Category Archives: Ambulance drivers

Is government cash for private ambulance crews being used to tempt them away from NHS?

Ambulances wait outside a hospital: do they all have patients inside, waiting for access to a hospital place? If so, does it matter whether the vehicle that brought them belongs to the NHS or a private firm?

The government is spending more than £1 million every week on private ambulance hire, it was revealed – on the day we were told millions were being wasted on pointless private health ventures.

Some might say, at least this is worthwhile expenditure. But is it?

The eye-watering expenditure, amounting to £167,000 a day or at least £61m a year, is a “short-term fix which benefits the pockets of private firms rather than finding a long-term solution to the crisis hitting services,” the public-sector union [Unison] stressed.

According to Unison’s analysis of official figures, North West Ambulance Service spent more than £15m in 2022 on private emergency services, while over the last financial year, South Central bosses forked out a whopping £19m.

More than a dozen private companies are being brought in to fill widening gaps in services and to meet response times amid overwhelming demand, it charged.

From the next line, I can’t tell whether the funding comes from the £10 billion the government has green-lit for spending on private companies to reduce the NHS patient backlog, or from another source:

The cash comes from one-off government “crisis management” payments that are not guaranteed from year to year, deterring some trusts from investing in their own additional NHS vehicles and staff because of the ongoing costs incurred.

But the next part is definitely a backwards step, if we’re ever to see the NHS climb out of the pit into which the Tories have thrown it:

Private companies are “capitalising on the crisis by tempting paramedics and other crew away from NHS work” with more lucrative contracts which may not include sick pay and pensions, Unison added.

In any event, there seems little point when private crews are left waiting outside hospitals as long as NHS crews because A&E departments are overloaded and a lack of anywhere for fit patients to go means they cannot be discharged.

Right?

Source: NHS spends £1m a week on private ambulance hire | Morning Star


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

Be among the first to know what’s going on! Here are the ways to manage it:

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the right 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

5) Join the uPopulus group at https://upopulus.com/groups/vox-political/

6) Join the MeWe page at https://mewe.com/p-front/voxpolitical

7) Feel free to comment!

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

Here’s why it is Tory waste – NOT nurses’ strikes – that is harming NHS health care

Tory wasters: Rishi Sunak and Steve Barclay have wasted billions of pounds that could have paid for much more than the pay rises demanded by doctors, nurses and ambulance crews. If they withheld it because they’re trying to steer us towards privatisation, they have failed.

The Conservatives have been paying billions of pounds to private health-related companies for services that have not been provided – while accusing striking doctors, nurses and ambulance staff of jeopardising patient care.

Exhibit A:

From the article:

Experts say the figure is just scratching the surface, with NHS bosses in England having been given the green light to spend up to £10bn on private health companies as part of the government’s plan to reduce the record number of patients waiting for care.

The biggest beneficiary of the outsourcing has been the Australian healthcare multinational Ramsay, which received £134m to offer non-emergency care to NHS patients between 2021 and 2022.

Spire Healthcare, which operates 38 private hospitals formerly owned by Bupa, has been handed a further £108m over the same period. Circle, which is owned by Centene, one of the biggest US healthcare corporations, was paid £50m.

A further 30 private companies, which also include the Nuffield Trust and Specsavers, have been paid £195m in total as part of a contract aimed at boosting the number of patients the NHS treats in England between 2021 and 2022.

The data was obtained by openDemocracy through a Freedom of Information request to all 42 NHS Integrated Care Boards, which are responsible for spending and managing NHS budgets regionally in England. Only 23 responded to openDemocracy’s request, meaning the total cost could be significantly higher.

But the number of patients being treated has not recovered even to pre-Covid-19 levels:

Between January and November 2022, the NHS treated 6.6% fewer patients from elective care waiting lists than it did over the same period in 2019, according to an analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

The think tank said in February that the NHS was “clearly lagging” behind its target to increase the number of people it is treating to around 30% above pre-pandemic levels by 2024/25.

