All is not as it seems…..
Private sector organisations are gaining more and more health contracts in the North East – taking nursing, medical and other direct health care away from the NHS and putting it into the hands of profit making companies.
Here is but one example – the tip of the iceberg….
Most people don’t realise that many of our “Urgent Care” services in the North East are privatised – these are the walk-in and out of hours treatment services, not A and E.
Northern Doctors Urgent Care – part of the Vocare group – manage the Out of Hours Urgent Care Centres at
NORTHUMBERLAND; Alnwick Infirmary, Wansbeck Hospital, Berwick Infirmary, Hexham General Hospital
NORTH TYNESIDE; North Tyneside General Hospital
NEWCASTLE; Westgate Road Walk-in Centre, Newcastle
SOUTH TYNESIDE; South Tyneside District Hospital
SUNDERLAND: Pallion Health Centre
o “Northern Doctors”, which provided out of hours responses, was converted into a private limited company in 2015.
o It changed its name to “Vocare” in 2016, and provided a range of NHS 111, GP out of hours and Urgent Care services in the North East and in other regions across the country. The head office is based just outside Newcastle upon Tyne.
o In 2017 “Vocare“, in turn, was bought out by the privately-owned “Totally Ltd”.
The business ethos:
The “Totally Ltd” marketisation and business model is clear in their documentation: they declare that their purchase of Vocare “provides the company with a strong and commercially attractive opportunity”
and their acquisition announcement on 23rd October 2017 states
“The Company is currently engaged in delivering a progressive ‘buy and build’ consolidation strategy within the UK’s fragmented healthcare market and raised £18 million in February 2017 to capitalise on the attractive opportunities that its disruptive, outcome-based, outsourced healthcare service model offers, to ultimately deliver value to shareholders as it continues to build critical mass in 2017 and beyond.” See “Notes to editors” section in the acquisition announcement here
We get the picture. And we trust that you will too. When we have spoken about this to local people incl councillors, they share our concern about the growing privatisation of our healthcare in the North East…and also share our concern that this is not common knowledge….
And…to complete the NHS privatisation cover-up
Private businesses who gain contracts are allowed to use the standard NHS logo. Unbelievable – but true
Click here for the Northern Doctors / Vocare website, logo…..and NHS logo
Recent events involving “Totally Ltd” at York
Click here for an update regarding York – March 2021
An interview with the Chairperson
Hear the “Totally Ltd”chairperson Bob Holt speak about the acquisition in 2018:
About A & E: “You would think that you would totally be looked at by a NHS service – you wouldn’t – you’d be initially triaged b an out-sourced service”
About the acquisition of Vocare: “The acquisition of Vocare was very transformational for us. It provides a significant platform for future growth…It’s taken us from £10m [NHS] revenues to £100m revenues… This is a large market. The NHS currently outsources £20bn of services. Clearly we’d like to take quite a bit more of that.” …..and notice how “BOB” gets in the spin that their business is helping the NHS deal with all the pressures on it….
And about the future: “Because of the size of the outsourcing opportunity, there are a number of things we are looking at….”
Out-of-hospital services across England are shareholders’ gambling chip
Check out the very informative background report on “Totally Ltd” from Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS here and a report from 999 Call for the NHS is here
…..And finally, we ask, is this TOTALLY INCONCEIVABLE at some point in the future:
The Lowdown (15th September 2021) Surprise privatisation of NHS staff at London urgent care centre
Yorkmix (2nd March 2021) Anger at NHS plan to ‘privatise’ part of York Hospital A&E