Tag Archives: appointment

Javid announces scheme to blame GPs for lack of face-to-face appointments

Smug: Javid’s new scheme won’t do enough to help GPs cope with demand for face-to-face appointments – but he’ll be able to use it to blame them when they don’t.

The Tory Health Secretary has announced funding to “help” GPs arrange more face-to-face appointments with patients, in response to complaints from the public.

But there are huge problems with the scheme – of course there are; it’s a Tory plan to divert blame for short-changing the NHS onto people working in the service and away from themselves.

So before you watch the video clip, read Jonathan Ashworth’s comment – and then the  response below:

So it’s not enough money to make a real difference in each GP practice, and the cash is taken from existing budgets, meaning some other part of the NHS will lose out. Robbing Peter to pay Paul, as the saying goes.

And there’s no acknowledgement of the reasons GPs are under pressure in the first place – all connected to Tory deprivation:

So the Tory governments of 2010 onward cut funding, closed GP practices, and put people off training as doctors.

The Tories knew there was a lack of manpower in GP surgeries since at least 2016.

There are nearly 2,000 fewer GPs than six years ago and the Tory plan will do nothing to change this.

He is setting up your local GP surgery to take the blame for future failures.

And of course he is denying it (because he has already been challenged):

Strangely, despite the BBC’s tweet, none of Javid’s comments in the article address the issue. Perhaps it was mentioned in a previous draft and edited out by a Tory in the Corporation’s hierarchy?

Still, we can all see what’s going on:

Here’s a snapshot of the current situation that Javid’s scheme is unlikely to help:

And this is telling: if Javid’s scheme is so good, why has he cried off speaking at the annual conference of the Royal College of GPs?

Some of us may have satirical fun with it…

… but in context this is shocking hypocrisy from the Tories. Here’s David Shepherd to explain:

It’s a very good question. But it’s just another one that the Tories won’t answer.

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Outrage after Tory agent on BBC board sabotaged job appointment for political reasons

[Image: Sketchaganda].

It was never going to work.

Boris Johnson’s Conservative government put its man Robbie Gibb on the board of the BBC as a non-executive director and he has tried to block the appointment of a news boss on political grounds.

The irony is that non-executive directors are responsible for “upholding and protecting” the BBC’s independence – not to make demands on the behalf of their political leaders.

Gibb used to be Theresa May’s communications director when she was prime minister. Before that, he was a BBC journalist and he started his career as a Tory aide – so it seems likely that his politics has coloured much of his work.

The BBC has often been criticised as the propaganda wing of the Tory Party and this intervention will only strengthen that impression among members of the public. It proves that attempts to rig decisions of organisations like the BBC by stuffing their ruling bodies with Tories can only backfire.

What did he do?

He sent a message to the Corporation’s director of news and current affairs, Fran Unsworth, warning her not to appoint Jess Brammar to a new post of BBC executive news editor, saying it would shatter the relationship between the BBC and the Tory government.

It is clearly a political intervention. Brammar’s career is now being trashed by other Tory propaganda mouthpieces:

What could this “borderline fake news lefty clickbait website” be? It seems an odd way to describe HuffPost UK, and This Writer looks forward to seeing that organisation’s reaction to the smear.

Previously, Brammar had been deputy editor of Newsnight.

According to the Financial TimesGibb’s message to Unsworth said she “cannot make this appointment” and the government’s “fragile trust in the BBC will be shattered” if she went ahead. One of his cronies has apparently denied the claim.

The recruitment process has now stalled. Gibb’s message was allegedly sent on June 22 and the post has yet to be filled.

Apparently the Corporation is going through Brammar’s past statements, in public and on the social media. To see if it can find some dirt on her that would invalidate her application?

It’s alleged that Gibb would want her defence of HuffPost journalist Nadine White to count against her – but if so, natural justice would demand that he be disappointed.

White was attacked by Tory minister Kemi Badenoch, who claimed she was “creepy and bizarre” in asking questions about a Covid-19 vaccines video that Badenoch branded unnecessary.

In response, Brammar filed a former complaint to the Cabinet Office, stating that “this characterisation of a journalist asking questions as somehow undermining a public health message or fostering misinformation should alarm anyone working in journalism or anyone who believes its job is to hold power to account.”

Realistically, the vetting process is unlikely to provide any reason to reject Brammar because Gibb’s intervention has forced the BBC’s hand.

Turning her away would indicate that the Corporation is vulnerable to political pressure – the kiss of death for an organisation that has long had to defend itself against such accusations.

And there is another possible reason for Gibb to have intervened now.

Awkward

The BBC is currently negotiating a five-year financial settlement with Boris Johnson’s Tory government.

Still-newly-appointed director general Tim Davie – himself a dyed-in-the-wool Tory – has spent a lot of time, and used up a considerable amount of his own credibility, steadying relations with the government in the midst of aggressive (some would say unreasonable) criticism.

Doesn’t it seem likely that Gibb’s claim about Brammar may be just the excuse Johnson needs to cut BBC funding further than previous Tory governments already have?

Whatever happens, the public response has been a PR disaster for the Tories:

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Wait for dentist appointments in England stretches from two to three years in three months

Check-up: if you haven’t made an appointment already, don’t expect to be in this position at any time… probably for the rest of your natural life.

Dental treatment in England is collapsing beneath the weight of demand.

Only three months ago, This Site reported that NHS patients were being told to wait two years for appointments. Now we learn that the wait has been extended to three.

By the time these poor souls get any treatment, they’ll probably have lost every tooth they have in their mouths!

The report by Healthwatch England confirmed that people are being advised to take private care instead – at cost.

Back in February, the same organisation reported that people were being asked to pay £1,700 to private practitioners for treatments that would cost £60 on the NHS.

Other findings in the latest report include:

  • People removed from the practice list for not making an appointment sooner.
  • Repeated cancelled appointments – even midway through treatment.
  • Dentists have reported that they have thousands of people on their waiting lists, with some patients claiming they are unable to even get on a waiting list.
  • Dentists shutting down or going completely private.
  • Patients being asked to wait up to three years for appointments – or six weeks for emergency care.
  • Some who called NHS 111 seeking emergency dental care were told to “use salt water” and carry on calling practices until they could find help.
  • Other patients have been told to use DIY filling kits while they wait for an appointment.
  • People being increasingly prescribed antibiotics with no prospect of a follow-up appointment to actually treat the problem.

It’s a racket, isn’t it? Blackmail.

Dentists have realised that the Covid-19 lockdowns have created huge queues for treatment that they know the surgeries they run for the NHS cannot service.

They are greedily worsening this bottleneck by closing NHS practices, forcing people either to pay a fortune for private care or face a future of pain and possible disfigurement as their teeth decay.

Perhaps it will serve them right when they find that the victims of their scam can’t afford to pay them; and consider even NHS prices to be too expensive:

The watchdog warned that even when people can get access to dental care on the health service, three fifths (61%) of people deem treatment too expensive.

Healthwatch England has called for sweeping reforms to NHS dentistry to avoid harm to the dental health of the UK as a nation.

Fat chance.

The Department of Health has said it is committed to ensuring everybody can access affordable, high-quality dental care.

But it has said nothing about how it will achieve this miracle in the face of dental practitioners’ unwillingness to co-operate. Its spokespeople have been able to talk about only what they did in 2019-20.

You can bet Boris Johnson’s corrupt crew won’t do anything at all for the rest of us. They can afford dentistry, after all.

Anybody who voted for the Conservatives voted for their own teeth to rot out of their head.

Source: People in England ‘face three-year waits for dentist appointments’ | Dentists | The Guardian

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Tory Covid-19 mismanagement means 10 MILLION PEOPLE missed hospital care in 2020

Hospital ward: many people who desperately need medical care will not get treatment in one of these for years, because the Conservative government spent years starving the NHS of cash and resources (including staff) before the Covid-19 crisis.

That’s right – around one-fifth of the UK population did not receive hospital care because Boris Johnson’s Tories couldn’t be bothered to fund the NHS properly.

Don’t tell me the money isn’t there because experience over the last year has shown that it quite clearly is – the Tories simply don’t want to spend it on a service they are quietly trying to privatise.

We all knew that the Covid-19 pandemic would disrupt normal NHS services; this was inevitable no matter how well-resourced the health service would have been.

But the Tories have spent years starving it of funds and hiving off elements of it for sale to private companies that are simply incapable of helping in a crisis, even if their bosses were inclined to do so.

As a result, we now see that 4.6 million people missed out on hospital treatment – mostly because hospitals suspended their normal services in order to handle the huge influx of people who were severely ill with the virus as a result of Boris Johnson’s incompetent failure to lock down the UK in time to prevent a tragedy.

