Tag Archives: elderly

Continuation of Tory business by other means: disabled people make up six in 10 Covid-19 deaths

Targeted: more elderly and disabled people have died of Covid-19 than anybody else. Doesn’t that suit the Tories’ purposes perfectly?

It’s a sickening thought but it just might be possible that Boris Johnson and his Tories have been allowing Covid-19 to go unchecked – in certain places – because it is fulfilling their goals.

We all know that the Conservatives hate – I mean they absolutely hate – people with disabilities, for no reason other than that they have disabilities. It’s a classic prejudice that, if it were drawn along racial line, would demand prosecutions.

That’s why Tory policy since 2010 has been so brutal towards people with disabilities and has caused so many deaths. Just read back through This Site’s posts over the last nine years and you’ll see what I mean.

Covid-19 seems to have given them an excuse. It’s not just their policies causing the deaths any more – it’s the virus.

What a great way to excuse themselves!

I fear that is exactly how people like Therese Coffey and Iain Duncan Smith, not to mention Johnson himself, think.

Here’s Metro:

More than half of people who died of coronavirus in England and Wales had a disability, new figures revealed.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 59% of all deaths involving Covid-19 from March 2 to July 14 were of disabled people.

But only 16% of the population have disabilities, according to 2011 Census data, meaning they have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Targeted is the word I would use.

After adjusting for region, population density, socio-demographic and household characteristics, the coronavirus mortality rates between disabled and non-disabled people was 2.4 times higher for females and 2.0 times higher for males.

And the benefit to the Tories was even greater among pensioners, who the Tories consider a huge burden on the Treasury:

For women over 65 with a severe disability, the mortality rate was 589.63 compared with 187.95 for non-disabled women.

Out of the 19,405 deaths of females aged 65 and older from March 2 to July 14, the proportion of disabled people was the largest, accounting for 67.2% (13,048).

In contrast, among the 2,766 deaths of males aged 9 to 64, the share made up by disabled people was the smallest at 38.5% (1,066).

I know: it’s a disease and it most strongly affects those who have the least resistance to it.

That’s exactly what they want you to think.

Source: Coronavirus UK: Disabled people make up six in ten Covid-19 deaths | Metro News

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Elderly man’s health failed and he died after council sent his wife to a care home

When care isn’t so caring: one partner was taken into a home and the health of the other deteriorated until he died. Why didn’t the council consider this? Or was it just a financial consideration?

In these days of Covid-19, one might be forgiven for thinking this gentleman was worrying himself sick that his wife would catch the virus and die.

But it is also a recognised phenomenon that if a couple who have been together for many years are split up, most commonly because one of them dies, then the remaining partner’s health often suffers – possibly to death.

So This Writer is led to question why the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead didn’t take this into account when it split up the couple in this story. Was it just a question of money – that it was cheaper to split this couple, and never mind of one of them died? And what happened to the house where the deceased gentleman had been living?

An elderly couple of 59 years were split up with little regard for their welfare by Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.

The couple were separated when the wife was discharged to a care home after leaving hospital.

The husband was left to live in the family home with the help of care workers, but quickly deteriorated.

He became very low, did not eat or drink properly and lost weight. He stopped going out and instead spent a lot of time in his bed.

When the family complained a few days later the council agreed to take more steps to help the man visit his wife, but he passed away just a few weeks after.

A report by the Ombudsman found the council did not do enough to consider the man’s situation when his wife left hospital, despite his family telling it he would suffer at home.

Windsor and Maidenhead Council has a history of ill-treating people. Back in 2018, it tried to get police to arrest homeless people under the Vagrancy Act so they wouldn’t be on the streets during the Royal Wedding.

Then it imposed a fine on aggressive or proactive begging, requests for money, leaving bedding and belongings in a public area and other behaviour associated with homelessness – totalling an unaffordable £1,000.

Needless to say, it is a Conservative-run authority.

Source: Elderly man suffers after council splits him from his wife

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Why didn’t Matt Hancock send vulnerable Covid-19 sufferers to Nightingale hospitals rather than care homes?

