Tag Archives: doctor

Sunak backpedals on plan to make people pay for missed NHS appointments. Why?

Rishi Sunak: The decision came as he met patients and staff at Croydon University Hospital in his first visit as prime minister.

Did Rishi Sunak ever really mean to charge us £10 for missed NHS appointments?

Or was he just saying he would because he knew it would appeal to Conservative Party members?

It was a rotten idea:

I said at the time that what is actually needed is research to find out why these people are missing their appointments and help with the causes of their problems. I also said Sunak would never do that because it would cost money rather than raising it.

Doctors’ union the British Medical Association (BMA) said it would “make matters worse” and threaten the NHS’s principle of free care at the point of need.

The BMA welcomed the decision to scrap the plan and said it “cannot be brought back to the table later down the line”.

This may be news to Sunak who, apparently, had decided it was merely “not the right time” for the idea after “listening to GPs”.

Sunak had also pledged to eliminate one-year waiting times by September 2024, and get the number of people waiting for non-urgent treatment in England falling by next year. He also pledged to reform dentists’ NHS contract, and ring fence the annual £3bn NHS dentistry budget.

Let’s hope he doesn’t use this as a precedent to backtrack on those – useful – ideas as well (although I think the dentistry budget needs a boost. Ours are paid a pittance, I’m told).

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Tories lift unfair threat to doctors over face-to-face appointments

Don’t sweat it, Sajid: really, this image should show egg on his face but we can’t have everything we want, can we?

The GP strike is off – for the moment.

You’ll remember This Site reporting last week that GPs in England were threatening to strike after Sajid Javid wanted to compel them to hold face-to-face appointments with anybody who wants one – and threatened to publicly humiliate surgeries that didn’t meet targets he would impose.

Well… it seems Javid has discovered that a week in politics really is a long time.

After the threats and counter-threats, appointment figures for September have been published – showing that GPs have already conducted a significantly higher number of face-to-face appointments.

Remember, they started doing this before Javid made his ridiculous threat.

According to The Guardian,

Figures from NHS Digital show that 28.5m appointments were estimated to have taken place in September – about 8% higher than for the same month in 2019, and up around 3m on the figure for August.

Of the appointments made in September, 43.2% took place on the same day they were booked and 61% were in person. This 17.3m total for face-to-face contacts is the highest figure recorded since February 2020 and is up by about 3.5m on the figure for August, when 58% of appointments were face-to-face, the data suggests.

It’s still fewer than the 80 per cent of appointments that were face-to-face before the arrival of the Covid crisis…

But it was enough to cause a shamefaced Department of Health and Social Care to withdraw its threat to publish monthly “league table” data showing what proportion of surgery appointments occur in person or virtually,

according to sources.

Oh, and

An NHS source claimed “naming and shaming” GPs carrying out low levels of face-to-face appointments had never been included in the plans, only that “appropriate levels of face-to-face appointments for patients based on local need must be delivered”. The NHS source added that “while more localised access data will be published, the plan does not include ‘naming and shaming’”.

Whatever. It doesn’t matter now that it isn’t going to happen anyway, does it?

Source: GPs win ‘significant concessions’ from NHS England over in-person access | GPs | The Guardian

No ‘unsustainable’ pressure on the NHS? Then why are GPs threatening to strike?

Sajid Javid: behind the smug smile there appears to be no intelligence at all.

The following tweets appeared next to each other on my timeline:

It’s just more evidence that Sajid Javid was lying when he said pressure on the NHS due to Covid-19 was “not unsustainable” – as if we needed it, after Stephen Powis contradicted him during his own press conference on Wednesday:

GPs are under severe pressure due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis – worsened by the government’s refusal to take action to reduce infections, in the face of increases past 50,000 a day and the worst death rate since March.

But Health Secretary Sajid Javid wants to compel them to hold face-to-face appointments with anybody who wants one – and is threatening to publicly humiliate surgeries that don’t meet targets he imposes.

As a result,

GPs in England are threatening industrial action in protest at the government’s attempt to force them to see any patient who wants a face-to-face appointment.

The British Medical Association’s GPs committee voted unanimously to reject the plan by the health secretary, Sajid Javid.

The doctors’ union has decided to hold a ballot on possible industrial action, which could result in family doctors at the 6,600 practices in England reducing the work they undertake.

So Javid’s interference is likely to make it less possible to see a GP personally. What a stupid way to run a health service.

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Bonanza for private health firms as Tories cut NHS’s ability to cope

Private hospitals are set to mop up more than £2 billion in new deals – £200 million of which will be pure profit for shareholders – to provide non-urgent procedures like hip replacement operations because the NHS is struggling with Tory underfunding.

It’s typical financial incompetence from the Tories – they’d rather send £200 million to the private offshore tax-haven bank accounts of greedy profiteers than invest it in the health of the English people (this is an English NHS plan).

And experience indicates that the NHS will have to come back and sort out the mess after the private firms botch a significant percentage of the operations (unless they’ve managed to stop doing that? If anyone has new information on this, please let me know).

According to iNews,

The Government has drawn up contingency plans for further local, regional, or national lockdowns in England, but hopes the deals to create around 7,000 extra beds in private hospitals will help avoid the need for the reintroduction of Covid restrictions.

The signing of further contracts with the private sector follows a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies that found NHS waiting lists could almost treble to 14 million by autumn next year.

A spokesman for NHS England claimed such deals between the NHS and private healthcare groups are struck “at the same cost to taxpayers” as NHS services. However, similar contracts throughout the pandemic have agreed a “cost-plus” pricing formula, which allow for profits of between 8 and 10 per cent to be paid to the hospital groups.

Private hospital groups such as Circle Health, Ramsay Health Care and Spire Healthcare are believed to been among those discussing new and expanded deals with the Department for Health and Social Care.

This is just throwing good money after bad.

And the reason it is necessary? Here‘s the Morning Star:

NHS workers are trapped in a “vicious circle” of staff shortages and exhaustion, health service experts have warned, as they called for better funding of the health service.

Real investment in capacity is needed to address vacancies in the NHS, the effect of which has been compounded by increasing rates of staff sickness, said Dr Layla McCay, policy director of the NHS Confederation, which represents health service organisations.

The warning came after MPs published a damning report in June highlighting “emergency” levels of staff burnout in the healthcare sector.

There are currently 76,000 staff vacancies in the NHS, including 40,000 for doctors.

Last month, research by doctors’ union BMA found that England was 25 years behind comparable European nations in terms of the number of doctors per 1,000 people.

Saying that it was “unforgivable” that the government had allowed workforce levels to reach this point, the union demanded extra Treasury investment in training and retaining doctors.

So there you have it.

The NHS would be able to cope with the extra work caused by the Covid-19 pandemic – if only the Conservative Government had funded it properly, making it possible to employ and retain a number of doctors equivalent to those available in other European nations.

But they didn’t. Once again, despite being the sixth-richest country in the World, the UK is the “poor man” in terms of the value we get for that money.

And rather than even begin to put right that lack of investment, the Tory imbeciles are wasting money by throwing it at private firms who will invest it in their own private back accounts rather than in treating people who need it.

That really is sick!

It conforms with Noam Chomsky’s definition of privatisation technique perfectly, though: defund, make sure things don’t work… hand it over to private capital.

The Tories in government are swearing that the private contracts are just a stop-gap measure while the NHS is struggling.

But just you watch them and see if they ever take that work back in-house.

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Who doctored Hansard to protect this Tory racist? Did she do it herself?

Boris Johnson [Image: The Agitator].

Not only did a Tory minister make false claims to Parliament about racism in the Labour Party, but the official record of the debate – Hansard – was doctored to make it seem that she did not.

Worse still, Victoria Atkins had already added to her party’s tally of racism by telling a fellow MP who happens not to be white to know her place and not be uppity with her betters (although she didn’t use those exact words).

Her shocking abuse of her position has sparked a demand for the Commons Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, to take action – not just to correct the record but to save the reputation of the House of Commons.

Here’s just one complaint to Hoyle, from Twitter, with follow-up messages to show the issue:

You can see that Leftworks is absolutely correct by watching this video (ironically posted by a fan of Atkins).

She did indeed quote the EHRC’s remit as though it were that organisation’s conclusion – it was not – and Hansard did indeed insert three words to falsify the record.

The effect of Atkins’s words at the time they were said, and in that place, would have been to negate Jeremy Corbyn’s argument – she was effectively saying that he was a racist and therefore had no right to accuse others.

Furthermore, of course, her claim about Luciana Berger needing police protection was false.

Right-thinking people are up in arms about this – and rightly so:

Ms Atkins, who was standing in for her racist boss, Home Secretary Priti Patel, was in the Commons to answer an urgent question on what the government would do to stop racist abuse on the social media.

