NHS news review

John Wight: Public Sector Strike Heralds the Return of the Nasty Party

According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the effect of the chancellor’s latest spending proposals will be the further penalisation of the poor and more help for the better-off.

The decision not to increase tax credits will hurt the poorest in society, with the IFS predicting that the overall effect of the chancellor’s new proposals will be a reduction in the incomes of the bottom 30 percent income bracket and more children pushed into poverty.

Severe NHS cuts to nursing staff are threatening patient care.

A resignation email by Barts and the London orthopaedic consultant sparks inquiry. Consultant David Goodier wrote a shocking resignation email that recounts numerous cases of patient harm as a result of NHS cuts.

Care Quality Commission is criticised for failing to ensure quality at Stafford hospital and elsewhere.

http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/targets

The banks have run the global economy into the ground. Bankers, encouraged by the government, gambled recklessly with our money, and they lost. Spectacularly. Remember 2008? In the UK, the government decided it had to step in with a bail-out because these banks were ‘too big to fail’. According to the Bank of England, the cost of this bail-out now exceeds £1trillion. The result is that all high street banks- from Barclays to RBS- owe their existence to public financing.

What did we get for our billions? A banking system that serves ordinary people rather than the super-rich? No. Regretful bankers who refuse to reward themselves with massive bonuses? No. How about increased financial regulation to ensure this crisis couldn’t happen again? No. The government has done nothing to stop it being business as usual for banks.

What’s worse, the money that was given to the bankers is the money now being taken from the poorest in society, guaranteeing a rise in poverty, debt and inequality. Nearly £7 billion will be paid out in bank bonuses this year. This sum is more than the first wave of public spending cuts. We are not all in this together because it’s us who will pay if education, health, housing, libraries, woodland and much, much more, disappears from our lives.

Who’s telling us we must make these cuts? A government led by a cabinet of millionaires, in bed with the bankers, which is now pulling off an audacious con-trick in front of our eyes.

This is how their story goes. The crisis was caused by a bloated public sector. We binged away all our money on luxuries like healthcare and free education and council services, care for the elderly, for people with disabilities, school sports and free school meals for children living in poverty. Now the country is bankrupt and we must repent, detox, cut back. We have to relinquish our welfare state to appease the circling money men. Welcome to the Age of Austerity but don’t worry because we are all in this together.

We say – don’t believe their lies. This is their crisis, but there is no austerity for the bankers.

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.

John Wight: Public Sector Strike Heralds the Return of the Nasty Party

David Cameron’s dismissal of the huge and unprecedented national public sector strike on 30 November with his statement that it proved “a damp squib” may well come back to haunt him before the next election. It reflects a massive chasm of understanding within the coalition when it comes to the breadth and depth of anger that exists in the country over the brutal injustice that they are intent on inflicting on the vast majority in response to the greed and venality of a small minority.

Combined with the chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, Cameron’s flippant disregard for the quality of life of millions of people has ripped the mask off to reveal the nasty party in its full glory. In other words, this week has seen the Tory-led coalition unleash a full blown class war as it moves to protect the interests, privileges and wealth of their friends and backers in the boardrooms of the City as the economic crisis deepens across the eurozone and beyond.

According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the effect of the chancellor’s latest spending proposals will be the further penalisation of the poor and more help for the better-off.

The decision not to increase tax credits will hurt the poorest in society, with the IFS predicting that the overall effect of the chancellor’s new proposals will be a reduction in the incomes of the bottom 30 percent income bracket and more children pushed into poverty.

This continues a pattern of punishing the poor for an economic crisis not of their making, especially in light of last year’s spending review when a cap on housing benefit and swingeing cuts in disability allowances were introduced.

Midwife cuts: NHS £20 billion savings target is threatening frontline nursing care | Mail Online

  • Nurses and health care assistants make up 34 per cent of posts earmarked to be cut, finds RCN study

  • Baroness Masham says lack of leadership causing a ‘culture of indifference’ among nursing staff

The drive to find £20 billion of efficiency savings in the NHS is threatening patient care as medical staff struggle to cope with frontline cuts, it was claimed today.

Retired obstetrician Lord Patel told ministers there is now a shortfall of 4,500 to 5,000 midwives in the United Kingdom with half of the workforce aged between 45 and 55.

In a Lords debate on nursing, he said: ‘Recruitment of a younger workforce is extremely important.

‘There is a need to address the issue of a midwife shortage if we are going to deliver quality care to mothers and their children.’

