Category Archives: Ambulance drivers

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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