Primary care networks and long term transformation initiatives threaten NHS model

“GP at Hand”, the digital GP platform run by private company, Babylon, proposes to set up a stand alone primary care network. Under the new five year contract for GPs, all practices in England and Wales are obliged to join primary care networks for 30-50 000 registered patients. GP at hand currently has 50 000 on its books. Recently growing pressures on GPs to limit waiting times by taking on extra overtime have met with refusal of many GPs to take on the extra work because they are being charged inordinate taxes for the extra hours . But “GP at Hand ” has patients from a wide geographical area bringing into question their capacity to become a PCN. On that basis as the GPC chair, Richard Vautrey has said, a PCN not geographically based is “ completely at variance with “ the place-based model of care promulgated by the NHS.
Londonwide LMC chief exec. Dr Michelle Drage said that plans for GP at Hand to form a PCN could “disrupt the system to the point of destruction….destabilising all current NHS services in London”. She further asked the Health secretary who is a registered patient and public advocate for GP at Hand, “ will all GP practices and networks be governed by the same rule book? “

Warning from the Horse’s Mouth

In a recent lecture to the Royal Society of Medicine NHS chief exec Simon Stephens ( one time lobbyist in the US for private healthcare ) expressed concerns that poorer communities perceived their health services to be at risk of erosion! Thanks for telling us Simon. The concentration of specialist equipment concentrated in certain areas was, he said, eroding the traditional General hospital model. This trend, he continued, “ shows up as protests, political activity and a sense of the tide going out from these Communities” ( reported in HSJ, professional health managers journal 21st May 2019) . Continued erosion would propogate “ third order effects in terms of economic impact and social cohesion”.

Published by philedwards1917

I have been a socialist and activist since the 1970’s. I taught in East London , with a brief interval in Bristol, for 25 years. I was a member of East London Teachers Association and active in the NUT on many campaigns and especially anti-racist campaigns against the BNP. I was secretary of Tower Hamlets TUC and organised a commemoration committee in 1996 to hold a 1000 strong march to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the battle of Cable Street. I helped organise and drove on three aid convoys to Bosnia during the war and again twice to Kosova in the 1990’s during the war in Yugoslavia. I am now joint secretary of Newham Save Our NHS . I have been a member of the labour Party since Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership campaign.

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