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A 999 Call for the NHS resource


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By MadAsHelll&NotGoingtoTakeitAnymore, Sep 13 2017 01:47PM

Part 2 of the DigiApp Investigation

The people investing in Babylon include:

London based Hoxton Ventures - a $40M European venture capital fund with investments in 17 companies including Deliveroo, Babylon Health, Yieldify, Campanja (since acquired by 24/7 Media), Immunio, Mavrx, TourRadar and bd4Travel.

Swedish investment company Kinnevik AB, that invests in technology-based consumer services

DeepMind Technologies Limited, a British artificial intelligence company founded in September 2010, acquired by Google in 2014 and since invested in by major venture capital firms Horizons Ventures, Founders Fund,Scott Banister and Elon Musk.

The investors’ experience is in high volume consumer products that have only been monetised by advertising. The gamble is becoming the Uber for healthcare. Learning all that they can about your healthcare behaviours and then selling the information - hence the DeepMind Technologies investment.

Ending the 999 service and monetising the user

In essence the Babylon app is aimed at ending the 999 service - because that is the 'mindspace' that it occupies. Once it achieves this, the purpose shifts towards monetising the user, to manage their insurance-based needs. Because that is the only 'advertising free' environment that the app can occupy: the user paying the development costs.

Users can choose to subscribe to a monthly fee and gain unlimited virtual access to general practitioners, or opt for a pay-as-you-go model. Realistically this replicates the telephony model and locks users into using the service - or one similar - once they begin to use it.

Pre-screening users’ health conditions in Work Capability Assessment

After trialling their app in two Essex GP practices, in January 2016, Babylon began developing an A.I. feature that would pre-screen the users' health conditions. This replicates the approach to medical models found in the Work Capability Assessment and failed LiMA product from the DWP - which was criticised as “tick box software”.

The claim will be that the AI is much better and much more advanced. As with LiMA the public will not be permitted to look under the lid due to 'commercial confidentiality' and the structure of the machine learning is likely to be risk based analysis and risk reduction rather than diagnosis - which would require a far higher standard of compliance and safety testing.

Up against mainstream media complicity with corporate interests

Several months ago, 999 Call for the NHS formally complained to the BBC over air time it gave to Ali Parsa’s promotion of the Babylon app on BBC Newsnight. As a Newsnight guest discussing the future of the NHS, Ali Parsa proved he is a very crafty PR salesman posing as an objective commentator on his own product - the Babylon App.

The BBC didn't question him about any of the issues surrounding how Babylon App got itself on the CCG good books - repeating a similarly dubious pattern established when Ali Parsa took over the running of Hinchingbrooke Hospital for Circle. A totally uncritical media gave him many interviews and free PR for his false claims that Circle was making things better. But Ali Parsa ditched the contract when he realised there was no profit to be made.  

The biased, poorly researched Newsnight programme also failed to mention that NHS privatisation is key to the current GP crisis. In 2010 the Health Select Committee found that running the NHS as a ‘market’ cost the NHS 14% of its budget a year, compared to 5% on administration in the pre-market late-80s. This difference is 9% of the NHS budget - over £10billion a year of the current £120bn budget: more than the entire cost of every GP in the land.

There was nothing about the NHS Reinstatement Bill, which was at the time due its second reading in the House of Commons. Just a continuum of the status quo that the NHS is in need of private company support.

There was no suggestion that NHS underfunding - which started with the McKinsey review of NHS spending after the 2008 bankers’ crash - is entirely unnecessary and counter productive, as the multiplier effect from NHS spending helps to grow the economy and the tax take.

Richard Murphy of Tax Justice points out that if central government had given half of the money it created via Quantitative Easing to local and devolved government, there would be no social care crisis - which is considerably a source of the A&E crisis.

And that it’s time that the government, BBC, the Office for Budget Responsibility, economists and others stop lying about the extent of the government’s debt.

999 Call for the NHS told the BBC, “You might not agree with these analyses but as a public service broadcaster you have a duty to inform the public of their existence.”

They were joined by many others on social media but the BBC claimed that they had allowed air time for objectivity throughout the interview.

Steve Carne, 999 Call for the NHS, is ashamed to say he used to work in PR. He was insensed by what he saw as free advertising on the Newsnight programme: “its called Editorial Advertising, you write a blurb with a bit of controversial or catchy hooks and you get a guest on the telly talking about that issue but of course what they are really doing is selling their product.”

See what you think from a 2 minute section that Steve Carne put together.

The Shame of Newsnight

By MadAsHelll&NotGoingtoTakeitAnymore, Sep 10 2017 08:57PM

Can Brent NHS commissioners tell their apps from their elbow?

Gaynor Lloyd, a Brent Patient Participation Group Core Group rep, thinks not.

