A PRIVATISATION and closure plague is being spread rapidly throughout the NHS.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has closed its accident and emergency department at Grantham and District Hospital at night. On 17 August, Grantham Hospital A&E was closed from 6.30pm until 9am, and medical staff were redeployed to Lincoln County Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital in Boston.
The closure is ‘intended to last three months’ but is expected to be indefinite and to be followed by other hospitals. The Trust said: ‘We do not have enough doctors to safely staff all three of our A&Es 24 hours a day, seven days week.’
It added that the plan is intended to boost the number of doctors at the Lincoln and Pilgrim hospital A&Es, which have busier emergency departments. Patients with life threatening illnesses are already being sent to Lincoln, Pilgrim or Nottingham Hospitals.
l Major privateer Virgin Care has been selected as the preferred bidder to provide community services in Bath and north east Somerset which have a current annual expenditure of £69.2m. The seven-year contract – with an option to extend for a further three years – is being jointly commissioned by Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and Bath and North East Somerset Council.
It covers over 200 services currently delivered by more than 60 organisations including: health visiting; speech and language therapy; diabetes nurses; district nurses; the falls prevention team; the independent living service; physiotherapy and reablement services; and palliative care nurses.
l NHS bosses in Birmingham have been criticised for attempting to fundamental ly change GP services without even consulting the GPs involved. A document obtained by Birmingham Local Medical Committee (LMC) reveals a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).
The proposals include new seven-day primary care hubs that would serve populations of 40,000 to 100,000. Alarmingly, the document describes plans for ‘virtual beds supporting patients discharged earlier from hospital’ and pushes seven-day GP appointments.
Birmingham LMC secretary Dr Robert Morley said: ‘There has been no consultation with the LMC, nor to my knowledge with any representatives of GPs or practices as providers.’
In a letter sent to GPs in Birmingham this week, Dr Morley wrote: ‘It would appear that plans by the STP to transform general practice, and transfer massive amounts of secondary care work into general practice, are already very far advanced indeed, and only at this late stage have been shared with GP provider representatives.’