Category Archives: Health

A polite letter to Therese Coffey [TRIGGER WARNING]

Phillip Herron.

[Yes, this article comes with a trigger warning as it discusses matters which some people may find extremely upsetting.]

Dear Ms Coffey,

Please take a good, long look at the image accompanying this. It is the last photograph of Phillip Herron, taken minutes before he took his own life.

Mr Herron died because your employees at the Department for Work and Pensions could not be bothered to take their fingers out of their collective posteriors long enough to pay him the Universal Credit he was owed. He would undoubtedly be alive now if they had.

No doubt the DWP officers concerned would say they did not need to pay Mr Herron as Universal Credit is paid in arrears and his five-week wait had not yet ended. They were “only following orders”, they will say, echoing the so-called Nuremberg Defence that did not protect any German soldiers who were prosecuted for ensuring the deaths of so many people during World War II.

You, together with previous Work and Pensions secretaries, and many other Conservative MPs past and present, justify the wait with the mantra that delaying payment for more than a month prepares claimants for the world of work, but we all know that is not true.

It attacks their mental health. It causes depression and despair, and ultimately can lead to suicidal thoughts. Mr Herron’s death is a matter of Conservative government policy.

When he died, he had just £4.61 in his bank account and debts of more than £20,000 that were escalating due to that five-week wait for Universal Credit.

£20,000 is not a substantial sum of money in this day and age. I know you have said it is in interviews, but just take a look at your own bank balance. You probably consider that to be small change; the kind of pocket money you might spend on a night out.

It is one-sixth of the pay rise you will receive next year, just for being a member of Parliament.

It could have been handled. There are ways to ensure debt can be paid off within a reasonable period of time, no matter what the debtor’s means. But Mr Herron could not see that because your system forced him to concentrate on the negative aspects of his situation.

He saw no way out because you denied it to him. So he took his own life. His blood is on your hands. I understand DWP jargon describes that as a “positive benefit outcome”.

Now his three young children must go through life without a father – because that is what you demanded.

Their upbringing is likely to be a much greater burden on public funds than paying his Universal Credit claim – because that is what you demanded.

And there are countless others in the same predicament right now – because that is what you demand.

Your system does not help anybody. It pressurises them; it brutalises them; it forces them to consider the unthinkable – because that is what you demand.

It does not matter whether you spoke the words. You ordered the death of this man.

Please make a copy of his photograph and put it on your wall. Then, every day, when you come into work, you can spend time looking at it – and try to find a way to justify the fact that you caused him to die.

You can find more information – and more than 18,000 comments from members of the public – in this Facebook post.

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Twitter unites to help British man struggling with his mental health. Why won’t the UK government?

 

A British man tweeted that his mental health was suffering – and people from across the world responded with uplifting words, images and video clips.

It’s not clear exactly why Edmund O’Leary – a follower of This Site – was moved to express his distress, but living in a country that is shambling from one crisis to another under a government that is worse-than-useless, that takes money from people who need it in order to hand it to the very rich (in return for nothing), that has caused the Brexit crisis and worsened the Covid-19 calamity, might have something to do with it.

How uplifting, then, to see an international range of people using the often-abrasive social media platform to help – incidentally providing all of us with a bit of cheer on a gloomy October weekend:

All the above (and more) being said, I have to agree with the following Twitter user, who makes the important point that, perhaps, we would not have to mount this ad hoc effort on Edmund’s behalf if the UK’s mental health care services had not been cut to the bone by successive political administrations who simply don’t care that they are driving people to despair:

Let’s all try to do a little more to make sure people like Edmund don’t have to go to Twitter for help – and that everybody in need of mental health care can get it. I know Edmund will read this and I hope he’s feeling better. Send us a message!

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Look at the diseases in the US food your Tory government wants you to eat

Yummy yummy diseases for your tummy: a chlorinated, antibiotic-fed chicken. It may well be full of salmonella, e.coli and excrement but your Tory government will be demanding that you eat it if it signs a trade deal with the United States.

Channel 4’s Dispatches has highlighted the danger into which Boris Johnson’s Tory government will force us, if it is allowed to make a trade deal that will kill UK farming and force us to eat chlorinated chicken and other diseased foods from the United States.

