Tag Archives: company

Millions opt out of NHS data grab, forcing it – temporarily? – to go ‘on hold’

Money-making scam: The idea was to make your confidential health information public knowledge, in order to make money for private health firms (some of which are from the United States).

This is a victory for people power.

You remember your Tory government’s plan to give away your personal – private – health records to marauding health companies so they can profit from them?

The plan that keeps surfacing every few years and keeps getting batted back by a UK public that wants this material to stay confidential?

Well, we’ve just succeeded in stopping it again. For the time being, at least.

The current attempt started in May, when NHS Digital announced that, if you lived in England, it would be putting the private details of your mental and sexual health, criminal records, smoking and drinking habits onto disc and handing them to “third parties”. Almost nobody noticed.

The plan provided an opportunity for patients to opt out – if they did so by a deadline of June 23, which was ridiculously fast. It seems clear that the intention was to pass your information over before you even knew it was happening.

And then organisations like This Site became involved.

I published my first article about this on June 2.

The result was uproar.

Now we see that, after 107,429 people opted out in May, when nobody knew about it, 1,275,153 did so in June – around 12 times as many people.

Questions were asked in the House of Commons and the opt-out deadline was extended to September – and now the scheme is being withdrawn altogether, albeit temporarily, according to NHS Digital.

May we conclude that even more millions of people opted out during July and the first weeks of August?

But NHS Digital is not abandoning the scheme altogether – just pausing it, with no new launch date. Here’s The Observer:

It will soon start a “listening exercise” and consultation process before launching a public information campaign.

Who will be told about it?

In a major concession to critics, patients will now be allowed to opt out at any stage, with their data deleted even if it has already been uploaded.

Am I the only one with doubts about that? If it has already been provided to private firms, there’s nothing to stop them from taking that information off the database and keeping it in a form of their own. If they know it may be altered, they probably will.

NHS Digital is also pledging to increase the security and privacy of the data, even while researchers are working with it.

I do not believe this.

There is a fundamental dishonesty that goes to the heart of this scheme, and it is the lie that private firms care about your health more than their profits.

Private firms were allowed to run NHS services for profit soon after the David Cameron coalition government came into office, in a change supported by many Tory MPs who had shares in those firms.

The plan to give your confidential information to those private firms was first tried very soon after that, in 2013. To me, this was evidence that the Tory plan all along had been to make money for profit-grubbers and not to improve healthcare.

The public has batted it away time and time again since then, but time and time again the Tories have brought it back.

Their latest claim is that

“Patient data is vital to healthcare planning and research. It is being used to develop treatments for cancer, diabetes, long Covid and heart disease, and to plan how NHS services recover from Covid.”

That’s why they want to take away our right to privacy and confidentiality and I don’t believe a word of it. How can it be used to develop these treatments when we haven’t handed it over? And how have these treatments been developed in the past?

The simple fact is that it is our information – not theirs. And if we don’t want it to be shared, there’s nothing they can do about it.

Source: NHS data grab on hold as millions opt out | NHS | The Guardian

Climate change: let’s put pressure on the companies causing it


Did you know that just 100 corporations are responsible for 71 per cent of the pollutants that cause global warming?

That was the finding of the Carbon Majors report in 2017. And here are the names of the firms doing the damage (as it seems unlikely that many – or indeed any – of them will have gone out of business in the last four years). They are:

China (Coal)
Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco)
Gazprom OAO
National Iranian Oil Co
ExxonMobil Corp
Coal India
Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex)
Russia (Coal)
Royal Dutch Shell PLC
China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC)
BP PLC
Chevron Corp
Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA)
Abu Dhabi National Oil Co
Poland Coal
Peabody Energy Corp
Sonatrach SPA
Kuwait Petroleum Corp
Total SA
BHP Billiton Ltd
ConocoPhillips
Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras)
Lukoil OAO
Rio Tinto
Nigerian National Petroleum Corp
Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas)
Rosneft OAO
Arch Coal Inc
Iraq National Oil Co
Eni SPA
Anglo American
Surgutneftegas OAO
Alpha Natural Resources Inc
Qatar Petroleum Corp
PT Pertamina
Kazakhstan Coal
Statoil ASA
National Oil Corporation of Libya
Consol Energy Inc
Ukraine Coal
RWE AG
Oil & Natural Gas Corp Ltd
Glencore PLC
TurkmenGaz
Sasol Ltd
Repsol SA
Anadarko Petroleum Corp
Egyptian General Petroleum Corp
Petroleum Development Oman LLC
Czech Republic Coal
China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec)
China National Offshore Oil Corp Ltc (CNOOC)
Ecopetrol SA
Singareni Collieries Company
Occidental Petroleum Corp
Sonangol EP
Tatneft OAO
North Korea Coal
Bumi Resources
Suncor Energy Inc
Petoro AS
Devon Energy Corp
Natural Resource Partners LP
Marathon Oil Corp
Vistra Energy
Encana Corp
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd
Hess Corp
Exxaro Resources Ltd
YPF SA
Apache Corp
Murray Coal
Alliance Resource Partners LP
Syrian Petroleum Co
Novatek OAO
NACCO Industries Inc
KazMunayGas
Adaro Energy PT
Petroleos del Ecuador
Inpex Corp
Kiewit Mining Group
AP Moller (Maersk)
Banpu Public Co Ltd
EOG Resources Inc
Husky Energy Inc
Kideco Jaya Agung PT
Bahrain Petroleum Co (BAPCO)
Westmoreland Coal Co
Cloud Peak Energy Inc
Chesapeake Energy Corp
Drummond Co
Teck Resources Ltd
Turkmennebit
OMV AG
Noble Energy Inc
Murphy Oil Corp
Berau Coal Energy Tbk PT
Bukit Asam (Persero) Tbk PT
Indika Energy Tbk PT
Southwestern Energy Co

These are the firms whose bosses need to be persuaded to rethink their business plans – and they won’t do that unless public opinion is mobilised against them.

That’s where you come in.

If you have any concerns about climate change at all, you need to get in touch with these firms and express your unhappiness with what they are doing. Call for them to reconsider their approach and to re-model their businesses to conform with a greener agenda.

I appreciate that many of these companies are not based in the United Kingdom. This is an international issue. They don’t just pollute their own countries; they pollute the whole world because we are all feeling the consequences of their irresponsibility.

That said, I would appreciate it if you would share this article with your friends – including those who live outside the UK. The more people take action – from as many countries as possible – the more likely these moguls are to pay attention.

I will try to look up contact details for these firms and add them to this article as they become available. If anybody can help with that, please do.

We cannot rely on our government(s) to do the right thing. The UK’s government is currently pushing legislation through Parliament to criminalise those protesting against the destruction of the planet. It is also providing tax relief to those reponsible for that destruction.

Government representatives and members of the party of government in the UK are lining up to pretend that there’s really no problem at all, and that the polluters should be allowed to carry on stinking up our homes in any way they please. Perhaps these people have shares in the companies concerned.

Remember: There is no planet B. Where are you going to go when the billionaires have poisoned the Earth so badly that you can no longer live on it?

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Covid-19: Boris Johnson gave more than the GDP of 140 nations and territories in contracts to crony companies

Spaffer: Johnson spaffed £52.5 billion up the wall in so-called Covid-19 contracts to Tory crony firms – and got practically nothing in return.

Boris Johnson used the Covid-19 crisis as an excuse to give cash totalling the Gross Domestic Product of 140 nation states and territories – your money – mostly to companies that were run by Tory donors or friends of people in his Conservative government.

And now he’s saying the cost of the Covid crisis means he’s cutting overseas aid. Doesn’t he mean there’s no money for Johnny Foreigner because he’s spaffed it all up his fatcat crony donor friends?

Of £52.5 billion in contracts, £27.5 billion was awarded without competitive tender. Experience shows that this means the cash went to cronies of the Tory government, many of whom had no experience and had literally just set up a company name in order to take the money. Meanwhile, experts in their field were denied any funding at all.

Profiting most from the handout was a firm called Innova Medical Group, with whom most of the contracts were for test kits that the US government has said are inaccurate and should be thrown away.

The National Audit Office says only 96 million out of 691 million Innova test kits have been registered as used.

The travesty is explained in excruciating detail by The Citizens, below:

Yes, the government has serious questions to answer.

Sadly, it is a government led by Boris Johnson so we know that all the answers will be twaddle.

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GP practice opts ALL patients out of NHS data giveaway. Ask yours to do the same

Here’s an interesting message, publicised by a civil servant at the Department of Health:

You’ll be aware that the Tories had been planning to pass private details of your mental and sexual health, criminal records, smoking and drinking habits to profiteers without telling you.

They had created a scam scheme in which they would hand over the medical histories of more than 55 million NHS England patients to profit-making organisations – unless the patients opted out.

But they never actually bothered to tell anybody what they were doing.

Instead, people found out through sites like this one – and kicked up such an outcry that the government announced it was delaying the data upload from the beginning of July to the beginning of September.

Announcing the delay, Health Minister Jo Churchill said ministers would use the extra time to “talk to doctors, patients and charities to strengthen the plan… and ensure data is accessed securely”.

I have no idea whether any of this has actually happened.

The message to Mr Thomas makes it clear that the government hasn’t been talking to patients, despite the assurance that it would.

It also suggests very strongly that whatever the government has been doing, it has made a liar of Ms Churchill.

So the action taken by his GP practice to opt all patients out seems entirely appropriate and I would urge anybody in England who has not received any communication about the plan from the government to contact your own GP practice and ask for it to do the same.

It’s what I’d be doing if I lived in England.

Friendly advice: This is important. Do it now – and don’t rely on anyone else to do it for you.

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Victory for grassroots campaign as Tories ‘delay’ giving away your private NHS patient data

This is a victory for social media campaigners like This Site.

The Tories had been planning to pass private details of your mental and sexual health, criminal records, smoking and drinking habits to profiteers without telling you.

They had created a scam scheme in which they would hand over the medical histories of more than 55 million NHS England patients to profit-making organisations – unless the patients opted out.

But they never actually bothered to tell anybody what they were doing.

I mean: if you’re in England, did you see the national advertising campaign on TV, the social media and in the newspapers? Did you catch the news spots with NHS and government representatives debating it with some of the many organisations who oppose it?

I didn’t think so.

Yet Health Minister Jo Churchill, announcing the “delay” in Parliament, had the bare-faced cheek to say the government was “absolutely determined to take people with us”.

The impression I get is that hardly anybody knew a single thing about it until Vox Political – along with a few other social media organisations – publicised it on June 2.

By then, less than three weeks were left before the original June 23 deadline for opting out.

So it was risible when Churchill told Parliament “patients own their own data”.

If that’s an admission that the Tories don’t own patient data, then why have they been trying to sell it ever since they formed their government in 2010? Isn’t that, you know, theft?

The good news is that This Site’s article – and those of the other social media sites that took an interest – caught the public interest and the government had to step back.

The Tories wouldn’t have announced this delay if they had not received significant resistance to their plan.

And the really good news is that the delay means more people can opt out of the scheme.

You can do this by providing this online form to your GP – or by using this website. I strongly urge you to do so.

Be sure to enjoy the “mythbusting” section of the website in which the Tories say it’s all perfectly innocent. And then ignore it.

Source: New NHS patient data store delayed by two months – BBC News

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Electoral Commission ‘wrongly recorded donations to Conservatives’. Oh, so is that all right, then?

Backhander? Or tax evasion? What was really going on with the donations to the Tory Party by companies that had long since gone out of business?

The Electoral Commission has admitted that it mistakenly recorded a donation to the Conservatives from an active company as being from a defunct firm, because they shared the same address.

It has asked for another mistake in recording a donation to the Tories to be taken into account as well.

Does that let the Tories off the hook, then?

No. No, it doesn’t.

There remains one more donation (of which we’re aware) to be explained.

It was apparently made by a firm called Unionist Buildings Limited, in June 2017. Records show the firm was dissolved six months early, in January that year.

The Conservatives have admitted incorrectly reporting donations from that firm but have given no further details.

Why not? Guilty conscience?

These discrepancies only came to light after the Labour Party discovered them and raised them with the Electoral Commission.

How can we be sure they are the only examples of false reporting of donations? We can’t, can we?

HM Revenue and Customs will be interested in donations from dissolved companies, particular if there are monies owing to HMRC or other creditors, because if you can pay donations, then you can pay your creditors.

Also, if this money came from the company, then was it profit generated by the company? If it was, then Corporation Tax and VAT is very likely to be due upon it.

In other words, has Labour uncovered tax evasion by Tory donors?

If so, we need to find out if this is an isolated incident or if it is more widespread. And we need to know now.

I wonder how the Tories will try to squirm out of this.

Source: Elections watchdog admits errors in reporting Tory donations – BBC News

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Tory time travel: now we find the Corruption Party has taken donations from dead firms

Backhander: is this how the Tories take their donations nowadays? In secret, so the donors can hide their identities in increasingly bizarre ways?

I can’t wait to hear the explanation for this, from whichever Tory anti-corruption tsar, ministerial standards watchdog or donations supremo will be ordered to whitewash it.

Will it bear any resemblance to the finding of the Electoral Commission, which is investigating?

Here’s the issue:

Two donations allegedly made to the Conservative Party from companies which had ceased to exist.

That’s right; they didn’t cease trading after giving the donations. They had already ceased to exist when the donations – worth £16,000 – were made.

It’s impossible. Logically, these were donations by people who wanted to hide the fact that they were donating to the Tories.

Now, why would anybody want to do that?

The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, parties may only accept donations from a UK-registered company if it “carries on business in the United Kingdom”.

So a logical possibility is that these were donations from foreign concerns who had an interest – possibly financial – in the Conservatives.

For clarity, these are the donations concerned:

One was for a sum of £10,000 made in November 2019 by a company called Stridewell Estates. Government records indicate that the firm had been dissolved three years previously.

The second donation was made in June 2017 by a company called Unionist Buildings Limited which had apparently been dissolved in January of that year.

I wonder also if this is something to do with Brexit. I’ll say no more than that, for now.

Another question is why it took Labour this long to query these donations. Too busy accusing innocent party members of anti-Semitism?

Source: Labour demands probe into donations to Tories from defunct firms – BBC News

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If you’re in England, the government is planning to hand your private health records to people you don’t know – again

Readers in England: are you happy that the Tory government is about to pass private details of your mental and sexual health, criminal records, smoking and drinking habits to profiteers?

Tory-run NHS Digital will hand over the medical histories of more than 55 million patients to “third parties” to “support the planning and commissioning of health and care services, the development of health and care policy, public health monitoring and interventions (including COVID-19) and enable many different areas of research.”

The announcement is carefully worded to avoid suggesting that your details are going to people who plan to make money out of them, but the simple fact is that, before privatisation was introduced in 2012, nobody but the NHS would have needed your records for the reasons given.

You can opt out of the scheme before June 23 by providing this online form to your GP – or by using this website. I strongly urge you to do so – and to ignore the “mythbusting” section of the website in which the Tories say it’s all perfectly innocent. They would, wouldn’t they?

If you think the Tories can be trusted on this, bear in mind that NHS Digital said the data could not be used “solely for commercial purposes”, which means that it will be used partly for commercial purposes.

Digital rights campaign group Foxglove has written to health secretary Matt Hancock suggesting that this plan is illegal.

And campaigners have also raised concerns that the scheme has not been sufficiently publicised. Did you know about it before reading this?

Healthcare IT News quoted Phil Booth of privacy organisation MedConfidential as follows:

“For the Government to rush out a data grab like this, with only a few weeks’ notice for patients and for GPs, is not only corrosive of trust – it’s deeply irresponsible. GPs are the busiest they’ve ever been and dumping this on them without time to prepare and the resources to handle patients’ opt-outs is the very worst sort of digital disruption.”

Absolutely.

NHS Digital is desperate to convince us that the data could only be used by “organisations which can show they have an appropriate legal basis and a legitimate need to use it”.

But recent experiences of health secretary Matt Hancock’s dealings with the private sector suggest that the database will go to anybody who has bunged the Tory Party a few quid over the last 10 or 20 years.

And, let’s face it, the Tories have a very poor record of trying to sell off your NHS records for a quick buck.

It’s one of the stories that has kept repeating over the last (nearly) 10 years, and This Site has reported on its progress:

The Tories tried to put GP records in a central database in 2013 under the Care.data programme, but it was abandoned in 2016 after confidentiality complaints.

My report of the time shows that the Tories are still using the same weak excuse for exploiting your private data, that failed to convince anyone eight years ago:

[Then-Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt] thinks this gross abuse of patient confidentiality is a good idea. But then, he’s a Tory and therefore thinks he has a God-given right to take anything, from anyone, if they have less filthy lucre than himself.

According to the Daily Mail – and you know the Tories have lost the plot when even the Heil weighs in against them – the *unt wants us to believe that the information will be valuable for medical research and screening for common diseases.

Doctors say Mr *unt and NHS England have failed in their duty to publicise the plan in a proper and reasonable way, that patients are not getting an “informed” choice about the matter, and that patients could be identified from the data with any information other than that on common conditions – which, we’ve already established, becomes public knowledge anyway.

Same excuses, same failure to publicise the plan… so we have all the same reasons to withdraw our permission. Don’t we?

I reported on it again in 2014.

And in 2016, after a review into care.data recommended that the scheme be scrapped, the Tories tried to sell your information anyway, but just without telling you.

Again, This Site reported on it:

The government’s review proposes to allow medical records from your family doctor, (possibly including NHS Numbers, diagnoses, referrals, prescriptions along with postcodes and dates of birth) to be uploaded to a giant national database – but this time without telling us or asking for our consent.

One of the schemes to replace care.data is called the “Single GP dataset”. The government’s review into care.data proposes to send all patient records from family GPs to the central database without the express consent of patients. Once in the system, it can be “sold” to any customers of the ‘Health and Social Care Information centre”, including private companies.

The government buried this announcement on the day of the report into the Iraq War. It is hoping no one will notice this new land grab on our medical records.

But people did notice.

And now I’m reporting on it again, so you will notice it again. I hope you will put a stop to it again, too.

And then I’ll look forward to reporting on another Tory bid to sell this information.

Judging by experience, we’ll be back here again in 2025.

Source: Privacy fears over NHS plans to share GP medical records with third parties | Healthcare IT News

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The Tories like putting messages on the sides of a bus. But is this one too close to the facts?

Sulk all you like, Boris: it was your idea to put slogans on the sides of a bus – although I doubt you’ll say this kind of imitation is any form of flattery.

Hat tip to whoever created this image and put it on Twitter.

If you’ve been isolating yourself from the news lately, it refers to this story.

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/


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GP surgeries are being privatised by the Tories. Do you really want your healthcare dictated by profit?


Doctors’ surgeries across the UK are being bought up and run for profit by private firms – including at least one from the United States.

American health insurance giant Centene has just taken over 49 NHS GP practices. In the last few years, they have bought NHS surgeries in Nottingham, Basingstoke, Milton Keynes, and Leeds. Yours could be next.

Centene appears to be a “bad actor” too – described by the Daily Mail as “profit greedy”.

In 2018, the company took control of a group of surgeries in Essex, including the historic Osler House surgery, founded in 1955. Soon after, Osler House was closed, leaving thousands of residents without a GP within 40 minutes’ drive from their house.

Healthcare provision doesn’t matter to them, you see. Their only concern is their profit.

In the US, Centene has been sued by thousands of people who bought insurance from them. Court papers showed that those people had “difficulty finding — in many cases cannot find — medical providers”.

Campaigning group We Own It said: “Your own local GP surgery or the local GP surgery your friends and family depend on may not be affected today. But if this takeover goes ahead, your GP surgery is not safe.

“Our local Clinical Commissioning Groups – the bodies that make local healthcare decisions in every area – can stop this.”

The group is urging you to sign a petition calling for an end to Boris Johnson’s privatisation of GP services, and for you to urge your family, friends and colleagues to sign it too. Will you?

The petition is here.

The choice is yours.

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/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook