“Planners have said NO to Sidford Business Park and turned down the controversial plans over a potentially lethal combination of narrow roads and increased heavy goods vehicle usage.
East Devon District Council planners rejected plans to build industrial, storage and non-residential institutions on agricultural land to the east of Two Bridges Road in Sidford.
They were refused on the grounds of harm to highway safety, relating to increased heavy goods vehicle usage of the area’s narrow roads and the decision was made by officers with the Chairman of Development Management Committee, Cllr Mike Howe, in accordance with the Council’s Constitution. …”
“This is an everyday story of the sordid revolving door between US Health insurance company United Health and the NHS.
In the UK, United Health’s subsidiary Optum sells the NHS what it needs in order to morph into a version of United Health – the previous employer of NHS England’s boss Simon Stevens.
With NHS England’s blessing, Optum is all over the NHS, installing their technology & redesigning the NHS through its use.
Optum sells the NHS:
Commissioning support services
Scriptswitch decision support for GP prescribing (which United Health UK acquired in 2009) is in most GP surgeries.
Referral management services
GP Empower (accelerating large scale GP practices
Integrated Care Systems support: “Optum® brings practical hands-on experience having delivered integrated care for over 20 years in the US. Our tried and tested approach has helped systems deliver proven results.” This updates an earlier brochure on accountable care systems/organisations which is no longer available. However NHS For Sale quotes Optum’s now defunct webpage: “We currently operate 26 accountable care organisations in the U.S., and are supporting sustainability and transformation partnerships in the U.K. to manage population health risk and deliver care as an integrated group of providers.”
The overall aim is to control, sideline and override doctors’ treatment decisions – as we can see through NHS England’s consultation on stopping funding numerous elective care treatments and its mandatory Integrated Urgent Care Services specification. This removes patients’ direct access to clinicians and redirects them through NHS 111 to a clinical advisory service that works off the algorithms in a clinical decision support tool.
And now it has its finger firmly in the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence pie – the organisation responsible for providing evidence-based guidance and advice to the NHS.
The revolving door that connnects United Health, Optum and the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence
former United Health Director Andrew Witty
Lord Darzi (head of the Imperial College department which is partnered with OptumLabs, a United Health business); and
a new public-private partnership in the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence called the “Accelerated Access Collaborative“, that’s about pushing new technology and drugs through the NHS.
It puts Optum centre stage in the Accelerated Access Collaborative. Now there’s a surprise. Or not. If you have been following United Health’s relatively rapid takeover of the NHS.
As a result of these shenanigans, we would treat any new recommendation from NICE with a pinch of salt.
Here is a short Witty timeline:
March 2017 – Andrew Witty leaves CEO position at Glaxo Smith Kline
August 2017 – Witty joins UnitedHealth’s Board of Directors
November 2017 – Following the Accelerated Access Review, the Department of Health appoints Witty as head of the Accelerated Access Collaborative. The job is to fast track drugs & technology into the NHS, to start April 2018
March 2018 – United Health announces Witty to be new Optum CEO, to start July 2018
Andrew Witty must have been rumbled somewhere along the line as he graciously resigned from the Government position in March 2018, due to the enormous conflict of interest of him starting as Optum CEO in July 2018. Ignored of course was the huge conflict of interest in hiring Witty in the first place while he was a Director of UnitedHealth.
And who replaced him? Lord Darzi.
Who is Lord Darzi
I am tired of writing about Lord Darzi. He stalks the NHS like a zombie. He was behind the New Labour government’s massive, failed and costly privatisation of elective NHS services in the horrible Independent Sector Treatment Centres – one of which totally messed up my son’s broken wrist – twice, before an NHS hospital fixed it for him.
This is what his nasty scheme has come to now. Regardless, he has returned to push his idea a second time as Accountable Care – with the apparent support of the Labour Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth. This time from his perch in the Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI) at Imperial College, London.
Which, surprise surprise, is an OptumLabs partner.
