Tag Archives: clive peedell

Open Letter from Dr Clive Peedell to Jeremy Hunt regarding the legality of the latest top-down NHS reorganisation

To the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, MP, Secretary of State for Health

Dear Mr Hunt

I am writing to you on a subject of great urgency regarding the changes to the NHS proposed on 19th May 2016, by Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England.

Mr Stevens has suggested that the health service could create a form of ‘combined authorities’. He talks of spanning hospitals and commissioners and consolidating CCGs.

These proposals appear to run contrary to the provisions of the Health & Social Care Act (2012) and contrary to the stated objective of the Act of a locally driven commissioning service provided by GPs, who have an intimate knowledge of their local community needs.

Whether or not the CCGs have fulfilled this function satisfactorily, they are, nonetheless, a legal creation. I am, therefore, asking for clarification of the legal status of the changes being made under the Sustainability and Transformation Plans.

Mr Stevens has also referred to removing veto powers. Does that mean, in effect, that no-one will be able to object to changes as they will be imposed? Could you clarify which powers are being removed, under what statute were those powers granted, and what legislation been passed to allow their removal?

This announcement was paired with the publication of the funding allocations expected for 2020-2021. Mr Stevens said that these numbers would give a better focus than the funding ‘gap’ numbers people try to come up with. His predicted figures are shockingly low.

I do not write as a legal expert, but as a doctor with great concern for the impact of these extensive changes on my patients. I ask that you clarify with urgency the law that is being used for these changes which are happening on a large scale with great speed.

My specific concerns are about transparency, responsibility and accountability. There does not appear to be adequate time to prepare proper risk or equality impact assessments.

I look forward to hearing your response on these serious matters.

Yours sincerely

Dr Clive Peedell
cc Rt Hon David Cameron MP, the Prime Minister
cc Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition
cc Hon Heidi Alexander, Shadow Secretary of State for Health

Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn from Clive Peedell

Dear Jeremy Corbyn,

First of all congratulations on winning this election.

What you have achieved shows that there is demonstrable support for anti-austerity politics around the country. That is something we have never doubted in the NHA, despite the opinion of the mass media and government representatives.

Having said that, it would be foolish to think that ideologically driven austerity, which underfunds and undermines our public services, will step aside in the face of public opposition. You have stated publicly that opposition parties must work together. I think that you should start those discussions straight away.

I co-founded the NHA party 3 years ago in reaction to the Health & Social Care Act, which ended the NHS as we know it. It was always clear to me and to my colleagues who founded the party that the Labour Party had played a significant role in the dismantling of the NHS. The legislation they enacted extended the market and established the private sector’s role. They have failed to alert the public to the real extent of the damage being done under the Coalition and the current government. They even allowed David Cameron to claim to be the protector of the NHS, a claim that should have been laughable, not credible.

There has been a groundswell of anger from within the NHS against Jeremy Hunt since he launched his ‘24/7’ NHS plans. He and his Cabinet colleagues appear to be the only people in the country who don’t know we already have a 24/7 NHS. He accused consultants of opting out when they don’t, has refused decent pay rises to nurses, wants to force reduced pay and conditions on staff across the board, has presided over A&E closures that have had fatal consequence, made £200million cuts to the public health budget and has presided for too long over hospitals being run according to financial not clinical judgement.

You acknowledged the problems of the market in the NHS today in your speech and have spoken of the PFI deals shackling the NHS Foundation Trusts. Both these areas are of great concern. That is why I take this opportunity to issue an invitation to you to discuss the way forward for the NHS with myself and my colleagues, passionate defenders of its core values, with the knowledge and direct experience ‎to offer workable solutions.

On Monday, two days after your election, there will be a debate on Jeremy Hunt’s proposals in Westminster Hall. It should be a debate on a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Hunt as required by the petition rules but it has been altered.

As an act of good faith, and in order to show that you will start your leadership as you mean to go on the Labour Party should turn up in force to that debate and insist it be used as a vote of no confidence. That’s what the petition demanded. Many tens of thousands attended your rallies. Many hundreds of thousands more, from all parties and campaign groups, signed petitions and have written articles and emails in opposition to this government’s attacks on the NHS. If those who elected you are recognised as a groundswell of public opinion, so should those demanding that Jeremy Hunt be held accountable and their views should be represented unequivocally by Labour MPS in Westminster Hall on Monday.

Your leadership holds the promise of a new optimism. We hope it will be borne out in the creation of a real new politics offering recognition of political allies in the fight against austerity, against the destruction of our public services and that we can be united against the Tories in the defence of our NHS.

Congratulations once again

Clive Peedell

We Need To Talk About Jeremy… Corbyn

Dr Clive Peedell explains why we cannot afford to wait for Labour to wake up:

It’s impossible to avoid the Labour leadership competition, whether you feel you have a stake in it or not. It’s equally impossible to avoid the fact that people who left the Labour Party for another party (or simply stopped their membership) are now wondering whether they should go back.

I am not going to hazard any guesses about the leadership campaign. The Labour Party’s decisions are theirs to make. What I do know is that the election doesn’t take place until the end of September. They then have to return to Parliament, and a shadow cabinet has to be formed.

Their disarray gives the Tories a clear run, and being in summer recess has not slowed them down.

But it’s not just about the time frame. Whether they coalesce or fragment around Jeremy Corbyn’s challenge to the status quo, the Labour Party’s very open disagreements may actually contribute to the formation of a new political landscape. The SNP has shown itself capable of reigniting political passions in Scotland. The Green Party grew in the 12 months leading up to the general election. Labour’s own membership has increased since the general election. There is an appetite for a new politics. All this against a backdrop of a Tory government claiming a mandate on less than 24% of the eligible vote. Clearly our democracy itself needs an overhaul.

What concerns us, however, and with pressing urgency, are the actions of the government on the NHS and our public services during this period when the Labour Party is otherwise pre-occupied.

On Thursday, the first CCG announced it would be passing its responsibilities on to an as-yet-unspecified provider led accountable care organisation. Reported in the Health Service Journal, Northumberland CCG’s proposal is part of its overhaul of its care and contracting. It was one of the 29 national vanguard sites identified in March. We heard from campaigners in other vanguard sites that they were expecting similar announcements to follow soon. And it was very soon, as NHS England announced a support scheme for those vanguards on Friday.

There is precious little debate or publicity around these changes.

There is no explanation in the media of where this path is leading. The use of US insurance based ‘buddying partners’ such as Kaiser Permanente to develop the NHS is now established as the model of choice. American hospital managers from Virginia Mason have been brought in to teach ‘lean management’ to five NHS Hospital Trusts.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Hunt has set an ultimatum for a September deadline on negotiations over doctors’ contracts, warning he will impose a contract unilaterally.

The doctors are fighting back and Saturday’s Independent supported them. But we are seriously concerned that this frames the debate as Jeremy Hunt’s personal failure to understand the NHS or respect the doctors. And we note that he also says a ‘huge effort’ is required to keep the NHS publicly funded.

Which brings us back to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership contest. I agree that a huge effort is required to keep the NHS publicly funded. I can also see that every step towards the adoption of US systems of management and ‘accountable care’ takes us one step further towards co-payments and insurance instead.

I just can’t see anyone taking time out from the Labour leadership contest to shout very loudly ‘look what’s happening right now, this summer, to the NHS’.

And since that isn’t happening I ask you to stay with us, stay with our fight to keep this on the agenda, help us to spread the word and fuel the rightful anger that first prompted me and my colleagues to form this party. It’s an anger which should be spreading like wildfire.

There’ll be time enough to reconsider allegiances if and when the Labour Party rejoins the fight for public service. But I firmly believe we don’t need an oppositional democracy with only two parties that take turns. That way leads to stagnation and the systemic corruption of the revolving door. We need a progressive alliance.

Should Clive Peedell be invited on Question Time?

The BBC’s Question Time has a well-known panel format – since 1998, a panel of five has been invited for each episode. Usually this includes a representative for each of the ‘big three’ parties, often augmented by a leading figure from a smaller party. The remainder of the panel are non-partisan.

The BBC has been criticised, and not infrequently, for inviting UKIP to the panel a disproportionate number of times – 21 appearances since 2009, compared with 11 for the Greens. George Galloway’s Respect party, the SNP and Sinn Fein have also featured, and there was even the occasion back in 2009 when the BBC invited the BNP to appear, resulting in protests at the studio gates.

Given that the format is open to smaller parties, it begs the question – should Dr Clive Peedell be invited to at least one episode of Question Time between now and the 2015 General Election? We give our reasons below:

  • Subject matter: the NHS is a key election issue. An Ipsos Mori poll in September found healthcare to be one of the leading electoral issues (29%), second only to immigration (30%) and the economy (31%). Clive Peedell’s area of expertise is thus as important to voters as Nigel Farage’s beloved immigration issue.
  • Balance: with the new ‘big four’ parties all offering similar neoliberal policies, it would bring much-needed balance to the panel to have someone speaking against the privatisation of public services.
  • Quality: Clive Peedell has a known ability to provide good copy on national media, including Sky News, Channel 4 and Radio Five Live. His opinions are well-researched and where possible based upon current evidence.
  • Variety: it may well be refreshing to have someone who isn’t a career politician appear on the Question Time panel. Equally, it might be a break from the norm to invite someone who doesn’t just want to debate populist topics like immigration.

NHS England and the £30bn Funding Gap

Simon Stevens (pictured) of NHS England will shortly be unveiling an NHS roadmap of sorts for the next parliament. Looming large is the matter of the claimed £30bn funding gap, an artefact of the Tory policy to stagnate NHS funding rather than commit to real-terms growth. As you’ll recall, the coalition government already subjected the NHS to £10bn worth of ‘efficiency savings’, the majority of which came from pay freezes and cuts to staffing and acute beds.

As Dr Clive Peedell puts it:

[Stevens] must make the point that flat funding of the NHS is a policy mistake […] per capita spend on the NHS has fallen under the coalition. Efficiency savings are effectively cuts and they have gone too far. Patient care and patient safety is at risk. The NHS clearly needs more investment and it needs to be at least a 4% increase year on year. This could be funded by addressing the […] internal market, that is estimated to cost the NHS at least £5bn per year.

We know from economic studies that an increase in healthcare funding would have a multiplier effect on the economy. That’s to say that for every extra pound put into the NHS, we’d see the overall economy benefit by several pounds. That’s because healthy people are productive people – investing in preventative measures and treating patients in a timely manner will help our economy recover. With the NHS currently one of the cheapest healthcare systems in the western world, we can clearly afford to fund it properly; in fact, with the benefits to people and to the economy so clear, we can hardly afford not to fund the NHS properly.

EDIT: Here’s further reaction from Clive Peedell to Simon Stevens’ report:

Stevens is a long way from securing the £8 billion extra by 2020 that he admits is needed to make ends meet even after extraordinarily ambitious efficiency savings of £22 billion.

None of the three main political parties is committed to raise NHS spending by anything like as much as £8 billion: the Tories are sticking rigidly to their planned further five-year freeze to 2021, the Lib Dems have offered two related injections of £1 billion from 2017, and Labour has promised £2.5 billion also in 2017 – by which point the financial crisis already brewing in the NHS will be boiling over into cuts and closures.