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KOSHH speaks out on CCG staff taking lavish trips

KOSHH speaks out on CCG staff taking lavish trips

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The Epsom Guardian today reported that staff from Surrey Downs CCG and North West Surrey CCG went on a luxury spa trip to Germany funded by a pharmaceutical company.

Click here to read the story online.

We were asked to comment and, in short, we smell a rat. Why would it be necessary to go to a luxury spa in Germany to discuss a constipation drug? We understand that the NHS needs to buy drugs from pharmaceutical companies. It would be impractical for the NHS to start manufacturing every single drug it requires, obviously. But we do not understand why Clinical Commissioning Group staff would accept lavish hospitality from these companies?

The CCG system is problematic. It is undemocratic. It is clearly part of a larger agenda to privatise the NHS. There are members of CCGs with vested interests in healthcare. How can anyone who stands to win an NHS contract be in a position to commission such contracts?

Now we have supposedly independent commissioners taking luxurious trips at the expense of pharmaceutical companies. How is this OK?

The Surrey Downs CCG Director of Commissioning and Strategy, James Blythe, defended the trip. He said that Cosmocol, the constipation drug discussed on the trip, had already been commissioned before the trip took place.

But Cosmocol is not the only drug in Stirling Anglian Pharmaceuticals' range. Click here to see what else they have on offer. They also sell an osteoporosis drug. And who's to say the company won't add more products in the future?

Surrey Healthwatch communications officer, Lauren Ter Kuile, said that nobody has been in touch to suggest there was anything untoward about this trip.

Lauren, now we know about this and we thank Chris Longhurst from the Epsom Guardian for informing us, we are indeed suggesting that there is plenty that is untoward about this trip.

Will this lead to a change in policy? Are more CCG members taking trips at the expense of private companies? The public deserves to know and deserves better.

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