Wycombe Labour today wrote to WDC slamming a report produced by WDC’s Improvement and Review Commission (IRC) into urgent healthcare and demanding to know how on earth its feeble recommendations would work.
David Williams QC, Wycombe Labour’s Parliamentary candidate, said "At a time when the country’s emergency care is in crisis, it is inexcusable that WDC has produced such a hopelessly inadequate report. After all the hype and all the publicity, and after all the meetings and promises of seeking practical solutions, WDC has produced a damp squib.
There is nothing in the report about the causes of the crisis in urgent care – nothing about the failures in primary care, particularly by the private sector providers, so that patients come straight to A&E; nothing about the cuts to the NHS and the disastrous NHS re-organisation; nothing about the cuts to social care which means patients block beds; and nothing about the increase of poverty in our midst which leads to poor health.
Perhaps it’s not surprising the report didn’t mention these causes as all of them stem from the policies of the Tory Party.
The IRC didn’t even consider bringing back the A&E to Wycombe, something Wycombe Labour supports. The IRC didn’t consider it because the review was not “designed” to consider it. This is simply pathetic.
Instead the IRC made 8 feeble recommendations. In fact they don’t even deserve the name of recommendations, rather vague hopes.
One recommendation for example is for “greater urgency to be given to joining up the separate IT systems of the MIIU and A&E at Stoke Mandeville.”
The MIIU was set up in 2012 by a private sector company, BUC, when Wycombe’s A&E closed. It would have made sense at the time to have specified the need for a joined- up IT system but the contract is commercial-in-confidence so who knows.
The contract is due to end in October this year.
We would hope that the provision of urgent or emergency care at Wycombe hospital would then revert to the public sector and there would be no need of separate IT systems.
But if it doesn’t, we would expect the contract to go out to tender, particularly because BUC got the contract without tendering in the first place and because some members of the commissioning body have financial interests in BUC.
And if it goes out to tender in October, where is the incentive for BUC to find the money to integrate its IT system with the A&E at Stoke Mandeville?
There is even less incentive if the NHS is expected to pay. Why should the taxpayer pay for a joined-up IT system with a private sector company who may no longer be in operation at Wycombe come October?
Did the IRC consider any of this before it made this recommendation? Does it even understand that private sector companies are in the game to make a profit and will not provide joined up IT systems to help patients unless it is in the contract and they get paid?
The report demonstrates clearly the complete naivety of WDC about the private sector working in the NHS. "