Thursday, June 01, 2017

Clinical Commissioning Groups
– Genius Or Lunacy?

The case for King George A&E by ‘Alfred’

I am indebted to ‘Anonymous’ in a recent B21 blog for the information that Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group is the ultimate arbiter in the King George A&E debate. I realise that this organisation plays a major part in any decision but I did not think it had sole responsibility. If this is indeed the case it would throw a great deal of light into this very dark subject.

CCG’s were introduced into the NHS structure in April 2013 by Conservative Andrew Lansley during his very short and disastrous tenure as Secretary of State for Health. They replaced the existing Primary Care Trusts which, although not perfect, were working moderately well and efficiently. Taking them apart was a classic example of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. The remit of a CCG, whose membership is overwhelmingly medical, is ‘to plan, buy, and monitor NHS services in its local area’. For some strange reason Mr. Lansley considered that a bunch of doctors would be qualified to handle the millions of pounds of NHS money involved in the local health budget. Although this decision was essentially flawed in every respect it gave the local CCG’s enormous – and quite undeserved – power. The result of his twisted logic is now their enthusiastic decision to shut down King George A&E against the wishes of almost the entire population of Redbridge, every local MP, most of the Council and every official non-medical body across the area.

Medical professionals have spent many arduous years training for the job and I have no doubt they have earned their clinical qualifications the hard way. But what qualifications do they have to run a multi-million pound health budget, to deal with the day-today running of a huge organisation: the allocation of staff: pay structures: the upkeep of buildings: the handling of stock and amenities? To the best of my knowledge only three of the sixteen members of the 2017 governing body of Redbridge CCG are not some kind of clinician and only one of those three has any accountancy training at all. Just one. All the other thirteen are medically trained. (These figures may have changed slightly over time but the basics are true.)

The result of Lansley’s misguided contribution to the NHS is that the only considerations now given to the A&E closure debate by this clinical cabal are ‘we have to save money’ and ‘we have to centralise’. ‘We are doctors, we know best. Don’t tell us what to do. What do ten thousand ignorant protesting peasants know? And besides, look at all the lovely money we’ll make from selling off these useless sites that are only used for saving lives anyway!’

Dr. Anil Mehta, the Chairman of Redbridge CCG has written ‘We…believe that centralising A&E services on one site will enable BHRUT to provide a safe, high quality A&E service.’ (Editorial note: I have that quote in print.) It won’t Dr. Mehta,! Someone at sometime will inevitably die unnecessarily on the long ambulance trip from Ilford to Romford. It’s that simple.

Centralisation is exactly what we DON’T need. Local A&E units provide faster and infinitely more immediate treatment. Why can’t the blinkered, intransigent CCG see this?


  1. Now living in Braintree I still take a keen interest in events in my old stomping ground. I did not that Lee Scott the Tory candidate has assured residents that the A & E will not close. However, I don't believe it as the way the NHS has been run down in the last 7 years is nothing short of scandalous

  2. Further to my first blog on the CCG's, they as a body are in fact more powerful that even you state. The clue is in their name, CCG. The clinical commissioning Group, means this body actually has the final say as to what operations, treatments, how many GP's are in an area etc etc. They have their podgy fingers in all sorts of pies and are totally in-elected, in-accountable (accept to the Sec of State). Given that Andrew Lansley felt that the old PCT (Primary Care Trusts) needed to be replaced - the fact is that NO Sec of State is going to be held as right. If any Sec of State said they were NOT going to listen to a group of medical professionals, what would the out cry have been? You're not listening! So when they do listen to these so called professionals? I totally agree that the current cabal are completely out of touch with what the public (their patients) feel and have voiced through marches, petitions and anything else thought of. If we want to get back to delivering decent healthcare at the root, do away with NHS England & the CCG and start again with a focus on getting more GP's on the ground, thus freeing up A&E's - getting people to REGISTER with a GP, and allow GP's a bit more freedom in the numbers of colleagues in a practice and a good deal in providing a wider range of opening hours. I'm sure lots of readers can tell tales of having to wait WEEKS for an appointment.
    If the Sec of State was to dissolve these bodies, let's make the replacement accountable to US! We in a roundabout way 'elect' the Sec of State, should not those lower down with what is an even bigger say than the Sec of State be elected? Just a thought....