Twitter forced to add information to Starmer’s misleading NHS/local election claim

Original article republished from the Skwawkbox for non-commercial use.

Not for the first time, Starmer and Labour claim local elections will affect national policies

Keir Starmer has suffered the indignity of corrective action by Twitter after he posted a claim that votes in the local elections next month will affect the NHS.

Starmer claimed that voting for Labour would lead to ‘an NHS that treats patients on time again’ – but of course, local government does not decide NHS policy, capacity or funding:

Starmer, of course, has already committed to increasing privatisation – the key cause of the NHS’s problems – in the NHS. He and his Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting have both accepted large donations from private health investors and Starmer employed a private health lobbyist in his team soon after becoming Labour leader – which he achieved through a series of promises that were all binned and broken after he took over.

Starmer has defended Labour’s recent appalling campaign messages. Now a social media platform has had to attach information to his campaign claim to reduce the extent to which it misleads voters. The scandal comes on the same day news emerged that Starmer accepted corporate hospitality from a firm that had to pay out almost £11 million after installing Grenfell-like flammable cladding to an apartment block.

Original article republished from the Skwawkbox for non-commercial use.

Continue ReadingTwitter forced to add information to Starmer’s misleading NHS/local election claim

More than two-thirds of public think NHS is underfunded, including over half of Tory voters, poll finds–thirds-of-public-think-nhs-is-underfunded-including-over-half-of-tory-voters-poll-finds

NHS sign

MORE than two-thirds of Brits think the NHS in underfunded, including a majority of Tory voters, a damning new poll published today reveals.

The Opinium survey — commissioned by Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) — shows 67 per cent of all voters and 58 per cent of Conservative supporters want austerity-hit health services to receive more cash.

Nearly seven in 10 of the 2,000 adults consulted think the NHS is performing badly, with 55 per cent blaming Downing Street for the deterioration in services, which have also been hit by national strikes since December over plummeting take-home pay and worsening patient safety.

Close to three-quarters — 72 per cent — want the health service to be a “fully or mostly public service,” the poll also shows.

It came ahead of what is expected to be a massive national demonstration in central London on Saturday, when the more than 50 organisations involved in the KONP-founded SOS NHS campaign will gather to demand better.–thirds-of-public-think-nhs-is-underfunded-including-over-half-of-tory-voters-poll-finds

Continue ReadingMore than two-thirds of public think NHS is underfunded, including over half of Tory voters, poll finds

Labour bans CLPs from links with string of human rights/peace/health groups incl PSC, JVL, Corbyn’s PJP

Original article and image republished from The Swawkbox for non-Commerical use.

Email to CLPs warns them that any existing affiliations with groups campaigning for abortion rights, minority human rights, disarmament and a fully public NHS are cancelled

Image thanks to The Skwawkbox

The Labour party has banned local parties (CLPs) from affiliating with an array of groups supporting the human rights of ethnic minorities or campaigning for a public NHS, in yet another Stalinist move to limit members’ freedom of expression.

And local parties are being notified by email that any affiliations they already have in place are unilaterally cancelled – and that if a right-wing group is affiliated with the party nationally, they have no say over whether that group affiliates with them locally.

One such email reads:

Organisations that are nationally affiliated to the party are eligible to affiliate to any CLP provided they pay the appropriate fee and the CLP cannot debate or decide on their affiliations.

…The following affiliations are therefore no longer valid and the CLP may not renew its affiliation without approval from the NEC. To do so would breach party rules. These are:

Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Labour Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Stop the War Coalition, Republic, London Irish Abortion Rights Campaign, Jewish Voice for Labour, Somalis for Labour, Sikhs for Labour, All African Women’s Group, Health Campaigns Together, The Campaign against Climate Change Trades Union, Peace & Justice Project.

Yes, you read that right: a group campaigning for peace, human rights, women’s rights, disarmament and to protect the environment are not welcome in Keir Starmer’s Labour party and party member groups risk disciplinary action if they try to associate with them.

The news should come as no surprise in Starmer’s racist, pro-privatisation, pro-apartheid party where his promises to renationalise the NHS and public utilitiesprotect the climate and empower member rights and democracy were binned almost the instant he got his backside into Corbyn’s office and his claim to be on the side of domestic violence victims masks a shameless cover-up of abuse of them.

And of course, given recent appalling comments by the leadership and its agents, Jews who believe in the human rights of Palestinians are particularly unwelcome – and indeed are being disproportionately targeted by the regime in a campaign of blatant (but ignored by the media) antisemitism and discrimination.

Original article and image republished from The Swawkbox for non-Commerical use.

Continue ReadingLabour bans CLPs from links with string of human rights/peace/health groups incl PSC, JVL, Corbyn’s PJP

Revealed: Taskforce to tackle NHS backlog is stuffed with private health CEOs

Original article republished from Open Democracy under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.