Labour’s Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe added that cuts in nursing staff could have ‘disastrous consequences’ for patient care.

She said: ‘Frontline nursing care is being severely threatened by the £20 billion efficiency savings target set for the NHS.’

Analysis by the Royal College of Nursing suggested that across 41 NHS trusts in England, registered nurses and health care assistants accounted for 34 per cent of posts ‘earmarked to be cut’.

Lady Warwick said: ‘Despite Government promises that there would be no cuts to frontline NHS care, clinical services and staffing levels are being severely affected.’

Patients physically harmed by NHS cuts and bad management, says surgeon | Society | The Guardian

Resignation email by Barts and the London orthopaedic consultant sparks inquiry

An inquiry has been launched into a leading London hospital trust after a consultant claimed in a devastating resignation email that poor management and government cuts had resulted in infections, pain and starvation for dozens of patients.

David Goodier, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Barts and the London NHS Trust, wrote that patients with broken bones were being physically harmed as managers strove to hit waiting list targets and cut budgets.

Prof Norman Williams, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons who works part time at the hospital, has also written to the hospital’s medical council expressing his own concerns at an apparent “appalling deterioration” of surgical services. He warned that a failure to investigate could result in allegations of a cover-up similar to “Mid Staffs” – a reference to Mid Staffordshire hospital, where hundreds of patients died because of substandard care.

Now, the Royal College has been asked by the hospital to conduct an independent inquiry into Goodier’s claims and similar complaints from other members of staff.

The inquiry, uncovered by the Guardian and BBC London, will result in calls for the Department of Health and the Care Quality Commission to intervene. Goodier, 49, trained at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and has worked at the trust for most of his 31 years as a junior doctor, registrar and consultant.

In his email, sent to colleagues in September, he claims that he went “ballistic” at the hospital authorities a year ago because of the lack of commitment to trauma services.

In response, he claimed, a manager “made clear that the only priorities of the trust were 18-week waiting times and the financial state”.

“We are regularly out of kit, out of nurses, out of ODPs [operating department practitioners, who plan care] and always out of beds. We have become so used to the situation, it is no longer seen as a crisis, it is the norm.”

Those who suffer are not emergency cases, he wrote, but those with less urgent needs who are left while their injuries fester.

… [continues by detailing shocking cases of neglect and consequent harm to patients.]

NHS watchdog under fire for ‘putting patient care at risk’ | Society | The Guardian

Care Quality Commission attacked after inquiry into Stafford hospital, where poor care led to hundreds of patient deaths

The watchdog responsible for overseeing the NHS came under fire on multiple fronts, with counsel for the public inquiry into the Mid Staffs hospital scandal calling into question its leadership and “unhealthy organisational culture” while the National Audit Office said its failures had risked “unsafe or poor quality (patient) care”.

In a series of withering assessments of the Care Quality Commission, at the end of the 13-month public inquiry into Stafford hospital, where poor care led to hundreds of needless patient deaths between 2005 and 2008, Tom Kark QC said the final report should consider the question of “the leadership of the CQC”.

He added: “The evidence could suggest that the CQC had an unhealthy organisational culture, and that culture goes to the top.”

The inquiry also needed to see if the CQC’s board was open to “internal criticism” and whether that allowed it to improve as an organisation, Kark said.

The chief executive of the CQC, Cynthia Bower, paid more than £195,000 a year, was formerly chief executive of the NHS West Midlands’ strategic health authority, where she was responsible for supervising the performance of Stafford hospital during the time of the scandal.

Bower was criticised by her own staff this week. On Monday the inquiry heard extraordinary testimony from employees at the CQC who publicly condemned their own bosses, including Bower, for having “no clear strategy” and presiding over a “culture of bullying” at a regulator meant to discipline poorly-run hospitals such as Stafford, which she had also been responsible for in her previous job. Kark said it was “truly surprising” to hear from these whistleblowers.

Hours after he completed his summary, parliament’s spending body, the NAO, produced a report noting that a collapse in inspections and reviews last year – from more than 13,500 to a little over 7,300 – had “increased the risk that unsafe or poor quality care went undetected”.

It also highlighted the regulator’s “shortcomings” in failing to investigate abuse of residents at Winterbourne View care home – revealed by the BBC’s Panorama programme – where “timely action was not taken to deal with poor quality care”.

Related: Neglect and indignity: Stafford hospital inquiry damns NHS failings | Society | The Guardian

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