Waiting: ambulances outside a hospital. Strange how privatisation was supposed to improve healthcare but, since it was brought in, the NHS has only deteriorated.
A report for ambulance service chiefs shows that around 160,000 hospital patients in England are being harmed every year because of delays getting them out of ambulances.
As many as 12,000 – or one in 10, could be suffering severe harm like a cardiac arrest, loss of a limb or brain damage.
The ambulance drivers aren’t at fault.
The problem lies with the UK’s Conservative government that has de-funded the National Health Service to a critical degree, while also inviting profit-making private firms to provide some services – taking even more money from healthcare provision.
In a way, we should be grateful for the collapse of healthcare provision since 2010, under the Conservatives.
The delays that have kept patients waiting in ambulances – and thereby risking serious injury – have only become seriously harmful since the Tories brought private providers into the English health service.
They demonstrate more clearly than words that the introduction of those private providers into NHS England has been a disaster for patient care.
And they show that the best possible strategy for the future of healthcare in England is to ban private profit-grubbers from the NHS – forever. Otherwise this nightmare will only get worse.
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.
Recruitment difficulties for NHS ambulance trusts have meant private ambulances are being used, with untrained staff, leading to incidents in which patients have suffered serious harm.
This is what happens when you waste money that should be spent on healthcare, paying profit into private company bank accounts.
The cost of hiring private ambulances is draining funds that could be used elsewhere, while private firms are cutting corners and failing to provide the care that patients need, according to the Unison representative quoted in the report (below).
While ambulance trusts said they were struggling to recruit staff because each person has to have three years’ training, the Care Quality Commission found private ambulance services were employing staff who had no training at all.
It reported “evidence of incidents of serious harm to people from staff that had not been properly recruited and vetted”.
I would like to know what this evidence is, and how many patients suffered serious harm as a result of Tory healthcare privatisation.
I would like to know which Conservative MPs were directly responsible for inflicting this harm on people who are ill, or injured, and vulnerable.
And I would like to know what action may be taken to call them to account.
England’s ambulance trusts spent more than £92 million in the last year on private ambulances and taxis to transport patients, Press Association (PA) research found.
Some trusts said they rely on private ambulances due to a chronic shortage of NHS staff and ongoing problems with recruitment.
In some parts of the south, almost one in five emergency calls result in a private ambulance being sent to the scene.
Earlier this year, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published a damning report warning that patients were being put at risk by private ambulances.
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.
An elderly woman who called 999 complaining of chest pains died while waiting almost four hours for her ambulance to arrive, while in a separate case another pensioner died following a seven-hour wait for a hospital bed.
On Tuesday, an 81-year-old Essex woman called 999 complaining of chest pains, but when paramedics arrived at her Clacton home and forced entry into the property they found the woman dead, according to the GMB union.
East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) said crews arrived three hours and 45 minutes after the initial call was made on Tuesday.
In a separate case, a Portsmouth hospital has vowed to investigate after an 88-year-old woman died following a seven-hour wait for a bed.
Josephine Smalley spent five hours in an ambulance and another two hours on a trolley in a corridor at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
She died on New Year’s Day, after having a heart attack and previously a stroke.
Image by MP Tracy Brabin of paitents on the floor in Pinderfields Hospital.
Pictures have emerged of patients lying on hospital floors as they wait to be treated – a situation branded ‘”deeply troubling” by an MP.
It comes as new NHS winter pressure figures revealed that nearly 2,000 patients have been kept waiting in the back of ambulances for more than half an hour outside the district’s A&E departments this winter.
Now Batley & Spen MP Tracy Brabin has released what she described as “shocking photographs of patients sleeping on floors” at Pinderfields Hospital over Christmas.
But a boss for the Wakefield hospital, used by many people from the Spen Valley, told the Telegraph & Argus the patients in the photos “may have chosen to lie down, as seats were provided.”