What is OptumLabs
OptumLabs (launched in 2013) is all about United Health number crunching and framing raw patient data for academics to play with to derive the “best treatments” for patients.
OptumLabs is desperate to pass itself off as pioneering and respectable in the academic research field. But reality of the profit motive and UnitedHealth’s track record of
“deception, manipulation of data and outright fraud”
(see the Ingenix case ) means their number crunching will most likely point to treatments that United Health finds most profitable, not what’s best for patients. And OptumLabs is useful cover to collect patient data.
We pointed out some time ago Optum’s invidious position as a provider of commissioning support services, able to direct Clinical Commissioning Groups to commission Optum products. Now they have their fingers in the NICE pie too.”
“In a small marina in Exmouth sits the Nina May. The 4.8m fibreglass boat is not much to look at, with just a small outboard motor it pales against the luxurious sailing boats that crowd the harbour.
The boat is something of a legend amongst fishermen in the south west. Many have heard about this mysterious, tiny vessel but few have ever seen it sail.
That is because the Nina May has a secret. The tiny boat holds a massive amount of FQA, the unit used to dole out the right to fish in the UK.
In fact the boat holds nearly a fifth of all fishing rights for the South West of England, and has much more quota than all but one of the much larger fishing boats in the area.
But those figures seem to defy logic. According to government records, that amount of FQA equates to around 1,500 tonnes of fish a year. That means the tiny boat would need to fish an average of four tonnes of fish a day!
Greenpeace spoke to Robin Carter, who runs F W S Carter Limited, the fishing company that owns the boat along with 12 other, much larger vessels.
Carter explained that he transferred the FQA licenses onto the tiny boat and then sends out his bigger boats to write off their catches against that allowance.
By doing that Carter’s fishermen can essentially fish without risking being penalised on quota should they be caught breaking the rules.
“Why it’s on the Nina May is that if you get an offence, a log book offence, or some silly little offence, the ministry would freeze your licence. You wouldn’t be allowed to sell your licence or sell your quota on it.
“We took the precaution – because we got caught once – of taking the fish off all the boats and just putting it one the one boat.
“It’s on there for no other reason than that licence will never get frozen because it just goes in and out of the river and hopefully never commits an offence.”
Local news reports from 2011 state that a Robin Carter was charged £4,040 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to setting an illegal net off the coast near Sidmouth.
The chairman of the magistrates court which ruled on the case said that Robin Carter was an ‘experienced fisherman’ and described his actions as ‘deliberate and reckless.’
The company made an operating profit of £2,628,000 last year.
“We fish about 90% of the quota we have and lease the rest. We use the Marine Management Organisations set rates or the landing price to guide us, but markets prices move. It’s all about supply and demand. Quota is a currency you can swap,” Carter added.
The Marine Management Organisation, the government body that oversees fishing allocation, told Unearthed there are no regulatory restrictions on the number of FQA units that can be held on a single licence.
It said it has significantly improved the transparency of FQAs making data available through the FQA register which also enables FQA holders to transfer their FQA units electronically subject to Quota Management Rules.
Griffin Carpenter from the New Economics Foundation researches the economics of European quota systems. He says this type of hoarding goes against the spirit of the system.
“FQAs were intended to correspond to the actual fishing activity of vessels, but the case of the Nina May highlights just how far we’ve moved from matching quota with fishing activity. This practice may not be illegal, but it’s also not fulfilling any objective of the quota system, especially as many vessels are desperately trying to get access more quota and the government is trying to ensure that all existing quota is used,” said Carpenter.
Carter does not think there is anything wrong with holding so much fishing rights on a tiny dinghy.
“It’s an asset we’ve invested in for the last 20 years,” he explains. “Others sold themselves out of the industry- some people sold it off to foreign nationals- or sold it to us. We saw this system coming and that’s why we invested in quota.”
