People admitted to NHS hospitals for emergency treatment during the weekend are almost 10% more likely to die than those taken in during the week, according to a new report. While concerning, this is likely to be more complex than it first appears e.g. there are likely to be more DIY and sporting activities, more drinking etc at weekends.
There are suggestions that the government may reverse its intention to abolish the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people in care homes.
Public sector strike over pensions on Wednesday.
We start with some simple points of agreement. The brutal cuts to services about to be inflicted by the current Government are unnecessary, unfair and ideologically motivated. The coalition are particularly fond of two obscene catchphrases: ‘There is no alternative’ and ‘We’re all in this together.’ Both slogans are empty and untrue. The cuts will dismantle the welfare state, send inequality sky-rocketing and hit the poorest and most vulnerable hardest. A cabinet of millionaires have decided that libraries, healthcare, education funding, voluntary services, sports, the environment, the disabled, the poor and the elderly must pay the price for the recklessness of the rich.
Austerity-economics is the policy of the powerful. It cannot be stopped by asking nicely. We cannot wait until the next election. If we want to win the fight against these cuts (and we can win) then we must make it impossible to ignore our arguments and impossible to resist our demands. This means building a powerful grassroots mass movement, able to resist the Government cuts at every turn.
“There is no alternative.”
We are told that the only way to reduce the deficit is to cut public services. This is certainly not the case. There are alternatives, but the government chooses to ignore them, highlighting the fact that the cuts are based on ideology, not necessity.
- One alternative is to clamp down on tax avoidance by corporations and the rich and tax evasion, estimated to cost the state £95bn a year
- Another is to make the banks pay for free insurance provided to them by the taxpayer: a chief executive at the Bank of England put the cost of this subsidy at £100bn in a single year
“We are all in this together.”
- average pay of FTSE 100 directors has risen 55%,
- corporation tax has been cut,
- the government have not delivered on a manifesto pledge to clamp down on tax avoidance, instead cutting staff at HMRC,
- bank profits and bonuses are back in the many billions (last year banks paid out over £7bn in bonuses and just four banks made £24bn in profit),
- there has been no reform of the banks.
David Cameron himself has said that the cuts will change Britain’s “whole way of life”. Every aspect of what was fought for by generations seems under threat – from selling off the forests, privatising health provision, closing the libraries and swimming pools, to scrapping rural bus routes. What Cameron doesn’t say is that the cuts will also disproportionately hit the poor and vulnerable, with cuts to housing benefit, disability living allowance, the childcare element of working tax credits, EMA, the Every Child a Reader programme, Sure Start and the Future Jobs Fund to name a few.
The facts speak for themselves; we are not all in this together, we are paying for the folly of reckless bankers whilst the rich profit.
- Conservative election poster 2010
A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat (Conservative) coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
People admitted to NHS hospitals for emergency treatment during the weekend are almost 10% more likely to die than those taken in during the week, according to a new report.
Research by the Dr Foster Intelligence comparative healthcare website found that one in eight NHS trusts had higher than expected death rates on Saturdays and Sundays, the Daily Telegraph reported. Many hospitals have vastly fewer numbers of senior consultants on site outside normal office hours, and rely on junior doctors, and nurses, to treat critically ill patients, according to the paper.
The report, which is officially published today, was said to have found that at 12% of trusts, 18 in all, mortality rates at the weekend were higher than expected; it also said that in a “handful” of trusts, the mortality rate was found to have risen 20% or more at weekends.
Charities are cautiously optimistic that the government will not now take away the mobility component of disability living allowance from 78,000 residents funded by the NHS or councils as envisaged in the Welfare Reform Bill, which is currently being debated in the House of Lords.
It is thought the government will announce its U-turn next month, though it is uncertain precisely what concessions the government is prepared to make on the mobility component.
The news follows disability rights campaigner Lord Low’s inquiry into scrapping the mobility component, which called for the benefit to be retained.
The government is holding its own internal review into the proposal, which would come into force in 2013 with the replacement of DLA with a new benefit, personal independence payment.
Steve McIntosh, policy and public affairs officer at Carers UK, said: “There are a number of areas, which the government is looking at again around the Welfare Reform Bill. We would welcome any move that the government would make to continue the mobility component in residential care and hope this represents a positive sign the government is looking to reconsider the decision.”
The day of action is a rebuke to an elite that gives money to banks at the expense of the poor
Last week ministers tried to raise a scare about the alleged cost of the day of action. The fantasy figure they came up with was £500m. Even were it true, you would have to multiply it 248 times to get to the minimum calculation of the sum taxpayers have lost bailing out the banks: £124bn. That is why the “all in it together” rhetoric has attracted such ridicule. And there is no respect in which it is less true than pension provision. Cabinet members Francis Maude and Eric Pickles can look forward to more than £43,000 a year in retirement at the taxpayers’ expense – about £37,000 a year more than the dinner ladies they are now asking to pay more to get less. For those striking it is a very different picture. They are victims of the elite policy of taking money from the taxpayer to give it to the bankers and then plugging the budget gap at the expense of some of the poorest.
Let me offer a few examples from members of Unite. A worker for the Ministry of Defence with 20 years of public service will have to start paying £870 extra a year for his pension, which is to be cut by 15%. Graeme, a firefighter from the north-east, will have to find an additional £79 a month not just until he is 60, as hitherto, but until he is 67. “Do you want a 67-year-old fireman coming to your rescue? Me neither,” he says.
Carole, working for a local authority in Lincolnshire, will be on strike because “my apparently gold-plated pension will be £6,000 per year”. She warns that if the government makes the scheme unaffordable, “people will walk away from it and it will fold”.