This Site told you on Tuesday (October 13) that the government has rejected calls to enshrine high food standards in law, saying it is enough that Tory ministers have said they will demand such standards in any trade negotiations with foreign nations.

These are the same Tory ministers who supported Johnson’s EU Withdrawal Agreement to the hilt in January, and now say that it is no good and they support breaking international law – turning the UK into a criminal state – instead, so their word is worth less than nothing; it is a promise of betrayal.

Dispatches has shown us what it will mean if we allow food into the UK from the United States:

Yes, you heard it correctly: the Americans would sell us meat that has animal excrement in it.

And yes: the diseases carried in this US meat would cause serious problems to people with long-term ill-health, meaning the Tories would be creating another opportunity to quietly kill off many thousands more people with long-term illnesses and disabilities and wipe them from the benefits bill.

Apparently somebody spoke up on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, demanding that the Tory government legislate for higher food standards.

But I fear this Twitter user has drawn the right conclusion:

That is my feeling, too: Boris Johnson’s loyalty lies with the US rather than with us.

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Brexit: Your Tory MPs have betrayed UK agriculture after promising not to

Chicken: if this one was of the US chlorine-washed variety, do you think Boris Johnson would be soiling his hands with it?

We knew that Tory promises were no good, didn’t we? So we did 14 million people vote for them last December?

I’ve never found an answer for that one.

The usual old chestnut that “the other side were worse” is plainly wrong. Labour’s offer – and leader – was a vast improvement on Johnson and his rabble, as anybody can see.

They can certainly see it now, anyway.

Today’s scandal is that Brexit will now cause a flood of cheap food imports into the UK that will destroy our farming industry and poison our people.

Tories: you voted for this. Brexiters: you voted for this. Indeed, many farmers voted for this.

Here’s what they promised:

But (as Si Anderson puts it in earthy terms above), yesterday evening’s (October 12) vote in Parliament ensures that the Tories will be able to compromise those protections, just to get a deal with the United States:

Farmers and food campaigners were defeated on Monday night in their attempts to enshrine high food safety and animal welfare practices in British law.

Several prominent backbench Tory MPs rebelled against the government to vote for amendments to the agriculture bill that would have given legal status to the standards, but the rebels were too few to overcome the government’s 80-seat majority and the key amendment fell by 332 votes to 279 after an often impassioned debate.

The government argued that giving current standards legal status was unnecessary as ministers had already committed to ensuring that UK food standards would be kept in any post-Brexit trade agreements.

However, critics fear that the lack of a legally binding commitment in the agriculture bill will allow future imports of sub-standard food that will undercut British produce and expose consumers to risk.

Be honest; given Johnson’s record of u-turning on his promises, this means chlorinated chicken for dinner. It will be cheap at the shop, but it will cost us our entire agriculture industry.

And that is what Boris Johnson intended from the start – before the 2016 referendum, even – it seems.

Here’s what we’ll be getting:

Boris Johnson and his cronies won’t be getting chlorine-washed chicken, of course – they’ll be able to afford the higher-quality meats. But you will be in danger.

Opponents of Brexit have taken the opportunity to remind us all of Boris Johnson’s words in 2016 – so we can remind him at the appropriate time…

… not that it will make a difference. He does what he likes. You voted for that, Tories. You voted for it, Brexiters.

Here’s how it’s panning out:

Just to rub salt into the wound, it seems support for remaining in the EU is rocketing, with 57 per cent of the nation now in favour of it.

What a shame. After three years of fighting over it (up to the election in 2019), that debate is over. The Brexiters got what they wanted and you have been shafted. Nobody currently in power will do anything to reverse the decision.

Still, there remain a few optimists who think there will be recourse to law if harm can be shown as a result of this decision:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Tory ministers are above the law.

The police and CPS actively avoid investigating any allegations of crime or wrongdoing by our elected government.

And Dominic Cummings could go on a murder spree in Barnard Castle and he would still walk free at the end of it.

But you can bet that a lot more people will suffer because of last night’s decision by Parliament to poison our farming industry, and our people.

Source: MPs reject calls by campaigners to enshrine food safety in UK law | Politics | The Guardian

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If #JeremyHunt thinks #Covid19 restrictions are #CrushinglyUnfair then why is he writing about it and not getting the Tories to change?

Hypocrite: Jeremy Hunt presided over the long-term dismantling of NHS services which were auctioned off to private companies, who then turned those services into postcode lotteries, provided only where they thought they could make a profit. And now he is complaining about an NHS service becoming a postcode lottery.

Jeremy Hunt seems to be revelling in the fact that he Matt Hancock has replaced him as “Worst-ever Health Secretary”.

After being removed from the government by Boris Johnson, he’s now a backbencher, albeit one who chairs the Commons Health and Social Care committee.

One would have expected him to toe the Johnson line, having been responsible for much of the harm done to NHS healthcare in the last 10 years.

Instead, he seems to be trying to carve out a new careers as a ‘voice of reason’ in the Conservative Party – hence his article in today’s (September 20) Fail on Sunday.

In it, he attacks the current Covid-19-related restrictions on people’s movements. Here’s the line that has created all the reaction, referring to the fact that mothers are being told they must give birth alone:

For families, it simply feels crushingly unfair and illogical that six people can meet in a pub and 30 people can go shooting, yet mothers have to go through one of life’s most harrowing and precious milestones alone.

Apparently he is supporting a Fail campaign to “end lone births”, saying that the rules are being imposed arbitrarily:

A postcode lottery is unacceptable on a matter of this importance.

Wasn’t he the health secretary who turned much of NHS care into a postcode lottery, across England (and in other UK countries whose NHS use English facilities)?

Yes he was.

It seems hypocritical for him to complain, because it is. And the public have seen it:

The public have also noted some “crushingly unfair” aspects of Mr Hunt’s own behaviour:

And they want to know why the limit of Hunt’s opposition is an article in a right-wing rag:

Last word must be the following. At a time when Labour has just unveiled its new slogan, Mr Ball points out that the Tories could roll out a new, accurate slogan of their own:

Source: JEREMY HUNT: It’s crazy that six people can meet in a pub while mums endure lone births  | Daily Mail Online

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Is this Boris Johnson’s latest plan to kill the NHS – make doctors so sick of it that they quit?

At breaking point: doctors are planning to quit the NHS en masse – just as we need them the most – because of Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and their daft Tory mismanagement.

A survey of NHS doctors has shown two-thirds want to quit within three years due to Covid-19 burnout and low pay. Is this what Boris Johnson wants?

He would be able to speed privatisation, claiming that the NHS has failed due to lack of staff – while (obviously) neglecting to admit that this is due to his own underfunding of the service.

However: it seems this is the worst possible time for it to happen as Johnson’s daft-headed response to the Covid crisis appears to have triggered a massive increase in infections.

The UK has recorded a massive rise in the number of people testing positive for coronavirus, amid concerns the government has lost control of the epidemic just as people are returning to work and universities prepare to reopen.

On Sunday almost 3,000 people in the UK tested positive for Covid-19, a 50% increase in a single day and the highest daily total since May.

That’s a massive increase – and it’s only likely to get worse.

In fact, with Johnson still in charge – and Matt Hancock still Health Secretary – it seems certain the UK is heading for a disaster of titanic proportions.

Source: More than 1,000 UK doctors want to quit NHS over handling of pandemic | Society | The Guardian

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Which homicidal Tory idiot doesn’t understand why you CAN’T book a place in Accident & Emergency?

Tory stupidity: you can’t book a place in A&E because you don’t know when you’ll be involved in an accident, or when an emergency will arise. The best thing to do is ignore this new rule completely and demand your right to treatment.

Yes, you read the headline right: the Tories want to make hospital A&E departments ‘booking only’ by December.

According to The Times (it’s behind a paywall but you can get the sense of it from the preview:

Plans for patients to “call first” and book into A&E via NHS 111 will be implemented before December, NHS bosses were told yesterday.

A joint board meeting of NHS England and NHS Improvement was told that new emergency care standards designed to replace the four-hour waiting time target would also be in place before winter.

The plans were described as a “profound change” by Lord Prior of Brampton, chairman of NHS England. Hospitals will be asked to adapt “rapidly” to the measures, which have yet to be finalised, and make improvements as they learn how they work in practice during autumn, board papers said.

So it seems this “Lord Prior of Brampton” is the airhead who thinks you can book A&E time for events you have no reason to expect.

The thinking behind the change is clear: if the only way into A&E is by booking a place, then there won’t be any waiting times and the Tory government will be spared the embarrassment of being shown to have worsened NHS care.

That could be particularly important – for public relations, but not for public health – at a time when hospitals are otherwise likely to be overloaded with Covid-19 patients, people with regular flu, and other emergency demands.

And I suppose people who die at home because they cannot get a slot won’t be counted.

But isn’t the NHS supposed to consult the public on major changes like this? Aren’t they illegal if that doesn’t happen?

My advice: ignore this new rule.

The National Health Service exists to provide health care, free at the point of use, for every UK citizen, when they need it – not when it’s convenient for Tory politicians.

Source: Patients will have to book a spot at A&E by autumn | News | The Times

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This man will die of cancer because the Tories weakened the NHS. They might as well have killed him themselves

Adrian Rogers: by starving the NHS of resources, the Tories have cuased his cancer to become terminal.

Back in March, This Site quoted oncologist Karol Sikora, writing in Mail Online, of all places, about fears that the diversion of NHS resources to Covid-19 would lead to the preventable death of cancer patients.

The expert wrote:

“Capacity within the healthcare system – in both the public and independent sectors – is going to be tested to the limit and perhaps beyond.

“We are already seeing decisions in place to stop or reduce chemotherapy treatments.

“It would be sad if young men with fully curable testicular cancer or adolescents with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma were delayed. It’s a juggling act and none of us know how tough it is really going to get.”

And now it has happened.

As the Mirror reports:

Adrian Rogers, 46… has become the first known cancer patient to reveal he is now terminal after potentially life-saving surgery was cancelled – due to Covid.

His surgery was scheduled for early April – but when Covid-19 hit doctors decided it was “too risky” to go ahead with his surgery.

[He] has now been told his cancer is terminal – as the number of tumours on his bowels and liver has since swelled from six, to a massive 20.

Cancer Research UK has revealed that hundreds of thousands of cancer patients have experienced cancellations or delays to their treatment.

Back in March, I wrote, “Just remember: if cancer patients’ lives are lost because resources are diverted to Covid-19 cases, it won’t be coronavirus that’s to blame.

“The fault will lie entirely with the Tories for short-sightedly putting cash before care.”

I stand by those words.

The Tories who systematically starved the NHS over the last 10 years should be held responsible for the now-inevitable deaths of cancer patients like Mr Rogers.

Source: Man is first known cancer patient to become terminal after coronavirus cancels treatment – Mirror Online

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Did Matt Hancock axe Fat Boris’s national anti-obesity fight after just one month?

Matt Hancock: the eyes are open but the brain is dead.

Apparently so.

Boris Johnson launched a new strategy to tackle obesity in the UK – claiming it was crucial in the fight against Covid-19 – only for Matt Hancock to close the organisation running it.

It was unlikely ever to come to anything, because the scheme was being run by Tories and they are ideologically opposed to changing the systemic poverty that forces people to buy unhealthy (but cheap) food.

But nobody expected Health Secretary Hancock to axe the organisation that was running it – Public Health England – while Johnson was on his holibobs in Scotland.

He has made no directions on how the initiative will proceed.

Hancock’s failure to realise that PHE has work other than the fight against Covid-19 signifies disastrous incompetence in a minister of the Crown.

And failure to acknowledge this and deliver an appropriate punishment – in this case, the removal of Hancock from ministerial duties – would signify disastrous incompetence in a Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson is back from his holibobs now.

What’s he going to do?

Source: UK anti-obesity fight ‘at risk’ after Matt Hancock closes health agency | Obesity | The Guardian

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What will you say when they ask what you did in the class war?


I seem to have hit a nerve when I said the Tories are waging a class war on anyone who isn’t filthy rich.

In fact, two Vox Political articles touched on this class war – the first implied it, the second made it explicit.

Today I opened Twitter to discover those words all over the place:

I’m not claiming credit for calling a thing by its name – this is “multiple discovery”, “simultaneous invention”, “synchronicity” or, if you like, an expression of the “zeitgeist”. More and more people are simply coming to realise, understand and accept that it is the policy of the UK’s Conservative government to push them down unfairly.

That is what the decision – and it was a decision, deliberately made – to punish ‘A’ level pupils who weren’t from private schools was all about. Yes, Gavin Williamson and the other Tories are saying it was down to a mechanical system, an algorithm – but that algorithm was written by a human being who intended it to give an advantage to the children of very rich people.

In this way, the Tory class war has stolen your children’s futures and given them to the undeserving rich.

It’s what the decision  – and it was a decision, deliberately made – not to fight Covid-19 in any meaningful way was all about. Tens of thousands of people in care homes have died – your relatives, maybe – because Matt Hancock and the other Tories said people with Covid-19 who lived in those homes should be sent back to them – never mind the fact that they did not have isolation facilities and the virus would run through those places like wildfire and be transferred to others by part-time staff who worked in different homes run by the same – private – firm.

The Tories – and their private business collaborators – failed to source personal protective equipment, ventilators, tests and the facilities to carry out tests. The lockdown they imposed was half-hearted and failed to stop the progress of the disease. Now that they have lifted it, albeit with a few measures still in place, more people are contracting the virus again. So they have stopped reporting the daily number of infections.

And the Tories have rewarded their private business collaborators for their failures with hugely expensive contracts to continue failing us – all at the public expense. Serco’s test and trace contract has been renewed, even though we know it won’t stop any second wave (really just a resurgence of the first wave that was suppressed but never went away).

You won’t get justice against the Tories by the normal means available to civil society because the Tories have either corrupted them already or are in the process of doing so. Boris Johnson illegally terminated Parliament’s last session in the autumn of 2019 and what was the result? He called a general election, lied to us until he was purple in the face and was rewarded with an 80-seat Parliamentary majority.

Now he is using that power to ensure that the courts will not be able to stop any more of his corruption by planning a curb on judicial review of government activity. He is imposing a dictatorship – just as he told you he would, if you could have been bothered to read page 48 of his election manifesto.

The police won’t help. Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, Gavin Williamson and the others are all above the law – no matter what they do. Try reporting a cabinet minister for a crime and see how far you get. They’ll tell you they’re treating it seriously, bounce the accusation around a few different departments and then say there’s no evidence. I’ve been there.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died already because it is Tory policy to kill claimants of sickness or disability claimants, who they consider to be “useless eaters”. That’s why the newspapers have been full of reports showing people with long-term illnesses and disabilities starving to death.

They wanted your homes so they imposed the Bedroom Tax and took them away from you.

The list goes on and on.

And still, too many people think they are the best choice to run the UK – even though the economy is in its deepest recession ever, and Brexit means it may never recover. You will suffer – they won’t. They have been stockpiling your cash and will simply use it to sit out any unpleasantness in the future.

But I feel sure a tipping-point will come – a flashpoint. I wonder how much we will all have to lose before that happens. I’m guessing it’ll be pretty much everything.

By then, many people may think there is nothing they can do. I am reminded yet again of Martin Niemoller’s poem about how the Nazis came for different groups who received no help from anybody else until, by the time they come for the author, there was nobody even left for him to ask.

But I am reminded of another group who were put in a similar position. When I visited Bosnia in the 1990s, I was told how – when the tanks from other countries moved in – the people, who were weaponless, left their homes and went up into the hills. They came back at night, when they took weapons – and lives – from the soldiers who had taken everything from them. And slowly, they took back their land from their oppressors.

I can see that happening here in the future.

I would rather it didn’t.

But it will, if people of good conscience don’t wake up, get up and put up a fight.

Keir Starmer won’t do it. He agrees with the Tories. That’s why he’s busy turning the Labour Party into Tory Lite Mk II (New Labour was Mk I) and accusing anybody who disagrees with him of anti-Semitism.

If you don’t want this to fall into violence, then you need to think what else you can do.

The ‘A’ level fiasco creates opportunities. Already some further education institutions have said they will take students who were downgraded, on the basis of their predicted results. Some haven’t. Clearly we should take note of the side that each University, each college, takes. Those who do the right thing should be rewarded in whatever ways we can. Those who do not should be shunned – meaning not only that we should not even try to send our children there, but that we should reject their graduates when they seek employment with our businesses. We know they won’t be any damn good anyway.

And employers who turn down applicants on the basis of the Tory algorithm’s discredited results should also be named, so we can stop buying their products.

That’s the best – non-violent – response I can conceive on the spur of the moment, and these things need to start happening now.

We’d better get to it, if we don’t want to roll over and die. And yes, that means you.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook