While commentators and campaigners debate the new government White Paper, another “White Paper” on reorganising the NHS has emerged from a most unlikely source.

Gastric band and boob job specialists Transform Hospital Group, a relatively small company with hospitals in Bromsgrove and Wythenshawe, treated just 2,150 NHS patients out of the 3 million NHS procedures carried out by private hospitals during the pandemic, but are now apparently experts on NHS reforms.

They have produced their own 16-page critique of the government’s proposals, with a few additional suggestions on how the private sector can be better “integrated” into “integrated care systems”.

Apparently Transform Hospital Group (THG) has “long called for greater decision-making powers to be devolved to local level in the NHS,” and ministers will be relieved to hear that they believe “the national rollout of the ICS model in replacement of the existing CCG structure is, therefore … a positive step towards a more collaborative, partnership-led decision-making structure”.

However the firm is concerned over “current lack of clarity relating to the true extent to which it will foster collaboration, and particularly regarding the capacity in which independent providers will be able to contribute to the delivery of services under the anticipated structure for ICSs.”

THG argue that the private sector should also be included in the provider collaboratives highlighted in NHS England’s ICS consultation document, which “could – for example – take the form of a strategic advisory board made up of independent sector partners represented within the relevant geographic region.”

They suggest “ICSs should … be given sufficient guidance as to how to make best use of the independent sector from the NHSE leadership…”, claiming several times that “the capacity and expertise of the independent sector can play a pivotal role in the NHS’ recovery from the pandemic.”

“As such, it would follow that independent sector representatives should be included in the operational structure of ICSs, in appropriate forums.”

The THG White Paper ends with a 10-point plan which centres on the inclusion of the private sector in ICS boards and provider collaboratives and calls for each ICS to “carry out an audit of providers operating within their geographical boundaries, identifying the services they can offer, the cost at which this service can be carried out,” so all private providers can be included.

The NHS is also urged to incorporate the private sector into its procurement process and “draw on the commercial experience of representatives from the independent sector in order to ensure that cost efficiencies and innovations sit at the heart of NHS commissioning.”

It’s clear that some private providers have high hopes for big profits from an expanded role in the post-covid period, and, like THG, are seeking to push ministers to create more space for them in the new system to be set up when the real White Paper’s proposals are turned into a Bill and legislation.

Dear Reader,

If you like our content please support our campaigning journalism to protect health care for all. 

Our goal is to inform people, hold our politicians to account and help to build change through evidence based ideas.

Everyone should have access to comprehensive healthcare, but our NHS needs support. You can help us to continue to counter bad policy, battle neglect of the NHS and correct dangerous mis-infomation.

Supporters of the NHS are crucial in sustaining our health service and with your help we will be able to engage more people in securing its future.

Please donate to help support our campaigning NHS research and  journalism.                              


Comments are closed.