Paula Sherriff MP for Dewsbury, Mirfield, Denby Dale and Kirkburton has replied to a request for her views on Wholly Owned Companies/Subsidiary Companies/ Special Purpose Vehicles, whatever you want to call them, in NHS Hospital Trusts. Her first sentence on the subject starts with the phrase “I am alarmed…..” so we are not alone.
The attempts to dismantle the NHS have been going on for over 25 years. The changes to legislation inching closer and closer to the healthcare multinationals global policy aims, become clearer when we find the legislation to allow the SubCos, was introduced in 2006, two years before the need to create the campaign organisation Keep Our NHS Public and probably one of the driving factors in its creation. This is before all but the most eagle eyed of the public, even began to suspect anything untoward.
Messages released by Government are sometimes contradictory. On the one hand you have a letter to Trusts from the Department of health suggesting these companies are not allowed as a mechanism to save VAT, yet the Trusts using that argument as the main motivator for spending the money to do it. Companies need capital to set up that surely could be used for treatment. Why now?
Yesterday in Leeds the landmark England wide Judicial Review brought by a grass roots campaign group 999 Call for the NHS, against NHS England for its proposed Accountable Care Contract, was heard. The case examined a point of law, which the group believe is unlawful in the ACO contract and will encourage providers to cherry pick patients rather than provide comprehensive treatment for all, according to need. Since this is already beginning to happen and patients made to wait, such an outcome seems more likely with every passing day. Even if the campaign wins the Judicial Review, NHS England will have suffered a set back but will be able to try again.
The second Judicial Review is about the new health system Government and NHS England want to legalise, with no recourse to Parliamentary debate or public vote. That is due to be heard on 23rd and 24th May in London.