts across England and that its business model “would make us a good strategic partner for many of them”.

“Circle’s partnership model and entrepreneurial drive offers an alternative to cuts and closure for struggling NHS hospitals across the country,” said the spokesperson. “We should be allowed to do more.”

Since the presentation, a number of the 32 trusts outlined in the document have gone on to merge or gain foundation trust status.

When Circle took over Hinchingbrooke it agreed to take on the hospital’s £40m debt and, in return, to take the first £2m profit, 25% of the next £4m and 33% of the next £4m. It has since said it has improved performance in the NHS hospital’s A&E and colorectal departments, as well as making £1.1m cost savings.

Fears over impact of nurse staffing cuts

by Admin 14. August 2012 14:51

 Cuts in NHS nurse staffing levels are threatening “increased mortality and morbidity”, according to the College of Emergency Medicine (CEM).

The comment follows a report that pressure on nursing staff has led to a 30% increase over a year in the number of A&E patients waiting beyond four hours.

News that Circle may cut 46 nursing jobs at Hinchingbrooke Hospital has added to NHS concern over this issue.

According to a Nursing Times report, the number of patients waiting over four hours for a bed once admitted through A&E has increased from 51,000 in the first six months of 2011 to 67,000 in the first six months of 2012.

The trust with the highest proportion of A&E patients waiting over four hours is Surrey and Sussex Healthcare (22%).

CEM President Mike Clancy commented: “There is quite clear evidence that with overcrowding goes increased mortality and morbidity. There is a real patient safety issue.”

According to Tim Curry, Assistant Head of UK Nursing at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the shortage of acute nurses is not being balanced by increased provision of district nurses: these are also less numerous.

In this context, the proposal by private healthcare provider Circle to make 46 nurses and healthcare assistants redundant has provoked criticism.

It followed a review which said Hinchingbrooke was over-staffed at the busiest times relative to other NHS hospitals. However, the RCN’s Eastern Regional Director Karen Webb said the hospital’s staffing at those times was merely adequate.

A trust spokeswoman said there would be consultation on the proposals, and any job losses would be managed through ‘natural wastage’.

Circle claims ‘big improvements’ at Hinchingbrooke

by Admin 1. August 2012 14:03

 Circle claims it has both improved services and cut costs, six months into its ten-year contract to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire.

The private health company has pointed to improved performance in the NHS hospital’s A&E and colorectal departments, as well as £1.1m cost savings.

It attributes these successes to its ‘partnership’ strategy of appointing NHS clinicians to key leadership roles.

When Circle took over Hinchingbrooke it agreed to take on the hospital’s £40m debt and, in return, to take the first £2m profit, 25% of the next £4m and 33% of the next £4m.

In six months, the company said, Hinchingbrooke’s A&E department has become the highest-performing full service trust in the region and has topped a patient recommendation poll.

In addition, “major failings’ in colorectal services have been addressed, and the speed and quality rating of its incident investigation system have improved.

The company hopes to make the hospital profitable within two years.

Ali Parsa, Circle’s Chief Executive, said: “Through Circle’s entrepreneurial drive, operating model of transferring power to the staff closest to patients and methodology of deploying leading experts from our partnership to coach staff on this journey, we have already seen big improvements across the hospital.”

The company “would love” to extend the same management model to other hospitals across the UK, he asserted.

“It’s right that Hinchingbrooke celebrates these very, very early successes,” commented Karen Jennings, Assistant General Secretary of Unison.

However, she noted “early signs of concern” over the way that Circle had cut staffing levels by outsourcing the hospital’s cleaning services, and the prospect of further redundancies.

A brand of healing

by Admin 16. July 2012 09:33

 As the slicing and dicing of Foundation Trusts and their services intensifies, Maxine Vaccine takes a look at the commercial future of the NHS brand.

This week, the NHS news has been dominated by the struggles of NHS trusts to achieve Foundation Trust status.

Firstly, the shutdowns. South London Healthcare NHS Trust went into administration after running up deficits of more than £150m. Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said it was considering service closure options after seeing its deficit soar from £19.2m to £44.2m in a year. NHS North of England declared it would delete inpatient surgery and A&E services from Trafford General Hospital, the ‘birthplace of the NHS’.

Secondly, the bailouts. Andrew Lansley told Parliament that the £19m owed by NHS North Yorkshire and York would be written off to enable the new CCGs to commence doing business without legacy debts. A National Audit Office report revealed that NHS trusts have received bailouts totalling more than £1bn over the past six years. In 2010–11, the DH paid out £76m to help ailing trusts manage their deficits. In 2011–2, the figure rose to £253m. The NAO predicts that next year it will reach half a billion.

On the one hand, the Government is willing to shut down services in order to ensure that hospitals behave more like businesses. On the other hand, it’s willing to prop them up with public money if that helps them to creep through the Foundation Trust gates. The priority is neither saving money nor maintaining services: the priority is making sure that NHS Trusts disappear from the landscape.

Another clue to what is taking place can be found in the recent statement by Health Education England that it will allow commissioners to create flexible workforces that meet their own local needs. This followed an earlier statement that it would put healthcare employers “in the driving seat” to create a “demand-led workforce”. Don’t be misled by the word ‘flexible’. Of course clinicians need to be flexible – that’s not the issue. What HEE is promising is that terms and conditions, job definitions and professional grades will be flexible depending on the local employer. In other words, the NHS will no longer have a national employment framework.

What these changes are all about is grooming the NHS for private sector takeovers at a local level – the kind illustrated by this week’s announcement that Virgin Care will be running children’s health and social care in Devon for the next three years. Branson’s company declared its one-year experience of working with charity Kids’ Company means it is fully equipped to provide core NHS services to the young.

National agreements, like legacy debts, would be off-putting to potential franchisers. What they want is lucrative services, straightforward tenders, no headaches. That’s exactly what the Government is making sure they find when they come to the NHS. But what will drive the takeovers? As the Devon contract illustrates, it’s not that NHS providers cannot offer the same services. It’s the power of healthcare corporations like Virgin Care, Circle and Serco to achieve economies of scale and to drive down costs by imposing the terms and conditions of private sector employment.

And no, Andrew Lansley wasn’t lying when he said the Government wasn’t planning to sell the NHS. At the local level, the level of CCGs and Foundation Trusts, the NHS is selling itself. All the Government did was slice it up, wrap it in plastic and put it on the shelf. If companies then come along and buy it, that’s purely a local decision.

Key account managers in the pharma industry need to find out everything about the private health providers who are bidding for segments of the NHS brand. The future of UK healthcare belongs to them.

Maxine’s views are not necessarily those of Pharmaceutical Field.

North Warwickshire CCGs plan merger

by Admin 5. July 2012 13:02

 The two clinical commissioning groups covering north Warwickshire will merge to form a single organisation.

Following consultation with the NHS Commissioning Board, local GPs have agreed to unite the North Warwickshire and Nuneaton & Bedworth CCGs as Warwickshire North CCG.

The decision was made “specifically” to address “size, geography and boundary related issues”, the Arden PCT Cluster Board said.

Neither of the existing CCGs is currently lined up in the four ‘application waves’ due to take place later this year.

The Nuneaton and Bedworth area is considered among the most economically deprived in the region, and Nuneaton’s George Eliot Hospital trust has a mortality rate 23% above the national average.

The George Eliot Hospital recently declared itself unable to meet the criteria for Foundation Trust status on its own, and has applied to franchise its management – with Circle being considered the most likely candidate.

The decision caused South Warwickshire FT to withdraw from the tender, saying that it was looking for a merger rather than a franchise.

The new CCG configuration does not directly affect the hospital trust’s choice of partner, but may strengthen the confidence of local commissioners that a sustainable solution for the region can be found.


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