News item

Archive of: February, 2014

  • SHCA statement in response to The Independent newspaper article

    On 11th February, The Independent ran an article about the Specialised Healthcare Alliance’s involvement in supporting NHS England to set the scope of its five-year strategy for specialised services. The story alleges undue lobbying influence over NHS policy, attempts to commit the NHS to disinvestment from treatments that have lower patient impact and conflicts of interest given the role of JMC Partners LLP as secretariat to the Alliance.

    The Specialised Healthcare Alliance refutes all such accusations and wishes to set out the facts of the case.

    The Specialised Healthcare Alliance

    • The Specialised Healthcare Alliance is a broad coalition of 97 patient-related organisations supported by 13 corporate members which campaigns on the overarching policies and structures within specialised care. All members have an equal say in the Alliance’s activities.
    • The Alliance gets all its funding from industry and has always been completely transparent about that fact and the amounts involved on its website. In consequence, the SHCA never concerns itself with individual therapeutic areas but overarching policies and structures.
    • All policy positions and priorities are decided by the Alliance’s total membership, which is dominated by patient-related organisations.
    • Individual members of the Alliance have been steadfast in their support for its ethical positioning since media interest in its activities began in early January 2014.

    The five-year strategy for specialised services

    • The five-year strategy for specialised services is entirely owned by NHS England. NHS England initially intended to develop a strategy and put it out to consultation. SHCA members discussed the matter in October and agreed that the involvement of all stakeholders in informing the scope of the strategy was necessary and desirable.
    • Given the time pressures involved, the SHCA offered to help NHS England by supporting an engagement event on 9th December and by facilitating a request for written submissions. The SHCA’s secretariat prepared a draft report for NHS England prior to Christmas. This was not seen by any members or external parties pending approval by NHS England.
    • The draft and final reports provided a fair and balanced overview of the comments received, quoting extensively from submissions made to the scoping exercise. The final report is available to read here.
    • The scoping engagement report is the first of three stages of strategy development, which include 15 further NHS England engagement events and a 12 week public consultation – all stages are owned entirely by NHS England. In providing a summary of people’s views at the beginning of this process, the draft scoping engagement report prepared by the SHCA was intended to help NHS England’s engagement with all key stakeholders. NHS spending on specialised services is determined quite separately by the Board of NHS England.

    JMC Partners LLP

    • JMC Partners has provided the secretariat to the SHCA for the last ten years.
    • JMC is proud of the work it has done for the Alliance over the last decade and has always been impartial in its secretarial role, which has been vital to its reputation with both the NHS and members.

    NHS England’s response to The Independent article is available here.

    Members have also written a letter in response to article, which is available here.

    For any further information, please contact John Murray on 07764 230 117.