In July this year she discovered that GP practices in Brent were thinking about starting to trial the very expensive Babylon app for private GP services, produced by Ali Parsa, Founder and CEO of Babylon Healthcare.

Or perhaps that they already had - confusingly, the Brent NHS commissioners’ paper also said the trial was already underway in a number of practices and the “pilot in Brent has seen 1450 visits”.

Gaynor is particularly concerned as her large practice has recently lost 2 of its 4 fulltime GP's. The Babylon app promises to “put a GP in your pocket” and claims that its symptom checker is safer and more accurate than GPs’ and nurses’ advice.

Babylon app’s unevidenced claims

GP and author Dr Margaret McCartney has asked for evidence to support Babylon’s app, as its claims are not founded on an independent, real life study that is capable of examining real life harms.

Dr McCartney states that

...“non evidence based policy making, and serial IT innovations, have wasted money and provided poor value for patients.”

She’s been asking for details of the North London pilot since March 2017 but has received no details about the evaluation, assessment of safety and accuracy or the financial arrangement between the NHS and Babylon.

Freedom of Information requests for details of app trial and patient data protection

Gaynor has pointed out that patients need to be informed if they are to be part of a pilot/trial, but Brent NHS Commissioners have responded with prevarications and obfuscations.

At the July Brent Council Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee meeting,the CCG officer said it was "just one of the apps being looked at. In terms of risk assessment, as a clinical tool it is perfectly safe. It has to pass clinical governance standards.”

The CCG officer added "the trials don't choose a patient; it's a choice by the patient through the practice.

It is up to the patient to share their data; the patient clicks on the app and the app shares the information itself."

Just how many questions does that beg?

The CCG officer said that the Brent trial had not yet started but she "believed" it has started in North Central London. NW London is only "looking at it" in particular on "information governance and whether it's an option". 

It has subsequently transpired that the app trial in Brent has not yet started, but expressions of interest in piloting it have come from two Brent practices (both of which are run by AT Medics - a private company that describes itself as the largest provider of primary care in London. NHS England notes a number of innovations that AT Medics has developed in direct response to NHS England’s General Practice Forward View.

Neither the Privacy Impact Assessment nor the Information Sharing Agreement yet exist.

Fighting corporate interests in access to patient data.

Following the Information Commissioner’s decision in the Deepmind and Royal Free Hospital case,

that patient data sharing between the Royal Free Hospital and Deep Mind was illegal, Gaynor sent a FOI request about data protection in the Babylon app trial.

She is still awaiting the result of her appeal against a partial refusal to respond.

Brent CCG say that they have no "obligation to seek the views of the National Data Guardian or the Information Commissioners Office for a project such as this."

They claim that Babylon's terms and conditions and the still-to-be finalised Privacy Impact Assessment and Information Sharing Agreement will protect the patients.

Gaynor said, “If you believe that you’ll believe anything. Just look at Baylon’s privacy terms and the partners and suppliers they can share app users’ data with”

The NW London Sustainability and Transformation Partnership Clinical Advisory Group on Whole Systems integrated Care has

"Agreed that incorporating Babylon 111 Data into Whole System Integrated Care Data Warehouse would be clinically useful, with need to explore possible visualisations of data to fulfil direct care purpose"

Gaynor is referring these and related data protection issues to the ICO.

Joint Health Scrutiny Meeting notes here:

COMING UP NEXT in part 2... meet the backers, feel the disruption

By MadAsHelll&NotGoingtoTakeitAnymore, Dec 20 2016 09:56PM

Report from Kevin Donovan, Defend our NHS

[with apologies for the Leader of the Council’s use of the phrase ‘going forward’ which makes one’s toes curl]

Jeremy Hunt and Theresa May are about to feel the force of some strong anti-STP feeling. Campaigners in Wirral scored a major victory on Monday night (19th December). A full meeting of Wirral Borough Council voted overwhelmingly to reject the Cheshire & Merseyside STP in the strongest terms.

The motion carried said:

This Council is extremely concerned about the failure of NHS England to consult with elected members and the public prior to the publication of Sustainable Transformation Plans which propose far-reaching changes to the configuration of hospitals in the acute sector and the delivery of health services in Cheshire and Merseyside in order to plug a £908m hole in the NHS finances.

Council agrees to write to the Secretary of State for Health and call on the government to withdraw these Plans immediately with a view to holding urgent discussions with key partners, including local Councils, on how good quality health and social care services can be provided going forward based on continuing to provide a National Health Service which is properly funded and free at the point of need.

Council is appalled that under this Tory government we have:

·      The worst NHS deficits on record - £2.45 billion

·      In England around 3.9 million people are now on the waiting list to start treatment

·      1.8 million people waited four or more hours in A&E last year – up over 400 per cent since 2010

·      One in four patients have to wait a week or more to see or speak to a GP or nurse, or don’t get an appointment at all.

Council calls on Theresa May to give the NHS the funding it needs.

The rejection follows a long campaign by Defend Our NHS (DONHS) which has hundreds of members in Wirral and more widely across the North West and other parts of England, as well as several thousand Facebook ‘friends’. Council committees and councillors were lobbied and provided with evidence and arguments to use in making the case against the ‘slash, trash and privatise’ proposals.

Councillors from the Labour Party, along with Lib Dems and Wirral’s one Green Party representative, supported the motion; the Tory minority, to their shame (and to the harm of their constituents) voted against. Speakers, including some who had attended a recent large DONHS public meeting were passionate in support for our NHS. The latest leaflets from the Stop STPs campaign were particularly effective.

Victory gives heart to core DONHS activists who have now established their own plans for a higher profile media and public presence. Buoyed by several generous donations from trade union branches the Group will be much more visible with banners, leaflets and presence on the street. Group members will now be ‘howling’ more loudly against the STPs on 23rd December.

By MadAsHelll&NotGoingtoTakeitAnymore, Dec 1 2016 11:51PM

Our North West Mad as Hell And Not Taking It Any More correspondent Kevin Donovan recently urged the public to call upon Wirral MPs and Labour and other councillors to try to rein in the Chair of Wirral Health and Wellbeing Board, Cllr Phil Davies (nominee for String Vest Award) and the runaway coach of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

And people did.

On 28th November 2016, Wirral People Overview and Scrutiny Committee agreed this statement by a majority decision:

“The Committee is concerned that elected members have had no opportunity to feed into the development of the STP nor were they given the opportunity to see the plan before it was published on 23 November.

The Committee is also concerned about any lack of meaningful consultation with the public of Wirral prior to the publication. As a result of the failure by the authors of the Plan to engage with the local authorities in Cheshire and Merseyside, the Committee is concerned at the high levels of anxiety and speculation on the implications of future delivery of health service in Wirral which the plan has generated.

The Committee further notes that although there is very little detail included, many of the proposals would represent a significant variation in service delivery and would therefore need to be presented for scrutiny to this Committee and possibly a pan-Merseyside and Cheshire Committee before any proposals could be implemented.

The Committee does not believe that Wirral Council can agree to the STP without absolute clarity on the proposals and a meaningful process of consultation and engagement with elected members and local residents.”

Is this the Road to Jamsaskus?

The Road to Dontaskus?

The Road to Damnaskus?

Or The Road from Posttruthus?

Are Councillors playing to the gallery or actually doing something useful when they say they reject the STPs?

Our NWMHNTIAM (North West Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Any More) Correspondent says:

“This is a real emergency! The crucial point is that contracts for STP-related NHS/care services have to be signed by 23rd December so delaying any protest/consultation is far too late. Councillors may argue that they can’t halt the STP avalanche but the Local Government Assocation & NHS Providers’ STP briefing clearly states: ‘Although STP leads and the partnerships working on the plans have no statutory basis and are not legal entities, they derive their authority to act from the consent and participation of their participant organisations, namely CCGs, providers of NHS services and local authorities.’

The consultation is simply hot air by some councillors to make it look as though they are standing up for the NHS when in fact they are happy to let things take their malign course. 23rd December is the end! Unless.... a council can mount a strong legal challenge- now there's an idea...

Could it be a Hammersmith & Fulham Council legal challenge?

How did things get to this sorry pass? You can read the backstory CLICK HERE

By MadAsHelll&NotGoingtoTakeitAnymore, Nov 22 2016 06:48PM


Another one bites the dust - Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Sustainability and Transformation Plan published today.

A local Stop STPs campaigner who is SADDER THAN HELL AND NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE says: "My heart sinks. They're looking for a 1.3million SURPLUS!!? How many dead people is that?"

The Chair of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough STP, David Astley, writes

" the interim STP summary published in July ... forecasted that as a system we will have a £250m financial deficit by 2020/21, the STP outlines that this is in addition to £250m of savings and efficiency plans individual Trusts and the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) need to deliver over the same period. This makes a total system-wide financial challenge of £500m over the next four years. It also estimates the need to invest £43m to improve services over these four years which increases the total system-wide financial challenge from £500m to £543m. If the Trusts and CCG meet their savings and efficiency plans, and all aspects of the STP are delivered, this will achieve the savings and efficiency target (of £500m) and produce a small NHS surplus of £1.3m (by 2020/21)."

Letters to David Astley stating outright opposition to his STP are called for. You can find a Letter to the STP BOARD template in our STP FLATPACK - click on the link on right of the page.

You can find the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Sustainability and Transformation Plan - aka Fot for the Future - here: CAMBS & PETERBOROUGH STP

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Health and Care System Sustainability and Transformation Plan- November 2016

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