The Money’s Running Out In Your Local NHS: Who’s Who And What’s What

Andy Evans and John Stammers discuss a bright future

Andy Evans and John Stammers discuss a bright future

The NHS is organised to mirror a large private corporation with regional branches divided into sectors eg ambulance sen/ice, GPs, hospitals. The Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is given a budget to spend locally on buying certain services from providers. (By the way this CCG is also known as HealthEast).

These different NHS sen/ices (eg the James Paget Hospital) are run as self contained organisations which are dependent on the CCG to give them contracts, eg a hospital will get a contract to perform certain operations and will be paid per operation at a fixed rate. If some contracts are given to a private provider or the rate doesn’t cover their costs the NHS hospital will try to cuts costs (ie wages), try to get private patients (eg from private insurers) or it goes bust. If this all sounds mad it’s because it is. If you are paving the way for privatisation then it is logical.

Although we are constantly told that the NHS is protected it isn’t. The total budget is fixed minus year on year “efficiency savings” and it has to deal with increasing numbers of, particularly elderly, patients who need increasingly expensive treatment. It also has to pay for insane PFI deals — but that’s another rip-off.

Andy Evans Is Not An Alchemist

The Chief Executive of the CCG is Andy Evans while the Board which is supposedly in charge consists of health professionals and various managers. Contrary to popular rumour Andy Evans was in fact a pharmacist when he took up his £140.000+ pa job and not an alchemist. He cannot and has not improved services by cutting them.

He has effectively closed down the modern Carlton Court Hospital which provided mental health ca re as well as its day centre and replaced it with out of hospital teams and beds in private care homes. He has also effectively closed Lowestoft Hospital; the Patrick Stead in Halesworth and Southwold Hospital are to follow. |n Lowestoft Mr Evans promised us all the services we could dream of in the Kirkley Rise Health Centre and a new health centre in the north of the town if only we didn’t demand that Lowestoft Hospital remain open. Well, the north is still waiting and the surgery at Kirkley Rise has closed.

Greyfriars Medical Centre

The latest cut is the proposed closure of Greyfriars Medical Centre which is housed in a rather fine building in Great Yarmouth. Designed to take pressure off the James Paget Hospital Andy Evans is now claiming that it isn’t used enough, a claim not borne out by the statistics His latest bit of magic is to close the place down and replace the walk-in centre with, yes, the overflowing James Paget A&E department. The Board of the James Paget Hospital is not happy. Even the tame board of the CCG, the clinical staff who are supposed to be in charge of the mad house, is showing signs of life, even dissent.

In the mad world of pre-privatisation, bash the NHS policies, acute hospitals like the James Paget get punished for the consequences of mad pre-privatisation cut-backs. They are fined if A&E is full and patients can’t be admitted quickly enough (and that’s another problem for the ambulance trust), they lose if they can’t treat them quickly enough or discharge them quickly enough (because the local authority has cut social care so there is nowhere for them to safely go).

Andy Evans pushed through the closure of the community hospitals on the argument that beds are a thing of the past and that patients prefer to be treated at home. Now the James Paget cannot meet demand. It has plans for major expansion but it hasn’t got the money. It will be running a deficit this year and the CCG (also known as HealthEast) will see its funding cut.

The sale of Lowestoft Hospital will raise some money. Another public asset gone when what is needed is money to pay for adequate staff, for hospitals which aren’t crammed with patients and with over-stressed staff or, like Lowestoft Hospital, deliberately run down.

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