VITAL NHS CONTRACT HANDED TO CIRCLE IN PRIVATISATION SCANDAL
‘The Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign is dismayed and angry at the news that Greenwich CCG has turned down a Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust bid for musculoskeletal (MSK) services and given the ‘prime contractor’ award to the private company – Circle. This of course has a direct effect on the financial stability of Lewisham and Greenwich Trust and therefore of LEWISHAM HOSPITAL.’
LATEST NEWS ON THE CIRCLE CONTRACT – SPECIAL COUNCIL COMMITTEE ORDERS FULL IMPACT ASSESSMENT
On Thursday 3 November a special meeting of the Greenwich Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee voted to ask Greenwich CCG to produce an independent impact assessment report on the effects on the local Trusts, especially Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, of giving the £73 million 5-year contract to Circle. Signing of the contract has now been halted until this assessment has been done. We welcome this decision.
In front of an audience of around 60 local people, evidence was heard from Greenwich CCG, NHS England, Circle, the Trust, MP Clive Efford and campaigners. MP Clive Efford told Circle “We are a Labour Borough, with a Labour Council and Labour MPs. We don’t want you here.”
Campaigners and members of the public put forward many questions. NHS England, the CCG and Circle made long presentations but members of the public and campaigners were not convinced on the main areas: why Circle was chosen in the first place, the procedures for decision making on the contract and, thirdly that the CCG had not done any formal assessment on the impact of the Circle MSK contract on the main provider of health care in SE London, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust. (See below for Freedom of Information requests and untruths…) Dr Tony O’Sullivan from the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign spoke forcefully asking for an impact assessment to be made.
It was on this last point of the impact assessment that the Council Scrutiny Committee decided to challenge the CCG decision.
CRITIQUE OF AWARDING OF CIRCLE CONTRACT BY DR LOUISE IRVINE, CHAIR OF OUR CAMPAIGN
This letter has been sent to Councillors in Greenwich and Lewisham, and CCGs in Greenwich and Lewisham.
‘We are concerned about the risk that this decision will have a serious negative impact on the wider health economy, as we have seen in other areas, and in particular could be damaging to L&G Trust. This could undermine L&G trust’s clinical and financial sustainability and would have consequences for everyone in Lewisham and Greenwich and the other areas from which people access services at L&G Trust. We hope our elected representatives in both boroughs will raise these issues and do all in their power to challenge this decision…’ Read more
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUESTS EXPOSE LIES
Members of the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign and Greenwich KONP have issued numerous FOI requests to Greenwich CCG, Lewisham and Greenwich Trust and NHS England.
One of the main questions has been whether the CCG carried out an impact assessment of what the effect would be on the local health economy of outsourcing the contract for MSK services to Circle, in preference to the Lewisham Greenwich NHS Trust. This is important because of issues of financial and clinical stability in the Trust particularly at a time of severe reduced funding of the NHS.
Greenwich CCG under questioning at a CCG meeting stated that they had not done an impact assessment because NHS England had done one. A formal Freedom of Information request from Louise Irvine on this point received same answer from the CCG. See Greenwich CCG response to FOI here.
Louise Irvine therefore sent an FOI request to NHS England – their response was that they had not carried out an impact assessment – and it was the CCG’s responsibility to do so under ‘due diligence’.
Therefore, a part of our local health service is being farmed out by a Clinical Commissioning Group to a private company with a dubious record, without any attempt to assess what damage this might cause, not just in Greenwich, but across the Lewisham and Greenwich Trust. Such is the damaging nature of the government’s Health and Social Care Act.
PUBLIC MEETING: STOP THE PRIVATISATION OF THE LOCAL NHS
13 October 2016 7.30pm
Organised by Greenwich Keep our NHS Public with Lewisham Keep Our NHS Public
South East London People’s Assembly Against Austerity and the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign
INTERVENTION AT GREENWICH COUNCIL HEALTHIER COMMUNITIES AND ADULT SOCIAL CARE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE 27 September 2016
Save Lewisham Hospital campaign members joined Greenwich Keep Our NHS Public members to voice opposition to the Circle contract. There was considerable opposition and very good questioning from Councillors and the public. The Committee refused to endorse the contract and we are waiting to see what the next moves will be.
Letter sent to Councillors on Scrutiny Committee
LOBBY AND QUESTIONS AT GREENWICH CCG MEETING 21 SEPTEMBER 2016
Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign joined with Greenwich Keep Our NHS Public and other health campaigners lobbied and spoke at the Greenwich CCG meeting. Save Lewisham Hospital campaigners asked the CCG group why an excellent bid from Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust for muscoloskeletal services, which would have retained the management and delivery of the service within the NHS, had been passed over in favour of a bid from discredited private company Circle. SLH pointed out that this would take money away from Lewisham and Greenwich Trust. All campaigners raised the declared interests of two CCG doctors in Circle. Greenwich campaigners pointed out that Circle is an off-shore company.
No satisfactory answers were given – simply that some patients had complained about ‘uneven pathways’ – wait till Circle gets hold of it – and that NHS England had approved the contract at ‘every stage.’
CONNECTIONS BETWEEN CIRCLE AND GREENWICH CCG
Further we have learned from the Morning Star of connections between Circle and Greenwich CCG.
“…the company’s (Circle’s) medical director Massoud Keyvan-Fouladi is married to Dr Rebecca Rosen — a member of the Greenwich CCG and a GP in the south-east London area… Greenwich CCG confirms that Dr Rosen is a clinical lead on the CCG but adds that ‘she has nothing to do with the contract.’ ” However, a glance at the registered interests of members of Greenwich CCG on their wobsite shows that Rebecca Rosen is a Circle shareholder.
According to the Morning Star, the CCG says that “the tendering process was carried out according to the standard public-sector regulations and the assessment of bids was made by expert evaluators across a range of factors, including clinical quality, finance, staffing and supporting infrastructure.”
The point of contracting it out to a private company is to “streamline” the service, it also claimed. Greenwich KONP had drawn attention to these issues and declared an intention to picket a CCG meeting. Watch this space for news on further activities.
CIRCLE’S APPALLING RECORD
Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group has chosen the private contractor Circle to take on musculoskeletal (MSK) services in Greenwich, despite the fact that Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust had tendered for the contract, which would have kept the service inside the NHS and maintained unity of NHS provision within the Trust. Circle is the private health company that made such a mess of Hinchingbrooke Hospital, abandoning the contract when unable to make any profit.
MSK services include orthopaedics, rheumatology, pain management and physiotherapy and the awarding of the bid to Circle is a blow to the Trust’s financial outlook. The Trust has written to Greenwich CCG ‘to express [its] dissatisfaction with the tender process and the decision that has been made.’
For more on Circle’s record see: