Health news roundup for October 5th to October 29th

Here are the health-related links that have caught our eyes between October 5th and October 29th:

  • The Green Benches: Virgin Care represent the greatest conflict of interest in the history of the NHS – The GP Practices in Virgin Care’s network get to keep 50% of the profits they make. The total budgets over a 5 year period that these 21 CCGs are responsible for is £27.5 bn and this places an extraordinary amount of power in the hands of doctors linked to Virgin Care. See a full list of the committees and details below. I include a 5 year figure because many of the contracts they will award will be of that length. The spreadsheet I have created below lists the 21 CCGs on which doctors, who work in Virgin Care medical practices, have been mentioned in the CCG board minutes as connected with that CCG. For substantiation, click on any links you seen in green or writing that appears between brackets.
  • The Green Benches: Exposed: David Cameron received personal donations from private healthcare’s puppet-master in chief. – It was McKinsey who came up with the idea that the NHS should undergo £20bn of cuts (here). It was McKinsey who helped draft the NHS Bill (here). So too, McKinsey designed the NHS regulator Monitor (here), and plotted the private takeover of NHS Hospitals (here). McKinsey was the firm who spawned much of the appointees to various government bodies including Monitor’s boss (here). Hell, McKinsey are that influential that Jeremy Hunt’s personal advisor is a former McKinsey employee (here). McKinsey are in charge of overseeing the future of 2 NHS Trusts in administration, both Mid Staffordshire and South London (here). I have written about McKinsey many times, and you read some of that data (here). Under this Tory government, payments to McKinsey have shot into the hundreds of millions and they have been handed consultancy deals to oversee the new establishment of Clinical Commissioning Groups (that they designed). In the USA, they call it pork-barreling.
  • Doctors to be given ‘fit to practise’ tests | Society | The Guardian – The GMC will be responsible for revalidation, which will be on the basis of a dossier of evidence of a doctor’s competence compiled over five years. This will include annual assessments and patient questionnaires.
  • NHS accused of age discrimination over lifesaving surgery | Society | The Guardian– “Health professionals can be too quick to decide against offering surgery because of “outdated assumptions of age and fitness”, according to the study by the Royal College of Surgeons, the charity Age UK and communications consultancy MHP Health Mandate. Doctors and surgeons should stop using chronological age to assess suitability for a procedure and instead use their “biological age”, or overall health, because growing life expectancy and the increasingly good health of senior citizens make birth date alone redundant as the deciding factor, it says.The study found that while people’s health needs increase as they grow older, rates of planned surgery for some common conditions among older people steadily decline. “The gap between the increasing health need and access to surgery means many older people are missing out on potentially lifesaving treatment,” concludes the study, which details the variation by age group in patterns of treatment for eight types of surgery.”
  • Managing conflicts of interest in clinical commissioning groups