US corporate giant Centene, a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and the parent company of Operose Health, is now involved with 58 GP surgeries across the UK: making it the largest GP network in the UK.
Our healthcare could now be provided by locums, moving from surgery to surgery whenever there is demand, and making it difficult to book an appointment with a doctor known to you.
Instead of phoning the doctor when you are really sick (and the majority of Britons only do this when urgent), you are often asked to dial 111 and talk to someone reading questions off a screen.
Lack of contact with patients is one reason why GP’s leave the profession early. Today, we have a shortage of 9,000 GP’s, with the shortest consultation time of any economically developed nation. (French GPs often ask how can our doctors give a diagnosis in 10 short minutes?) Can we really afford to let the Centene experiment continue in our GP practices?
Ferris comes with the usual PR promises of “setting forth a strategy and overseeing the design, development and delivery of clinical and digital technologies aimed at improving health care quality, increasing productivity and ensuring convenient access to services and health information for more than 56 million people in England”.
This begs the question “what’s new? and what do we get out of it?” Answer – a whole lot of upheaval, changes and cut-backs.
Do we want this? Ferris is coming into the role promising to look out for a “wide range of efforts aimed at improving care in the hospital and in the community for the sickest and most vulnerable patients”. We all want this, but how to deliver this, in a grossly underfunded NHS, needs someone who understands how the NHS works,
Use what is available
No-one needs to point that out the NHS is facing a challenging time. What does need to be demonstrated is that the service needs to take stock, take advantage of good things that came out of lockdown, and give back power to re-organise the system to those who understand what needs to be done.
This will take a deep understanding of how the health system works in Britain, which means someone who had had years to understand what is going on in Whitehall, as well as what is urgently needed in the NHS.
Does Ferris have this knowledge?
This video was made by a group of patients, worried about what was happening to their local surgery https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/FMfcgxwLtkZxLbGwdlmMLbcMjzBdpdfg?projector=1
There are a lot of skeletons buried around in the NHS – don’t let them out to rattle expensive cages with no benefit for anyone, least of all patients.