Lobbyists for private health corporations were among those tasked with shaping proposals for NHS recovery plan

Adam Bychawski 19 January 2023, 3.31pm

Sunak met with the CEOs of several UK private health corporations in Number 10 in December.
| No 10 Downing Street

Rishi Sunak hosted a meeting with seven bosses from the UK’s biggest private health companies to discuss how to tackle the NHS backlog, openDemocracy can reveal.

Campaigners have raised concerns that the close involvement of private healthcare corporations in the government’s response to the NHS crisis will benefit shareholders at the expense of public investment.

The government announced the creation of the Elective Recovery Taskforce in December to provide advice on how to “turbocharge NHS recovery from the pandemic, reduce waiting times for patients and eliminate waits for routine care of over a year by 2025”.

At the time, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) refused to give openDemocracy details of the group’s members, or say who had attended its launch at Number 10 led by the PM and health secretary Steve Barclay in December.

A guestlist for the event, obtained by openDemocracy through a Freedom of Information request, reveals that half a dozen CEOs from private health firms were in attendance. 

Guests included the chief execs of the UK’s two largest private hospital operators: Paolo Pieri, the chief exec of Circle Health Group, and Justin Ash, who heads up Spire Healthcare. Also present was Jim Easton, the chief executive of Practice Plus Group, the NHS’s top private healthcare provider.

They were joined by David Hare, the chief executive of Independent Healthcare Provider Network, a lobby group that represents for-profit and not-for-profit private health organisations including Bupa and HCA, one of the biggest healthcare facility companies in the US.

Related story


Revealed: Conservatives took more than £800,000 from private health firms

Private health tycoons have wined and dined senior ministers while cashing in on NHS contracts

The private healthcare executives, which also included CEOs from Horder Healthcare, Newmedica, InHealth and Medefer, outnumbered the five NHS England directors invited to the event.

DHSC said it could not provide openDemocracy with minutes from the meeting because none were taken, and refused to share any papers handed out to attendees.

Separately, the government quietly published a list of members of the Elective Recovery Taskforce on Monday. The 16-person group includes DHSC ministers, six NHS bosses, and Hare.

Other members include Bill Morgan, a private healthcare lobbyist whose past clients included Virgin Care, who was appointed a Number 10 adviser in November, and Paul Manning, an NHS consultant surgeon who is also chief medical officer for Circle Healthcare.

The government said the role of the task force would be to “shape proposals for how the healthcare system can make use of all resources at its disposal, further tackling the backlog caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”. It will conclude its work in March.

Last week, the prime minister said he had signed up to an NHS GP after the Guardian reported that he had registered with a private clinic in west London that charges £250 for a consultation.

The British Medical Association warned last year that the government’s NHS recovery plan would significantly increase the outsourcing of services to private providers and that it “threatens the clinical and financial viability and sustainability of the NHS”.

Tony O’Sullivan, a retired consultant paediatrician and co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public, told openDemocracy: “The head parasites are at the table to maximise future extraction of NHS funds.”

He added: “This is an important disclosure extracted from the government proving the direction of travel – to continue disinvesting in the NHS and increase its enforced dependence on private health care.

“The private sector was bailed out during Covid, has a lucrative four-year £10bn deal ongoing and is also in a position to earn massive profits from patients forced to go privately to avoid NHS queues of 7.2 million.”

openDemocracy has no paywall and relies on the backing of thousands of our readers to make stories like this freely available to everyone. You can support our work by making a donation here.

Original article republished from Open Democracy under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.

Continue ReadingRevealed: Taskforce to tackle NHS backlog is stuffed with private health CEOs

Revealed: Conservatives took more than £800,000 from private health firms

Original article republished from Open Democracy

Private health tycoons have wined and dined senior ministers while cashing in on NHS contracts

Martin Williams

12 January 2023, 11.02pm

Private health firms have donated more than £800,000 to the Conservative Party over the past ten years, openDemocracy can reveal.

This includes companies run by wealthy tycoons who have wined and dined former prime ministers Boris Johnson and Theresa May and other senior ministers.

NHS sign
Rishi Sunak’s party has accepted huge donations from private health firms.

The finding comes as the government hands out more NHS contracts to the private sector in a bid to tackle the backlog in the health service.

The British Medical Association has warned that relying on the private sector threatens the “sustainability of the NHS”, which has suffered from “a decade of underinvestment”.

Now, an investigation by openDemocracy reveals how Rishi Sunak’s party has received at least £800,000 from more than 35 private health and social care businesses. The true figure could be even higher because donors do not have to declare their field of work, meaning some may have flown under the radar.

And this is on top of huge personal donations from some of the business moguls behind these private healthcare companies.

Health profits

The Conservative Friends of the NHS is a group of Tory-voting doctors and health professionals who claim to support the NHS. The group’s president is health minister Maria Caufield and it has hosted stalls at the Conservative Party’s annual conference.

But the organisation’s chairman and founder, Dr Ashraf Chohan, has not worked for the NHS for 23 years, according to his LinkedIn profile, and himself has a private GP and private health insurance.

Chohan is a private health tycoon who set up a portfolio of medical and nursing businesses in London. One of his firms, West End Medical Practice Limited, has donated more than £198,000 to the Tories since 2019 – making it one of the sector’s biggest political donors.

As chair of the Conservative Friends of the NHS, Chohan has met with senior politicians, including Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Nadhim Zahawi. Before Christmas, in the midst of the ongoing NHS crisis, he also attended a “meaningful” meeting at Number 10.

Despite the group’s claim to support the NHS, it has repeatedly championed a two-tier health system on Twitter, saying the private sector “should be applauded for reducing demand for the NHS”. In other tweets it has advocated health insurance and argued that “all high taxpayers must have [private health] insurance by 2025”.

Experts say reliance on private health firms is creating a system in which poorer people who cannot afford to go private are “left to put up or shut up”.

NHS outsourcing to the private sector has also been linked to higher mortality rates. And hospitals that use private cleaning companies have been linked with higher rates of the MRSA superbug.

Image reads Accident & Emergency, A & E
NHS outsourcing to the private sector has been linked to higher mortality rates.

During the pandemic, Chohan – who previously donated to Labour before switching – came under scrutiny over two private firms he ran with his son that sold Covid tests. Reports said customers were charged between £80-£200 for the PCR tests, but many complained about lost samples and refused refunds.

Another Conservative Party donor is Genix Healthcare Ltd, which is part of a group of private dental clinics that makes the “majority” of its £6.6m income from NHS contracts.

The company was set up in response to the “severe shortage of NHS dentists” and says it aims to become the “dental corporate of choice for the NHS”.

Genix Healthcare has bankrolled the Tories with donations worth more than £158,000 since 2015, including cash and sponsorships.

Its owner, Mustafa Mohammed, who has posed for photos with Johnson and May and boasted about owning a Rolls-Royce and a Mercedes S-Class, has also given almost £225,000 of his own money to the party.

This includes a £20,000 donation to Jeremy Hunt in 2019, the year after he resigned as health secretary.

As one of the party’s top donors, Mohammed has been part of an elite Tory dining club called the Leader’s Group, which enjoys regular access to the prime minister and senior government figures.

Care homes and GPs

The majority of Tory donations from the private health sector have come since the pandemic began in 2020.

One such donor, Doctor Care Anywhere Group PLC, has given the party more than £37,000 in the past two years – and reportedly spent £1,000 on a ticket for government minister Paul Scully to watch a cricket match at Lord’s.

The company, which charges up to £60 for a single telephone call with a GP, raked in £25m revenue in the 2021 financial year.

Yet its records from last year say that a “severe shortage of GPs in the UK” has meant the firm’s “clinician capacity is currently insufficient to meet patient demand”. Bosses said they would not try to incentivise staff with additional pay rises because this would impact on Doctor Care Anywhere’s “cash generation”.

The Conservatives also accepted £28,000 worth of donations from Advinia Health Care Limited, which operates a network of 36 care homes across the UK.

The company has earned huge amounts of public money and boasted almost £96m in turnover in its latest financial accounts. From this, Advinia took more than £1.8m of pre-tax profits.

“Approximately 80% of group revenues came from state-funded Local Authorities and CCGs [clinical commissioning groups],” the company’s 2021 report says, adding that the taxpayer money “provide[s] the group steady, secure and timely cash inflows”.

But despite its healthy finances, Advinia’s founder and chairman, Dr Sanjeev Kanoria, recently called on Sunak to increase the government’s financial support to private care homes.

The Tories continued to accept donations from Advinia Health Care even after questions were raised about its finances. In 2019, the Guardian reported that the company had been placed under investigation by regulators over concerns about its cash flow and financial management. It was also claimed that bosses had refused to agree to an independent audit of its finances.

The true owners of Advinia Health Care remain unknown, thanks to the company’s financial structure. Records say the ultimate controlling party is the ‘Paraman Trust Settlement’, but there is no explanation of what this is, where it is located, or who is behind it. There is no trace of the Paraman Trust Settlement on the UK’s official company registry and little mention of it anywhere online.

Money donated by companies like Advinia Health Care comes on top extra cash that has been personally given by wealthy business tycoons in the health sector.

They include Dolar Popat, who has donated more than £188,000 in the past decade. Popat used to run a care home business and was appointed to the House of Lords in 2010.

John Nash is another former private healthcare tycoon who has donated to the Conservatives and been made a peer. Nash is the former chairman of Care UK, which operates 150 residential homes for elderly people.

Another firm, Babylon Healthcare, which provides GP consultations over the phone, also came under the spotlight recently amid reports that shareholders had donated to the former health secretary, Matt Hancock.

Original article republished from Open Democracy

Whatever you’re interested in, there’s a free openDemocracy newsletter for you. HAVE A LOOK

Continue ReadingRevealed: Conservatives took more than £800,000 from private health firms