Exhibit B:

From the article:

The department spent £8.9bn during 2020-21 and another £6bn last year on such supplies, including masks and gowns for NHS staff that have proved unuseable and are now being burned.

The sums were revealed in the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) annual accounts and report for 2021-22, published on Thursday, and highlighted in a highly critical assessment issued by the National Audit Office (NAO).

The DHSC’s report also disclosed that it expects to spend £319m storing and disposing of PPE which is no longer needed and is of such poor quality that it is no use to frontline staff anyway.

In March last year it was still spending £24m a month storing the infection-preventing equipment, the NAO said.

On the subject of storage, there’s this:

Exhibit C:

From the article:

i analysis of figures provided by NHS bodies showed that strikes by junior doctors, nurses, ambulance and other health workers have already led to 665,000 cancelled appointments or operations.

NHS Providers in March said 140,000 appointments were postponed due to nurses and ambulance workers walking out between December and mid-March.

NHS England said the first junior doctors strike last month caused the cancellation of 175,000 operations and appointments.

Up to 350,000 appointments could have been cancelled during the unprecedented four-day junior doctors walkout last week, the NHS Confederation estimated.

Separately, NHS England analysis said the first nurse walkouts on 15 and 20 December caused the cancellation of almost 30,000 operations and appointments.

This is not justification for government investment in the private sector, though. Quite the opposite.

Let’s go back to that Open Democracy article for a moment:

Junior doctors are asking for a 35% pay rise to reverse 15 years of below-inflation wage increases.

The BMA calculates that the net cost of the pay rise for the government would be £1.03bn – a tenth of the potential spending on private healthcare companies. Even the £500m spent last year could have funded an 8% uplift in junior doctor wages for the year in question.

Add nurses and ambulance staff to the calculation and bringing their pay up to parity with 2008 or 2010 levels would still cost a fraction of what Rishi Sunak and his government have wasted – let’s be clear on that: wasted – on private health firms that simply do not help.

Exhibit D:

The Tories don’t want to go into talks with preconditions, and won’t talk if strike action is likely. In other words, the only talks they want are if they tell the nurses (and other NHS staff) what they have to take. No union representative will accept those – let’s face it – preconditions. In any case, it is hypocritical of the Tory government to demand preconditions while condemning nurses for having any of their own.

Exhibit E:

From the article:

From a peak of 70 per cent in 2010, overall satisfaction with the NHS has fallen to just 29 per cent – the lowest figure recorded since this question was first asked in 1983. Satisfaction with individual NHS services is at record lows across the board, while satisfaction with social care is the lowest of all with only 14 per cent of the public saying they are satisfied with it.

Yet none of this translates into any appetite for user charging or a different funding model, the first options that some commentators flailing around for a magical solution tend to clutch at. The public’s aspirations seem straightforward: they simply want an NHS that does what it says on the tin and that works. They were highly satisfied with a system that provided this as recently as 12 years ago, and they do not accept that this is too much to ask.

This may come as a huge disappointment to leading Tories, who are generally believed to have spent the last 13 years de-funding the NHS in order to stop it working properly, in the belief that public opinion would swing behind changing to a US-style, insurance-based, privately-run health system.

So what can be done?

Exhibit F:

The article suggests that £30 billion would be needed to support the kind of pay deals NHS workers need. From the Open Democracy article, this seems a lot more than necessary – but let’s consider the options it presents anyway:

Earlier this year I noted the suggestion that £30 billion was required to fund appropriate NHS pay deals and wrote a proposal to address the need to finance this, including the possibility that it simply be added to the deficit, which is wholly plausible. As I suggestsed then… this funding could be addressed as follows:

1) £10 billion could come from the additional taxes paid by those lured back to the NHS by better working conditions and higher pay, and by those lured back having given up on work altogether. The impact of the extra NHS spending on growth elsewhere in the economy is also taken into account in this estimate.

2) At least £5 billion might be raised from taxes paid by those able to return to the workforce either because their own conditions will be sufficiently well managed to allow this or because those that they care for will enjoy better health, letting them return to work.