Hugo Swire has spent (when at the Foreign Office) and still spends (by virtue of his Chairmanship of the Conservative Middle East Council) a lot of time in the Middle East and particularly in Saudi Arabia. Often in the company of British arms dealing companies.
So what does he have to say about the assassination squad, emanating from Saudi Arabia, that allegedly tortured and killed a critical journalist in their consulate in Turkey:
“A member of Cranbrook’s policing team will be available to meet in the foyer of the Younghayes Centre across the next two months, subject to availability.
Next month, an officer should be at the Younghayes Centre on Saturday, November 3, from 1pm to 2pm. They are planned to return on December 1 at the same place and time.
A spokeswoman for Cranbrook Town Council said: “Please do come and make use of these sessions, which will be a great opportunity to raise any concerns you might have and to meet local officers.”
Cranbrook Town Council has approached the chief constable to request a permanent neighbourhood beat manager. The authority has been dealing with several issues including anti-social driving and unruly behaviour at night.
Owl says; But will the likes of Diviani (LEP) and Randall-Johnson (CCG) be in favour of more (or rather, any) scrutiny?
“Meg Hillier has told Public Finance that audit of local government spending needs to be more “transparent” for an increasingly “savvy” British public.
“I think the British public are much more savvy about things – they don’t trust the authority to spend things well,” she said to PF.
Since the Audit Commission was formally dissolved in 2015 “there isn’t the same level of transparency locally”, Hillier said.
Local authority finances “used to be well demonstrated,” she said, “so I think [making them more transparent again] is just something that we need to keep pushing on.”
Although she said it was “early days” and did not wish to say who she had been speaking to, she said she saw devolution as an opportunity to improve closer examination of how public money was spent.
“At metro mayor level or at a bigger regional level there is an opportunity for value for money audit and analysis because there are certain discreet pots of money coming down for very particular projects, so it’s easier to track it through from the day to day budget value for money,” she said.
Hillier was speaking to PF after the shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne told the Labour Party conference last month: “We will give local authorities public accounts committees to improve local government spending decisions.”
Local PACs was one of the Labour Party’s pledges in its 2015 manifesto so that “every pound spend by local bodies creates value for money for local taxpayers”.
Hillier said she was not able to give a clear view on what her vision for the extra layer of scrutiny of local government finances would be but did not believe local PACs were necessarily the answer as they would require “huge infrastructure”.
“I am not advocating we go out and set up lots of mini NAOs [National Audit Offices] – there is a bit of realism in this,” she added.
But Ed Hammond, director of Centre for Public Scrutiny, which has long been an advocate of local PACs, told PF that there is an “urgent need” for such bodies.
“Local PACs will be bodies led by elected councillors, empowered to follow the public pound across a local area, cutting across different organisations to get a real picture of the value for money of public services,” he suggested.
“In a world of increasingly complex decision making, and with greater pressure on finances, there is an urgent need for these bodies to give the public the assurance they need on the services they rely on.”
An Institute for Government report, out on Monday,
said that government should “review the case for setting up local Public Accounts Committees” to “provide new capacity to local government to scrutinise performance across the breadth of services offered in a region”.
These could initially be trialed in mayoral combined authorities, the IfG suggested.
Local PACs were discusssed in an IfG-led Twitter discussion on the report.
We also need to scrutinise links between local public services like health and social care: review case for setting up local PACs, initially in mayoral combined authorities #IfGaccountability
The Conservative mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority James Palmer believed there was already enough local authority financial scrutiny in place.
Although, he suggested if more fiscal devolution was handed down to metro mayors then “that of course must come with the necessary level of local governance and scrutiny”.
“Whether that comes in the form of a local public accounts committee is of course a discussion that would need to be had as part of further devolved powers.”
Northern metro mayors recently called for post-Brexit EU replacement funding to go straight to the regions, bypassing Whitehall.
Chief executive of the Localis think-tank Jonathan Werran recently wrote a blog for PF on the future of fiscal devolution – see here: