The redesign of Birmingham’s Early Years services is likely to take the best part of 5-6 years from conception to execution. Birmingham’s Early Years Services currently provide support to around 100,000 parents and 80,000 children at any one time. Early years services consist of Children’s centres, Health Visitors, Parenting support and Pregnancy and breastfeeding support services which support parents from the time a child is conceived up until the age of 5.
There has been a major service review over a nearly 3 three year period, and the current procurement process up to the award of the new contract is likely to take a further 10-11 months, there will be a further period where the contract is implemented. This extended period of time and the convoluted nature of the processes involved have provided useful political cover to the Council’s Labour leadership who have still not had to name and own the actual cuts and closures in Early Years services to come.
Driving the Government’s plans to privatise the NHS will be local Clinical Commissioning Groups comprised of groups of GP’s. There are currently three proposed CCG’s in Birmingham, Cross City, Birmingham South and Central, and Sandwell and West Birmingham. It is understood that the Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG is in the first wave of CCG’s awaiting authorisation from the NHS Commissioning Board.
The CCG’s will play a key role in commissioning health services and will have a nationwide budget of £64bn at their disposal. They are charged with developing Commissioning Plans and replace the role of Primary Care Trusts. The CCG’s will have responsibility for commissioning or buying health and care services including non-specialist acute services, community services, Mental health, and continuing healthcare among others.
The big move to privatisation is the requirement upon CCG’s to contract with ‘Any qualified provider’. Once registered as a qualified provider with Monitor private sector companies will be free to seek contracts with CCG’s anywhere in the country.
CCG’s in London have already signed contracts worth £7m with consultancies including KPMG McKinsey, and Price Waterhouse for ‘intensive organisational support’. Some of these consultancies were active in influencing Government health policy from the outside, actively lobbying for Health and Social Care Act, and will they will now profit from and influence the development of CCG’s from the inside.
Influence over the CCG’s is a potentially important battle ground and 38 degrees, an online campaigning community, has launched a petition demanding that CCG’s amend their constitutions to protect NHS services and to ensure proper consultation with patients.
Through 38 Degrees, meetings are being convened to involve local people in campaigning to pressure their CCG’s to make changes to their constitutions. In Birmingham a campaign group has started to meet and has plans to make contact with the three local CCG’s and will be seeking copies of their draft constitutions. An important priority for the campaign is to explain to the public what is happening to their NHS and to get them involved in lobbying their CCG.
If you would like to get involved
1. Sign the 38 Degrees petition
2. Join in with the street petitioning activity in Victoria Square in Birmingham City Centre on Saturday 10th November from 11am.
3. Updates on the campaign can be found on the West Midlands Save our NHS webpage
Filed under News, petition