Emerson’s Green Treatment Centre is run by UKSH, owned by Care UK.
It’s bad enough that NHS patients across the UK are being told they can jump the queue for GP appointments by paying to see a private doctor instead.
But now the company running an NHS treatment centre in Bristol has decided to use it for profit as well as service, and is asking GPs in the city to push the service onto their patients.
This betrayal is exactly what we knew was coming; in line with ‘nudge’ theory, the profit-grubbers are nudging us into paying for private health care.
This would not be possible if the Conservative government had not spent the last seven years de-funding the NHS in order to worsen the service and push desperate patients into the arms of the rip-off merchants.
Yes – rip-off merchants. We are already paying for our health care. If the government is pushing us into paying for a profit-making company to provide a service we have already funded, that is a rip-off.
The sooner Labour gets back into office and strips out the parasites, the better.
GPs in Bristol have been given a shopping list of self-paid operations to offer their patients so they can avoid NHS waiting lists.
The operations, while freely available on the NHS, are also being offered by company Care UK for up to £9,000 at their Emersons Green treatment centre.
Care UK, owned by private equity firm Bridgepoint, are one of the largest care companies in the country. They already provide these services for free to patients on the NHS at Emersons Green but they say their new self-pay scheme will let those who can afford it get around “the pressure of growing waiting lists” and gives GPs “greater options to discuss with patients”.
But campaign groups and Bristol GPs have expressed their anger at being asked to recommend the paid procedures – one doctor called it “part of the dismantling of healthcare”.
It is impossible to reconcile the Tory claim that their government wants to invest in the UK with actions like handing £55 million of public money to health profiteers Care UK, to be deposited in its tax haven bank accounts.
Much of that money will be handed to shareholders in tax-free profits, doing nothing whatsoever to help people suffering from health problems and contributing to the worsening of – for example – the regular winter crises in Accident and Emergency departments across the UK.
And there is the question of corruption to consider: Care UK funded former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley when he was drafting his Health and Social Care Act, the lamentable piece of legislation that allowed private companies into the NHS. Did they provide him with £21,000 on the condition that they receive contracts worth millions?
The whole situation stinks like a cesspit. The sooner a Labour government takes office and kicks out these lazy freeloaders, the better.
It was announced last week that Care UK had secured a £55m contract to provide elective healthcare services at the North East London Treatment Centre, Redbridge.
Claims that the Tories are selling off the NHS and other public services to their city banker mates have been rubbished as apocryphal by their supporters. But you only have to look at cases like this to see the truth of the matter.
These companies are simply in it for the profit, and the only way for them to make a profit is by charging more than the service costs to provide. In the public sector that difference would be ploughed back into the service for the benefit of all. For private companies, it goes out of the NHS and usually out of the UK, squirrelled away from the tax authorities in offshore havens. If they don’t make a profit they don’t stick around for long.
You can’t call it a National Health Service any more, can you?
The corruption imposed on the system by the Conservative-led Coalition government has reached new depths with the award of huge contracts to companies that donate to the Conservative Party, and plans to stop the corrupt re-hiring of executives who had already received large payoffs – after this has already happened.
Especially to blame are the Liberal Tory Democrats who made sure that this desecration could take place by supporting it in Parliament.
Did anybody else find it laughable when the Telegraph reported plans for the Queen’s Speech this year to include stopping highly-paid civil servants and NHS executives from receiving large redundancy pay-offs and then being re-hired only a few months later?
The plan, apparently part of the legislative programme to be announced by Her Majesty tomorrow (Wednesday), is effectively fixing the barn door after the chickens have come home to roost; already thousands of NHS executives who were sacked from their jobs in the pre-Health and Social Care Act service have been re-hired – at great cost to the taxpayer – into the new one.
The new law won’t be able to stop any of them from doing what they have already done, and Treasury Financial Secretary Nicky Morgan’s claim that “We must make sure hard-earned taxpayers’ money is not being squandered” is meaningless.
Meanwhile, health companies have been rewarded with ‘NHS’ contracts worth almost 1,000 times as much as the money they have donated to the Conservative Party.
According to the Daily Mirror, Circle Health has been given £1.36 billion of health work after investors gave £1.5 million to the Tories; and Care UK – who bankrolled former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley with £21,000 during the seven years he was secretly working on the Health and Social Care Act while Tory leaders were denying any plans for the top-down reorganisation it would authorise – has won £102.6 million in contracts and its chairman John Nash has been made a lord, in return for a £247,250 donation to the Tories.
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham was right to say, “Nobody gave David Cameron permission to sell the NHS to his friends.”
Nobody did – Cameron lied about his plans for the NHS throughout his 2010 general election campaign, and then failed to win a mandate from the electorate.
But this is what David Cameron’s NHS was always going to be – a gravy train for rich asset-strippers.
The only losers are the sick – and Tories couldn’t care less about them.
The government has a duty to make some kind of response if an e-petition on its website passes 10,000 signatures. My own e-petition – ‘Ban MPs from voting on matters in which they have a financial interest’ – passed that point several weeks ago, but it is only now – right before Christmas, when people have many other matters on their minds – that it has been graced with a response.
And what a weak response it is!
The petition calls on the government to legislate against MPs speaking or voting in debates on matters which could lead to them, companies connected with them or donors to their political party gaining money.
The response runs as follows: “The participation of Members of Parliament in debates and votes are a matter for the rules of each House rather than for legislation.” How interesting. Every other level of government has legislation covering this – look at the Local Government Act 1972. What makes Parliament so special?
“The rules are based upon the principle of transparency: the registration and the declaration of any financial interests. In the House of Commons, the Code of Conduct requires Members to fulfil the requirements of the House relating to the registration of interests in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests and to be open in drawing attention to any financial interest in proceedings of the House. The application of these rules are explained in The Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members.” This raises the question: Why were these rules not applied so that, for example, Andrew Lansley could not speak on his own Health and Social Care Bill because he had received £21,000 of support from the private health company Care UK? Clearly he was in breach of the rules, and it is just as clear that no action was taken. This demonstrates the need for robust enforcement – with a criminal penalty for transgressors.
“Similar rules apply in the House of Lords. These make clear that it is for Peers themselves to declare a financial interest if a reasonable person might think that their actions could be influenced by a relevant interest.
“In both Houses the respective Registers of Interests are publically available and updated regularly.”How often are they checked for accuracy?
Now we come to the meat: “It would not be practicable to prevent Members speaking or voting in debates on legislation which could financially benefit any commercial operation in which they have a financial interest or which has made donations to themselves of their party. A significant number of legislative provisions in any year may have beneficial financial implications for all or most commercial operations. The requirement proposed would impose a duty on all Members to ascertain whether a general legislative provision might be of financial benefit to particular operations in which they had an interest. There are questions as to how such a complex requirement could be policed effectively and what sanctions would apply.”
This is bunkum. There is a huge difference between legislation that is designed to help all businesses and that which is designed to improve the profitability of a particular sector – such as the healthcare sector inhabited by Care UK, in the case of Mr Lansley that I have already mentioned.
Is a particular commercial sector, or an individual company, likely to benefit from legislation? If so, have any MPs taken money from that company, or one within that sector? Have such firms contributed to the funds of the party bringing that legislation forward? If the second condition is met, then that Member should not be allowed to speak; if the third condition is met, then this is corrupt legislation and should not be allowed before Parliament. It really is that simple. How many MPs or Peers have an interest in fracking?
In fact, considering their enormous salaries, why are MPs allowed to have any other financial interests at all?
“The rules of the House of Commons already prohibit paid advocacy, so Members cannot advocate measures which are for the exclusive benefit of a body from which they receive a financial benefit.”Then why was Lansley allowed to bring forward a bill that promised to benefit Care UK?
“In other cases, where legislation or debate affects a body from which a Member receives a financial benefit, that interest must be properly registered and declared.”How often is that checked?
“In relation to political donations and election expenditure, the Government is committed to further improving transparency and accountability, so as to prevent a situation where opaque and unaccountable groups spend large sums of money attempting to influence the political system. Measures to achieve this objective are included in the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill which is currently before the Parliament.” This is a Bill that has been pilloried as an example of the poorest legislation ever put before a British legislative body – it is not a good example to use in defence of a corrupt system.
That is the government’s point of view – for all that it is worth. I think we owe it to the people of the UK to respond – so let us lay this open to anybody who has an opinion.
Do you know of an instance in which the rules – as laid out in the government response published here – have been broken? Please get in touch and tell us what you know – making sure you provide as much evidence as possible. This site is not in the business of libelling honest politicians – we only like to expose those who are crooked.
Please get in touch.
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The masks were adopted by the loosely-affiliated protesters Anonymous as a clear indication of members’ feelings towards a Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition government whose actions, they believe, have been increasingly fascist.
These people have a point.
Has anyone read V for Vendetta lately? An early chapter, ‘Victims’, provides the historical background to the fascist Britain of the story – and provides very disturbing parallels with the current government and its policies.
In the story, there is a recession and a nuclear war. Fortunately, in real life we have managed to avoid the war (so far) but the recession of 2007 onwards has caused severe hardship for many, with average wages cut by nine per cent (in real terms) due to government policies.
In the story, the line “Everybody was waiting for the government to do something” is notable. Isn’t that just about as British as you can get? As a nation, we seem unwilling to take the initiative; we just wait for someone else to do something. We queue up. And then we complain when we don’t find exactly what we wanted at the end of the queue. But then it’s too late.
Does the government “do something”? Well, no – not in the story, because there isn’t any government worth mentioning at this point. But then… “It was all the fascist groups. The right-wingers. They’d all got together with some of the big corporations…”
Here’s another parallel. How many corporations are enjoying the fruits of the Conservative-led (right-wing) government’s privatisation drive?
The NHS carve-up signified huge opportunities for firms like Circle Health and Virgin, and Bain Capital (who bought our blood plasma supplies). Care UK, the firm that famously sponsored Andrew Lansley while he was working on the regressive changes to the health service that eventually became the Health and Social Care Act 2012, no doubt also has fingers in the pie.
The Treasury is receiving help – if you can call it that – from the ‘big four’ accountancy firms – PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG. They have written the law on tax avoidance. By no coincidence at all, these are the firms that run the major tax avoidance schemes that have been taken up by businesses and rich individuals who are resident in the UK. For more information on the government’s attitude to taxing the rich, see Michael Meacher’s recent blog entry.
The Department for Work and Pensions has employed many private firms; this is the reason that department is haemorrhaging money. There are the work programme provider firms who, as has been revealed in previous blog entries, provide absolutely no useful training and are less likely to find anyone a job than if they carried on by themselves; there are the IT firms currently working on Universal Credit, about which Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith lied to Parliament when he said he was having to write off £34 million of expenditure – the true figure was later revealed to be closer to £161 million, almost five times as much; there are Atos and Capita, and probably other firms that have been hired to carry out so-called ‘work capability assessments’ of people claiming sickness, incapacity and disability benefits, according to a plan that intentionally ignores factual medical evidence and places emphasis on a bogus, tick-box test designed to find ways to cut off their support; and there is Unum Insurance, the criminal American corporation that designed that test, in order to push British workers into buying its bogus insurance policies that work on exactly the same principle – this is theft on a grand scale.
So we have a government in cahoots with big business, and treating the citizens – the voters – like cattle. We’ll see more of this as we go on.
“Then they started taking people away… All the black people and the Pakistanis…” All right, these social groups have not been, specifically, targeted (yet) – but we have seen evidence that our government would like to do so. Remember those advertising vans the Home Office funded, that drove around London with a message that we were told was for illegal immgrants: “Go home”?
“That is a term long-associated with knuckle-dragging racists,” said Owen Jones on the BBC’s Any Questions.
“We’re seeing spot-checks and racial profiling of people at tube stations. We have a woman on the news… she was born in Britain; she was told she was stopped because she ‘didn’t sound British’. And we have the official Home Office [Twitter] account being used to send gleeful tweets which show people being thrown into vans with a hashtag, ‘#immigrationoffenders’.
“Is this the sort of country you want to live in, where the Conservatives use taxpayers’ money to inflame people’s fears and prejudices in order to win political advantage? Because I don’t think most people do want that to happen.”
This blog’s article on the subject added that not only this, but other governments (like that in Greece) had created an opportunity to start rounding up anybody deemed “undesirable” by the state. “Greece is already rounding up people of unorthodox sexuality, drug addicts, prostitutes, immigrants and the poor and transferring them to internment and labour camps,” it stated.
Note also the government’s response to criticism from UN special rapporteur on adequate housing Raquel Rolnik. Grant Shapps and Iain Duncan Smith and their little friends tried to say that she had not done her job properly but, when this was exposed as a lie, they reverted to type and attacked her for her racial origin, national background, and beliefs – political and personal. You can read the lot in this despicable Daily Mail smear piece.
Back to V for Vendetta, where the narrative continues: “White people too. All the radicals and the men who, you know, liked other men. The homosexuals. I don’t know what they did with them all.” Well, we know what Greece is doing with them all, and in the story, such people also ended up in internment and labour camps. We’ll come back to that.
“They made me go and work in a factory with a lot of other kids. We were putting matches into boxes. I lived in a hostel. It was cold and dirty…”
Last month this blog commented on government plans for ‘residential Workfare for the disabled’, rounding up people with disabilities and putting them into modern-day workhouses where someone else would profit from their work while they receive benefits alone – and where the potential for abuse was huge. If that happens, how long will it be before every other jobseeker ends up in a similar institution?
A while ago, a friend in the cafe I visit said that a Tory government will always see every class of people other than its own as “livestock”. That’s the word he used – “livestock”. From the above, with descriptions of people being treated like cattle, or being herded into the workhouse for someone else to profit from their work, it seems he has a very strong case.
So let’s go back to these internment and labour camps – in V for Vendetta they’re called “resettlement” camps. A later chapter – The Vortex – reveals that inmates at such camps are subjected to unethical medical experimentation. The doctor carrying out the trials notes in her diary that the camp commandant “promised to show me my research stock… they’re a poor bunch.”
Her research stock are human beings who have been subjected to conditions similar to those of the Nazi concentration camps. Notice the language – this doctor considers the other human beings taking part to be her property. And they are “research stock” – in other words, she does not see them as other human beings but as livestock – exactly as the friend in the cafe stated.
It wasn’t what I really wanted, but it’s a start – and it might help to identify some of the bad guys (and gals) in the House of Commons.
I am referring to my new e-petition, which calls on the government to legislate against MPs speaking or voting in debates on matters which could lead to them, companies connected with them or donors to their political party, gaining money. You can find it at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44971 – got it? Good, now sign it, please. Done that? Now read on. Thanks!
I do think this is a vital step to prevent corruption – if such a law had been in place before the current government came into power, Andrew Lansley would not have been able to speak in favour of his Health and Social Care Act before it was passed (he had received money from Care UK, as is well-documented on this blog and others).
But it is only a step. If this e-petition receives 10,000 signatures, then the government will post a response and I am dying to find out what it might be.
A Facebook friend of this blog sent me the response to an e-petition calling for the abolition of “work for your benefit/workfare” schemes in the UK, which seemed most keen to take issue with the use of the word “workfare”, even though it has been well-established in the British political scene for many years. It went on to describe the work-for-benefit schemes it does offer – in glowing terms. It makes me doubt whether the people responsible have taken the petition seriously.
Please support my petition. And please promote it by sharing the link with your friends – both online and in the real world, if possible. The Coalition Agreement of 2010 states that “the Government believes that we need to throw open the doors of public bodies, to enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account” but we have seen no evidence of this happening. If anything, it seems the creatures who stalk the corridors of power are more corrupt than ever before.
Does anyone remember the scandal when it was revealed lobbyists could gain access to David Cameron in return for a £250,000 donation to the Conservative Party?
This kind of behaviour must be fought. First, I think we should try to banish it from the chamber of the House of Commons. If a debate does take place, it would be interesting to see who takes part and how many oppose the proposal – for obvious reasons.
If the e-petition gets that far, it might be possible to expand, considering the activities of lobbyists and whether former MPs should be allowed to take jobs with companies that benefit from government contracts.
For my next e-petition, I have been weighing up my chances of getting one published that would seek a debate on Gideon George Osborne’s misuse of taxpayers’ cash to fund his £1 million property moneyspinner – the paddock affair. I couldn’t get one published about the Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards, who whitewashed the issue, and I doubt I could get one published seeking the dismissal of Osborne himself.
But a debate, using him as an example? That might be the way.
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