Defend our NHS Family Health Services

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2010 Health Care Service Group Conference
18 April 2010

This Conference notes that:

1)At a meeting with NHS Derby City – Family Health Services staff, held on Tuesday 6th April 2010, proposals were presented to outsource all Family Health Services (FHS) functions in the East Midlands, to NHS Shared Business Services (SBS): thereby creating a real threat to jobs and services across the nine Primary Care Trusts in the East Midlands;

2)Affected members are completely opposed to the privatisation of any NHS functions, but have particular concerns regarding their services;

3)Amongst the many concerns members raised are:

·Medical records and clinical data being sent and processed overseas with no public and/or patient consultation or involvement;

·Work is off-shored by NHS SBS to Pune in India;

·This has potential to result in 100 job losses across the whole of the East Midlands region;

·NHS SBS now run these services for a PCT consortium in Waltham Forest; but the London Local Medical Committee is recorded as regularly complaining about mistakes, errors, and a generally poor service, posing a real clinical risk to patients;

4)Members are seriously concerned about job losses and, if NHS SBS were to employ them under a TUPE transfer the threat of their employment terms, conditions and pay and pension rights diminishing. (The current proposal is that 80 jobs out of the existing 180 jobs across the East Midlands will be transferred to NHS SBS; the rest will either be re-deployed in the NHS or more than likely, made redundant. This proposal sees the creation of over 60 more jobs in Pune!).

Admin & Clerical workers within the NHS always seem to get a lot of bad press – being perceived as ‘pen pushers and bureaucrats’; however they are also the unsung heroes of the NHS. Family Health Service staff perform an extremely important and valuable role; enabling front line staff in primary care services to work effectively, efficiently and safely and making sure that the public have access to these services.

Conference re-affirms the belief that Family Health Services are a core NHS function enabling GP Practices and Screening Services to deliver quality patient care. Some of the key responsibilities of Family Health Service staff are:

·Ensuring all patient details including NHS Number, GP and address is correct for every patient within the PCT area;

·Ensuring GP’s receive the correct medical records and clinical data for patients on their lists;

·Running and maintaining cervical cytology and retinopathy screening call and recall lists;

·Issuing childhood immunization target lists;

·Ensuring GP Practices receive the correct payments;

·Maintaining GP contractor lists;

·Offering help and advice to members of the public wishing to register for primary care services.

Conference should also be aware that NHS SBS’s intention to take over the East Midlands FHS is the first step to increasing their business across Central England; and thereafter aiming to expand over the rest of the country.

Conference therefore calls on the SGE to urgently:

i.Mount a co-ordinated campaign against any threat of outsourcing FHS functions to NHS SBS or any other private sector organisation;

ii.Raise public awareness and attention about the processing of medical records overseas and the dangers that creates in maintaining privacy, confidentiality, security and data protection;

iii.Through the National and Regional Social Partnership Forums, put pressure on the

Government, the Department of Health, NHS Employers and Strategic Health Authorities to keep these services firmly under the control and management of the NHS;

iv.Work with UNISON Labour Link, the GPF and other relevant committees, to highlight the issue of private sector organisations working in the NHS, off-shoring many key administrative and finance functions;

v.Recommend that any affected regions and branches seek the support of its Local Medical Committees, GPs and patient groups in opposing these proposals;

vi.Provide support, advice and guidance to branches willing to take lawful action in defence of their local FHS services.