Category Archives: National Health Service

Zahawi asks nurses to take pay cut as ‘message to Putin’

Nadhim Zahawi: He claimed public money to heat his stables but he thinks nurses will accept another huge pay cut if he tells them it will help defeat Russian Premier Vladimir Putin.

Minister Without Portfolio Nadhim Zahawi has asked nurses to accept a real-terms pay cut “to send a message to Putin” that the UK will not accept his attempt to dictate to us using energy prices.

What?

Well, see for yourself:

Firstly, this is a non-sequitur. Nurses’ pay has nothing to do with energy prices or what has happened to them because of the war in Ukraine. What message would Putin really take from the UK government denying its underpaid nurses a decent pay rise?

Secondly, let us remember that this is the Tory MP who claimed a large amount of money – on expenses, so it came from the public purse – in order to keep his horses warm during the winter by heating his stables.

He has no right at all to preach to people who are having to go to food banks, simply to be able to eat.

What is he having to go without, to aid the resistance against Putin?

Nothing. And that is precisely what’s wrong with this massive hypocrite.

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Ambulance workers are the latest set to go on strike

One of the UK’s biggest trade unions – UNISON – has announced ambulance workers intend to take strike action before Christmas.

Here are details from Sky News:

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Nurses to strike on December 15 and 20 after the government TURNED DOWN talks

A nurse: I’ve said this before and it still rings true – doesn’t this person deserve fair pay, after working to keep us all safe from Covid-19 for the last six months – and facing what could be a much worse period in the immediate future?

Nurses across the UK will strike on December 15 and 20, after the government refused to take part in negotiations over pay and conditions.

Patricia Marquis of the Royal College of Nursing England, said Health Secretary Steve Barclay was “not willing” to talk about what needs to be discussed – pay and safe staffing.

Here’s the gist from Good Morning Britain:

This may strike you all as a naive take on the situation, but here it is:

We know that governments spend whatever they want to meet their goals every year – they create the money to do it.

We also know that taxation takes money out of the system in order to counter inflation. This can be done to correct inequalities in society, if the government of the day is minded to do so.

UK society is currently unequal on a shocking scale; millions of people are in poverty, relying on food banks (including nurses), while a relative few millionaires and billionaires are profiting hugely from the overbalanced system that Tories like Steve Barclay have created for them.

The solution is clear: tax the super-rich, then the country will be able to afford to pay nurses their due.

The added bonus of this, of course, is that the money will go to people on the bottom tier of society and will go through many pairs of hands before it is taxed back out, creating a huge boost to the economy. Money that goes to billionaires gets banked in the Cayman Islands (for example) and is no use to the economy at all.

Barclay is misleading us when he says that the country “can’t afford” to pay nurses properly. He simply doesn’t want to.

Worse still, he and his cronies – both within the government and outside – will whine that the strikes will disrupt a health service that is already at breaking point. But it was the choice of his government to push the NHS into that situation, with under-funding, privatisation and poor staffing.

Here’s the proof – a Sky News report emphasising that “patients will suffer” (watch until the focus shifts to wider strike action, around the five-minute point on the clip, which is quite long):

Possibly one good argument to use against Barclay is simply to ask how far his own pay has risen since 2010 – and how many lives he has saved during that time.

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Nurses are to strike for adequate pay to stop colleagues from quitting

A nurse: doesn’t this person deserve fair pay, after working to keep us all safe from Covid-19 – and facing what could be a much worse period in the immediate future?

It looks like a massive pay demand but it isn’t.

The 17 per cent pay increase the Royal College of Nursing wants is in fact less than the amount of pay that nurses have lost in the more-than-12 years of Tory rule.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay says he is listening – but it is clear that he hasn’t paid enough attention because if he had offered anything acceptable so far, nurses would not have voted for this strike.

Emergency care will not be affected by the strikes, but the NHS is expecting to face its toughest-ever winter after more than a decade of Tory cuts and privatisation and right-wingers are lining up to blame striking nurses for any harm caused.

But isn’t the lack of adequate pay already causing significant harm, with almost 47,000 nursing jobs vacant and more nurses quitting every day?

Here’s a news report summing up the situation:

Barclay has said the pay demand is “not sustainable”. Is that because the Tories have drained the NHS of cash and handed over the profitable parts of it to private companies and their shareholders?

Here he is:

Let’s have another Tory – Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, who was tackled by Sky‘s Kay Burley on the reasons nurses are being forced to use food banks. Her comment was, frankly, damned insulting and here’s Maximilien Robespierre to explain it:

Did you pick up the excellent point that nurses across the UK are having to pay to park at their place of work? Gillian Keegan doesn’t have to pay for parking at hers.

How about the point that Tories are talking about making sure patients stay alive – but they are also making sure bankers get their bonuses. It’s a contradiction of priorities.

They talk about the independent pay review board, but never mention the fact that they have cut pay by more than the nurses are demanding.

Let’s have a few words from Pat Cullen, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing:

Finally, let’s have a perspective from a nurse on the front line of NHS care; she says she’s “burnt out” and felt undervalued by the government – and a bit more from Ms Cullen:

It seems clear that the Tory government has made a huge mess of our healthcare.

It’s all very well to say that nurses’ pay demand it “out of step with economic circumstances”, but when it’s the Tories who cut their pay and created most of the conditions causing the current cost-of-living crisis and the forthcoming recession, those words ring hollow.

