Tag Archives: disease

Look at the diseases in the US food your Tory government wants you to eat

Yummy yummy diseases for your tummy: a chlorinated, antibiotic-fed chicken. It may well be full of salmonella, e.coli and excrement but your Tory government will be demanding that you eat it if it signs a trade deal with the United States.

Channel 4’s Dispatches has highlighted the danger into which Boris Johnson’s Tory government will force us, if it is allowed to make a trade deal that will kill UK farming and force us to eat chlorinated chicken and other diseased foods from the United States.

This Site told you on Tuesday (October 13) that the government has rejected calls to enshrine high food standards in law, saying it is enough that Tory ministers have said they will demand such standards in any trade negotiations with foreign nations.

These are the same Tory ministers who supported Johnson’s EU Withdrawal Agreement to the hilt in January, and now say that it is no good and they support breaking international law – turning the UK into a criminal state – instead, so their word is worth less than nothing; it is a promise of betrayal.

Dispatches has shown us what it will mean if we allow food into the UK from the United States:

Yes, you heard it correctly: the Americans would sell us meat that has animal excrement in it.

And yes: the diseases carried in this US meat would cause serious problems to people with long-term ill-health, meaning the Tories would be creating another opportunity to quietly kill off many thousands more people with long-term illnesses and disabilities and wipe them from the benefits bill.

Apparently somebody spoke up on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, demanding that the Tory government legislate for higher food standards.

But I fear this Twitter user has drawn the right conclusion:

That is my feeling, too: Boris Johnson’s loyalty lies with the US rather than with us.

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Terminally ill woman forced to fight for benefits as it’s uncertain if she’ll die in six months

Lorraine Cox.

A woman from Derrylin, in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, has challenged the legal definition of a terminal illness after she was refused access to benefits due to uncertainty over her lifespan.

Lorraine Cox has Motor Neurone Disease.

Lorraine was required to still look for work months after she medically retired because of her condition.

The 40-year-old then underwent a medical assessment for both ‘Universal Credit’ and ‘Personal Independence Payment’ (PIP) due to a rule which states that those who qualify for payment are expected to die within a period of six months.

Law Centre NI legal officer, John McCloskey, who is assisting Lorraine in her application explained; “The inclusion of the six month criterion in the legal definition of a terminal illness has been described as cruel.”

It is restricting access to support for people at a very difficult time. “The six month rule was introduced over 30 years ago and was intended to assist people in accessing special terminal illness rules, not restrict them. It is now hurting terminally ill people who have an illness that’s more difficult to accurately predict.

“The Westminster all-party parliamentary group for terminal illness described the six month criterion as ‘unfit for purpose’ and called on the UK government to amend the legal definition of a terminal illness.

“Walter Rader, in his independent review of PIP in Northern Ireland, recommended that the clinical judgement of a medical practitioner should be sufficient to allow special rules to apply. We are now testing whether the application of the six month criterion is in fact lawful.”

Source: Terminally ill woman ‘forced to fight for her benefits’ – The Fermanagh Herald

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Civil disobedience: would parents be irresponsible to send their children back to school now?

Closed: schools in England should stay that way because the Tory government cannot guarantee that they are safe – and parents will be legally responsible if their children catch Covid-19 while following the government’s demand that they attend.

If English parents send their children back to school on Monday (June 1), they will carry responsibility if their child catches Covid-19 as a result.

It seems the Tory government isn’t telling anybody about that part of the law on parental responsibility.

This Writer is grateful to one such parent, who writes:

You have a legal obligation to not send your child anywhere you believe to be unsafe.

If you suspect your child is going to be harmed and you send them anyway and they get harmed, you are legally liable.

You cannot be made non-liable either, not while you have parental responsibility and they can’t penalise you for fulfilling a legal obligation.

So the law seems clear, in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic:

There is no guarantee that children will be safe from catching this potentially deadly disease at school.

If they catch it, then it doesn’t matter whether they show symptoms or not – they will still be vulnerable to the variant of Kawasaki disease that has proved fatal in several cases both in the UK and around the world.