Patel had been – rightly – accused of “stoking” such abuse by Tyrone Mings of the England football team, whose teammates Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were victims of it.

When she was tackled on the racism of her own prime minister by rising Labour star Zarah Sultana, Atkins treated her as if she were a black housemaid in the pre-Civil War American south, warning her to “lower” her “tone”:

I make no apologies for adding in this tweet, which includes much of the same video material, for the sake of Seema Chandwani’s observation about the way Ms Sultana was treated:

Shall we have a think about racism by the prime minister – that’s Boris Johnson, by the way – and by Atkins’s boss Patel?

Let’s start with Priti Patel, who locked asylum-seekers from foreign countries into filthy concentration camps where overcrowding caused hundreds of them to catch Covid-19. How many of them died? We haven’t seen the figures.

She wants to bring in a new law making it an offence to help refugees into the UK – even by saving them from drowning in the sea off the UK’s coasts.

Another Bill passing through Parliament at the moment will target the GRT community – Gypsies, Romanies and Travellers – by assuming that they are committing crimes simply because they are Gypsies, Romanies or Travellers. This is classically-defined racism.

The Home Office at which Atkins is a minister destroyed the records showing that members of the Windrush Generation were UK citizens – and then pursued an aggressive policy to deny them services they had spent decades funding, like NHS healthcare and state benefits, while taking action to deport them. One may conclude from this that Atkins is a racist herself.

Need I go on?

As for Boris Johnson, Twitter has been full of commentary on his racism:

That’s right – he actually approached a black woman at a party, made monkey noises at her and tried to hand her a watermelon.

How about some more references to Johnson’s historical pronouncements?

This is now a summary of commentators’ attitude to Johnson:

And – thankfully – the fact of his racism is filtering through to the general public, despite the protection he gets from the Tory media:

Perhaps the last word on Johnson’s racism should be this, that relates it back to Atkins:

As for Hansard: it seems the record may be edited – possibly by MPs themselves – but not if the meaning of the words spoken is changed by those edits:

The changes to Atkins’s speech change the meaning of the words and are therefore not permissible.

As Commons Speaker – the MP who chairs sessions of the House of Commons – Lindsay Hoyle needs to act to save its reputation.

How many other changes are being made to Hansard, that nobody catches because they happen surreptitiously?

And why would Hoyle – or anyone working in Parliament – wish to support or enable these Tory racists?

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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.

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Why are parking fees TRIPLING for hospital staff after Johnson promised to end them for everyone?

Where’s the warning that parking charges are enormous?

The price of working for the NHS is astronomical as it is – and now it seems it is rising again, in spite of a promise by prime muppet Boris Johnson.

The issue here is car parking. Boris promised to eliminate parking fees for everybody attending hospital – which includes staff.

But now we have reports that the price of staff parking at King’s College Hospital in London is tripling.

New permits will cost doctors and nurses at the trust up to £1,440, with the changes reportedly taking effect from the beginning of December.

Let’s remind ourselves of Johnson’s promise:

It seems the government pledged in their December 2019 election manifesto to provide free parking for some patients and staff on their night shifts.

In the email from the Kings College Trust to staff, the hospital’s management claim the move has prompted privately run car parking companies to pass on the cost to daytime NHS workers.

This prompts the obvious question: why are hospital car parks run for profit by private companies in the first place? Our health care is supposed to be free at the point of use so is our useless Tory government getting around that by charging us all to get there?

The question is rhetorical; the short answer is yes:

And it turns out Johnson was lying to Parliament when he made that promise:

In an exchange in the House of Commons in July, Labour leader Keir Starmer urged the prime minister to keep free parking – but Johnson refused to rule out bringing charges back in for hospital staff.

He told Starmer: “May I suggest he takes his latest bandwagon and parks it somewhere else.”

Johnson added: “The hospital car parks are free for NHS staff during the pandemic, and we are going to get on with our manifesto commitment to make them free for patients who need them as well.”

Clearly the prime muppet hasn’t thought this through. With hospital car park firms passing their losses from free parking on to those who still have to pay, it will soon cost staff too much to work there.

Richard Burgon, former shadow justice secretary when Jeremy Corbyn led the Labour Party, has called on the Tory government to put a stop to the price rise:

It seems unlikely Johnson will take any notice.

Public opposition to hospital car parking charges is widespread:

The subject was buried over the weekend, beneath the Downing Street soap opera about Dominic Cummings quitting and Boris Johnson self-isolating.