So, at least half of the funding required will be directly generated from the benefits created by that additional spending. Options for the remaining £15 billion include:

3) A government could simply decide to run a bigger deficit to fund the £15 billion requirement. The impact on the national debt is insignificant.

4) The Bank of England currently has a programme of selling the government debt it owns bought under the quantitative easing programmes that paid for the banking crises of 2008/9, the Brexit crisis of 2016 and the Covid crisis of 2020/21. If £15bn of this programme was cancelled each year and bonds to fund the NHS were sold instead the funding to deliver the healthcare we need could be found. In this case, there would be no net impact on the national debt owned by third parties.

5) National Savings and Investments could issue NHS Bonds in ISA accounts to provide the funding. £70 billion is saved in ISAs each year. Properly marketed, it would be easy to find £15 billion a year this way.

6) Halving the tax reliefs on savings available to the wealthiest 10% of people in the UK each year. At present it is likely that this group enjoy at least £30 billion of pension and ISA tax reliefs each year.

7) Since the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons has found that for every £1 spent on tax investigations £18 of additional tax is raised, investing £1 billion in additional funding with HM Revenue & Customs might be enough to recover the funds required for the NHS each year.

8) The rate of capital gains tax in the UK is currently set at half the rate of income tax in most cases. If it was set at the same rate as the income tax rate then the revenue from this tax might double, raising £15 billion a year.

Judging by all this evidence, one is left with the inescapable conclusion that the Tory government has wasted huge amounts of money that could have been used to support real investment in the National Health Service, and is claiming there is no money available now.

But in fact there are many options available to it; ministers are simply refusing to consider them.

So the NHS crisis that has led to the strikes by doctors, nurses and ambulance teams was caused by the Tory government, and the Tories are deliberately withholding the cash necessary to restore the system.

It is Tory waste that has caused the problem; the strikers are simply doing the only thing they can do to raise awareness of it.

 

NHS strikes: at last people are talking about the elephant in the room

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham has at last given voice to what could be the real reason the government is not talking about pay with the unions responsible for strikes in the National Health Service.

It’s a simple reason, too:

The Conservatives are planning to privatise the NHS outright.

This Site has made the point already; private health companies are more likely to snap up elements of the service if payroll costs are low.

Here’s the discussion between Ms Graham and Sky’s Sophie Ridge:

It’s good, also, to see someone making it plain that the government has been lying – about ambulance drivers endangering lives and about pay discussions.

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

GMB ambulance workers announce four new strike dates

That Tory pose of refusing to talk about pay isn’t working at all, is it?

Here’s the GMB Union:

So that’s February 6 and 20 and March 6 and 20.

And let’s remember that, however these strikes end, ambulances still won’t be arriving with callers within the government-set time limits, because the government simply doesn’t provide the resources to make this possible.

Their argument that strikes are responsible for poor response times is a lie.

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

The frame game: how Grant Shapps LIED about the need for new anti-strike law

Business secretary Grant Shapps explained the need for a new law demanding “minimum service levels” during strikes – with a pack of lies.

The trick was in the way he framed the situation.

He claimed that the aim was to protect lives and livelihoods – that the right for nurses and ambulance workers (for example) to strike should not come at the expense of the lives of people across the UK.

And he said the wave of strikes sweeping the UK had been caused by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and by the Covid-19 crisis that created huge backlogs in NHS healthcare procedures.

See for yourself:

In fact, as Labour’s Angela Rayner pointed out, the strikes were caused by the government’s own policy of running the NHS (to use the same example) into the ground, starving it of resources and forcing employees to seek alternative jobs, simply to make ends meet.

She said people had been dying while waiting for ambulances long before ambulance workers took the decision to go on strike – because of delays caused by Tory defunding and de-resourcing.

In fact, ambulance workers had continued to work, coming off the picket lines in order to respond to emergency calls. Shapps’s legislation was jeopardising that.

Excess deaths were at their highest level since the Covid crisis, she said – because of staffing shortages caused by the Tory government.