A further six million fewer people were referred by GPs to hospital for diagnostic tests and treatment because of the disruption to care, a wish not to further pressurise the overstretched NHS, and a reluctance to send patients to a place where they could catch the virus.

This means the NHS is likely to face even more pressure as these missing millions demand treatment as the pandemic eases off. And what if another wave pushes hospital admissions up again?

More to the point: how many patients have died?

And crowdfunding website GoFundMe has reported a huge increase in the number of people seeking donations to support medical care: 87 per cent more citing “waiting lists” as their reason, 60 per cent more stating they need cash for “clinical trials” and a deeply concerning 55 per cent more saying they need cash to buy cancer drugs.

The concern here is that people who pay for private surgery often end up being sent back to the NHS to have botched operations fixed.

So people who pay for operations to take pressure off the NHS could find that they are still only making matter worse.

The extent of the problem is highlighted by The Guardian:

The number of people forced to wait more than a year for their operation has rocketed from 1,613 before the pandemic to 304,044 in January this year, and more than 1 million people have been waiting at least six months, even though 92% of patients are supposed to be treated within 18 weeks under the referral to treatment scheme.

“The waiting list is already at the highest level it’s been since comparable records began in 2007, and if it did rise from 4.6 million now to 9.7 million by March 2024 as we estimate, that’s more than double the waiting list now,” [said Tim Gardner, a senior policy fellow at the Health Foundation].

Rachel Power, the chief executive of the Patients Association, pointed out that patients have gone without life-saving treatments:

She said the association was “particularly concerned by reports of treatments being cancelled that could be life-saving”.

Finally – and to hammer home the point that this is a political issue: the disruption to hospital treatment was almost one-and-a-half times as bad in poorer areas than where people are richest. The worst-affected English region was the North West.

This confirms not only that poverty affects health but also that Tories like Boris Johnson couldn’t care less; after all, they haven’t done anything about it.

It will take years to reduce the number of people waiting for treatment until the 18-week target time is achieved – even with a government that genuinely wanted to help. The experts say it won’t happen until long after the next general election.

But local elections are happening much sooner – on May 6. Tories will be concerned that voters will use them to express their displeasure with a government that let them down badly, and has been lying about what a good job it has done.

Source: Covid: 4.6m people missed out on hospital treatment in England in 2020 | NHS | The Guardian

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Scandal of NHS dental patients told to ‘pay private fees’ or wait in pain in Covid crisis

Say “Aah!” But the scream is more likely to be from financial pain, or the pain of waiting for an appointment that disappears ever-further into the future.

The Canary is absolutely right to draw attention to this scandal. Mrs Mike tried to make an emergency appointment last month and the earliest she could get was the end of March.

Still, it could be worse…

Some NHS dental patients … face two-year waits for appointments, a watchdog has warned.

I haven’t seen a dentist for more than two years, since the local NHS practice lost one of its practitioners. I was told my appointment would be delayed and a few months later I was quietly removed from the books.

The nearest practices that might have vacancies for NHS patients are 50 miles to the north or south.

Of course, we could go private. Have you seen how much that would cost?

Healthwatch England was contacted by one patient who was offered a procedure for £1,700 which was £60 on the NHS.

It seems that, even if we survive the Covid-19 pandemic, our teeth may not.

The advice people are being given echoes a satirical sketch from The Day Today, back in the 1990s, warning people against seeking treatment from backstreet dentists.

Compare that with this:

Another patient was told to use a nail file to deal with a broken tooth, and others were advised to “buy dental repair kits and treat themselves”.

This is the culmination of decades in which successive UK governments have neglected our dental health.

Profiteers have ensured that it is not worthwhile to run a dental practice on the NHS. It is far more lucrative to go private, and to hell with the teeth of people who can’t pay.

Oh, and of course it is not profitable to work in rural areas; the big bucks are in the cities so, while dentists might start out in small towns like mine in Mid Wales, they clear off to urban areas as soon as they can.

The Covid crisis has just brought these facts into sharp focus.

And what do you think will be done about it, once the virus has died down?

I’ll give you a clue: nothing.

As long as dentistry remains a gravy train, it will be denied to people outside the cities, who don’t have a ton of spare cash to throw around.

Or you could demand change now. You should – because even if you’re in a good position now, there’s no guarantee that you always will be.

Source: NHS dental patients told to ‘pay private fees’ if they want treatment | The Canary

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Tories use coronavirus to put barrier between patients and NHS care

Future predicted: The 1980s drama Max Headroom featured a TV doctor who examined patients by video link. In the pilot we were treated to the sight of a patient dropping his trousers in readiness to show off his anal pustule. This seems to be the future that Matt Hancock is planning for the NHS – especially after he gave Amazon free access to all your medical information (I’m not sure if this is the patient from that show but it’s as close to that scene as I’m going! Note the “does not vote” label at the bottom).

The Conservatives have been trying to stop people actually going to see a doctor for years and now they’re using coronavirus to force it on us.

They want us to hold all our appointments by telephone or over the internet.

What an absolutely moronic idea. Only an imbecile would suggest that it was an improvement.

Matt Hancock said a current “digital-first” rollout will be extended across the country wherever “clinically and practically possible”.

He told MPs: “We’re taking steps of course to improve access by making sure people can access primary care in the best possible way.”

Draw your own conclusions about Mr Hancock!

This Writer is reminded of the pilot of Max Headroom (the SF drama, not the comedy video-jockey show) in which people use home video cameras to show their symptoms to a TV doctor.

In the show we’re treated to the sight of a man starting to drop his trousers in order to show the world his “anal pustule”. Charming.

But we live in a country that has aired Embarrassing Bodies, so one imagines that this is the sort of thing that has emboldened Mr Hancock.

As far as I’m concerned, we might as well look up our symptoms on Google. The result will be about as reliable.

In other words, I reckon this policy is a plan for preventable deaths (only affecting poor people, of course) and possibly even for the eruption of another epidemic; remote GPs aren’t going to recognise all the symptoms in the course of a brief call.

And how much are these calls going to cost the patient? The NHS is supposed to be free at the point of use!

Ultimately, we can see this as a transparent attempt to push the NHS closer to privatisation.

It will only take a few tragedies for the Tories to claim that the public health system isn’t working and commercial interests could carry out the duty much more responsibly (even though that has proved not to be the case in every single privatisation ever carried out by a Tory government).

Contemptible.

Source: Coronavirus: GP appointments to be held digitally where possible ‘with immediate effect’ – Mirror Online

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Kiss doctor-patient confidentiality goodbye in the Tories’ latest NHS cash-saving scheme

GPs are no longer to have confidential, one-on-one interviews with patients who have certain conditions, if the Tory government has its way.

If you can’t afford private medicine, you don’t deserve to discuss your medical conditions in privacy, according to the latest crackpot Tory scheme for our cash-strapped NHS.

Having starved the service of funding and staff with a series of stupid or selfish policy decisions, they have left it incapable of coping with the demand for GP time.

So patients are to be deprived of their dignity with consultations organised for groups of up to 15 patients at a time.

The fact that people don’t want the intimate details of their medical conditions bandied around more than a dozen other people – not all of whom may be strangers – won’t enter into the Tories’ calculations.

The whole loony plan is further evidence that Conservatives consider the rest of us to be nothing more than herd animals.

Don’t forget that the Department for Work and Pensions describes benefit claimants as “stock”. Clearly that mentality has polluted the NHS as well.

GPs are to offer shared appointments for groups of up to 15 patients with similar conditions under NHS plans.

Patients who participated in a trial said they benefited from group appointments after receiving support from other participants, according to the head of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP).

Doctors reported finding the sessions effective at dealing with a variety of health issues like diabetes, arthritis and obesity as they do not have to repeat the same advice individually.

There is a UK shortage of GPs and medical staff, which has been exacerbated by a decline in EU applicants to work as nurses and some NHS staff returning to EU countries.

However medical bodies say that is not the primary motivation behind the new scheme.

Source: Group GP appointments: how NHS plans to see your GP with up to 14 people will work

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An appointments system for Accident & Emergency is the stupidest NHS idea yet

The whole point of Accident & Emergency is that people don’t need appointments to be seen.

A person who has just become the victim of a life-threatening injury, illness or condition isn’t going to have time to wait around until a doctor is ready to see them.

And the fact that this is being proposed to save face, for a service whose lack of money means it isn’t hitting targets is the biggest insult of all.

Yes, the National Health Service needs major changes.

They are a change of leaders – and a change of government.

Patients could have to start booking appointments in A&E units, and those with only minor ailments wait many hours before they are seen, under a proposed shakeup of NHS targets.

NHS England chiefs are examining whether to relax the longstanding obligation to see 95% of A&E patients within four hours.

They are also under growing pressure from hospital bosses to ease another key NHS waiting time target – the duty to give patients non-urgent surgery within 18 weeks of being referred by their GP.

Source: NHS proposes A&E appointments system in targets shakeup | Society | The Guardian

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Terminally-ill woman forced to walk to doctor’s on crutches by Tory cruelty

Tracey Mills.

Stealing vital transport from the terminally-ill – that’s “compassionate Conservatism” for you in this day and age.

Tories once claimed that they would not penalise the terminally-ill. Clearly that has changed and they don’t care who they persecute.

Perhaps they are not saving enough benefit money by forcing the genuinely sick and disabled onto Universal Credit?

Perhaps – and this is more likely – they simply get a kick out of watching those near death struggle to live for just a few more days.

The people facing this persecution may be sick, but the Tory government is sickening.

A woman with terminal cancer says she was forced to walk to an emergency doctor’s appointment on crutches – after she was deemed too healthy for a mobility car.

Tracey Mills, 53, from Mossley, Greater Manchester, was previously granted a vehicle through Disability Living Allowance (DLA) after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour several years ago.

But when a new assessment was carried out after the government’s new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) came into force, Tracey’s disability benefits were reduced.

She was found to be too fit to qualify for a car, so the automatic Ford Focus she relied on to get around was taken away.

Source: Woman with terminal cancer forced to walk to doctor’s on crutches after mobility car was taken away

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Scottish Parliament heckler provides more proof that Esther McVey really is a ‘stain’ on humanity

McVile: Esther McVey during her evidence session before the Scottish Parliament.

Congratulations to John Pring at Disability News Service for interviewing the man who heckled Esther McVey during her evidence session before the Scottish Parliament on Monday.

It turns out that ‘David’ had raised the case of Jodie Whiting, who took her own life after her Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) was sanctioned away from her. This Site covered the case here.

It is disappointing that the interruption was not reported fully by the mainstream media because it highlights the cruelty of both the Department for Work and Pensions and its current boss, and illustrates why they both have to go:

Ms Whiting lost her benefit because she missed a work capability assessment appointment because she was in hospital being treated for a brain cyst.

Let’s all stop for a moment and think about that.

It is entirely reasonable for a person on a long-term sickness benefit to require hospital treatment for their health condition.

While it may legitimately require people to prove their eligibility to receive ESA, it is entirely unreasonable for the government’s benefits agency to demand that sick people miss their treatment in order to tick a box on a bureaucrat’s paperwork.

Health comes first, or it is the system that is sick.

And the Tory-run system is terminal – for users like Ms Whiting. Instead of rearranging the assessment appointment, the DWP cut her off without a penny, triggering a chain of events that led to her untimely death.

When the case was raised, Ms McVey didn’t even have the decency to apologise. Instead, ‘David’ was removed from the meeting.

Could anything be a better demonstration of the arrogance and ignorance of our current rulers?

Rather than face up to their failings, they remove anybody who mentions them. And their complicit media mouthpieces gloss over the incident.

The mother of a woman who killed herself after her disability benefits were sanctioned has praised a disabled activist who confronted work and pensions secretary Esther McVey about her daughter’s death as she gave evidence to Scottish MSPs this week.

The activist, David*, had told Joy Dove of his plans to question McVey about her daughter’s suicide as the minister was giving evidence to the Scottish parliament’s social security committee on Monday.

Jodey Whiting, a seriously-ill mother-of-nine, from Stockton, took her own life last year after having her employment and support allowance (ESA) sanctioned.

She had her ESA stopped after missing a work capability assessment because she was in hospital being treated for a brain cyst, and never opened the letter telling her about the appointment.

David, from the campaign group Class War Scotland, who was sitting in public seats behind McVey, called out (listen from 52 minutes) as she was replying to a question from an MSP about her government’s policies on social security reform and whether she should apologise to the people of Scotland.

David called out: “What about Jodey Whiting, mother of nine, who committed suicide after her ESA was stopped?

“It was stopped because she missed an appointment.”

The committee meeting was suspended and David left the hearing.

Source: Mother of ESA suicide mum-of-nine praises activist for confronting McVey


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