Parents have a responsibility to keep children away from places where they may be endangered – and these places currently include schools.

If the child catches Covid-19, or contracts the Kawasaki variant, at school then the parent will be legally responsible for it – not the Tory government that demanded that the child must go back to school.

So the law tells us that parents must keep their children away from school, no matter what the government says.

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Teenager DIES from new coronavirus-linked disease. Does Johnson still want schools reopened?

A class at school: suppose all the schools in England reopened at the start of June. How many pupils from a class like this would have Covid-19 – and/or the new ‘Kawasaki disease’-type infection – within a week?

A boy aged 14 has died of a new “hyper-inflammatory” disease after he tested positive for coronavirus.

The youngster had no underlying health conditions but tested positive for coronavirus. Note that nobody knew the pandemic had affected him until he was brought in to be treated for the new infection.

He died in Evelina London Children’s Hospital, where more than 40 children have been treated for the disease, which resembles “Kawasaki disease”.

It is believed that 120 youngsters are being treated for the new disease across the UK.

According to the Health Service Journal, an urgent alert was issued to doctors after a rise in cases over the last month:

The alert to GPs, marked “significant alert” states: “Please refer children presenting with these symptoms as a matter of urgency.”

Both messages said: “The cases have in common overlapping features of toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki Disease with blood parameters consistent with severe COVID-19 in children.

“Abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms have been a common feature as has cardiac inflammation.”

Visible symptoms include high temperatures, swelling, red eyes and a red rash.

Any parent or guardian observing these symptoms in children should seek hospital treatment for them immediately.

This new development may put a block on Boris Johnson’s plan to reopen schools from the beginning of June.

Teachers across the country have already announced that they will not support such an early lifting of lockdown restrictions for children, and fear of a deadly disease connected with Covid-19 is likely only to strengthen their resolve.

At the time of writing, the government has yet to comment on the new contagion.

Source: Boy, 14, with no underlying conditions dies from new disease linked to coronavirus – Mirror Online

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Pregnant mum with jaw-eating bug nearly lost unborn child because of Tory benefit cruelty

Can you believe the Tory-run Department for Work and Pensions denied Personal Independence Payments to a woman for two years, even though she obviously deserved it?

Sara Pollard-Dambach nearly lost an unborn child because of the stress of being reassessed for PIP – after which the benefit was denied her again. She had a haemorrhage and thought she had miscarried.

Luckily a hospital scan showed a heartbeat.

She has been wheelchair-bound for two years, in extreme pain, after contracting severe conditions.

She fell and fractured her coccyx at a play area in March 2017. Later on in July of the same year she had a tooth abscess and, according to doctors’ notes, her inferior alveolar nerve was damaged and 10 months later she was diagnosed with osteomyelitis – a serious bone infection.

This infection invaded her jaw and started eating the bone there. It also went into her coccyx.

In May this year she had her coccyx removed while also suffering with a painful pilonidal sinus (a small hole or tunnel in the skin that fills with pus) around the top of her buttocks.

Her husband Oliver runs a restaurant, and she usually runs the social media aspect of it – but both he and daughter Chloe had to take care of Sara.

This meant a huge drop in income, and PIP would have done exactly what it is supposed to do – help cover the extra costs incurred by disability.

She applied for the benefit in October 2017 – and never received it.

And now, it seems, she never will. At least, not while there’s a Conservative government telling the DWP to pretend that disabled people are fit and healthy.

Sara has said that she will not be pursuing her claim for PIP – for the sake of her unborn child.

Now that she is slightly better, her husband is working at the restaurant and she is also back at work, so the need isn’t as great.

But she and her family were forced to resort to food banks after the DWP made its original decision, and the local community raised cash for them as well.

So we have a case in which a woman was forced to resort to food banks because the DWP would not acknowledge her condition.

And then she nearly lost her unborn child because of the stress of a reassessment that should never have been necessary.

Cases like Sara’s are happening all the time.

People have suffered much worse – up to and including their own death.

