Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group have finally published details of their audacious plan to hand over key NHS services to private companies -; and a Freedom of Information request has at last begun to shed light on how much it is all costing.

On the eve of a CCG Board meeting tomorrow (Tuesday February 4th), documents have finally been published, as  has been demanded by Cambridge Labour Parliamentary Candidate Daniel Zeichner since last summer. He has also gleaned from one of the bidders, the Cambridgeshire mental health care trust, that they have so far paid over £70,000 to consultants to work on the bid, in addition to internal staff.  Other providers continue to refuse to say how much they are spending.

 Mr Zeichner says that the public will be astonished at both the cost and the secrecy of the process:

 “Only now, with the process well under way, are we allowed to see the documents that establish the principle underpinning this radical experiment. It is very hard to see why they could not have been published months ago -; except that the key flaws might have been challenged. For example, under this system private companies will get cash when patients can be persuaded to say they have had a positive experience -; the potential for pressure to be put on vulnerable frail people is obvious.  The secrecy is further explained by the huge cost of the process. Based on the one provider prepared to say a little, we can surmise that with 12 organisations involved in the bidding, costs aside from those incurred by the CCG will already be running into millions. Millions spent on drawing up bids -; rather than on patient care or putting right the failings of the ambulance service.  Integrating patient-care is a goal worth achieving, but paying a fortune to hand it over to private providers is the wrong way to go about it.”

 CCG documents here:

 FOI request here:

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