And it seems clear that the toffs aren’t interested in giving up ground. Why should they when they can afford to go private for their own care?

A spokesperson has already admitted they could not say whether prime minister Rishi Sunak has already done so, in order to avoid NHS waiting lists.

This could get very messy, very quickly.

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Wannabe health secretary’s words about the NHS have to be heard to be believed

Wes Streeting: for a Shadow Health Secretary, he has a strange attitude to health!

Wes Streeting, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, says the NHS is no longer the envy of the world – but won’t do anything to restore that position.

Instead, he is happy to allow the creeping privatisation that has de-funded the service to remain.

Not only that, but you should hear the health-related insult he has used to refer to Labour members who have been thrown out of the party.

Listen to it here:

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Can you believe this Tory is still pushing the ’40 new hospitals’ lie?

Conservative MP Lucy Frazer tried to push the old Boris Johnson lie that 40 new hospitals are being built, during BBC Question Time on Thursday (October 27).

Maximilien Robespierre discusses it here:

The issue is that, if it had been a straight interview between Frazer and a BBC journalist, she would have got away with her lie. It was only because Julia Hartley-Brewer, of all people, called her out that she didn’t.

Standards of broadcast journalism have clearly fallen very low for that to be allowed to happen.

And her attitude when caught out was that people shouldn’t get angry about the fact that she lied!

Of course we should be angry. She is an elected politician; we expect her to be truthful with us.

Hopefully she’ll lose her Parliamentary seat at the next election but This Writer won’t be holding his breath waiting for that to happen. People vote for the party they support and/or the leader they like, rather than the individual drone who’s actually up to take their local seat.

It’s a shame. If we all put a little more thought into what our votes support, Westminster could be a very different place.

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Sunak backpedals on plan to make people pay for missed NHS appointments. Why?

Rishi Sunak: The decision came as he met patients and staff at Croydon University Hospital in his first visit as prime minister.

Did Rishi Sunak ever really mean to charge us £10 for missed NHS appointments?

Or was he just saying he would because he knew it would appeal to Conservative Party members?

It was a rotten idea:

I said at the time that what is actually needed is research to find out why these people are missing their appointments and help with the causes of their problems. I also said Sunak would never do that because it would cost money rather than raising it.

Doctors’ union the British Medical Association (BMA) said it would “make matters worse” and threaten the NHS’s principle of free care at the point of need.

The BMA welcomed the decision to scrap the plan and said it “cannot be brought back to the table later down the line”.

This may be news to Sunak who, apparently, had decided it was merely “not the right time” for the idea after “listening to GPs”.

Sunak had also pledged to eliminate one-year waiting times by September 2024, and get the number of people waiting for non-urgent treatment in England falling by next year. He also pledged to reform dentists’ NHS contract, and ring fence the annual £3bn NHS dentistry budget.

Let’s hope he doesn’t use this as a precedent to backtrack on those – useful – ideas as well (although I think the dentistry budget needs a boost. Ours are paid a pittance, I’m told).

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Welsh First Minister rages at ignorant Tory leader in the Senedd – over the NHS

Mark Drakeford: this is the only image This Site currently has of Wales’ First Minister.

This is what should happen across the UK, whenever a Conservative tries to take the moral high ground – especially on a subject as contentious as the National Health Service, which their party has been attacking for many years.

Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies was trying to make a point about the National Health Service – and First Minister Mark Drakeford took exception to it in the most extreme way.

You can get the gist from this clip:

The moral of the story? If you are a Conservative: SHUT UP.

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Therese Coffey: more reasons to despise the Tories

Take a look at this:

At a time when the National Health Service is in dire need of more nursing staff – but can’t recruit them because pay is too low and working conditions too poor – the government minister responsible for sorting out these problems is telling nurses to work elsewhere if they want to go on strike.

Therese Coffey may well be, as Maximilien Robespierre suggests, not only the most horrible person in the Conservative government but also the nastiest person in the UK, of any kind at all.

And that’s a high bar to clear!

Meanwhile, and in contrast, the Scottish Health Minister seems to be preparing to offering nurses there higher pay.

Coffey demonstrates no empathy for people in the UK. How did she ever manage to get elected? What did voters in Suffolk Coastal think they were getting?

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Nurses are being balloted on strike action for the first time ever; ambulance crews are already coming out

A nurse: doesn’t this person deserve fair pay, after working to keep us all safe from Covid-19 for the last two years – and facing what could be a much worse period in the immediate future?

You can understand their reasons.

The government has had a stranglehold on nurses for years because their job is an act of care; if they go out on strike, people will suffer.

But people are suffering anyway because of the government’s insistence on starving nurses of pay that covers a basic standard of living (yes, really).

So you can understand why nurses are being balloted on strike action now – for the first time ever.

Here‘s the BBC:

The union is recommending its 300,000 members walk out over pay, with the result of the ballot due next month.

The government has urged nurses to “carefully consider” the impact on patients.

General secretary Pat Cullen told the BBC: “We’re not asking for the salaries of bankers or billionaires that seems to be the focus of this government.

“We’re just asking for a decent wage for our nursing staff so they can continue to do the brilliant job they do everyday for their patients, and so that we can absolutely retain the staff that we’ve got.”

She added: “They need to give them a decent wage so they can look after their families, pay their bills.”

Ambulance crews have already agreed on industrial action.

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