The ugly acronym CCG stands for Clinical Commissioning Group, which is an administrative organisation. The UK is split up into different areas and each CCG is independent from all the others while being responsible for all the hospitals within its boundaries. To make matters more complicated these groups do not appear to have any particular reasoned boundaries. They do not match parish boundaries, or political districts. They appear to be arbitrary. If anyone knows it to be any different please let me know.
In theory a CCG’s budge is calculated using formulas based on local populations, age, gender, deprivation etc. However, after reading an official parliamentary report it has become clear that not all areas receive their full allocation and it’s not clear why. My CCG is South Devon and Torbay, which received a budget of £388,377,000 in the year 2015/2016. To find out the budget for your CCG click here.
South Devon and Torbay CCG is made up of five districts Moor to Sea (from East Portlemouth to Widecombe in the Moor), Brixham & Paignton, Torquay, Newton Abbot & Coastal (Teignmouth & Dawlish). This includes, one acute hospital (Torbay Hospital), eight community hospitals, (Ashburton & Buckfastleigh Hospital, Bovey Tracey Hospital, Brixham Hospital, Dartmouth Hospital, Dawlish Hospital, Newton Abbot Hospital, Paignton Hospital, Totnes Hospital), not nine as is stated on their website.
This number is proposed to diminish even further by the end of the year if the CCG’s plans are approved successfully, to merely four.
That’s right they are cutting hospitals in the area by half. When the report is finally released on 1st September, it will be interesting to see exactly how many beds will be lost, and how many doctors, nurses and essential personnel will lose their jobs. Not to mention how appropriate care will be provided for patients without them.
This is not a move that is intended to make healthcare provision more efficient. This is a business restructuring that ensures the top managers can keep their ludicrously heavy salary by saving money at the bottom end.
The bottom end in a business setting is the machinery of a company, and comprises the work force, customer facing aspects, and product creation and delivery. Tightening up a business usually involves cutting low paid workers and doubling the workload of those that remain. So you can see how this model might be ill advised for a health service. Doctors and Nurses are already overworked, not as well paid as we imagine, and services available are already diminished. Patient care is suffering and will only get worse under this sort of management model.
I read this quote from Dr Nick Roberts, chief clinical officer at South Devon and Torbay CCG in the Herald Express, Wednesday, August 17th, 2016:
The services we have in South Devon and Torbay cannot stay as they are. Times have changed and so have people’s needs. A larger number of people are living longer, and with older age comes more complex healthcare needs, but as we all know the funds available can’t match this increasing need.
This is horrifying to me. Let me be clear … this attitude is horrifying.
Our population is growing yes, but it’s not necessarily living longer; there’s just more of us than ever before. Not only this we’re living in toxic conditions, bombarded by dirty fossil fuels, pesticides and antibiotics in our foods as well as chemicals in our cosmetics and household cleaners. Chronic illness is prevalent and overburdening our medical institutions. There is a call for addressing health awareness but to simply take away healthcare provision will mean people will end up suffering needlessly, for longer, without access to medical professionals.
Reading between the lines I understand from Nick Robert’s comment that the NHS is washing it’s hands of the aged and infirm because they’re not profitable, and they drain funds.
I intend to ask him whether this is case at one of the public meetings and I’ll let you know the response.
For now I will leave you with this thought: the annual management and administrative cost of South Devon & Torbay CCG is £6m, there are 21 board members/senior officials and the CEO earns £220,000pa.