And there’s only one way to stop it.

Regime change. You can bring it about on Thursday, simply by voting the Conservatives out.

Source: Pregnant mum from Hayling Island with jaw-eating bug nearly lost her unborn child during two-year fight to get PIP payments – The News

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The Tories are doing nothing to halt preventable illnesses. Why would THAT happen?

Here’s a thought:

If the Conservative government really was planning to sell off the National Health Service as part of a trade deal with a foreign power – Trump’s USA or anyone else – wouldn’t it make sense to ensure that there were plenty of sick people in the United Kingdom who the buyers could use to make a profit?

I know. That kind of behaviour would indicate mental illness on the part of our leaders.

Or it would suggest a strong profit motive.

Just saying.

new report from the think tank IPPR argues that progress on preventing ill health has ‘hit a wall’ since 2010.

Over half of the disease burden in England is deemed preventable, with one in five deaths attributed to causes that could have been avoided.

Source: LocalGov.co.uk – Your authority on UK local government – Over half of the disease burden in England ‘preventable’

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Universal Credit is increasing ‘Victorian’ diseases while worsening the nurse shortage

This is a 64-year-old man from Birkenhead whose experience of Universal Credit left him so malnourished he weighed just six stone when he was finally rescued and taken to hospital [Image from Pride’s Purge, using material from Terry Craven’s Facebook page].

This is the reality of Conservative politics – they simultaneously make serious problems worse while deliberately reducing the nation’s ability to combat them.

So once again we are hearing that the so-called “Victorian” diseases are on the rise. More than 800 people in the northeast of England were admitted to hospital with diseases including gout, tuberculosis, malnutrition, whooping cough, measles, scurvy, typhoid, scarlet fever, diphtheria, mumps, rickets, cholera, and vitamin D deficiency during the 2017-18 financial year.

Many are linked with malnutrition and they are called “Victorian” diseases because they were most common during the poverty-ridden years of the 19th century.

The current epidemic has been linked with the Conservative government’s abuse of the benefits system, as enacted through Universal Credit.

To provide an idea of how that link can be made, let’s look at the case of Harry Dent, who cannot read, write or use a computer. He was moved onto Universal Credit and immediately fell into debt because he did not understand the housing benefit element was paid direct to him, to pass on to his landlord – and in monthly, rather than fortnightly instalments. Nobody told him.

He tried to get his finances under control by taking out a £750 advance on his benefit – but is now having to pay it back, meaning he has even less money on which to survive. He has been left with £50 per week to pay his bills and buy food, leaving him with the classic dilemma of choosing between heating and eating.

While he has attended a food bank, he lives under the spectre of malnutrition.

He says Universal Credit discriminates against people with learning difficulties as claimants must be able to use a computer, read, write, have an email account, remember passwords and remember appointments.

And his mental health has suffered as a result of being put onto the harmful “benefit” – claiming he sometimes feels like “jumping off a bridge”.

You may remember Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd saying only one or two people have ever fallen into serious difficulty because of Universal Credit. Well, Harry’s is just one of the many stories that have come to public attention in the last week. You can read more of his story here.

So we have a system that intentionally puts people in danger of malnutrition, and of falling prey to the “Victorian” illnesses listed above. It might be possible to deal with this if the health service was fully-staffed, with well-trained and capable nurses.

Shame we’re being starved of that resource by the same “benefit”, isn’t it?

Trainee nurses lose hundreds of pounds when they claim Universal Credit because, under the new system, their student loans are classed as income. Read the facts here.

It means many trainee nurses are unable to complete their studies – depriving the health service of their skills. Perhaps it’s one reason the health service in England is hiring only one person for every 400 jobs advertised.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is said to have advised students to avoid claiming Universal Credit until they absolutely have to – until it is rolled out in their home area.

But despite Amber Rudd having paused the rollout recently, this is not a solution to the problem.

It seems malnutrition, “Victorian” diseases and the lack of nurses to help treat them are all part of the same problem – a problem called Conservative government.

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We all thought this kind of ignorance from disability benefit assessors had disappeared but here it is again

Michael Gibson, 36, said his Parkinson’s symptoms were made much worse as he was being assessed for personal independence payments [Image: PA].

As recently as Tuesday (September 12), This Writer was talking about the bad old days of disability benefit assessment to an acquaintance.

I referred to the infamous incident in which a claimant who happened to be an amputee was asked how long it would be until their limb grew back.

I said: “Thank goodness that doesn’t happen any more!”

How wrong I was.

The following happened to – of all people – a TV producer.

Now, you might think somebody working in television would have all the money they need in any case, but it turns out not to be the case.

Besides, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) was intended to provide extra help for people with disabilities and long-term conditions to get on with their lives, and we were all told that the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) served the same purpose.

Clearly, that isn’t the case, because Mr Gibson showed a clear need for a mobility car, and his assessors took it away.

PIP is clearly a step backwards and I would urge any future Labour government to scrap it.

It isn’t intended to help the disabled; it seems clear that it is about harming them instead.

Michael Gibson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease when he was just 18.

But despite Parkinson’s being a serious, progressive neurological illness with no known cure, the 36-year-old from Chorley says assessors who were deciding whether he could keep his mobility car asked him when his condition would clear up.

TV producer Michael says he relies on his mobility car to get to work at MediaCity in Salford because he cannot manage the 30-minute train and 20-minute tram journey because of his condition. Parkinson’s can affect movement and can leave him stiff and struggling to walk.

When his wife was on maternity leave, he was reassessed from the old Disability Living Allowance to the new Personal Independent Payments and was told he would lose his car.

Mr Gibson said he had a “terrible” experience with his PIP assessors, adding: “At one point I was asked how long would I have Parkinson’s for, and another assessor told me that I wouldn’t be eligible before she’d even started the assessment.

“Assessors are determining people’s futures with very little or no knowledge of the conditions people are living with.”

Source: Disability assessors asked: ‘how long will you have Parkinson’s for?’ – The i newspaper online iNews


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Malnutrition and ‘Victorian’ disease return – because of rising poverty driven by the Tories

161206-food-bank
The numbers aren’t huge at the moment, but they are significant – between 2010 and 2014, malnutrition in Salford rose from 43 cases to 85.

The longer we have a Conservative government, the worse it is going to get.

This Blog predicted the problem all the way back in December 2012, when I wrote: “In the UK, there are currently 13 million people living below the poverty line [including] working people, whose income does not cover their costs; the unemployed, who are finding they do not have enough money to buy food due to the vicious and unwarranted benefit cuts thrust upon them… and of course the homeless, a sector of society that is due to grow exponentially, again due to the many cuts inflicted by the bloodthirsty Conservatives.

“As a consequence of the rise in poverty, overseen and orchestrated by Mr Cameron and his lieutenant Iain Duncan Smith in the Department for Work and Pensions, the classic poverty-related diseases of rickets and tuberculosis are on the increase. In 2012, the Conservatives have achieved their aim to revive the Dickensian Christmas.”

Almost a year later, the UK’s chief medical officer announced the formal return of rickets. One may presume that the disease, while present, did not exist in great enough numbers prior to this but, thanks to the policies of David Cameron, Theresa May and the Tories, that had changed.

This time, I wrote: “Can there be any doubt that this rise in cases has been brought about, not just by children sitting at home playing video games rather than going out in the sunlight, as some would have us believe, but because increasing numbers of children are having to make do with increasingly poor food, as Cameron’s policies hammer down on wages and benefits and force working class people and the unemployed to buy cheaper groceries with lower nutritional value?

“The Tory wage-crushing policy has been ignorant in the extreme… as it has created an extra burden on the NHS. Preventative measures ‘could save the economy billions’.”

More than three decades of neoliberal political rule had had a devastating effect on the nation’s children, I wrote. While our mortality rate for 0-14 year olds was among the best in Europe during the 1980s, it was now among the worst, with five more children dying every day than in the best-performing country, Sweden.

The highest death rates were in deprived areas – in the northwest, northern cities and some of London’s poorer boroughs, with 21.1 deaths per 100,000 people under 17.

I also wrote that the then-government seemed hell-bent on ensuring that predictions of a rise in tuberculosis would come true as well, with its plan to tackle the phantom problem of “health tourism” (see how long that little nonsense has been floating around?) deterring temporary migrants from seeking treatment when they first fell ill.

By October last year, the list of ‘Victorian’ diseases re-surfacing in the UK had increased to include gout, TB, measles, scurvy, rickets and whooping cough.

Social security researcher and commenter – and stalwart friend of This Blog – Samuel Miller called on local authorities to investigate the return of these diseases.

He told us: “There is growing evidence that the draconian welfare reforms are irreparably damaging the mental and physical health of benefit claimants. Health figures recently revealed a 50% increase in the number of people admitted to hospital with malnutrition over the past four years, and a return of Victorian diseases linked to poverty such as gout, TB, measles, scurvy, rickets, and whooping cough are a barometer of failure and neglect,” – and referred to a list of articles which may be found here.

And now Salford council has answered the request, telling us what we all knew – and what we all feared.

Back in 2014, I wrote something that, while accurate then, seems even more true now, so I make no apology for repeating it here:

In the Bible, Jesus is quoted as saying, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not” – meaning he did not want his disciples to stop youngsters from hearing his teachings.

That saying may now be re-worked to fit the philosophy of Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt to read: “Suffer, little children – for you have a Conservative government.”

The number of malnutrition cases in Salford has doubled – with many of the victims children.

Victorian illnesses such as rickets and beriberi – thought to be long eradicated – are on the rise due to food poverty according to a shocking new report.

The number of people being admitted to hospital with the condition doubled over a four year period.

Although health conditions are often a primary cause, Salford council leaders believes that poverty is also to blame.

Source: Salford children are suffering malnutrition and Victorian diseases as poverty tightens its grip on the city

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Will the Tories ever admit their ‘welfare reforms’ are reviving Victorian diseases?

Painful deformities of the skeleton such as bowed legs: The return of rickets is another sign that the Conservative Government is regressing Britain to conditions during the primitive Victorian era - or even earlier.

Painful deformities of the skeleton such as bowed legs: The return of rickets is another sign that the Conservative Government is regressing Britain to conditions during the primitive Victorian era – or even earlier.

Social security researcher and commenter Samuel Miller thinks they are.

He wants health authorities in the UK to investigate whether the return of diseases linked to poverty – and to the Victorian era – such as gout, TB, measles, scurvy, rickets and whooping cough.

This Writer flagged up the possibility as long ago as October 2013, after the UK’s chief medical officer formally announced the return of rickets.

I wrote: “Can there be any doubt that this rise in cases has been brought about, not just by children sitting at home playing video games rather than going out in the sunlight, as some would have us believe, but because increasing numbers of children are having to make do with increasingly poor food, as Cameron’s policies hammer down on wages and benefits and force working class people and the unemployed to buy cheaper groceries with lower nutritinal value?”

Despite Tory claims that the UK is in better shape than it has been in years, it seems clear that these health issues are getting worse.

Mr Miller writes: “There’s an urgent need for health authorities to investigate whether Ian Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms, and cuts to social services, are responsible for the alarming rise in cases of malnutrition and the return of Victorian diseases.

“There is growing evidence that the draconian welfare reforms are irreparably damaging the mental and physical health of benefit claimants. Health figures recently revealed a 50% increase in the number of people admitted to hospital with malnutrition over the past four years, and a return of Victorian diseases linked to poverty such as gout, TB, measles, scurvy, rickets, and whooping cough are a barometer of failure and neglect.”

He cites these sources:

Malnutrition and ‘Victorian’ diseases soaring in England ‘due to food poverty and cuts’

Gout and malnutrition levels soaring as Victorian disease return

NHS hospital to offer food parcels to patients at risk of malnutrition

Malnutrition a public health emergency, experts warn

Who are you going to believe? Tory rhetoric or demonstrable evidence?

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