Read about Northumbria Health – and then contact your MP re Early Day Motion 805; Oppose the use of NHS Hospitals for private patients
IT IS A DISGRACE
that Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust are actively promoting private treatments – these have been present in the background for a number of years, but we question the fact that they are now being advertised and promoted, at a time of huge waiting lists. Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust appear to be opportunistically targeting people with current complaints and a need for one-off treatments and, as we all know, people are desperate when in pain, and many are resorting to use their lifesavings to cope. Essentially, this system is one of prioritising people who are able to find the funds to pay for healthcare. Their mission is explicit here: https://www.northumbria-health.co.uk/vision-values/ and their pricelist is also explicit here: https://www.northumbria-health.co.uk/our-services/our-prices/
Using the title “Northumbria Health” (as distinct from their organisation Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust), they outline that “as we move forward we aim to position ourselves in the market more strategically as a provider of private healthcare for those living in Northumberland, North Tyneside and beyond.” When outlining facilities, the Northumbria Health website clarifies that there are no private facilities – the fee-paying patient will be treated on a NHS ward, but efforts will be made to ensure a single room – although this can’t be guaranteed.
It is very relevant that these private treatments will require qualified staff to carry them out – a drain on the pool of staff available to provide NHS care, and also relevant is that many staff received NHS training – with no recompense to the NHS for this. This system is, essentially, one of queue-jumping. The Northumbria Health “vision” states that all profits generated will be re-invested in NHS frontline services – this does sound vaguely positive but the point remains that this type of blatant opportunistic advertising and availability further consolidates a two-tier health system.
We have contacted (13th February 2023) Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust / Northumbria Health to outline our concerns and to access more information via “Freedom of Information”, and we await their response. Click here to read our FOI request.
Click here to read the Guardian article (7th January 2023) : Revealed: NHS trusts tell patients they can go private and jump hospital queues
THIS QUEUE JUMPING MUST END
Margaret Greenwood MP has put forward an Early Day Motion (EDM 805) calling on the government to put an end to NHS facilities being used to provide services to private patients, referencing the provision in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 for NHS Foundation Trust Hospitals to make up to 49% of their money out of treating private patients.
Margaret Greenwood is a KONP patron. It is great to see that Kate Osborne MP (Jarrow) has sponsored this Motion alongside Margaret Greenwood, and that Ian Lavery MP (Wansbeck), Grahame Morris MP (Easington) and Emma Lewell-Buck MP (South Shields) have already signed their support. Mary Glindon MP (North Tyneside) has contacted us to say that she cannot sign the EDM as she is classed as a front bencher, but has agreed to contact Jim Mackey (Chief Exec of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust) to outline the concerns that we have raised.
KONPNE and KONP Sunderland have now written to all 22 NE MPs (Labour and Tory) regarding this situation. Click here to read the template letter used – this template was amended slightly from MP to MP in order to personalise it to their circumstances.
to see which MPs have already supported the Motion
for yourself to send a message to your MP, requesting their support for EDM 805
EDM 805 text
That this House notes that the Health and Social Care Act 2012 in effect allows NHS Foundation Trusts to earn 49 per cent of their income from treating private patients; acknowledges that, before it was amended during its passage through Parliament, it set no limit on private income, demonstrating that the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition Government had initially planned to enable NHS Foundation Trusts to earn as much of their income as they wanted from treating private patients; further notes that in 2011 the majority of NHS Foundation Trusts had private income caps of between 0.1 per cent and 2 per cent; is concerned by recent reports that NHS Trusts are promoting expensive private healthcare at their hospitals, offering patients the chance to jump NHS waiting lists; is further concerned that this will increase waiting times for NHS patients; believes that this is leading to a two-tier health system where people who have the means to pay can get treated more quickly, while NHS patients face longer waits, often in pain and discomfort; notes that this is not in the spirit in which the NHS was created; further notes that with waiting lists of over 7 million, there is no excess capacity in the NHS; recognises that the NHS is publicly owned and publicly funded and should remain a comprehensive and universal service, free at the point of use; and calls on the Government to put an end to NHS facilities being used to provide services to private patients.
“Freedom of Information” requests to three North East Hospitals
23rd April 2023 – We need to sample the temperature in local hospitals, and have sent off “Freedom of Information” requests to three North East NHS Trusts – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust, and South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Trust. We will keep you updated.
Our FOI – NB: the three FOIs were slightly different to match with the circumstances of the individual Trusts:
Dear xxx NHS Trust
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST
I am writing on behalf of the campaign group “Keep Our NHS Public North East”, and your response will be shared.
We would be grateful if you would please provide information relating to the following:
– the names of private healthcare organisations utilising xxx NHS Trust beds / consultation or treatment rooms
– the relationship / partnership arrangements between xxx NHS Trust and private healthcare organisations utilising Trust hospital beds / rooms
– current level of private activity, as a percentage of the whole
– current income through private treatments, as a percentage of the whole
– the envisaged future uptake of private treatments
– copies of your modelling / impact assessments re the effect of increased private treatments on the waiting time for NHS treatments
We appreciate that the whole NHS organisation is under great pressure at the present time, and we thank you for your attention to this important issue.
Signed xxx Keep Our NHS Public North East