Care: even the image I’ve been using emphasises the impossibility of social distancing in this context.

It’s a simple enough question.

The London Nightingale hospital opened on April 4 – that’s not such a long time to let a person (who is ill, remember) stay in hospital, is it?

The Nightingale hospitals were provided with facilities specifically for sufferers of Covid-19.

But instead, elderly and vulnerable people were carted off to care homes that did not have such facilities, there to infect many of their fellow residents – along with some staff .

These staff, in turn, moved on to other care homes, where they infected more people who would not have caught the disease if people who had been receiving treatment in hospital had not been shifted out, on the orders of the Conservative government.

The whole situation triggered a spike in excess deaths of at least 31 per cent.

Put that way, the decision looks more like a plan, doesn’t it?

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Blame game: Tories try to shift responsibility for sending Covid-19 into care homes – and fail

Care: the Tories don’t.

Pathetic, isn’t it?

The Conservative government has tried to claim that temporary care workers spread Covid-19 between different care homes to cause the huge increase in deaths there.

Those of us with a more rational outlook believe the epidemic was more likely caused by the Tory policy of shifting people with Covid symptoms from hospital into care homes as soon as possible – without caring whether those homes had isolation facilities.

Which do you think is more likely?

Bear in mind that the two possibilities are not mutually exclusive.

And who’s responsible for homes having to employ temporary workers, anyway?

The Guardian certainly seems to think the Tory government is responsible either way. It states:

In evidence that raises further questions about ministers’ claims to have “thrown a protective ring around care homes”, it emerged that agency workers – often employed on zero-hours contracts – unwittingly spread the infection as the pandemic grew, according to [a] study by Public Health England (PHE).

The genome tracking research into the behaviour of the virus in six care homes in London found that, in some cases, workers who transmitted coronavirus had been drafted in to cover for care home staff who were self-isolating expressly to prevent the vulnerable people they look after from becoming infected.

During flu pandemic planning in 2018, a report from social care directors warned ministers that frontline care workers would need advice on “controlling cross-infection”. A 2019 PHE document about flu pandemic preparations called “Infection prevention and control: an outbreak information pack for care homes” urged operators to “try to avoid moving staff between homes and floors”.

But the DHSC’s social care plan, published on 16 April, mentions nothing about restricting staff movements between homes in its chapter on “controlling the spread of infection in care homes”.

So hopeful Tories are set to be disappointed; if temporary care home staff did transmit the bug, it was because of Tory government failures.

Worse is the Tory government policy to transfer elderly people with Covid-19 symptoms out of hospital and into care homes, regardless of whether those homes had the facilities to isolate the patients. Here‘s the Huffington Post:

The government had a “policy of emptying hospitals and filling care homes” when coronavirus began to grip the country, a top care boss has said.

Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, said Boris Johnson should have stopped the spread of Covid-19 to social care settings, where elderly people, many of whom have underlying health conditions, were particularly vulnerable to the disease.

He also criticised the discharge of patients from hospitals to care homes, saying people who either “didn’t have a Covid-19 status or were symptomatic were discharged into care homes” which were full of people “with underlying health conditions”.

Green, whose body represents care home providers in England, said homes should have been isolating residents who returned from hospital – as those in some other countries have – but many did not have the right set-up.

Whichever way you look at it, the Tory government was responsible for what has been an absolute massacre of vulnerable people who were supposed to be enjoying the best possible care.

So we come back to the big question, with the Tories found to have been responsible for causing these infections and deaths in care homes.

Was this result intended?

Source: Agency staff were spreading Covid-19 between care homes, PHE found in April | World news | The Guardian

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Coronavirus UK: Are the Tories deliberately trying to increase the hysteria?

Only one element unifies the constant babble about coronavirus from the UK’s Tory government at the moment: it is contradictory, confusing and seems designed to increase hysteria, rather than reduce it.

For a start: what’s with the policy of drip-feeding information via individuals or single media sites, rather than broadcasting updates to everyone in regular press conferences and on the government website?

Today we see Matt Hancock – behind a paywall – on the Torygraph website, contradicting the government’s announcement last week that the Tories would be seeking to establish ‘herd immunity’ by allowing us all to be infected, thereby condemning the oldest and weakest of us to death.

Here is that article in full. The Telegraph‘s owners should be run out of the country for putting profit before lives:

That previous announcement was made by scientific advisor Patrick Vallance. His latest advice is in The Sun. I haven’t seen it because I won’t willingly visit that paper’s website and the physical copies are only good to be snapped up by people who need toilet paper as a result of the government-induced panic-buying we’ve all seen.

Robert Peston has been parrotting information he’s been given. Did he even know it was accurate before he repeated it? My understanding is no.

Is it, as Carole Cadwalladr suggests, an attempt to avoid these leaks being attributed to individual ministers who can then be questioned over the validity of their decisions?

Worse still is the claim that people attacking this strategy are “politicising” the corona crisis.

We had this after This Site pointed out the political implications of the Grenfell Tower inferno, back in 2017. I was vindicated, of course – Grenfell has been a scandal that has rumbled on to this very day.

The simple fact is that coronavirus is already political. As Grace Blakely points out here, people have already died as a result of political decisions and the only question is whether those decisions can reduce the toll.

At the moment, it seems that Boris Johnson and his government, by flip-flopping through the crisis, adopting one strategy for a couple of days and then denying it in favour of another, are doing everything they can to create chaos, boost hysteria and ramp up the human cost.

Consider South Korea, the country generally accepted to have got the best grip on the spread of coronavirus. Here’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha explaining to Andrew Marr that testing people for the virus is vital… followed by a tweet showing that the UK government has abandoned that vital testing:

Is this a death sentence for old and vulnerable people?

Oh – and apparently the old and vulnerable could be arrested if they don’t quarantine themselves:

So it seems we’re being faced with a situation in which the people most vulnerable to the virus are being told to hide themselves away from society for weeks at a time.

What happens then? Will we see government vans roaming our streets and suburbs, calling for you to “Bring out your dead”?

There will be a knock-on effect again food banks, most of which have already been harmed by the panic-buying spree:

So the “Bring out your dead” vans will remain gainfully employed, picking up the bodies of the underpaid workers whose wages the Tories have been sitting on for so many years.

Evidence is piling up to show that the National Health Service – weakened to a constant crisis point by 10 years of Tory underfunding – is simply unable to cope with the extra workload of thousands (if not millions) of COVID-19 patients. This is the opinion of the British Medical Association, as you can see here.

Already Hancock has admitted that the service doesn’t have enough ventilators:

So he’s trying to buy some more, or get manufacturers to make them:

But it’s an ill wind that blows no good to anybody: the Tories’ friends in private medicine are set to rake in £2.4 million every day, loaning out 8,000 beds to the NHS.

That’s more than 3,000 fewer beds than the Tories closed between 2010 and 2017 (I have yet to find figures leading up to the present day)!

Meanwhile, the crisis is revealing hard truths about ourselves:

There is only one conclusion to draw from the above: Don’t trust the Tory government. You’ll be putting your life in the hands of people who simply couldn’t care less.

I think it was Tim Fenton, on his Zelo Street blog, who said Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings and their cronies simply aren’t equipped to provide information; they offer information warfare – strong on falsehood and misinformation. And they can’t seem to stop.

Call me a raging conspiracy theorist if you like, but the thought has crossed my mind that everything we’re experiencing right now could be a sign of Johnson putting those eugenics ideas into practise – you know, the ideas about cleaning the gene pool of weaknesses and impurities for which Andrew Sabisky had to resign his job as a government advisor. We have enough evidence to conclude that Johnson supports those views, as does Cummings.

So we can’t trust the government.

How about relying on something we’ve had a lot longer.

Where’s our common sense? People have had to cope with disease epidemics – of this very kind – for centuries. Why not go back to tried-and-trusted remedies, at least while the politicians and the medics try to sort themselves out?

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Loach heads campaigners calling for benefit assessment ban after job centre death

Pointing the finger: Ken Loach joined the call to end unfair benefit assessment interviews after the death of a man in Llanelli.

A campaign to ban benefit assessment interviews has been launched after a 65-year-old man with diabetes collapsed and died after being found ‘fit for work’.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) has called on the DWP to halt assessments for Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance after the man died while waiting for an interview to discuss his future benefit options.

Discussing the death, This Site stated: “He would have been old enough to retire if the Conservatives had not decided to raise the retirement age for both men and women in an attempt to save a few pennies.”

I wrote: “Yes, he was obviously ill. But that doesn’t mean a thing to a Tory government… They call it a ‘positive benefit outcome’.”

Others compared the tragedy to a similar scene in left-wing film-maker Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake.

Now Mr Loach himself has spoken in favour of DPAC’s campaign.

Unconsciously paraphrasing my words, he said (according to the Morning Star): “What has happened really was disgraceful. The man was only 65 — he only had a few more months to go and he would have been retired anyway.

“Such is the brutality of it, but it’s clear that the Tories have no intention of changing their harsh system.”

And he said: “We have to vote them out — we may as well start with Iain Duncan Smith, the architect of this misery, who is as callous as he is sanctimonious.”

That is already well in hand – as you can read here.

Demanding an end to PIP and ESA assessments, DPAC activist Jennifer Jones raised the relevant point – that a man has died in a manner that could have been prevented.

It happened because a benefit assessor “lied about his fitness levels and abilities and he wasn’t given the support that his individual needs deserved”.

She’s right – and it makes a nonsense of repeated attempts by the DWP to claim that it does provide support tailored to the needs of each benefit claimant.

So far – in this case – the DWP’s only comment has been a message of sympathy to the deceased man’s family and friends.

DPAC – and Mr Loach – have demanded an end to benefit assessment interviews, for the obvious reason that they have now been proven to do more harm than good.

But there is no way the DWP – run as it is by a Conservative government – will take such action willingly.

Labour has promised to overhaul the benefit system completely, though.

The only way to be sure this does not happen in the future is to elect a Labour government.

Source: Campaigners call for benefit assessment ban after man dies in jobcentre | Morning Star

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Elderly man – with long-term illness – dies at Job Centre after being found ‘fit for work’

Protest: This is the most appropriate image I have for the story below. It shows a protest by an artist known as VoidOne. More information is available here.

If this does say everything about why we need a change of government, I don’t know what does.

A man collapsed and died while he was waiting for an appointment to claim unemployment benefit at a Job Centre in Llanelli.

We are told he was diabetic, and must have been receiving some form of sickness or disability benefit until recently because his appointment was a consequence of being found “fit for work” after an assessment interview.

We are also told he was 65 years old, which means that he would have been old enough to retire if the Conservatives had not decided to raise the retirement age for both men and women in an attempt to save a few pennies.

Metro quotes a witness who said: “The man next to me told me that the poor guy had diabetes and had been declared fit for work by the job centre earlier in the year but he was obviously ill.”

Yes, he was obviously ill.

But that didn’t mean a thing to a Tory government that would rather see you dead if you can’t be made to work for a pittance to increase the profits of the super-rich.

That’s why so many people are refused sickness and disability benefits, even though they clearly qualify; without the money they need to support them, either their condition will kill them, or stress, or they may take their own life in despair.

It’s all the same to the Tories; they call it a “positive benefit outcome”.

There is only one way to end this barbarity – and that is to vote a Labour government back into office.

Source: Man dies at Llanelli Job Centre while claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance | Metro News

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Suspicious deaths of the elderly in hospital: An appeal for people to get in touch

David Hencke is an excellent – award-winning – investigative reporter. If you have been affected by the issue he discusses below, please contact him.

He writes:

For the past four years I have been a member of the Gosport War Memorial Hospital Independent Panel that concluded that at least 456 elderly people had their lives shortened as ” a direct result of the pattern of prescribing and administering opioids that had become the norm at the hospital.”

Since publication of the report the events at Gosport are now the subject of an independent police inquiry so I cannot take up any cases involving Gosport.

However since the report’s publication a number of people have contacted me on my website with allegations of a similar nature in other parts of the country,

As a result I have started investigations into these and would welcome other people – relatives of former patients, NHS staff or lawyers representing them- to contact me in confidence as I am actively looking at this issue.

The aim will be to publicise and investigate these fresh allegations to find out what happened to their relatives and seek explanations from the various hospitals who were responsible for their treatment.

Contact Mr Hencke by visiting this web page.

Source: Suspicious deaths of the elderly in hospital: An appeal for people to contact me | David Hencke

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Britons brace for plummeting temperatures – but will it be enough to prevent Winter deaths?

Ice skaters at the Winter Wonderland experience in London's Hyde Park [Image: Niklas Halle'n/AFP/Getty Images].

Ice skaters at the Winter Wonderland experience in London’s Hyde Park [Image: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images].

You could lose a close relative or friend in the near future – particularly if they are elderly or vulnerable due to a health condition. In fact, your Conservative Government has done everything it can to arrange it.

Senior citizens are probably the least vulnerable group, as Tory right-wingers have – so far – failed to convince their leaders to cut cold weather and winter fuel payments. It’s just a matter of time, though.

Working-age people with health problems are a different matter. The Tories have cut benefits to the bone and these people may find it very difficult to cope with the cost of heating their homes while still putting food on the table.

That applies to unemployed people who are sanctioned by the Job Centre, as well.

And what about the homeless – 120,000 of whom, this Christmas, will be children?

Can anybody forget the horrifying fate of the man who was sanctioned, walked out into the street and froze to death?

Expect more – many more. Maybe not this week, but soon. And you know our NHS hospitals cannot cope because Jeremy Hunt has made sure of it.

Heath officials have reminded the public that cold weather can be fatal – hours before a widespread frost hits Britain.

Temperatures could drop to -6C over the coming nights in places, the lowest of the season so far.

Source: Public health warning as Britons brace for plummeting temperatures

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Tories in tatters over NHS as stormin’ Corbyn trounces Theresa May

Jeremy Hunt shuffles uncomfortably under the gaze of his fellow MPs as Jeremy Corbyn asks why he is piloting a pointless scheme to harm NHS patients while claiming to be eliminating almost-non-existent 'health tourism'.

Jeremy Hunt shuffles uncomfortably under the gaze of his fellow MPs as Jeremy Corbyn asks why he is piloting a pointless scheme to harm NHS patients while claiming to be eliminating almost-non-existent ‘health tourism’.

Theresa May consolidated her position as the UK’s most pathetic excuse for a prime minister yet, with a crushing defeat at the Dispatch Box under the questioning of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

(Wasn’t he supposed to be the inept one?)

Mr Corbyn made strong points and supported them with solid facts. Mrs May provided no answers and seemed utterly lost.

Mr Corbyn began: “The government’s sustainability and transformation plans for the National Health Service hide £22 billion of cuts from our service, according to research by the BMA. That risks ‘starving services of resources and patients of vital care’. That comes from Dr Mark Porter of the BMA. When he calls this process a mess, where is he wrong?”

Mrs May ventured this reply: “The National Health Service is indeed looking for savings within the NHS which will be reinvested in the NHS. It is this government which is providing not just the £8 billion which the NHS requested, but £10 billion of extra funding… and sustainability and transformation plans are being developed at local level, in the interests of local people, by local clinicians.”

Oh really?

“It’s very strange the prime minister should say that,” mused Mr Corbyn. “Because the Health Select Committee… says it is actually £4.5 billion, not £10 billion. There’s quite a big difference there.”

So she was being economical with the truth about the amount of money being put into the NHS – and, by the way, is that NHS England or the health service across the whole of the UK? Mrs May doesn’t seem clear about that and the UK Statistics Authority certainly seems confused.

Mr Corbyn continued: “Part of the reason for the strain on our National Health Service is that more than one million people are not receiving the social care that they need. As a result of this there has been an increase in emergency admissions for older patients. What action will the prime minister take to stop the neglect of older people, which ends up forcing them to take A&E admissions when they should be cared for at home or in a care home?”

“The government has introduced the Better Care Fund… the Social Care Precept for local authorities, and we’re encouraging the working together of the health service and local authorities, to deal with precisely the issues he’s raised on social care and bed-blocking,” Mrs May blustered, unaware of the hammer-blow that would shatter her protestations very shortly.

She blundered on: “But I will just say this to the Right Honourable gentleman: Er, we’ve introduced the Better Care Fund and the Social Care Precept. Let’s just look at what Labour did in their 13 years. They said they’d deal with social care in the 97 manifesto, introduced a Royal Commission in 1999, a Green Paper in 2005, the Wanless Review in 2006, said they’d sort it in the CSR of 2007, and another Green Paper in 2009. Thirteen years and they did nothing.”

Here comes the hammer (boldings mine): “As the prime minister well knows, health spending trebled under the last Labour government – and the levels of satisfaction with the National Health Service were at their highest ever in 2010. This government’s choice was to cut social care by £4.6 billion in the last Parliament, at the same time as they found the space, shall we say, to cut billions in corporate taxation bills. That means it’s affecting patients leaving hospital as well. In the last four years, the number of patients unable to be transferred from hospital due to the lack of adequate social care has increased by one-third.”

So it doesn’t matter what Theresa May says her government has introduced; the service it provides is much, much worse than that offered under the last Labour government. That is unquestionable.

Mr Corbyn pressed on: “Will the prime minister ensure her government guarantees all of our elderly people the dignity they deserve?”

“I recognise the importance of caring for elderly people and providing them with the dignity they deserve,” said the prime minister, immediately prior to evading the question completely, going back over her previous assertion and changing the subject (which, as we all know, is a false argument).

“He says this government has done nothing on social care. I repeat, this government has introduced the Social Care Precept, that is being used by my local authorities and by his local authority, and we’ve also introduced the Better Care Fund.” That’s the recapitulation of what she had already said.

Let’s look at that Social Care Precept. It allows local authorities to increase council tax by up to two per cent in order to fund adult social care, meaning that this service has now become a postcode lottery.

Oh, and the Social Care Precept was announced at the same time the Conservative Government said the local government central grant is to be cut by more than half, from £11.5bn in 2015/16 to £5.4bn in 2019/20, a drop of 56 per cent. Meanwhile, councils were expected to increase self-financed expenditure (from revenue and business rates) by 13.1 per cent over the same period, making council services another postcode lottery.

Was it wise of Theresa May to draw attention to this monumental increase in unfairness across the UK?

The Better Care Fund is a pooled budget, initially £5.3 billion, announced in the June 2013 Spending Round and intended to save £1 billion by keeping patients out of hospital. As the number of patients who could not be transferred from hospital due to inadequate social care has increased by one-third in the last four years, it is clear that the Better Care Fund has failed.

In fact, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and the Healthcare Financial Managers Association surveyed the plans for saving money through integration financed by the BCF in December 2015 and concluded that 80 per cent were likely to fail and that many were hampering progress, “giving integration a bad name”.

Mrs May continued: “But if he talks about support for elderly people I would remind him: Which government is it that has put the triple-lock in place for pensioners, that ensured the largest increase in pensions for elderly people?” And that’s the change-of-subject. Mr Corbyn was not discussing increases in pensions for senior citizens who may be perfectly healthy.

Our verdict can only be that, even though Mr Corbyn didn’t actually say the Conservatives have done “nothing” on social care, the result of their efforts is in fact worse. His response – “The precept is a drop in the ocean compared to what’s necessary for social care” – is mild, in that context.

Moving on to specifics, Mr Corbyn said: “I’m sure the whole House will have been appalled by the revelations in the BBC Panorama this week, showing older people systematically mistreated. The Care Quality Commission’s assessment is that care homes run by the Morleigh Group require improvement and has issued warning notices. The commission goes on to say that the owner has allowed services to deteriorate further, and has ‘utterly neglected the duty of care to the residents of these homes’. What action is her government going to take to protect the residents of those homes?”

Look at this stuttered, barely-intelligible response:

“The- the- Right Honourable gentleman mentioned-raises the issue of the quality of care that is provided in homes and the way that elderly people are treated. I’m sure everybody is appalled when we see examples of poor and uh, uh terrible treatment that is given to elderly and vulnerable people in care homes.

“What we do about it is ensure that we have the CQC which is able to step in, which takes action, which has powers to make sure that nobody-nobody in the chain of responsibility is immune from legal accountability. But we know that there’s more that can be done, and that’s why the CQC is looking into ways in which it can improve its processes, increase its efficiency.

“The, er, my-my honourable friend Minister for Community Health and Care is going to be writing to the CQC shortly, to look at how we can improve, to see what they do. It’s the CQC that deals with these issues. Is there more we can do? Yes, and we’re doing it.”

In other words, her government is taking no action at all.

Oh, and the CQC? It deliberately suppressed an internal review that meant it was found unfit for purpose in 2013. Are we sure we want to trust this organisation now?

“Yesterday, the government proposed that patients may have to show passports or other ID to access non-emergency healthcare,” said Mr Corbyn. “Has the government considered the impact of this on elderly people?

“The last census showed that nine-and-a-half million people in this country don’t have passports. Rather than distracting people with divisive and impractical policies, could the prime minister provide the NHS and social care with the money that it needs, to care for the people who need the support?”

Mrs May’s response was very silly indeed: “Over the course of this Parliament, the government will be spending half a trillion pounds on the National Health Service.”

And it is clearly not enough! How much goes into the pockets of private health bosses?

“The Right Honourable gentleman asks about a process to ensure that people who are receiving NHS treatment are entitled to receive NHS treatment. For many years there has been a concern about health tourism, about people turning up in the UK, accessing health services, and not paying for them.”

No, there hasn’t!

The only people talking about health tourism are Conservative MPs or Tory government spokespeople – and that includes the right-wing media like the Daily Heil and the Torygraph. You’ll hear people talking about it but, when pressed, they’ll say they heard about it through these sources and haven’t actually witnessed any themselves.

In real terms, there isn’t any health tourism. But if people are being asked to produce passports when nearly one-sixth of the UK’s own citizens don’t have them, you can see how it would ease pressure on the NHS.

The only problem is, the health of the nation would fall off a cliff.

“We want to make sure that those who are entitled to use those services are indeed able to see those, free at the point of delivery, but that we deal with health tourism and those who should be paying for the use of our health service,” dissembled Mrs May. Of course she doesn’t want to see anything of the sort.

She wants poor people to go away and stop asking for the service their taxes support.

But don’t just accept This Writer’s comments. Mr Corbyn was able to deliver his second series of hammer blows in response to Mrs May’s words (boldings mine): “Sir Simon Stevens told us… that the next three years are going to be the toughest ever for NHS funding and that 2018 would see health spending per person cut for the first time ever in this country.”

So Mrs May’s comment about the amount being spent is worth nothing.

“The NAO [National Audit Office] reported that the cost of health tourism is over 100 times less than the £22 billion in cuts that the NHS is facing from this government.”

So there is no reason to make a fuss about it – unless it is to hide the enormity of cuts to the health service.

161123-health-tourism-cartoon

“The reality is… under this government, there are 6,000 fewer mental health nurses. There are a record 3.9 million people on NHS waiting lists. All of us who visit A&E departments know the stress that staff are under and that the waiting time is getting longer and longer – and that there are one million people, in this country, not receiving the social care that they need.

“So instead of looking for excuses and scapegoats, shouldn’t the prime minister be ensuring that health and social care is properly resourced and properly funded to take away the stress and fear that people face in old age over social care and the stress that is placed on our very hard-working NHS and social care staff?”

Mrs May could do nothing other than reiterate her discredited claims about the amounts her government is spending.

But she added: “We can only afford to pay for the National Health Service and for social care if we have a strong economy, creating wealth.”

Yes indeed. What a shame her party – the Conservatives – comprehensively trashed the UK’s economy in order to hurt the poor.

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