Livelihoods and lives were already being lost, she said. Everybody wanted minimum service standards – but it was the government’s job to provide it (implying that the government had deliberately chosen not to).

Again, see for yourself:

Rayner was correct; Shapps had been telling untruths.

This Site has been reporting on failures in ambulance responses for years – since long before the Covid crisis or the invasion of Ukraine. Likewise with the shortage of nursing staff due to low pay.

Take a look at some of the articles from previous years – firstly on nursing:

‘The man who cut the NHS, not the deficit’

‘Compassion bypass’ as Coalition puts the squeeze on benefits and wages

Greatest Coalition Failures: National Health Service

Squirm, Cameron – we want answers about the NHS!

May surfaces to deny existence of NHS crisis. Total winter deaths are up by 50,000

Tory voters: Here is your government’s National Health Service – in graphs

Hunt trolls NHS staff by praising rota showing dangerous staff shortages

NHS vacancies are a national emergency BECAUSE THE TORIES MADE IT ONE

London hospital drops chemotherapy due to Tory-caused nursing shortage

Then on ambulance cover:

‘The man who cut the NHS, not the deficit’

A&E fears fall on deaf ears

Government accused of trying to ‘cover up’ scale of looming NHS winter crisis

NHS England records worst ever performance figures under Tory mismanagement

#NHSCrisis: Keep reminding May the misery is her fault

Tory-engineered NHS crisis is causing unnecessary deaths – and Theresa May boasts 

NHS privatisation: paying profiteers means there’s no money for healthcare and patients are harmed

Point made?

The Tories have been demolishing public sector pay since they came into government in 2010. They know a low wage bill is appetising to private firms when public services are privatised. And that’s the end goal of Tory policy – certainly on the NHS.

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

Nurse leaves picket line to save lives; ex-Sun editor calls her ‘vile sh*tbag’

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

Desperate Tory attack on nurses and paramedics suggests their privatisation plan is in jeopardy

The Conservatives are getting desperate and their attacks on the National Health Service are showing it.

They are relying increasingly on their ill-informed client journalists in the likes of the BBC and Sky News for stories alleging that people’s lives are being endangered.

So on the BBC website today (December 21) I see claims of “a baby struggling to breathe” being rushed to hospital by parents after an ambulance failed to arrive – but this happened before ambulance workers started their strike; it was a result of Tory NHS underfunding.

“Will we know if more people have died due to strikes” a BBC editorial asks, in a ridiculous bid to say striking nurses will be responsible. They won’t; the strikes have been structured to ensure that any life-threatening situation will have adequate nursing cover – or at least as much cover as may be provided by the Tory-impoverished health service.

Again, it is the government that will be to blame – not nurses.

But like the Nazis, the Tory government and its client media think that repeating a lie often enough will persuade the public to believe it.

That seems to be the reason a Sky reporter quoted Health Secretary Steve Barclay as saying ambulance drivers had made a conscious decision to put lives at risk, while interviewing GMB National Secretary Rachel Harrison.

And what happened? She dropped him right into his place in no uncertain terms:

The point about the 133,000-strong staff shortage is hugely important. The government is spending a fortune on agency workers, and they’re not enough. Higher pay and better conditions form a much better alternative.

And the GMB hasn’t even made a pay demand like that of the nurses; it simply wanted a reasonable rise now, with a promise to return to parity with 2010 levels in the future.

Public opinion remains firmly with the NHS workers:

The problem for the Tories is that they have an agenda: they need to undermine support for people working in the NHS to push forward their plan to privatise healthcare altogether.

That plan is now in jeopardy because they do not expect to win the next general election, in late 2024 or early 2025. A government led by any other party – even Keir Starmer’s Labour – is likely to fortify the health service, rather than undermining it further.

And if the Tories lose an election, it seems unlikely they will ever win another, judging by current demographics.

What does this mean?

I’d say it means the argument over who is responsible for the disintegration of health care in the UK is going to get a lot nastier.

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