But honestly, who cares about those things? They don’t affect us. Cummings will be replaced by somebody just as bad at the job and Johnson can use Zoom.

But if our doctors and nurses can’t afford to work at a hospital because some greedy private car parking firm wants to keep its profit margins high during a medical emergency, then we’re all in trouble.

Source: Labour MP calls on government to intervene over ‘disgusting’ 200% rise in parking fees for NHS staff

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Is this Boris Johnson’s latest plan to kill the NHS – make doctors so sick of it that they quit?

At breaking point: doctors are planning to quit the NHS en masse – just as we need them the most – because of Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and their daft Tory mismanagement.

A survey of NHS doctors has shown two-thirds want to quit within three years due to Covid-19 burnout and low pay. Is this what Boris Johnson wants?

He would be able to speed privatisation, claiming that the NHS has failed due to lack of staff – while (obviously) neglecting to admit that this is due to his own underfunding of the service.

However: it seems this is the worst possible time for it to happen as Johnson’s daft-headed response to the Covid crisis appears to have triggered a massive increase in infections.

The UK has recorded a massive rise in the number of people testing positive for coronavirus, amid concerns the government has lost control of the epidemic just as people are returning to work and universities prepare to reopen.

On Sunday almost 3,000 people in the UK tested positive for Covid-19, a 50% increase in a single day and the highest daily total since May.

That’s a massive increase – and it’s only likely to get worse.

In fact, with Johnson still in charge – and Matt Hancock still Health Secretary – it seems certain the UK is heading for a disaster of titanic proportions.

Source: More than 1,000 UK doctors want to quit NHS over handling of pandemic | Society | The Guardian

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Ministers demand investigation of Covid-19 NHS and care worker deaths. What result are they after?

Yet again: the PPE used in UK hospitals is pictured bottom right. It seems a new inquiry has been commissioned, to claim that this was enough to protect doctors and nurses from catching Covid-19 in hospitals.

When you read that Tory ministers have asked medical examiners to investigate whether the Covid-19 that killed NHS and care home staff was contracted as a consequence of their work, what do you think?

Call me superstitious but it makes This Writer think Boris Johnson is trying to find an excuse to say his government’s failures aren’t responsible.

Bear in mind that Johnson has been heavily criticised for failing to order the personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to protect NHS staff.

And the Tory government’s decision to ship care home residents who had contracted the disease back to their places of residence was also attacked as a cause of more than 20,000 excess deaths.

It would be hugely valuable to Johnson if a report could be cooked up, exonerating him of any connection with these deaths – or at least, with the vast majority of them.

The medical examiners involved in the review are described as “senior doctors employed in hospitals to independently review all deaths to verify the correct cause of death and identify any treatment concerns”.

By a curious coincidence, they were “introduced in the NHS last year”.

Never mind superstitious – call me plain suspicious if you want, but I have a doubt about the result of this inquiry. How about you?

Source: Coronavirus: Deaths of hundreds of frontline NHS and care workers to be investigated | The Independent

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‘Our plan is working’ says Hancock as thousands of NHS doctors plan to quit

At breaking point: the UK’s National Health Service.

Almost one in seven NHS doctors are planning to quit the service or retire when the current wave of Covid-19 is seen to have subsided, leaving a huge gap in care when the second wave rises.

Many more are planning to cut back the hours they work – and almost one-third are saying the four months of constant struggle to contain the virus has left them with mental health problems.

Meanwhile, the result of Brexit is that the UK will not be able to import medical help from abroad.

“Our plan is working,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

That can only be true if the plan is to ensure that many more English people die – probably over the coming winter. Will he try to hide the facts by claiming it’s the flu?

The NHS faces a possible exodus of doctors before the second wave of coronavirus arrives, a leader of the British Medical Association has warned – with Brexit making it harder to replace them.

A new survey of doctors found almost one in seven is planning to quit the NHS or retire when the current crisis subsides, with many more saying they aim to cut back on hours, and almost a third complaining of mental health problems related to four months of relentless struggle against Covid-19.

Speaking to The Independent, the BMA council chair Chaand Nagpaul said that a second coronavirus wave in the winter months could overwhelm the NHS with a “double whammy” of potential staff shortages combined with regular winter pressures and the massive backlog of work postponed during the pandemic.

Source: Coronavirus: NHS facing shortage of doctors before second wave arrives as thousands set to quit, warns medics union | The Independent

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