Private health 'could take advantage' of 'mess' caused by delay in restructuring Cheshire CCG

By Gwyn Griffiths

12th Jan 2022 | Local News

Bevan House in Nantwich is home to Cheshire CCG which would disappear under the ICS revamps.
Bevan House in Nantwich is home to Cheshire CCG which would disappear under the ICS revamps.

LABOUR borough councillors claim the delay introducing a revamped health care body in the region could usher in private health firms into the NHS.

Cheshire East was due to become part of a Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care System (ICS) on April 1, but the re-organisation has been put back until July 1.

The plans have drawn criticism previously as they would see the Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which commissions most of the hospital and community NHS services in the county, scrapped just two years after its creation

An NHS England consultation has been completed into the planned introduction of integrated care systems (ICS), which would replace clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in some cases.

Knutsford Conservative councillor Stewart Gardiner described the plan as "Orwellian" at Cheshire East's health scrutiny committee earlier this year.

Labour councillors on the authority say it is part of a "massive top-down re-organisation of the NHS" by the Conservative government and open the way for privatisation of the NHS, claiming there is potential for private healthcare companies to secure seats on the boards of NHS trusts.

Broken Cross and Upton councillor and the Labour group's media spokesperson, James Barber, said, "Cheshire and Merseyside is a huge area covering many different communities with different health needs. We would like to see more local control of healthcare resources, as in Manchester, and are working with the local NHS to minimise the damage this reorganisation will do in Cheshire East."

Middlewich Labour councillor Carol Bulman claimed: "The absurdly-rushed timescales might be designed to provide an excuse to call in private US healthcare to deal with the mess caused by these plans.

"In December Rishi Sunak took time out from the job he is supposed to be doing supporting British businesses and went to California to meet with healthcare companies.

"I am concerned that this new reorganisation will allow more privatisation of the NHS."

Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group states that the changes will increase efficiency and reduce duplication in health services as well as offer better support to individual organisations in Cheshire and Merseyside.

It says there are "huge benefits for people and communities of having integrated care in their neighbourhoods by joining up primary, community, social care, and wellbeing services".

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