Tag Archives: failure

Did Raab really tell us the UK’s intelligence agencies were outsmarted by Arab terrorists?

Rattled: Dominic Raab tries to explain himself during his grilling by the Foreign Affairs committee. Look at the way his hands were twisting as he tried to justify his failures.

This will upset the racists and Islamophobes.

Foreign Secretary (by the skin of his teeth) Dominic Raab was interrogated on the fall of Afghanistan by Parliament’s Foreign Affairs committee yesterday (September 1) – and said information provided by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) had told him the Taliban were unlikely to take control of Kabul at all in 2021, even after international forces including those from the UK had left.

Well, they got that badly wrong, didn’t they!

The JIC is a civil service body comprising senior officials in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence and United Kingdom Armed Forces, Home Office, Department for International Development, HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office.

It oversees the work of the Secret Intelligence Service, the Security Service, GCHQ and Defence Intelligence.

Are we to take it from Raab that none of these organisations were intelligent enough to notice that there were real problems with the Afghan government and military that UK forces were leaving behind?

Is he really saying that the UK’s entire intelligence community was outsmarted by a gang of desert-dwelling bandits?

The plan was to leave Afghanistan defended by its own National Army – but we have discovered that this organisation was badly-trained (by organisations including the British Army, it seems) and riddled with corruption. Was Raab telling us that nobody knew?

After the United States broke the Doha Agreement’s May 1 deadline for leaving the country, the Taliban simply walked into Kabul and took over. Yes, This Writer is oversimplifying, but the amount of resistance provided by the Afghan National Army was minimal – and UK intelligence should have known.

Indeed, it is unbelievable that our intelligence agencies did not.

Still, there it is: Raab said the “central assessment” provided to ministers was that Afghan security was likely to suffer “steady deterioration” after US troops pulled out last month, but Kabul was “unlikely” to fall this year.

That assessment was wrong, and now we need to know who made it, what information they used to make it, and what information they ignored. Then we’ll need to see evidence of reforms to the JIC, to make it more intelligent.

If Raab is going to blame other government organisations for the incompetence we have seen over Afghanistan, then we need to see him make improvements – or we’ll face more humiliations, possibly involving large-scale loss of life, in the near future.

As it is, the message has gone out to foreign powers and terrorists: the United Kingdom is vulnerable because it is run by fools who believed fairy tales rather than facts and who went on holiday when they were needed.

Worse, Raab admitted that the UK did not start planning for the end of military operations until April. This is even though he knew the Doha Agreement of February 2020 meant US troops had until May 1 to leave.

He went on to say planning for a possible evacuation did not begin until June – by which time the Taliban were already making deep inroads towards Kabul. He added that this was in line with the UK’s Nato allies but that is neither here nor there; the UK is not responsible for other nations’ actions. Evacuation plans should have been made from February 2020 onwards.

Raab was challenged on his claims by committee chair Tom Tugendhat, a former member of the armed forces who served in Afghanistan. He pointed out that a “key risk report” from late July had warned of a rapid Taliban advance that could lead to them returning to power in Kabul.

Raab seemed to know nothing about it and asked for the source of this information – to which Tugendhat responded, bluntly, “It’s your principle risk report.”

So it seems Boris Johnson isn’t the only imbecile in the Tory government who can’t be bothered with the details.

The failure of intelligence extends to the number of UK nationals who were left behind after the panicked, everyone-for-themselves evacuation. Raab told the committee he thought “hundreds, possibly the mid to low hundreds” were standed after the last plane left.

But this is contradicted by the evidence of the government’s own email account that was created to take applications for help to leave Afghanistan, so that a list of those who genuinely needed to be taken out could be created.

It was ignored. News reports over the last few days have shown that messages – including information from senior Tory government ministers – went unread while Raab and his colleagues were running around like headless chickens.

Some reports have suggested that the number of people left behind is more likely to stand at several thousand.

Raab also made the – fair – point that the precise number of people who deserve to be brought to the UK depends on eligibility, and this is hard to work out because of a lack of documentation. Is that because the relevant documents were left – unshredded, even – on the floor of the UK’s former embassy in Kabul?

Personal details of UK-linked Afghans were found by a Times journalist there, and Raab was reminded of this. He said three families were subsequently evacuated but evaded the question when asked if they were owed an apology. Weren’t they? What about details that were not discovered?

Raab contradicted himself by saying applications for Afghans who helped the UK to apply for resettlement here were sped up from April onwards. But why so late? Remember, the deadline for the US to leave was May 1, and it was unreasonable to believe that the Taliban would not advance from then onwards. And the UK had been aware of the situation since February 2020.

The BBC’s running analysis of the meeting reported: “The lack of specific numbers … will further fuel concerns from backbench MPs that the figures have been vastly underestimated and that there could be as many as 7,000 eligible Afghan applicants left behind – a claim Dominic Raab has previously rejected.”

The impression we get of Raab is of a man who has been very far out of his depth throughout this crisis – and, considering he had fair warning of it from February 2020 onwards, this means he has never been capable of handling his responsibilities as Foreign Secretary.

Important information was ignored in favour of mindless optimism; evacuation plans were delayed until too late and vital information was left behind for the Taliban, creating a danger to the lives of allies.

And Raab refuses to resign. Is this because he wants to find out whether he can cock up future crisis even more badly than this?

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Tory vaccinations will provide only LIMITED protection for a SHORT time

Complacent flag-waver: Dominic Raab seems to think that a display of patriotism and an inane half-grin will excuse him for leaving the UK’s population unprotected while lying to them that they’ll be safe against Covid-19.

First we were told everybody would be fully vaccinated. That didn’t last long!

It required people to receive two doses – of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine, three weeks apart.

Then the Tories sniffed a public relations opportunity and decided to go for numbers, so they said they would concentrate on getting the first jab into as many people as possible, meaning the second would have to be delayed until three months later.

Pfizer has already stated that this is likely to make the vaccine ineffective, the first shot long having worn off by then.

Now it seems the Tories are not sure they can even deliver this delayed service:

Cabinet minister Dominic Raab has refused to guarantee that all people who have received a first dose of coronavirus vaccine will get a second jab within 12 weeks.

The foreign secretary was repeatedly pressed in an interview on Sky News to give a firm guarantee that supplies of the vaccines would be sufficient to deliver the second injection within the target time.

But he declined to do so, instead saying: “We absolutely are aiming for that We should be able to deliver it… We’re quietly confident”.

The meaning is clear but for those who need it spelled out, here it is:

Source: Covid vaccine: Raab refuses to guarantee everyone will receive second dose | The Independent

If this is how Boris Johnsons’s test and trace system works, no wonder he’s self-isolating

Test: wouldn’t it be nice of the Randox operation – if it can be called that – had been found to have been running in a professional way? It wasn’t.

If you still think the Johnson government is doing a good job fighting Covid-19, you need to watch Channel 4’s Lockdown Chaos now.

The programme by the channels Dispatches team went behind the scenes at Randox, one of the private companies selected by Boris Johnson’s privatisation-crazy cronies.

You’d think this place must be the best testing facility in the world, after Johnson’s insistence that his government would have a “world-beating” test-and-trace system, earlier in the year.

Not a bit of it!

According to Channel 4’s report on the programme, its undercover footage includes:

  • The Dispatches reporter being told that used tests sent to to Randox for analysis are sometimes not unpacked properly and accidentally discarded with cardboard packaging waste. An expert who viewed the footage and has run an NHS pathology lab for 10 year said that not only does this mean people not getting their test results, it would present a contamination risk to waste handlers. He added, “We would be shut down if we performed that way.” Randox responded to Dispatches, saying there has “never been an issue of samples being mistakenly disposed of”. Staff are adequately supervised and instructed on the need to ensure “samples are correctly processed”.

  • Evidence that one particular type of red-lidded test sent to Randox frequently leaks and has to be voided meaning no results are available. Randox is aware the red lidded tubes are “more likely to leak” but say they do not manufacture them.  They say they “raised this concern” with the Test and Trace programme coordinators in August. The DHSC told Dispatches on Saturday that they have “started UK-based tube manufacturing with these tubes designed to minimise leakage.” These “will be in place across all Lighthouse labs and will mitigate against void results.”

  • During the undercover operation, the Dispatches reporter discovers that although leaking samples are often spotted whilst still in their plastic bag, this is not always the case. He finds that leaks from  tests can spill over the gloves of employees and is told by one staff member that his gloves aren’t always thrown away but sprayed down with disinfectant. During his time in the lab, he was told to place leaking samples – whether loose or still inside their bags – into a cardboard box.  Randox says a leaking tube “is not removed” from its bagging “under any circumstances,” so claim there is “no cross contamination.” An expert told Dispatches that this way of dealing with leaking tubes shows a “cavalier approach to safety” and could lead to cross contamination and potentially wrong test results. Randox say the boxes are disposed of as “clinical waste” and there is “no cavalier approach to safety.”

    • Once used tests are received by Randox and unpacked, they are wiped with a cloth which is occasionally sprayed with disinfectant. Undercover footage shows the tubes being freely mixed together with other test tubes in a cardboard tray. Experts who have viewed this footage believe this process risks cross-contamination of test samples. Randox denies this, telling Dispatches there is “no cross contamination.” Samples are “not mixed together” but “immediately placed in an upward position on a rack”
    • The Dispatches reporter is told that Randox’s high-paying “VIP” clients, some of whom are from the rugby and travel sectors, are being given “priority” over some other tests. Randox denies VIP tests are given priority, saying it “does not prioritise private clients” under any circumstances and denies that “VIP” tests delay the processing of other tests.
    • Samples from England may take twelve hours or more to arrive at the Randox laboratory in Northern Ireland.  Unpacking of large shipments may take more than a working day, and sometimes more than 24 hours. Randox, which has no control over travel times to the laboratory, says it consistently “meets the agreed turnaround times,” and processes samples mostly within 24 hours from receipt.
    • The Dispatches reporter is told that samples are colour coded according to a traffic light system based on how long it is since the sample was taken. Randox told us green is up to 38 hours, amber up to 77 and red up to 114 hours – nearly five days.

There’s a lot more information in the C4 News article (link below). The effect on the public who use the social media has been galvanising:

This last tweet leads us to ask why the work was outsourced to cowboys.

Ah yes – that will be the answer.

The backlash has been overwhelming, the condemnation universal.

And what is the Tory government doing about it?

Source: Dispatches uncovers serious failings at one of UK’s largest COVID-Testing Labs | Channel 4

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Will new inquest into death of ESA claimant Jodey Whiting show failure of DWP safeguarding?

Jodey Whiting, 42, took her own life after her benefits were stopped.

Permission for a new inquest into the death of ESA claimant Jodey Whiting has been granted amid concern that a government department’s role in it had been covered up.

Here is the announcement from solicitors Leigh Day:

“The family of Jodey Whiting has been granted permission to apply to the High Court for a fresh inquest into her death after new evidence was submitted about the effect on her of a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) decision to halt the benefits on which she was entirely dependent.

“Jodey’s mother, Joy Dove, was granted permission by the office of the Attorney General following her submission that the original inquest into her daughter’s death was insufficient. The new evidence she submitted in support of her application included an investigation into the handling of Jodey’s benefits by the DWP and a report from an independent psychiatrist.

“Jodey, from Stockton-on-Tees, died aged 42 on 21 February, 2017. She took her own life three days after she received her last Employment Support Allowance (ESA) payment.

“She had been informed on 6 February that the payments would stop and the associated housing benefit and council tax benefit payments would also be stopped.

“The decision to halt the payments was made because following a reassessment of Jodey’s entitlement to ESA, begun in 2016, she had failed to attend a work capability assessment (WCA).

“However, Jodey had requested a home visit for the WCA as she rarely left the house because of her severely poor health. She suffered multiple physical and mental health difficulties, took 23 tablets a day and was entirely dependent on welfare benefits.

“She had made in clear in her request for a home WCA that she had “suicidal thoughts a lot of the time and could not cope with work or looking for work”.

“The request was refused, the WCA was set for a date in January, and Jodey did not attend.

“After Jodey’s death, an inquest was held three months later, 24 May, 2017, which lasted less than an hour.

“The coroner declined to consider the potential role of the DWP and their acts or omissions in Jodey’s death.

“Jodey’s family were unrepresented and were unaware that they may have been entitled to publicly funded legal representation.

“After the inquest a report by an Independent Case Examiner concluded that the DWP had made multiple significant errors in how it treated Jodey.

“Some of the failings had not been known to Jodey’s family, who were horrified to learn how many failings had occurred in the handling of Jodey’s benefits.

“The opinion of an independent Consultant psychiatrist, sought by Jodey’s family,  confirmed that the DWP’s failings would probably have had a substantial effect on Jodey’s mental state at the time she took her own life.

“Joy argues that the manner in which Jodey was treated by the DWP, and in particular the withdrawal of her ESA, caused or materially contributed to her death and that, had this not occurred, Jodey’s death would not have occurred when it did.

“Following the letter giving her permission to apply for a new inquest into Jodey’s death, Joy said: “What a relief to be granted permission for a new inquest into Jodey’s death. It has been a nightmare but I want to thank the hard work of Merry Varney and all the team at Leigh Day and everyone who has been helping me with the Justice for Jodey campaign. This is a big step forward.

““I love my daughter so much and this should never have happened. How could they say she was fit to work? What they put her through was terrible, but I hope that this will mean that Jodey has saved others from the same nightmare.”

“Joy is represented by Leigh Day partner Merry Varney, who added: “The Attorney-General’s decision is very welcome. It is the first completed step in the long journey by Jodey’s family to seek a full and fearless investigation into whether the DWP, and its flawed decision making regarding Jodey’s benefits claim, caused or contributed to her death.

“”We must now apply to the High Court and seek to persuade the Court a fresh inquest is necessary.”

“The application for a new inquest will be made to the High Court within the next 6 weeks and a final hearing may take place by summer, 2021.”

This Site has been covering this case since June 2017 and will report further developments as and when they become available.

Source: Jodey Whiting’s Family Given Permission To Apply For Second Inquest Into Her Death | Leigh Day

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Johnson’s overcooked ‘oven-ready deal’ has blown up in his face. Why is he happy about it?

From Twitter: the caption was “Get in, losers. We’re driving it off a No Deal cliff.”

It seems Boris Johnson is getting exactly the kind of Brexit his backers wanted: ‘no deal’, meaning disaster for the UK economy.

He is putting on his sad face at the moment but that’s not fooling me, and it shouldn’t fool you.

His claim that Brussels has “abandoned” the ambition of a free trade deal is as empty as his soul:

Sky News has this to say:

The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator has told his European counterpart not to come to London on Monday to resolve stalled talks, after the prime minister warned it was time to “get ready” to leave without a deal.

Isn’t this the same prime minister who said there was an ‘oven ready’ trade deal, only last year?

And didn’t he – also – say that failure to secure a deal would be a failure of statecraft?

So isn’t he admitting that he is a failed prime minister? And shouldn’t we be demanding his resignation and replacement at the earliest possible opportunity?

Johnson is, of course, doing his best to blameshift responsibility for his failure onto the EU:

Mr Johnson said in a dramatic intervention that “there doesn’t seem to be any progress coming from Brussels”.

He told businesses and hauliers to “get ready” for there to be no free trade deal.

But this is clearly nonsense, in the light of what he – and other Brexiters – have been saying since before the EU referendum in 2016.

They have spent years trying to convince us that the EU nations would be desperate to forge a deal with the UK that would put us at an advantage.

Instead, it seems we’re going to have to pay high tariffs to sell into a market that was free before Johnson and his cronies convinced 17 million of us to vote the entire nation out.

And remember, Johnson won last year’s general election on this – claiming that he would “Get Brexit Done” and it would create a golden future for the UK.

Well. At best he was mistaken. At worst he was lying.

This Writer remembers the claims that he was in cahoots with a cartel of wealthy hedge fund bosses who had bet heavily on the UK leaving without a trade deal, and on this causing the end of a large number of major UK businesses.

Doesn’t this seem more likely now – especially as Johnson has intervened personally to stop any further negotiations, a month and a half before the transition period ends?

It all seems highly suspicious to me.

And I’m not the only one, it seems:

(Incredible that Boris Johnson’s selfishness has actually put me on the same side as Dan Hodges…)

It seems likely the decision to end negotiations and prepare for ‘no deal’ could also mean the end of the United Kingdom as we know it:

Johnson tried to regain some of the credibility he has lost by suggesting that the UK was headed for an “Australia-style deal”…

He said the UK’s relationship with the EU could be more like the one Brussels has with Australia, which will mean tariffs being introduced on goods between the UK and the 27 other EU countries.

… but it seems he’s either badly mistaken (yet again) or trying to pull over our eyes (yet again):

Perhaps this is the most accurate comment of the day:

Source: Brexit: Michel Barnier told to stay home after Boris Johnson says EU ‘abandoned free trade deal’ | Politics News | Sky News

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Community Covid-19 testing ended on March 12 – and other government failures

This is just to remind you that the Tories actually stopped testing for Covid-19 in mid-March.

If they had kept it up, the UK might have been in a better position to handle the pandemic.

As it is, they’re still struggling to hit a target of 100,000 tests a day after being kicked in the backside to get testing again. As for the target for the end of May – 200,000 per day – no chance!

That’s just one catastrophic blunder that the Commons’ own Science and Technology Committee has raised with Boris Johnson.

Here’s the lot:

The Government’s coronavirus testing capacity has been “inadequate” throughout the pandemic, the committee said.

The World Health Organisation was warning about the need to test as early as February, but widespread testing in the UK ended on March 12 due to lack of capacity.

Care home residents and workers weren’t routinely tested until April 15 – by which time the virus was rampant.

Public Health England (PHE) has still not provided the evidence it used for that decision.

The approach to dealing with asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19 was “unclear”… despite evidence suggesting a “high proportion” of people with Covid-19 – as high as 80%, said one witness – have no symptoms at all. It would mean needing to test regularly in hospitals and care homes even where workers do not feel ill.

There is no transparency over what the advice of SAGE is – whether in the form of its actual advice to Ministers, minutes of its meetings, or even a summary, suitable for publication, of its advice.

Without visibility of the scientific advice it will be difficult to corroborate the Government’s assertion that it always follows the scientific advice.

Source: Coronavirus: 5 failings unveiled in powerful letter to Boris Johnson – Mirror Online

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If you want to survive coronavirus it’s time to use your intelligence (and stop reading the Sunday Times)

Boris Johnson: people are calling for him to resign after the Sunday Times published an article. Why didn’t they make the same demand in their millions after This Writer published a piece with identical information, nearly three weeks ago?

This will be a short rant. Please indulge me.

It seems the Sunday Times is receiving a great deal of attention over a piece describing the failures of Boris Johnson and his government to address the threat of the coronavirus properly in the period between the end of January and the middle of March. People are treating it as brand-new information and behaving as though it is shocking knowledge that the public needs to know.

Some are also complaining that, in a time when newspapers are struggling, certain people have published snippets of the article when its online version is behind a paywall. “It’s not helping,” they say.

No.

It’s not helping that the public ignored this information – that is freely available all over the internet, and that I collected and put into a single article myself, three weeks ago – until the Murdoch rag came along and made a fuss about it, too late to do any good.

Look on Twitter and there are at least three trending hashtags related to the article – #ResignBoris, #SundayTimes and #Cobra (because Johnson missed five meetings in Cabinet Office Briefing Room A; but he’s allowed to).

Why wasn’t there such a fuss when I published my piece?

The answer’s obvious: Because I’m a small online publisher and the Sunday Times has a history.

Trouble is, the history of the Sunday Times became extremely dodgy after Rupert Murdoch took it over. This is the hack-rag that published a smear piece calling me an anti-Semite – and plenty of people (wrongly) paid attention to that, too!

The moral of this story isn’t that we should be shocked about Boris Johnson and demand his resignation. We should – but the majority of the public could have known that since March 30 if they’d read my article.

The moral of the story is: Support your online sources – like Vox Political. If the Sunday Times is in trouble, there’s a reason for it.

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Coronavirus: The Tories’ catalogue of failures means people who should have lived WILL die

Chris Whitty: the Chief Medical Officer has now self-isolated with symptoms of the coronavirus himself. Doesn’t that suggest there’s something wrong with his ideas?

Those of you who have been following This Site over the past few days will have read article after article exposing the failures of the Conservative government – firstly to anticipate, then to combat the coronavirus crisis.

So it should come as no surprise that these failures have ensured that NHS workers and people who contract Covid-19 will die, who should be saved.

And the pedigree of the man making that claim should not be doubted: Richard Horton is the editor of what is possibly the most highly-regarded medical journal of them all: The Lancet.

He said measures implemented “far too late” had left the NHS “wholly unprepared for the surge of severely and critically ill patients”.

As a result, it had been plunged into “chaos and panic”, with patients and NHS staff condemned to “die unnecessarily”.

He pointed to an article in The Lancet, already referenced by This Site, stated on January 24 that the coronavirus was on the verge of becoming a global pandemic and urged the government to ensure that the NHS was prepared.

But Boris Johnson and his government didn’t bother. Successive Conservative governments over the previous 10 years had systematically dismantled the UK’s capability of tackling a pandemic like Covid-19.

The strategy to deal with it was last updated in 2011 and is hopelessly out-of-date.

The dedicated government Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Team, tasked with tackling this type of crisis, vanished around 2011.

The crucial document for getting the right messages to the public – the Communications Strategy – was written in 2012 and is wildly inaccurate in its assumptions about how and where people now get their information.

Worst of all, the government guide to dealing with the fatalities of a pandemic – the deaths – was written in 2008 and had never been updated.

Perhaps we should not be surprised, then, that the Conservative government’s response to coronavirus – throughout February – was wrong.

The Lancet article warned that “preparedness plans should be readied for deployment at short notice, including securing supply chains of pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment, hospital supplies and the necessary human resources”. But this warning was ignored.

Mr Horton lays the blame for this on Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, Chief Executive Officer of the NHS in England Simon Stevens and Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance.

Vallance’s was the mind behind the ridiculous “herd immunity” scheme to allow us all to become infected and if millions of vulnerable people died, that was a reasonable price to pay if the rest developed a resistance to the virus.

It didn’t last long but valuable days were wasted and, of course, while the overarching strategy was “do nothing”, nothing was being done to make the UK ready to fight the disease.

And when the government finally adopted an acceptable approach, the NHS was caught unprepared.

It didn’t have pharmaceutical supply chains ready – note the call for volunteers to ship medicines where they’re needed.

It didn’t have the necessary human resources.

And it didn’t have personal protective equipment, despite protestations to the contrary. As part of his article, Mr Horton called on England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jenny Harries, to apologise to health workers for saying the UK has “a perfectly adequate supply of PPE” and supply pressures had been “completely resolved” on March 20.

She was wrong, and it means doctors are risking their own health, if not their lives, every day by having to assess patients with respiratory symptoms, without the equipment necessary to protect themselves.

Worse still, the government didn’t follow basic World Health Organisation (WHO) advice. According to Mr Horton: “They didn’t isolate and quarantine. They didn’t contact trace. These basic principles of public health and infectious disease control were ignored, for reasons that remain opaque.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: all the way down the line, Boris Johnson and his government have had to be dragged into doing the right thing – always late and never willingly.

Already more than 1,000 people have been acknowledged to have died.

And it seems clear that more will follow – who would have lived if Mr Johnson and his ministers, their advisors and the leaders of the NHS had simply done their jobs properly.

Source: Coronavirus: UK response means NHS staff and patients will ‘die unnecessarily’, Lancet editor says | The Independent

Tory response to NHS waiting time failure: HIDE THE EVIDENCE

This was a corridor in an English hospital’s Accident & Emergency department in early 2017 – and now the situation is worse.

Tory Health Secretary Matt Hancock has admitted not only that he can’t fix the NHS waiting time crisis – he won’t even bother to try.

Instead, it seems he’ll get rid of the four-hour target for patients to be seen. In other words, he’ll hide the evidence.

Of course he’ll say it’s only a coincidence that the proportion of patients attending A&E who were seen within the four-hour limit has been falling steadily since the Tories took over government in 2010.

Before then, under Labour, it was well within the target of 95 per cent.

And I’m sure he’ll say it’s also just a coincidence that attendances at A&E last month had increased by 400,000 since 2010.

It’s nothing to do with the return of so-called “Victorian diseases” brought by the Tory “starve the poor” policies of 2010 onwards – obviously. And it’s nothing to do with the increased health problems faced by benefit claimants who the Tories (wrongly) said could live on less.

And if you believe that, you’re stupid and gullible enough to deserve the pathetic service you’re getting.

You probably even believe Hancock when he says the NHS is getting its biggest cash injection ever, when in real terms the £33.9 billion promised is nowhere near the biggest, once inflation has been taken into account.

One person who isn’t going to be gulled is Professor Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, who said last year: “In our expert opinion scrapping the four-hour target will have a near-catastrophic impact on patient safety.”

As a reader of Vox Political, I’m willing to bet that you are neither gullible nor stupid.

So, who do you believe?

Matt Hancock has signalled that four-hour waiting targets for A&E are likely to be scrapped for the NHS in England after the worst figures on record this winter.

The health secretary said it would be better if targets were “clinically appropriate” and the “right targets”, as he defended the NHS’s failure to meet the standard that 95% of patients attending A&E should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

The target was put under review by Theresa May’s government and the NHS unveiled plans last March to pilot changes that would prioritise patients with serious conditions while patients with minor problems could wait longer than four hours.

A decision about the flagship four-hour target is due to be taken by NHS England in the coming months.

Source: Matt Hancock signals A&E waiting targets likely to be scrapped | Society | The Guardian

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New evidence fuels demand for inquest uncovering DWP role in the death of Jodey Whiting

Jodey Whiting, 42, took her own life after her benefits were stopped.

Remember Jodey Whiting?

She’s the woman who took her own life after the Department for Work and Pensions ignored its own policies for safeguarding benefit claimants no fewer than five times while dealing with her case.

The DWP scorned calls for an independent inquiry into deaths related to its decisions, prompted by Ms Whiting’s death – even after tens of thousands of people signed a petition demanding it.

Now her mother, Joy Dove, has launched a demand for a new inquest, saying the interests of justice demand it after new evidence emerged.

This includes the result of an investigation into the handling of Ms Whiting’s benefits by the DWP and a report from an independent consultant psychiatrist who concluded that the DWP’s failings would probably have had a substantial effect on her mental state.

In her letter to the Attorney General, Ms Dove argued that the manner in which her daughter was treated by the DWP, and in particular the withdrawal of her ESA, caused or materially contributed to her death and, that had this not occurred, her daughter’s death might have been prevented.

Ms Whiting, of Stockton, died on 21 February 2017, aged 42. She was a vulnerable woman with multiple physical and mental health illnesses which left her house-bound, requiring 23 tablets per day and entirely reliant on welfare benefits.

In late 2016 the DWP began to reassess her entitlement to Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

She requested a home visit as she rarely left the house due to her health and she made clear that she had “suicidal thoughts a lot of the time and could not cope with work or looking for work”.

Despite this, the DWP decided that she should attend a work capability assessment. She failed to attend so the DWP stopped her fortnightly ESA payments.

With help from her family, Ms Whiting wrote to the DWP explaining the severity of her health conditions and asking for a reconsideration, but this did not happen until after her death.

She also received letters informing her that her housing benefit and council tax benefit would be stopped because they were linked to her ESA.

Just three days after her last ESA payment, Ms Whiting took her own life.

An inquest was held, lasting less than an hour, in which the coroner declined to consider the potential role of the DWP in the death. Ms Whiting’s family were unrepresented and were unaware that they may have been entitled to publicly-funded legal representation.

After the inquest a report by an Independent Case Examiner concluded that the DWP had made multiple significant errors in how it treated Ms Whiting. Some of the failings had not been known to her family, who were horrified to learn how many failings had occurred in the handling of her benefits.

This could be a hugely important case.

Who knows how many other people are now dead who might have lived if the DWP had handled their cases with an ounce of sensitivity?

We may soon find out – but only if the Attorney General grants permission for a new inquest to take place.

Source: Family Of Jodey Whiting Seek Fresh Inquest Into Her Death | Leigh Day

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.

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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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