Cambridgeshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s series of public consultation events came to Cambridge last night – but left more questions than answers according to Cambridge Labour Parliamentary Candidate Daniel Zeichner. Following a presentation at the Meadows Community Centre in King’s Hedges, CCG representatives faced a barrage of questions from local trade unionists and residents over the groups bidding for the eight hundred million pound contract – with many expressing disappointment that there were no representatives from the groups present, and no detail on their plans.
They were also pressed on why the public wasn’t being offered a straight question on whether they approve of handing services to private companies. In his questioning, Daniel Zeichner acknowledged that under the NHS and Social Care Act driven through by Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in Government, the CCG had no choice but to offer services to the private sector, and argued that much of the opposition would melt away without the element of privatisation.
He warned that the radical experiment was fatally flawed by not including social care and questioned the evidence showing that a private sector organisation had the capacity to deliver the change envisaged.
He also queried the highly-optimistic hopes to integrate IT systems and questioned future ownership of any such system that might be developed during the contract: “No-one would disagree with the CCG’s overall goal of improving health care by improving co-ordination, and earlier intervention. But just handing it over to a new untested organisation is just an act of faith, based on no evidence, with much hidden from public view under the cloak of commercial confidentiality. The CCG will not even tell us how much the exercise has cost so far – it is hardly surprising that the public remains deeply sceptical.”