NHS news

Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

British Medical Association Welcomes Government Concessions On NHS Competition

The BMA has welcomed a commitment from the government that it will not allow healthcare providers to compete for NHS contracts on the basis of price.

The government has laid amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill for England, changing the sections which would have made it possible for providers to bid for contracts at a price below the standard NHS tariff. The changes will also prevent the possibility of differential pricing between NHS and private providers.

‘Privatisation’ fears for NHS – Community – Pontefract Express

I AM a retired general practitioner having worked in Airedale for over 25 years.

The coalition government’s plan for the NHS could spell disaster for our local health services. The health and social care bill is going through parliament at the moment and its policies represent the biggest change to the NHS since it was founded in 1948. These changes will affect every patient in Pontefract and Castleford.

Our hospitals will be made into independent businesses and will be free to treat private patients possibly first and taking up precious beds.

BBC News – Isle of Wight to cut 600 NHS jobs

About 600 NHS Isle of Wight jobs out of a workforce of 3,000 (20%) could be lost over the next four years.

Health managers said they needed to make savings of up to £14m a year in order to safeguard essential services.

In a statement NHS Isle of Wight said future redundancies could not be ruled out if savings targets cannot be met through cost saving measures.

HealthInvestor – Article: NHS chief denies privatisation aim

Privatisation is not the motive behind the planned reforms of the NHS, the health service’s chief executive has said.

Speaking to GP magazine, Sir David Nicholson said: “’I wouldn’t want to be part of something that privatises the NHS.”

Instead, he suggested that the Health and Social Care Bill aims to “open up doors that haven’t been opened up before” in a bid to improve the quality of services.

NHS reform: regulation is ‘slack’ – Channel 4 News

Doctors are worried that NHS reforms do not include enough checks and balances to make sure patients are getting the best service, Channel 4 News understands.

The British Medical Association Council Chairman Hamish Meldrum told Channel 4 News: “It’s a real concern. We do support the idea of doctors getting more involved but not on an unmonitored basis. We do worry that some of the governance and oversight provisions in the bill are a bit slack.

“We had our issues with Primary Care Trusts [the bodies which currently commission care], but at least they were a local oversight who could step in if there were problems.”

Liberal Democrat rebels to challenge Clegg over ‘damaging’ NHS reforms | Society | The Guardian

Nick Clegg is facing possible defeat over the government’s NHS changes at his spring party conference next weekend when a heavyweight group of Liberal Democrat figures table an amendment opposing the “damaging and unjustified market-based approach”.

Evan Harris, a doctor and former MP and vice-chair of the party’s ruling federal policy committee, will table the amendment, supported by the former cabinet minister Lady Williams, registering their concerns that the current legislation will lead to a widening of UK health inequalities if left unchecked.

The government is proposing to give GPs control of more than 80% of the £100bn NHS budget at the same time as driving through efficiency savings of £20bn. The package includes the abolition of primary care trusts.

Cuts affect vital community mental health supporting Epsom and Ewell (From Your Local Guardian)

The workforce providing vital NHS mental health care services in Epsom and Ewell will be slashed by half.

Fifteen out of 30 community support roles in Epsom and Ewell will go as part of a radical shake-up, which will see Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS trust target services for those with the most severe or complex illnesses.

This is in addition to 30 posts already vacant across Surrey. It is part of a wider plan to save the trust £1.5m.

Patients at risk as NHS orders ‘ghost list’ purge | Mail Online

Thousands of patients face being removed from GP practices if they have not seen their doctor for six months.

After this time, if they fail to respond to two warning letters, their names will be removed from the surgery register.

NHS managers say they want to ensure lists are accurate and up to date.

But GPs claim many patients will be struck off without reason and then forced to re-register when they need to see a doctor.

CROWDS of doctors, nurses and trade unionists marched through Canterbury city centre on Saturday to protest about proposed cuts to the NHS.

CROWDS of doctors, nurses and trade unionists marched through Canterbury city centre on Saturday to protest about proposed cuts to the NHS.

Almost 100 people with banners and megaphones, including members campaign group Stop The Cuts, mingled among shoppers and chanted: “No ifs, no buts, no NHS cuts.”

Chris Weller, chairman of Stop The Cuts, warned “Local services are going to be devastated. In Kent, nine old peoples’ homes are shutting and 1,500 jobs are to be lost at the county council.

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NHS news

Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

GPs used NHS commissioning surplus to fund basic practice costs and alternative medicine | News | Nursing Times

GPs have been able to boost their take-home pay by using commissioning funds rather than their general contractors’ income to buy basic medical equipment and fund practice refurbishments, an investigation by Nursing Times’ sister title has revealed.

Health Service Journal’s analysis shows almost £1m of commissioning surpluses generated through practice based commissioning were spent on basic general practice kit such as stethoscopes, otoscopes and waiting room chairs.

Surpluses were also spent on controversial complementary therapies, including aromatherapy and homeopathy.

Level of concern over NHS ‘reforms’ is becoming deafening, says Unite

The crescendo of concern over the ill-judged NHS reforms is becoming deafening, Unite, the largest union in the country, said today (Thursday 3 March).

Unite was commenting as the think tank, the Kings Fund, said that government plans to give more power over NHS decision making in England to GPs could make hospital reform difficult, and an online survey for the British Medical Association (BMA) suggested that the vast majority of doctors are not convinced that potential benefits of the government’s plans for the NHS in England outweigh the risks.

Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey, said: ”The evidence is mounting at an alarming rate from respected health organisations that the so-called reforms outlined in the Health and Social Care bill are ill-judged and badly thought out.

New Statesman – The coalition’s NHS U-turn

Two weeks ago, when I listed the coalition’s ten biggest U-turns, I suggested that the NHS was next in line. “The smart money is on the government watering down its reforms,” I wrote.

Sure enough, Andrew Lansley has announced a major U-turn over NHS price competition. The Health Secretary is planning to amend his own bill to prevent providers from charging a maximum, as opposed to a fixed, price for treatment. In other words, the private sector will not be handed free rein to offer temporary loss leaders and undercut the NHS.

The NHS Operating Framework, published in December, stated that hospitals would be free to offer services to commissioners “at less than the published mandatory tariff price”. But Lansley now tells the Financial Times: “We want the tariff to be a nationally regulated price, not a starting point for price competition. These amendments will put our intentions beyond doubt.”

It takes some chutzpah for him to claim that he never wanted to introduce price competition in the first place, but the U-turn should be welcomed all the same. As studies by the LSE and Imperial have shown, the limited experiment with price competition during the Major government led to a decline in standards of care.

UNISON Press | Press Releases Front Page

Commenting on Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley’s u-turn on introducing price competition into the NHS, Karen Jennings, Head of Health for UNISON said:

“In a remarkable u-turn Andrew Lansley has publically stated that price competition is not now a part of the Government’s plans for the NHS – a victory for common sense.

“UNISON wants this promise delivered, by making sure that NHS guidance reflects the policy change. The Government should have the operating framework amended to make it clear that there should be no price competition.

NHS reform could ‘destroy patient-doctor trust’ – Channel 4 News

A Channel 4 News investigation on Wednesday revealed that the NHS reforms could see GPs making decisions based on profit rather than the clinical needs of the patient.

While the Department of Health stressed that the potential conflict of interests would be managed, patient groups told Channel 4 News their concerns that this may not be the case.

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, told Channel 4 News: “When the Government first announced its reform plan my first comment was on my concerns that there would be a conflict of interest. Now it is clear that those concerns were justified.

Out of hours care ”cut” in 25 per cent of trusts – Public Service

Even before the NHS has to achieve £20bn of savings, around 25 per cent of trusts are said to have cut their out of hours care services in their 2010/2011 budgets.

According to reports, roughly 20 of England’s 152 primary care trusts have cut a total of £4m off the money they pay out for evening and weekend services provided by GPs. In other trusts spending in this area went up by £3.6m.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients’ Association, said the cuts could affect the level of care provided by GPs.

CAMPAIGNERS are stepping up opposition to controversial plans to ‘privatise’ NHS healthcare provision in Plymouth.

CAMPAIGNERS are stepping up opposition to controversial plans to ‘privatise’ NHS healthcare provision in Plymouth.

Unison is urging people to support its Say No to Social Enterprise campaign.

The union is holding a meeting at Stonehouse Creek on March 8 to highlight issues and raise awareness of the changes under way.

600 face axe from hospital

MORE than 600 health jobs are set to be axed as bosses at NHS Isle of Wight struggle to plug a massive £40 million black hole in their finances brought about by government spending cuts.
The jobs bombshell was dropped by NHS Isle of Wight chief executive, Kevin Flynn.
Speaking exclusively to the County Press, he revealed the equivalent of between 150 and 170 posts a year are set to go over the next four years as heath chiefs fight to bring down costs.

Fears for patient care as NHS reforms proposed – Today’s News – News – JournalLive

ALMOST 90% of doctors in the North East think increasing competition in the NHS will lead to services being fragmented, a new poll has revealed.

Some 62% believe competition between providers, including NHS and private companies, will reduce the quality of patient care, while 56% think the Government’s reforms mean they will spend less time with patients.

The survey was carried out in January, with 400 North East BMA members completing it.

Support for cut-threat hospice gathers pace – Health – lep.co.uk

Hospices today spoke out in a defiant united front against NHS cuts to funding.

It follows the Evening Post’s revelations that St Catherine’s Hospice in Lostock Hall, near Preston, is facing a cut in funding from primary care trust NHS Central Lancashire.

St Catherine’s Hospice, which provides a variety of services for seriously ill patients and their families, raises the bulk of the £4.6m a year it needs through public donations and fundraising.

The PCT stumps up 29%, £1.3m, but is now proposing to cut this by 1.5% compared to last year’s budget – a reduction in funding of about £19,500.

Lansley agrees to change Health Bill to prevent price competition | GP online

Health secretary Andrew Lansley has agreed to change the sections of the Health and Social Care Bill which would make it possible for providers to bid for contracts at a price below the standard NHS tariff.

He said the amendments will ‘put our intentions beyond doubt, sort out the confusion which we inherited from Labour, and put an end to the scaremongering we have seen.’ The DoH’s plans ‘have always been about competition on quality, not on price,’ he said.

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said the health secretary has ‘not only listened to doctors’ views, but also acted on them.’

‘Price competition has been linked with lower quality and was of huge concern to the BMA and many others. There is of course still a long way to go to address all the concerns doctors have about the Bill, such as Monitor’s powers to enforce competition. We will continue to press for further improvements and hope the government will continue to listen.’

Petition against ward closure is handed in to NHS – 100 in 100 Apprenticeship campaign – The News

A 10,000-signature petition against the closure of an end-of-life care ward has been delivered to hospital bosses.

Campaigner Will Purvis, from the Save G5 Campaign Group, handed over five folders’ worth of signatures to Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust board members during a board meeting at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, yesterday.

He said: ‘It was always the intention to give the petition to the hospital trust board.

‘I hope that they will take note of it and the 10,000 people who signed it.

NHS Short Of Specialist Staff Despite Cuts, Says Medical Recruiter, UK

Despite major cuts to front line services in the NHS, the health service is still short of specialist medical staff. That’s the message from the new white paper on the medical employment market from Your World Recruitment, who also warns that the government must be careful not to store up problems for the future of the NHS.

The report reveals that although cuts across the board in the healthcare sector have led to a decline in medical jobs across the UK, at the same time there are still a number of opportunities out there, especially for GPs, nurses and other medical experts with very specialist skills. These skill shortages include cochlear implant specialists within audiology, paediatric occupational therapists and MRI / ultrasound experts within radiology. Although pay levels have frozen for many, certain jobs or hospitals that are struggling to find talent are driving up remuneration to attract the right people.

The white paper also tells of the increasing number of locum healthcare staff moving into permanent positions, mainly due to the increased job security in what is a challenging time for the public sector. With less jobs, longer waiting lists and less locums to fill temporary positions when hospitals get busy, Your World is warning that investment in staff needs to continue in order to avoid future problems and staff shortages.

NHS prescription charges to rise by 20p | Society | guardian.co.uk

The cost of prescriptions in England will rise to £7.40 per item from £7.20, the government has announced.

The move will come as a blow to campaigners, including the British Medical Association (BMA), who have been calling for charges to be scrapped altogether.

The Department of Health has also announced that dental charges will rise.

England is the only part of the UK still charging for prescriptions. They are free in Wales and Northern Ireland and will be free in Scotland from 1 April.

GPs say reforms will damage doctor-patient relationship, BMA poll finds | GP online

The wide-ranging poll highlights a number of serious concerns among GPs about the reforms, particularly around the impact of GP commissioning on patient care and the drive to increase competition in the NHS.

The BMA said it shows that the government can no longer claim widespread support among doctors for the reforms. It urged the government to act on the concerns raised by doctors.

The survey, which was carried out by Ipsos MORI, showed 72% think GP commissioning will damage the GP-patient relationship.

Cuts blamed as Lib Dems slump to sixth in vote | Reuters

(Reuters) – The Liberal Democrats said on Friday they were paying the price for a tough economic stance after plunging to sixth place in a northern election.

The Lib Dems had come second in May’s general election in the former mining town of Barnsley, just ahead of the Conservatives in a seat long held by Labour.

However, this time they came a humiliating sixth, behind the anti-EU UKIP, who pushed the Conservatives into third, the far-right BNP and an independent. Labour won comfortably despite their former MP being jailed for fiddling his expenses.

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Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

Doctors against NHS reforms – politics.co.uk

Over half of doctors oppose the government’s NHS reforms, according to a survey from the British Medical Association (BMA).

Research compiled by Ipsos Mori found that 89% of doctors thought the measures would lead to a fragmentation of services, while 65% said the quality of patient care would be reduced as a result.

A further two-thirds of doctors said they believed the reforms would increase health inequalities.

Nearly 90pc of doctors fearful of Government’s NHS changes – Top stories – Yorkshire Post

The vast majority of doctors fear the risks of controversial NHS reform plans outweigh the potential benefits, a poll reveals today.

The survey of 1,600 doctors found 89 per cent believed increased competition would fragment services and two-thirds said it would reduce the quality of patient care.

Two-thirds also said giving control of £80bn in NHS spending to GPs would increase health inequalities and 60 per cent feared they would spend less time with patients.

Patients at risk as health trusts trim out-of-hours care – Telegraph

The cutbacks have prompted warnings that services will suffer and patients put at risk.

At least 20 trusts have reduced their budgets for doctors to visit patients in the evenings and at weekends by a total of £4million.

The cuts in after-hours budgets led to warnings of a repeat of the case of Daniel Ubani, the incompetent German locum who killed a Cambridgeshire man with a morphine overdose in 2008.

Doctors think reforms will reduce NHS quality

Nearly nine out of ten doctors think increasing competition in the NHS will lead to services being fragmented, according to a poll.

Some 65 per cent believe competition between providers, including NHS and private companies, will reduce the quality of patient care, while 61 per cent think the Government’s reforms mean they will spend less time with patients.

Most doctors believe NHS reforms will lead to increased competition but only one in five think they will improve care.

New Statesman – The NHS is Britain’s beating heart – don’t let it flatline

I have hazy memories of my parents getting their first telephone. It was the late 1960s, and telecommunications was a public service. There was a waiting list but, in time, we got to the head of the queue. An engineer from the General Post Office installed the necessary equipment and we were connected – or at least, connected any time our neighbours weren’t using their phone: ours was a “party line”. I don’t recall any grumbles about the tortuousness of the process, nor about having to share with the people next door. The sense of wonder at what was now possible must have mitigated any frustration. It was marvellous to be able to speak to relatives and friends from the comfort of home, without having to trudge to the phone box.

The National Health Service was viewed in much the same way. My father developed cancer when I was two years old. He was swiftly cured but irrevocably damaged, and he struggled thereafter with chronic ill-health. His illnesses had knock-on effects on various members of our family, myself included. Between us we saw a lot of the NHS. At the centre of it (to my eyes) was our GP, a good-hearted man with half-moon glasses and a somewhat distant manner. When he needed expert assistance, a referral would be made. Waiting times were sometimes long but were accepted with stoicism: the professionals we eventually saw did their best. Looking back, I recognise the profound comfort in those experiences for my parents, who had grown up knowing what medical care could be like – and its financial implications – before the advent of the NHS. No matter how threatening or scary things got, no matter what time of day or night, this health service was there to help and asked nothing in return.

In the mid-1980s, I entered medical school in Nottingham. Like most aspiring doctors, I knew what I was going to be: a public servant, working extremely long and often antisocial hours, the whole arduous endeavour sustained by a powerful sense of doing something important and worthwhile. I would be joining an unquestionable force for good, grouped under the fluttering blue-and-white standard of the NHS.

Continue ReadingNHS news

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Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

Doctors Think NHS Reforms Bring More Risks Than Benefits, With High Levels Of Concern About Increased Competition, Shows Ipsos MORI Survey For BMA, UK

The vast majority of doctors are not convinced that potential benefits of the government’s plans for the NHS in England outweigh the risks, an online survey for the BMA suggests today (Thursday 3 March 2011). An Ipsos MORI survey of BMA members, carried out in January this year, reveals a range of views, but widespread concern about plans to increase competition, even among the minority of doctors who are generally supportive of the changes.

The statements garnering the highest levels of agreement among the 1,645 respondents are:

* Increased competition in the NHS will lead to a fragmentation of services (89% agree)
* Increased competition in the NHS will reduce the quality of patient care (65% agree)
* The move for all NHS providers to become, or be part of, foundation trusts will damage NHS values (66% agree)
* The proposed system of clinician-led commissioning will increase health inequalities (66% agree)

Doctors fear private sector will damage NHS | Healthcare Network | Guardian Professional

Research involving 1,645 BMA members polled about the government’s health and social care bill has found that 89% think increased competition will lead to fragmentation of services, while 66% believe that the move for all NHS acute providers to reside within foundation trusts will damage NHS values.

The poll, conducted online in January by Ipsos Mori, also shows that nearly 60% of those surveyed think health secretary Andrew Lansley’s plans will have a negative impact on their personal role within the NHS, with 31% saying it will be a major one and 27% saying it will be minor. A specific concern, feared by a majority of those polled, is that the reforms will mean they spend less time with patients – something opposed by almost all those questioned.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of council at the BMA, said that the results show that the government “can no longer claim widespread support among doctors”.

Andreas Whittam Smith: Wholesale privatisation is not what people voted for – Andreas Whittam Smith, Commentators – The Independent

A White Paper with a simple title that disguises a development of huge significance is due any day now. It will be called “Open Public Services”. In reality it is a plan to privatise many government functions. And the question that arises is this: were the political parties that comprise the Coalition Government given a mandate to make such dramatic changes at the general election held only 10 months ago?

The key part of the legislation that the White Paper foreshadows would be the establishment of a presumption that public services should be open to a range of providers competing to offer a better service. In other words, any supplier that could show the Government that it could do a better job than the state would get the business. Only national security and the judiciary would be exempt from the possibility of privatisation.

Would it work like this? “Dear Health Minister. We are a group of brain surgeons that have secured funding for constructing a state-of-the art neurological hospital in outer London. We would like to take over all neurological procedures from the NHS in South-east England. Yours etc.”

Doctors blast David Cameron’s ‘flawed’ NHS reforms – mirror.co.uk

GPs have branded the Tory-led Government’s health reforms as “flawed” and damaging to patients.

Almost 90% believe the changes will fragment the NHS and 65% think it will harm service quality.

Almost nine out of 10 told a British Medical Association poll the reforms will lead to greater competition. Just 21% thought this would benefit patients. A further 61% believe they will have less time for the sick because of increased bureaucracy.

One in four NHS trusts slash out-of-hours care budgets | Mail Online

A quarter of health trusts have slashed spending on GP out-of-hours care, raising fears that patient safety is being put at risk.

Doctors said the cuts almost certainly mean managers are reducing the number of GPs employed to work nights or weekends.

Trusts are also likely to be more inclined to use cheaper, foreign locums rather than experienced GPs from the local area who often demand higher pay.

UNISON Press | Press Releases Front Page

Commenting on Monitor’s warning to Tameside NHS Trust over its spending, after the regulator found the Trust to be in “significant breach” of its terms, Paul Foley, regional officer for the North West, said:

“Tameside Trust’s debt proves how hard the NHS is being hit by the Government’s financial squeeze. Bankruptcy is a real risk because of the Government’s savage health reforms.

“Tameside is one of the most deprived areas in the UK and has huge health problems. Monitor is only interested in Trusts making financial savings and fails to recognise the difficulties such communities suffer.

Privateers to get hold of GPs’ budget / Britain / Home – Morning Star

The real danger of NHS privatisation was laid bare today after plans emerged to set up a private company that would take control of GPs’ commissioning budget.

Private health firm IHP has outlined proposals for a consortium’s NHS commissioning budget to be handed over to a private company in which GPs would own a 20 per cent stake – leading to practices being partially floated on the stock market.

Under the Health and Social Care Bill, currently at committee stage in Parliament, GP consortiums will control £80 billion of NHS funds to commission to patients from 2013.

Leaked letter shows how GPs could profit from reform » Hospital Dr

A Channel 4 News investigation reveals that under the reforms of the NHS, GPs could end up making decisions based on profit rather than the clinical needs of the patient.

The NHS reforms plan to put up to 80% of the budget into the hands of family doctors. GP practices will form consortia and they will buy – or commission – the care.

It is widely acknowledged that not all GPs will want to run or manage the consortia. This means there is a business opportunity for private companies and already many are lining up to offer their services.

But a document leaked anonymously to Channel 4 News shows how one such company plans to work with GP consortia. What is startling about it is how it quite clearly sets out the way in which both the company, in this case called Integrated Health Partners, and the GPs, might make a profit.

Regulator warns NHS faces price competition | GP online

Speaking exclusively to GP, Monitor chairman David Bennett agreed that the Health Bill paves the way for providers to compete on price.

In a recent letter to NHS staff, the NHS chief executive said there was ‘no question’ of price competition in the NHS.

Mr Bennett, former head of policy for Tony Blair, became chairman of Monitor this week, having served as interim chief executive since March 2010. ‘I understand why people are nervous about price competition,’ he said. ‘But over time there will be areas where it is useful.’

Doctors reject reform of NHS – UK Politics, UK – The Independent

Ministers are facing a growing rebellion from doctors over their plans to reform the NHS.

A major online survey for the British Medical Association found most doctors were not convinced the potential benefits of the plan outweighed the risks. Of the 1,500 doctors questioned by Ipsos MORI, 65 per cent believed increased competition in the NHS would reduce the quality of patient care.

A similar percentage believed the proposed system of clinician-led commissioning would increase health inequalities.

GPs fear NHS funding policy could trigger MPs’ expenses-style scandals | Society | The Guardian

Britain’s most senior family doctor has warned of a potential scandal similar to the row over MPs’ expenses after an investigation revealed GP practices could boost their income by diverting cash meant for patients to pay instead for their surgeries and equipment.

The finding highlights a key concern about the government’s health bill – which nine out of 10 doctors now openly fear will damage the NHS – because £80bn of NHS spending is to be handed to doctors in general practice to buy treatments for patients.

Health Service Journal has examined trials of GP-led commissioning in the last two years. The magazine used a series of freedom of information requests to discover that, rather than using the funds to set up new services for patients, hundreds of practices used the cash to buy basic equipment for their surgeries, including stethoscopes, thermometers and weighing scales.

GPs say reforms will damage doctor-patient relationship, BMA poll finds | GP online

The wide-ranging poll highlights a number of serious concerns among GPs about the reforms, particularly around the impact of GP commissioning on patient care and the drive to increase competition in the NHS.

The BMA said it shows that the government can no longer claim widespread support among doctors for the reforms. It urged the government to act on the concerns raised by doctors.

The survey, which was carried out by Ipsos MORI, showed 72% think GP commissioning will damage the GP-patient relationship.

Doctors reject reform of NHS – UK Politics, UK – The Independent

Ministers are facing a growing rebellion from doctors over their plans to reform the NHS.

A major online survey for the British Medical Association found most doctors were not convinced the potential benefits of the plan outweighed the risks. Of the 1,500 doctors questioned by Ipsos MORI, 65 per cent believed increased competition in the NHS would reduce the quality of patient care.

A similar percentage believed the proposed system of clinician-led commissioning would increase health inequalities.

 

27/11/13 Having received a takedown notice from the Independent newspaper for a different posting, I have reviewed this article which links to an article at the Independent’s website in order to attempt to ensure conformance with copyright laws.

I consider this posting to comply with copyright laws since
a. Only a small portion of the original article has been quoted satisfying the fair use criteria, and / or
b. This posting satisfies the requirements of a derivative work.

Please be assured that this blog is a non-commercial blog (weblog) which does not feature advertising and has not ever produced any income.

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Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

Cuts put pregnant women’s lives at risk / Britain / Home – Morning Star

Health campaigners warned today that thousands of job cuts at NHS trusts could lead to more women dying of infections contracted during pregnancy.

A record number of pregnant women are contracting group A streptococcal disease (GAS), according to research by experts at the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (CMACE).

GAS develops into the so-called “flesh-eating bug” where bacteria penetrates deep into the skin or bloodstream. It is commonly found on the skin and inside the throat and in less serious cases causes minor skin infections.

But pregnant women and those who have just delivered are particularly at risk from a more serious type that is potentially fatal.

The centre issued a warning to health workers to be alert to signs of GAS after a steady increase in the number of pregnant women dying from it.

Plea to save heart unit – Local – Wakefield Express

A MUM whose little girl suffers from congenital heart disease fears she may be forced to travel hundreds of miles for treatment because of NHS cuts.

Susan Bastow’s nine-year-old daughter Ebony Fisher goes for check-ups to the children’s heart Surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary every six months.

But the unit is at risk of closure due to the NHS Safe and Sustainable review.

Unions to launch joint NHS campaign – Frontline magazine – News and analysis – Members – The CSP

The CSP is linking up with other health unions to lobby over the Health and Social Care Bill as it makes its passage through parliament.

‘The CSP has grave concerns about the scope and speed of the structural changes proposed in the bill,’ says Lesley Mercer, director of Employment Relations and Union Services.

The society believes they present a major risk to the quality of patient care and the future of the NHS, resulting in increased costs, fragmented care and an unacceptable postcode lottery of services across the country.

There is no evidence base to back the proposed changes, which will be costly to implement and will divert attention away from finding the unprecedented £20 billion of efficiency savings that the NHS has to deliver by 2015, the society believes.

Tories try to sell off blood service|5Mar11|Socialist Worker

BBC News – Meeting over Oxford children’s heart surgery plan

Pulse – GPs have ‘no confidence’ in Andrew Lansley

Consultant tells of Stafford Hospital A&E understaffing « Express & Star

Two top doctors who organised treatment for the UK’s sickest swine flu patients this winter are fighting for the survival of their own heart centre.

Pulse – Private firms and GP consortia team up in profit-sharing schemes

Government ‘paving way for London casualty units to shut’ | News

Private company in talks with GPs to profit from patient spending savings | Public Leaders Network | guardian.co.uk

Pulse – GPs ‘not in the driving seat’ for NHS reforms, GPC warns

NHS reform could see GP surgeries on stock market | Society | The Guardian

Leaked document shows how doctors can profit from NHS reform – Channel 4 News

Fears for future of hospice £1m funding (From The Bolton News)

MOTHERS are pleading with NHS bosses to save the children’s heart unit which helped keep their sons and daughters alive.

NHS continues to pay for PFI | Healthcare Network | Guardian Professional

YourLeekPaper | News | MP hits back following NHS job loss shock

NHS Reforms May Endanger Patient Confidentiality, BMA Warns – Hospital Management

Pulse – List-cleansing drive ‘to wipe off 40% of patients’

SINCE 2001, the number of births in England has risen by 100,000 to over 706,000, the highest in 25 years.

NHS surgeon: the reality of ‘choice’ could hit healthcare – Channel 4 News

Pulse – Private firms and GP consortia team up in profit-sharing schemes

Unions hit out at NHS proposals (From Your Local Guardian)

UNISON Press | Press Releases Front Page

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Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

Redcar illness rates some of the worst in NHS – Local News – News – Gazette Live

REDCAR’S health trust, ambulance staff and mental health workers covering Teesside have some of the worst sickness rates in the country.

In July, August and September, NHS sickness rates across the North-east were 4.31%, 4.16% and 4.37% respectively, well above England’s average of 3.99%, 3.82% and 4.11%.

However, Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services, had sickness rates of 5.37%, 5.38% and 5.61%.

A spokeswoman for the trust said: “A range of measures to help improve staff wellbeing and reduce sickness absence rates have recently been put in place and more are planned. The early signs are promising.”

Cambridgeshire and Peterbourough NHS Foundation Trust criticised by health watchdog – News – Cambridge First

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says Cambridgeshire and Peterbourough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) is failing to meet five essential standards required of it and “won’t hesitate to use enforcement powers if improvements are not made swiftly”.

The concerns raised by the CQC included care plans failing to be “person centred”, a seclusion suite not meeting environmental or Mental Health Act requirements, less than robust incident reporting and auditing systems when it comes to safeguarding vulnerable people from abuse and a poor standard of decor in one ward which “does not promote the dignity and wellbeing of people using services”.

Staffing levels were also picked out as a problem area with “not always sufficient numbers of staff with the right competencies, knowledge, qualifications, skills and experience available to meet the needs of patients”.

GP raises confidentiality concerns over patients files plans (From York Press)

A YORK family doctor says he fears for patient confidentiality under the Government’s plans for the future of the NHS.

Acomb GP Brian McGregor, vice chairman of the North Yorkshire branch of the Local Medical Committee, said private medical records may have to be shared with local authorities as they take on more public health responsibilities.

Under the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill, local councils would be given control of areas such as commissioning carers or running health awareness campaigns.

Dr McGregor said: “They will not only have access to your medical records but be able to disclose it for any number of undisclosed reasons.”

Leeds General Infirmary children’s heart surgery: Petition passes 11,000 | Leeds | guardian.co.uk

A petition to save the children’s heart surgery unit from closure at Leeds General Infirmary has smashed through the 11,000 signature mark.

More than 8,000 people have signed the petition in the past fortnight after an NHS review of children’s heart surgery provision across the country put the LGI unit at risk.

The Save Our Heart Surgery Unit campaign is now aiming to collect 20,000 signatures – you can sign the petition here. The campaign has also set up a Facebook group which has more than 1,500 supporters and is encouraging people to lobby their MP.

Cheltenham MP speaks out about Government plans for NHS|Gloucestershire news

LIERBAL Democrat MP Martin Horwood has voiced concerns over the coalition Government’s plans to reform the NHS.

The Cheltenham MP fears the proposed overhaul of health care in the country runs the risk of quite serious destabilisation in the NHS.

The Health and Social Care Bill, which is going through Parliament, would hand the purse strings to family doctors.

Hugh Bayley: IS the National Health Service in danger? – Columnists – Yorkshire Post

There has been plenty of comment about the Government’s plans to order another NHS reorganisation, introduce competition and pass chunks of the NHS budget to private hospitals, but this misses the £20bn question. Will the NHS have enough money to keep pace with relentlessly rising demand for health care?

The Government has set the NHS three tough financial challenges. First, their spending review cut the annual increase in funding to 0.1 per cent a year for four years – and rising inflation has already turned this into a 0.1 per cent cut. Under Labour, the NHS budget grew by 5.7 per cent a year to keep pace with demand.

Second, the spending review has switched £1bnn a year from health to social care – which is good for frail elderly and disabled people but bad for those needing hospital treatment.

Third, the Government has ordered “efficiency” savings of £20bn by 2014 – a squeeze of four per cent a year. Political parties talk about efficiency savings when in opposition, but it is brave in government.

Where will these savings come from? Over the next two years, Ministers say almost half will come from their freeze on pay. I was a health service trade union negotiator when Jim Callaghan’s Labour government imposed pay restraint in the 1970s. The current Government may make their pay freeze stick for two years, but it will be followed by a pay bounce.

NHS record on cancer survival rates criticised by MPs | World news | The Guardian

Cancer care in the NHS still falls short of comparable European countries despite 10 years of investment and government initiatives, according to an influential House of Commons committee.

A report from the public accounts committee says too many people are dying of cancer in England within a year of diagnosis, usually because they do not seek help when they have symptoms or their GP does not recognise the disease. It is estimated that 10,000 more lives could be saved every year if survival rates were as good as the best in Europe.

The committee gives credit to the Department of Health and the cancer tsar appointed by the last government, Professor Sir Mike Richards, for the progress in the last decade, but says it is not enough.

New Statesman – The BMA should oppose the health reforms

Since the announcement of changes to the NHS in July 2010, the BMA has practised a cautious approach of critically engaging with the coalition’s proposals. Concerns which have been highlighted have largely been ignored by the government. The independent trade union and professional association represents over 140,000 members and could be a strong voice. At the Special Representatives Meeting (SRM) of the BMA convened for 15 March 2011 the views of all doctors across the country have the chance to be heard for the first time.

A snapshot survey of doctors throughout the country found an increasing opinion that at the SRM the body must move to all-out opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill. All respondents to the survey recognised absolutely a need for change in the NHS. None felt the proposed reforms represented the correct solution.

Pulse – GPs told to delay referrals until April

Exclusive: Thousands of GPs are being told to delay referrals until the next financial year, sparking fears that consortia will be passed crippling ‘legacy debts’ in the form of back-logged hospital activity.

The Government bowed to pressure following Pulse’s A Clean Slate campaign and spared consortia debt built up by PCTs in this financial year – but anything accumulating from April will be GPs’ responsibility.

A Pulse survey of 450 GPs has found as many as one GP in eight has been asked to delay referrals for the final quarter of the year until April, as trusts desperately seek short-term fixes for deficits.

EXETER will see the highest number of public sector job losses in the region, according to economists.

EXETER will see the highest number of public sector job losses in the region, according to economists.

Experts say this is largely due to the city being a key administrative centre serving a wider area.

It is home to both the city and county councils, while “substantial losses” are also expected in Exeter’s health and emergency services, points out the report by the South West Observatory – a research body for regional decision-makers.

BBC News – Government health reform plans ‘unethical’ warns BMA

A key element of the government’s NHS reform programme has been branded “disgracefully unethical” by the British Medical Association (BMA).

Dr Laurence Buckman says a system of incentive payments for GPs could be seen as rewarding them for withdrawing treatment.

The “Quality Premium” will be paid as part of health service reform plans.

Tories lying about our NHS – Letters – The Star

Another day another lie from the Tory-Lib Dem con merchants.

This time ‘Posh’ Dave Cameron told us all the NHS was safe in the Tory ‘nasty party’s’ hand yet we are now told by activist group ‘False Economy’ that at least 50,000 NHS jobs will go.

This is another blatant lie told by ‘Posh’ Dave while looking we public straight in the eye with his lies.

Lib-Dems threaten revolt over reforms that ‘put NHS at risk’ | News

Senior Lib-Dems are threatening to oppose Health Secretary Andrew Lansley‘s flagship reshaping of the NHS giving GPs control over the bulk of its budget. MPs and peers accused Mr Lansley of putting the NHS at risk by pushing through “monumental reorganisation” while seeking £20 billion of efficiency savings.

Andrew George, who sits on the Commons health committee, warned: “The Government has already gone through three red signals and is heading for an avoidable high-speed train crash.

“Although the easy pickings from the wreckage will be gleefully picked up by the private sector, most informed observers are warning that the rest of the NHS may be fatally wounded.”

NHS cuts mean closure of Brierfield nursery – News – Burnley Express

A BRIERFIELD nursery is set to close in April as it is no longer financially viable.

The Tree House Nursery, based in the Family Tree Centre in Tunstill Square, opened its doors four and a half years ago offering a service for children aged between six months and five years.

Despite growing numbers of children at the nursery, NHS East Lancashire has decided to close it as it has relied on additional funding from the Family Tree Centre that is no longer available.

NHS threatened by ‘disruptive’ reforms, says Shirley Williams | Politics | guardian.co.uk

Shirley Williams, a Liberal Democrat peer, has challenged Andrew Lansley’s plan to reform the NHS, saying it will “dismember” the service through an “untried and disruptive” reorganisation.

Williams said in a column in the Times that she remains “unconvinced” by the health secretary’s policy to reshape the National Health Service by scrapping health authorities and handing over funding control to GPs.

The health and social care bill outlines plans to hand 80% of the NHS budget to family doctors who are forming consortiums to work on commissioning services.

Why are the Lib Dems betraying the NHS? » Hospital Dr

Traditionally, the Liberal Democrats have always stood on a political platform promoting a more just and progressive society, based on a mixed economy, supporting public institutions to ensure equal opportunities for all.

They have a proud heritage in assuming responsibility for the social security and health of the nation’s citizens, which includes David Lloyd George’s introduction of a welfare system between 1908-14. This was followed by the Beveridge report in 1942, which led to the creation of the Welfare state and set the foundations for the formation of the NHS by the Labour Party.


Continue ReadingNHS news

Cameron’s Multicultural Speech :: Part 3

Here’s the final part of my analysis of David Cameron’s Multiculturalism speech delivered on 5 February 2011. Here’s the first and second part.

Cameron’s speech was widely reported as opposing what he termed ‘state multiculturalism’ – that the state supports groups that actively oppose “our values”. Apart from the fact that “our values” is mostly undefined and that a unified set of values does not actually exist, this thesis would not be particularly controversial. Cameron extends far beyond this superficial argument and it is understandable that Muslim groups objected to his speech. Cameron repeatedly repeats the rhetoric of the previous administration under Tony Blair.

Cameron argues that young Muslims are drawn to so-called ‘extremist ideology’ since they do not either identify with traditional Islam or a British identity.

I notice that the way it’s stated is noteworthy “We’ve failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong.” Notice that it’s not a society to which they feel they want to belong but a vision, an image.

Cameron: “We’ve even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values.” ‘Our values’ is somewhat defined in terms of intolerance.

Cameron proceeds in his prejudice “So, when a white person holds objectionable views, racist views for instance, we rightly condemn them.  But when equally unacceptable views or practices come from someone who isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious frankly – frankly, even fearful – to stand up to them.  The failure, for instance, of some to confront the horrors of forced marriage, the practice where some young girls are bullied and sometimes taken abroad to marry someone when they don’t want to, is a case in point.” This is prejudice since it is generalising to all from a few examples. That’s prejudice.

Cameron continues by discussing what he calls ‘a process of radicalisation’.”Internet chatrooms are virtual meeting places where attitudes are shared, strengthened and validated.  In some mosques, preachers of hate can sow misinformation about the plight of Muslims elsewhere.  In our communities, groups and organisations led by young, dynamic leaders promote separatism by encouraging Muslims to define themselves solely in terms of their religion.  All these interactions can engender a sense of community, a substitute for what the wider society has failed to supply.  Now, you might say, as long as they’re not hurting anyone, what is the problem with all this?”

I certainly do say what is the problem with all this? Cameron is discussing simple fellowship and support common to many – if not all – religious groups. He is saying that it’s acceptable for all religious groups except Islam. It’s ok for Jews and born-again Christians, but not Muslims.

“Well, I’ll tell you why.  As evidence emerges about the backgrounds of those convicted of terrorist offences, it is clear that many of them were initially influenced by what some have called ‘non-violent extremists’, and they then took those radical beliefs to the next level by embracing violence.  And I say this is an indictment of our approach to these issues in the past.  And if we are to defeat this threat, I believe it is time to turn the page on the failed policies of the past.  So first, instead of ignoring this extremist ideology, we – as governments and as societies – have got to confront it, in all its forms.  And second, instead of encouraging people to live apart, we need a clear sense of shared national identity that is open to everyone.”

David ‘Tony Blair’ Cameron talking. The trouble is that all sorts of other so-called extremism is tolerated. Cameron is saying that it is unacceptable for one distinct sector of society to discuss or hold radical views.

“At the same time, we must stop these groups from reaching people in publicly-funded institutions like universities or even, in the British case, prisons.  Now, some say, this is not compatible with free speech and intellectual inquiry.  Well, I say, would you take the same view if these were right-wing extremists recruiting on our campuses?  Would you advocate inaction if Christian fundamentalists who believed that Muslims are the enemy were leading prayer groups in our prisons?  And to those who say these non-violent extremists are actually helping to keep young, vulnerable men away from violence, I say nonsense.”

That’s interfering with the rights of freedom of expression and association and he can hardly argue that Universities are publicly funded, can he?

“Now, governments cannot do this alone.  The extremism we face is a distortion of Islam, so these arguments, in part, must be made by those within Islam.  So let us give voice to those followers of Islam in our own countries – the vast, often unheard majority – who despise the extremists and their worldview.  Let us engage groups that share our aspirations.”

The Labour party were keen on aspirations. Peoples’ aspirations could mean what they strive to achieve without any chance of success. Also means breaths ;)

“Now, second, we must build stronger societies and stronger identities at home.  Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and a much more active, muscular liberalism.  A passively tolerant society says to its citizens, as long as you obey the law we will just leave you alone.  It stands neutral between different values. But I believe a genuinely liberal country does much more; it believes in certain values and actively promotes them.  Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law, equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality.  It says to its citizens, this is what defines us as a society: to belong here is to believe in these things.  Now, each of us in our own countries, I believe, must be unambiguous and hard-nosed about this defence of our liberty.”


He’s saying that ‘our values’ is what defines us as a society – notice that wealth is conspicuously absent from that list?

That muscular liberalism is nothing like liberalism and far more like Fascism – that the State actively promotes an authoritarian ideology.

Cameron fails to mention equality before the law. I could never lie to Parliament and the British people and engage in uncounted hundreds of thousand of murders and expect to get away with it. Yet, here’s Cameron using His words and phrases. The implicit message must be that former prime minister war criminals have nothing to fear. Cameron’s values.

What about murders by police and immigration officers, even defenestrations by private companies? Cameron’s values.

Then there is Oxford’s Bullingdon Club. Some may have spent the night in a police cell. How many of them will have been served an ASBO, prosecuted for a crime or have a criminal record? I’ve seen somebody given an ASBO for peeing in a hedge never mind smashing restaurant windows. Cameron’s values.

The message to Cameron is that we most definitely do not share your values.

“There are practical things that we can do as well.  That includes making sure that immigrants speak the language of their new home and ensuring that people are educated in the elements of a common culture and curriculum.  Back home, we’re introducing National Citizen Service: a two-month programme for sixteen-year-olds from different backgrounds to live and work together.  I also believe we should encourage meaningful and active participation in society, by shifting the balance of power away from the state and towards the people.  That way, common purpose can be formed as people come together and work together in their neighbourhoods.  It will also help build stronger pride in local identity, so people feel free to say, ‘Yes, I am a Muslim, I am a Hindu, I am Christian, but I am also a Londonder or a Berliner too’. It’s that identity, that feeling of belonging in our countries, that I believe is the key to achieving true cohesion.

So, let me end with this. This terrorism is completely indiscriminate and has been thrust upon us.  It cannot be ignored or contained; we have to confront it with confidence – confront the ideology that drives it by defeating the ideas that warp so many young minds at their root, and confront the issues of identity that sustain it by standing for a much broader and generous vision of citizenship in our countries.  Now, none of this will be easy.  We will need stamina, patience and endurance, and it won’t happen at all if we act alone.  This ideology crosses not just our continent but all continents, and we are all in this together.  At stake are not just lives, it is our way of life.  That is why this is a challenge we cannot avoid; it is one we must rise to and overcome.  Thank you.”

I know that it’s not indiscriminate.

Continue ReadingCameron’s Multicultural Speech :: Part 3

NHS news

Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

Some Hospitals Would Find It ‘Difficult’ To Survive Under
Lansley’s NHS Reforms…

Hospital trust has debts of £6million

Health Bill ‘breaks promise’ on GPs’ power to commission, says BMA

NHS shake-up ‘overly restrictive’

BMA attacks health bill’s ‘power to GPs’ pledge

Reforms ‘may not give GPs freedom’

BMA Advises Against Plans of Job Cuts by the Pennine Acute Trust

Some Hospitals Would Find It “Difficult” To Survive Under
Lansley’s NHS

NHS trust set to axe one in 10 staff

Pennine Acute Trust job cuts will impact patients – BMA

604 NHS jobs will be axed in north Essex

1,000 hospital jobs to go in Burnley and Blackburn in NHS cuts

Fears over impact of NHS shake-up

Continue ReadingNHS news

A note on commenting policy

I had hoped to allow the vast majority of comments to this blog. Comments are monitored to avoid links to malware like I experienced at the previous blog host.

I’ve discovered, however, that there are now many automated comment bots attemting to post inane comments in order to promote products. It is clear that these bots are automated because their operators have not even changed the default comment phrase.

There are also human bods that try to promote their products. I am not too keen on promoting commercial enterprises but if it’s small and ethical… There is one persistent commenter trying to promote surveillence cameras. There is no way I am going to promote or endorse very sophisticated surveillance cameras.

It would appear that the policy is no commercial endorsements and promotion except for ethical enterprises, no bots and some relevence. Commentators are not expected to agree and I have allowed the one dissenting comment that I’ve recieved.

On a different topic, I should really get round to finishing looking at Cameron’s Multiculture speech.

Continue ReadingA note on commenting policy