This Writer has to agree with MagsNews:
Report that patients have been sleeping on the floor at one hospital in Yorkshire as no beds available. The Trust said ‘they had chosen to sleep on the floor’. That’s all right then 😡#NHSCrisis#NoAccident
Thank you to the NHS staff who work hard and do a fantastic job for us day in and day out all year round. Their dedication ensures people get the treatment they need – we've put in an additional £437 million to help, so the NHS has been better prepared than ever this winter. pic.twitter.com/0wAclwHSqN
We think this is an insult to all the NHS staff working their fingers to the bone to cope with the #NHSCrisis, as well as all those patients who are suffering as a direct result of this government’s action – please RT if you do too https://t.co/YRAkBOz8De
Serious incidents resulting in the death of a patient rose from 31 in 2012 to 72 in 2016 [Image: Rui Vieira/PA].
The ambulance service is indeed under “excessive pressure” – but we all need to remember that this is not patient pressure, but pressure caused by Jeremy Hunt’s de-funding.
Mr Hunt is pushing the NHS towards privatisation and the way to do that, as Noam Chomsky has observed, is to de-fund the service so it starts to fail. When people complain, he can say that a publicly-funded health service doesn’t work and privatisation is the only way forward.
It is only after the service has been placed entirely in the hands of private companies that the public will realise privatised services are not better and do not receive more funds. Experience shows that money paid into such companies is drained out of them as profits, while investment dwindles.
Oh, and your services end up in the hands of foreign powers. Supporters of Brexit should pay particular attention to this, as they were fooled into voting for it in the belief that control would revert to the United Kingdom.
It won’t. Take a look at the privatised rail, water and energy companies.
The deaths of a few hundred people mean nothing to the Tories who are pushing these policies through – as those of use who have watched their behaviour towards benefit claimants and those on social care know very well.
A sharp rise in the number of patients dying unexpectedly while under the care of NHS ambulance staff has prompted warnings that the service is under “excessive pressure”.
NHS figures for England obtained under freedom of information (FoI) laws show “serious incidents” resulting in the death of a patient more than doubled from 31 in 2012 to 72 in 2016, rising year on year.
One trust noted that a serious incident meant a three-year-old asthma patient had died, and another death was logged as being caused by a delayed response linked to “no resources”. Deaths were also due to missed diagnoses and long delays, with one patient even taken to the wrong hospital.
Serious incidents are logged when the consequences for patients and staff are so significant they warrant investigations. The number of such reports that involved death, low, moderate or serious harm, injury and abuse rose sharply over the five-year period, almost doubling from 194 in 2012 to 376 last year.
The Tory MP sex scandal seems to have gone quiet – apart from Damian Green, of course – but it’s important to remember that sexual harassment isn’t confined to Westminster.
I would certainly hope that nobody actually thought that in any case but this story from the Telegraph appeared in This Site’s Facebook messages and seems worth a mention.
Female staff were groped and forced to give sexual favours for promotions at a scandal hit ambulance trust, a damning report has revealed.
Women at South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (Secamb) told investigators that ‘sexual predators’ within the organisation ‘groomed’ young workers while managers propositioned staff for sex.
The independent study, which is the largest ever undertaken into workplace ill-treatment, was commissioned following complaints in a staff survey last year, and overseen by Professor Duncan Lewis, of Plymouth University, a leading researcher into bullying and discrimination.
In a highly critical report published today, researchers said they were ‘shocked’ by levels of bullying and sexual harassment within the trust, which is also failing to meet targets for emergency calls. The authors found that ‘employees were living in daily fear.’
Investigators were told that ‘covert and overt’ sexualised behaviour was embedded in parts of the management structure.
Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt are the Tory fools who have created the crisis in the English NHS. Tell them they are to blame. Tell them they should resign now.
The more I think about the unreasonable comments and demands made by Theresa May and her health secretary Jeremy Hunt, the less acceptable they seem.
We are told senior GPs could resign in huge numbers because Mrs May has irrationally chosen to scapegoat them for the humanitarian crisis sweeping the National Health Service in England. But why should they?
Surely we can all see where responsibility really lies?
The Conservatives aren’t responsible for the NHS in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – and those countries aren’t experiencing any crisis – except possibly where their services are reliant on facilities based in England.
The Conservatives are responsible for the NHS in England, and it is in England that the crisis has occurred.
Therefore Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt are responsible for causing the current crisis; so Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt should resign.
Why are high-profile politicians and medical leaders not already demanding their heads on a plate?
Theresa May seems keen to blame anybody but herself – she tried to pin the crisis on the elderly before claiming that A&E departments are buckling because she thinks GPs are lazy.
Enough is enough.
Whenever Mrs May, Mr Hunt or any other Tory (with the exception of Dr Sarah Wollaston, who has spoken up for the NHS, thereby proving she is in the wrong political party altogether) tries to run down the NHS, its doctors, nurses, specialists, workers or users, let’s just tell them:
“No. You are to blame. Resign.”
It’s a simple message, and easy to repeat.
Put it out there a few times and even our Tory-loving mass media might get the hang of it.
“Let’s not rewrite history,” said NHS England chief Simon Stevens – but Theresa May has tried to do exactly that.
She knows perfectly well that he said the NHS in England would need between £8 billion and £21 billion in order to sustain the service up to 2020.
Her claim that, by giving the service £10 billion over six years, she is providing more than was requested is a lie.
That’s £8.4 billion over five years – the absolute lowest end of the scale presented by Mr Stevens.
It takes no account of cuts to social care, closed walk-in centres, closed pharmacies, limited availability of GP appointments – all caused by Tory mismanagement.
More money than the NHS requested would be at least £22 billion.
And the fact is that Tory cuts to the English health service will amount to nearly £40 billion – including the extra £8.4 billion – by 2020.
Theresa May is a liar and should resign because her lies are threatening people’s lives. Jeremy Hunt is a liar and should resign for the same reason.
The claim: The NHS is being given more money than it asked for.
Reality Check verdict: The amount that the NHS in England is being given over this Parliament is at the bottom end of the range that it asked for. It doesn’t take into account the knock-on effects of shortfalls in other areas such as social care.
“We asked the NHS to work out what it needed over the next five years in terms of… the funding it would need,” Prime Minister Theresa May told Sky News on Sunday.
“We gave them more funding then they required.”
But NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens denied this on Wednesday.
Mr Stevens has made clear that when he mentioned the £8bn figure, that was the minimum amount needed just to plug the funding gap.
But this figure is not enough to keep pace with rising demand, improve services or accommodate plans for seven-day services.
Speaking to NHS leaders last June, he said: “Let’s not rewrite history.
“In the Forward View, we actually said that the National Health Service would need between £8bn and £21bn by 2020 in order to sustain and improve.”
Even as the UK erupts in protest at the government’s neglect of the NHS, the Tory privatisation plan is working, it seems.
The crisis has created a perception that the public health service is unable to cope. Private firms can capitalise on this – and don’t forget that more private contracts are being offered up for NHS work, every day. Here’s the latest:
In the middle of an NHS Crisis, the Tories are still offering chunks of your NHS to private health. This for exmaple https://t.co/AdpD4hagsC
It’s for an ‘integrated urgent care service’ (whatever that may be), offered by Kernow CCG (in Cornwall?) and is worth nearly £50 million.
It should be remembered that private healthcare will not offer treatment for the most complicated, long-term conditions; the people who need it most. Instead, they take contracts that draw funding away from their treatment.
And the ‘crisis’ narrative gains momentum – but it lacks one major element.
The only reason there is a humanitarian crisis in the NHS is underfunding by the Conservative Party in government. They will have inflicted nearly £40 billion of cuts by 2020, and have already passed on around £20 billion of funding to private companies, much of which will be transferred to shareholders’ bank accounts as profit, rather than having anything to do with treatment of illness.
The bureaucratic cost of private involvement alone is astronomical.
Yet Theresa May tried to blame the crisis on the increase of elderly patients, in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.
In fact, decades of ward closures have led to the bed crisis. Bed-to-population ratios are worse than in some eastern European countries. Funding of the NHS, in total, is well below the EU average. But Mrs May keeps rattling on about a “strong economy” being the answer. Didn’t Philip Hammond say our economy is the strongest in the developed world, during his Autumn Statement last year? Yes, he did.
I am sick of hearing Tories say a strong economy will help the NHS. Utter nonsense. It needs funding to the EU average @DLidington#bbcqt
Simon Stevens holds up a copy of the Daily Mail at a public accounts committee meeting focusing on the crisis in the health service [Image: Parliament TV].
The crisis in the English National Health Service is deepening while Tories, led by Theresa May, quibble over the amount of money it is getting.
Mrs May told Sky News on Sunday that, “when the government had asked the NHS what it needed for the next five years, it had been given ‘more funding’ than ‘required’.”
But Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, denied this point-blank in evidence to the Commons Public Accounts Committee yesterday (Wednesday).
Ministers had said NHS England had requested £8bn and been allocated £10bn. But Mr Stevens told MPs that was to cover six years rather than the five-year plan he had put forward.
“I don’t think that’s the same as saying we are getting more than we asked for over five years.”
He also held up a copy of a Daily Mail report showing that health spending in England is much lower than in other European countries.
In any case, as This Site has pointed out – £10 billion won’t cancel out the £20 billion of cuts inflicted over the last few years – or the £22 billion consigned to private healthcare firms that Conservatives have invited to raid the NHS for lucrative contracts, and the bureaucracy associated with it. Mr Stevens described cuts to capital expenditure as “robbing Paul to pay Paul”.
In many cases, the companies gaining from NHS contracts – which turn public money into profits for their shareholders – had financial links to Conservative politicians. It doesn’t take a lot of detective work to understand that the introduction of private companies into the NHS was about enriching these Conservatives rather than improving health outcomes.
Former Conservative Health Secretary Steven Dorrell has supported Mr Stevens’ comments, and said the government “should be addressing the evidence about what is happening on the ground rather than engaging in a rather high-profile discussion about, frankly, what sound to the public like telephone numbers of public expenditure”.
In other words, the NHS needs action, not pointless arguments.
Meanwhile, more than 20 hospitals in England have had to declare a black alert this week after becoming so overcrowded that they could no longer guarantee patient safety and provide their full range of normal services.
A black alert is defined as as a “serious incident”. It means the system is under severe pressure and is unable to deliver certain actions and comprehensive emergency care.
At least 23 hospital trusts have declared they cannot cope since Monday. Theresa May described this, at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, as “extra pressures on the NHS”. Do you think that is a fair description?
Labour MP Toby Perkins – whose father reportedly died in his arms after being mistakenly sent home during the last major NHS crisis in July last year – might take a different view.
Remember the NHS crisis last July? Nor do I. Apparently everybody was too busy to notice, as they were being whipped up against junior doctors, who were threatening industrial action over the danger to patients posed by a new contract introduced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Mr Hunt’s contract, which he later forced on junior doctors in spite of their concerns, demanded more work from them in conditions that were less safe. And here we are.
Do we believe Mrs May, who has lied about more money going into the NHS? Or Mr Hunt, who forced an unsafe contract on junior doctors that has almost certainly contributed to the current crisis?
Or do we believe junior doctor Rachel Clarke, who has made it absolutely clear that she believes the Conservatives are covering up the crisis and putting savings before safety.
She writes: “First-hand testimony from frontline doctors backs up the scale of the crisis, depicting almost unimaginable conditions of squalor and indignity up and down the country. “It’s an absolute war zone” said one junior doctor, “completely out of control” said another.
“Hunt’s denial of frontline reality has left doctors like me feeling utterly terrified for our patients. Two deaths on trolleys are two too many.
“Just how many more are required before the Government acts?”
I asked much the same question, days ago, after it was revealed the Red Cross had stepped in and called this a “humanitarian crisis”.
Dr Clarke writes: “Hunt condemned the ‘times when it might feel easier to conceal mistakes, to deny that things have gone wrong and to slide into postures of institutional defensiveness’, vowing instead to foster ‘a climate of openness, where staff are supported to do the right thing and where we put people first at all times.'”
“So why, at this time of crisis for NHS patients, has the Government spin machine cranked into overdrive, denying the seriousness of doctors’ concerns and promising the public that all is well? That is the precise opposite of what the nation was promised,” writes Dr Clarke.
“Everyone who works in the NHS has a duty of candour, and no Health Secretary should be exempt from that. If Hunt really cares about patients, then when frontline staff are clamouring to warn of crisis conditions that we know are costing lives, he owes it to patients to listen.”
Well, here’s a possibility: Perhaps Mrs May and Mr Hunt are holding on because they know their job is nearly finished. With NHS trusts facing a 21 per cent increase in tax next April – thanks to Tory changes – and the healthcare it provides in crisis – thanks to Tory changes – perhaps they think they only have to wait a while before being able to claim the NHS has had its day and it is time for an expensive private insurance system to take over – meaning more profit for them.
Theresa May set up a blind trust arrangement when she became prime minister, allowing her to hold on to shareholdings or other investments without disclosing what they are to the public. Does she have shares in private health? It is in the public interest to know, but she has refused to surrender the facts. Why?
“If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” That was the mantra when Mrs May – the same Mrs May – was pushing her Snooper’s Charter through Parliament against the will of the public. She is clearly afraid of divulging the details of her shareholdings. What does she have to hide?
He said a regular meeting of NHS chiefs discussed “at what point does public confidence in the NHS model of care, delivered free at the point of use based on clinical need not the ability to pay, come into question” – and the conclusion was that “What we are doing at the moment is not sustainable.”
One has to question this man’s attitude. Rather than fight for the NHS, he is ready to give it up – exactly as Mrs May and Mr Hunt must want.
But the people of the United Kingdom aren’t having it.
The NHS is our most precious possession – one that we know Conservatives hate and want to end. That is why we must fight them for it – all the way to the ballot box.
Theresa May and her cabinet cronies will stop at nothing to win this battle. They don’t care if your friends or relatives die on hospital trolleys after waiting unendurable times for treatment.
They don’t care that we know the NHS is only failing because they have deliberately crippled it.
They don’t care that three-quarters of the UK’s population didn’t vote for them and even most of those who did are supporters of the NHS.
They want their private system. They want their massive profits. They want to ruin your health forever, because you’ll never be able to afford their prices.
You cannot afford to lose the fight for the National Health Service.
He can run, but he can’t hide: Jeremy Hunt tries to escape a news reporter as she demands answers about the deepening crisis in the NHS – a crisis he has caused [Image: Sky News].
The following transcript from BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours is shocking – not only because it shows that Theresa May has been trying to cover up the humanitarian crisis in the English National Health Service, but because it was reported by the diligently pro-Tory BBC:
So, “Theresa May, the Prime Minister, didn’t want any of this to get out”:
That the average ambulance wait is currently 40 minutes at a major NHS trust in the north of England;
That a man who had a heart attack waited five hours on a trolley for treatment;
That patients had been shut out of the hospital;
That cancer treatments might have to be cancelled because low staffing made them unsafe;
That nursing staff had expressed concern to their unions about unsafe working practices;
That calls on the 999 emergency number may be a waste of effort.
The last point is particularly corrosive; the 999 emergency number has been a quality standard that British people have considered almost sacred since it was introduced, and now the Conservatives have rendered it useless.
And people are still being left to die on trolleys in corridors.
No wonder Theresa May – the prime minister of the United Kingdom, don’t forget – wanted to stop the public from finding out about this.
But it seems the BBC is now well and truly on the case. Having failed to kill this story over the weekend, the Corporation seems to have decided it may as well jump in with both feet, so we got the following:
Record numbers of patients are facing long waits in A&Es as documents leaked to the BBC show the full extent of the winter crisis in the NHS in England.
Nearly a quarter of patients waited longer than four hours in A&E last week, with just one hospital hitting its target.
And huge numbers also faced long waits for a bed when A&E staff admitted them into hospital as emergency cases.
There were more than 18,000 “trolley waits” of four hours or more last week.
18 thousand trolley waits of four hours or more. Wasn’t Jeremy Hunt saying there were only a “handful” of these, only yesterday?
And where was Mr Hunt, exactly?
He was filmed running away from a TV news reporter – and embarrassingly having to U-turn after heading off in the wrong direction.
After making a speech to the King’s Fund think tank, in central London, he was chased by Sky News reporter Beth Rigby, who asked him whether he was scrapping four-hour waiting times or just watering them down (to include only patients he describes as being in genuine need of A&E treatment).
He refused to answer her questions, but had to double back, as he searched for his expensive chauffeur-driven ministerial car.
It is clear that the Conservatives have no answer to the facts that are being revealed.
They are also refusing – mark that word: refusing – to do anything at all about the crisis other than to deny its existence, try to redefine national standards so they conform with that denial, and run away from the facts while people continue to suffer.
In the past, health secretaries would have resigned long before any situation reached this point.
In fact, given the magnitude of the disaster, prime ministers would have resigned as well.
Isn’t it time we told Mr Hunt and Mrs May that their services are no longer needed?
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