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Hancock LIED when he said there was never a national PPE shortage. Here’s the evidence. Now demand his resignation

Yet again: the PPE used in UK hospitals at the start of the Covid crisis is pictured bottom right. The infographic was made when the UK had hardly any personal protective equipment – but now Matt Hancock is trying to save his job by claiming there was never any shortage.

The Death Health Secretary is trying to rewrite history:

Did you hear him?

One minute and 40 seconds in: “But there wasn’t a national shortage [of personal protective equipment – PPE] at any point.”

That is simply untrue.

Here he is in April last year, saying he’d love to wave a magic wand to resolve PPE shortages:

The Tory government of the day was told in 2016/17, after Operation Cygnus, that the UK’s health service would be unable to cope with a pandemic virus infection without plentiful supplies of protective equipment for health workers… and decided that such an investment was too expensive.

This led to a situation in March 2020 when an NHS procurement chief, Alan Hoskins tweeted: “What a day, no gowns NHS Supply Chain. Rang every number escalated to NHS England, just got message back — no stock, can’t help, can send you a PPE pack. Losing the will to live, god help us all.”

The tweet was subsequently deleted, possibly under duress as even then the Tory government was trying to hide the facts. As This Writer put it on April 3 last year: “it seems doctors have been warned not to make any comments about shortages on social media, as well as avoiding talking to journalists, and NHS England has taken over media operations for many hospitals and health trusts in order to ensure that they all stay “on message”.”

On April 17 I brought public attention to the plight of nurses who had been forced to wear bin bags instead of proper protection. According to Metro,

Three nurses who wore bin bags on their shifts due to a shortage in personal protective equipment (PPE) have reportedly tested positive for coronavirus.

Just weeks ago, the nurses had shared a photo of themselves with clinical waste bags on their heads and feet as they issued a plea for proper masks, gowns and gloves at Northwick Park Hospital, in Harrow.

I wrote: “One of them had said they were all “terrified” that this might happen, knowing that colleagues had caught the disease from patients, and having treated those colleagues. They had seen what the illness does… We know what the government that failed them is going to give them: Platitudes.”

How right I was.

On April 19 I quoted a Sunday Times piece on the Johnson government’s PPE failures that showed he had sent 278,800 items of protective kit to China in February – immediately before the UK had needed it:

Downing Street admitted on February 24 — just five days before NHS chiefs warned a lack of PPE left the health service facing a “nightmare” — that the UK government had supplied 1,800 pairs of goggles and 43,000 disposable gloves, 194,000 sanitising wipes, 37,500 medical gowns and 2,500 face masks to China.

Don’t worry – it seems we may be getting some of it back. It’s just that the government isn’t sure, having lost £15 billion worth of PPE, some of which it has bought (back?) from other countries including China:

The government is not sure where billions of pounds worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) is located, the head of the National Audit Office has disclosed.

Gareth Davies, the comptroller and auditor general, said outside consultants had been brought into Whitehall to find all equipment, which is stored at different sites around the country, or is in transit from abroad.

Under questioning from the public accounts committee, Davies said: “We have been working closely with the DoH. It has commissioned consultants to advise it on first of all understanding where all the PPE that has been bought actually is. It sounds like a strange question but it is a really big issue because it is not all standing neatly in an NHS store somewhere.

“We have amounts in containers, in storage around the country, there’s some on the docks and there is some en route somewhere from China.”

On April 18 last year, I quoted a Mirror report that

NHS doctors and nurses will be asked to treat patients infected with coronavirus without full-length gowns – or re-use the ones they have, it has emerged tonight.

The Government has been under fire for weeks over the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE), with some frontline staff warning that they have had to work in situations where they feel unsafe.

Public Health England guidelines currently state that full-length waterproof surgical gowns should by worn by medical workers to stop Covid-19 spreading into someone’s mouth or nose.

However, there has now been a U-turn advising staff to wear a flimsy plastic apron when gowns run out or not wear one at all

And Matt Hancock has the cheek to tell us now that there was never a shortage.

Here’s a tweet about PPE availability in one hospital on April 19:

The following day we learned a much-touted delivery of PPE from Turkey would last just three days. It had been previously reported that Boris Johnson had refused to join an EU scheme to provide PPE where it was needed (see the Peter Stefanovic tweet towards the top of this article).

On April 24 we found

The UK’s stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in a pandemic…  has been outsourced to a private company, Movianto, which was sold two weeks ago for $133m (£107m) by its owner, a large US healthcare group.

Two days later the Turkish shipment of PPE arrived – and proved to be just one-twelfth of the expected amount.

Later in the Covid crisis we learned that the Tories were using the emergency procurement system which bypasses the competitive tendering process and allows the government to purchase items and services direct from chosen firms, was being abused.

Tories were giving cash to their cronies in return for equipment that simply wasn’t fit to be used.

The classic example is that of Board of Trade president (and cheese queen) Liz Truss, who spent £150 million of your money on 50 million face masks for the NHS that couldn’t be used.

She had been approached for the contract by one of her long-standing friends and advisors, Andrew Mills. Oh, and apparently it was sourced through a tax haven so this guy can keep all the money.

Mills was subsequently removed from his advisory position. But Truss didn’t go anywhere.

Tory ministers “learned the lessons” from this mistake by handing a further £180 million to their cronies for PPE.

Did we get it? Doubtful.

All the way down the line the Tories have failed us.

They gave away our PPE when we needed it.

They failed to join an international scheme to provide it where it was needed.

They failed to source it themselves.

They gave money to their friends and cronies who had no experience in providing PPE, and received trash in return.

As a result, health service professionals caught Covid-19. Many of them died.

And Matt Hancock, who is on video record from last year, saying he wished he could wave a magic wand and eliminate the PPE shortage, is now telling us he shouldn’t have to resign for breaking the law by hiding contract details – because he made sure there was never a PPE shortage.

He is a LIAR.

He should resign NOW.

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Did Boris Johnson axe international development department so he could misuse its cash?

Boris Johnson can’t be trusted with cash: he seems to give it to his friends whenever he can – and the fear is that he’ll do it with the budget of the soon-to-be-scrapped Department for International Development.

Boris Johnson is being urged to forget his plan to scrap the Department for International Development on the grounds that money would go to the wrong nations.

The DfID is being merged with the Foreign Office but whereas the DfID has spent a majority of its budget in the poorest countries and has a reputation for transparency, the same cannot be said for the FO – especially under Boris Johnson.

When he was Foreign Secretary (between 2016-2018), it was in the middle of spending £84 million on China – which can hardly be said to require aid.

Indeed, 39 per cent of FO cash has gone to higher- and middle-income nations, with just 22 per cent going to the poorest countries.

The facts of the matter have only just been revealed, so it seems the FO can get away with hiding its spending – handy if you want to hand public cash to your mates.

So the question is:

Is Johnson scrapping the DfID so he can appropriate its money and give it to his dodgy contacts in foreign countries, in the same way he has handed billions of pounds of Covid-related cash to firms run by his cronies, who have provided nothing in response?

And, if that is even the suspicion:

Shouldn’t the plan to scrap the DfID be itself scrapped – to avoid trust in the government collapsing even more than it already has?

Source: Boris Johnson ‘can’t be trusted’ on foreign aid as millions sent to China revealed – Mirror Online

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Tory corruption: why hide results of inquiry into NHS Covid-19 deaths?

Sufferer: Did any NHS staff member realise, when the Covid cases started coming into hospitals, that they could end up occupying the same beds as the people they were treating?

Who will benefit from the decision to keep secret the findings of a government review of Covid-19 related deaths of NHS staff?

The deceased won’t; they are beyond worrying about these things.

Their families won’t; it’s in their interests to have any mistakes made public, to get justice for the deaths of their relatives.

Other NHS staff won’t; it’s in their interests to have any mistakes made public, to ensure that they are not repeated, possibly harming them.

No, the only people who will benefit from this decision are the decision-makers themselves; secrecy will hide any mistakes they made, obscuring any responsibility they may have for the deaths.

And who are the decision-makers?

Matt Hancock. Boris Johnson.

The Conservative government.

This stinks of Tory corruption.

Source: Coronavirus: Cover-up fears as reviews of Covid-19 deaths among NHS staff to be kept secret | The Independent

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BBC covers up Johnson’s broken coronavirus testing promises; viewers switch to social media

It is any wonder that TV journalists are among the least-trusted in the UK in discussions of the coronavirus.

Today, in a segment on the arrival of the deadline for the government to meet its target of 100,000 coronavirus tests per day, the BBC broadcast part of an interview from six weeks ago in which Boris Johnson promised to reach 25,000 tests a day.

Nothing was said of his original promise, which was 250,000 tests a day – 10 times as many and two-and-a-half times the current target, which is believed to have been missed.

On Tuesday, the government was only managing 52,000 tests.

According to Skwawkbox, the BBC

also framed the whole segment to make it appear that testing has always been the government’s ‘watchword throughout this crisis’ – even though the Tories have been so slow and dismissive on testing that the UK was one of the countries rebuked by the World Health Organisation for ignoring the WHO’s ‘test, test, test’ strategy that has allowed South Korea to reach zero domestic transmission without even having a lockdown.

The reality is that the Tories’ political decision to ignore the WHO’s advice to put mass testing at the heart of the UK’s coronavirus strategy has needlessly cost thousands of lives – we have suffered more deaths than any other country apart from the US – and has inflicted massive and avoidable damage on our economy.

It’s another reason people are switching to the social media in their masses – This Site’s hits during April are nearly double what they were last year.

Source: Video: watch the BBC’s huge omission to cover for Tories’ broken C19 testing promises | The SKWAWKBOX

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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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Tory government breaks ruling ordering it to publish report on UK fracking

The obvious question – asked by Labour’s Jon Trickett in the quoted extract below – is clear:

If the Tories will break a legally-binding regulator’s ruling to hide the facts about fracking from the public, what other rules are they willing to break?

My guess is: all of them.

And if they’re hiding information from you, it’s because they are putting their own interests before those of the nation.

That’s no way for a government to behave.

The government has refused to abide by a ruling to publish parts of a report on the state of the UK’s fracking industry, Labour has pointed out.

The government was instructed by the information commissioners office (ICO) to release the document by 5pm on November 25th. This followed the failure of the cabinet office to respond to a freedom of information request submitted by Greenpeace in 2018.

The cabinet office had refused on the grounds the information “could call into question the industry’s viability” and was an internal government document exempt from the environmental information regulations.

Labour’s shadow minister for the cabinet office, Jon Trickett, said: “The Tories’ failure to publish this crucial report on fracking shows contempt for democracy and serves as a stark warning for what lies ahead if Boris Johnson is re-elected.

Labour has explicitly committed to a ban on fracking. The government halted fracking earlier this month but campaign groups are concerned that this is a temporary pause.

Source: Government refuses to publish report on fracking – LabourList

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Why did the Department of Health fail to highlight the increased risk of suicide among disability benefit claimants?

The Health Department’s offices in Whitehall.

There can only be one answer: The Department of Health doesn’t have a good enough excuse.

If there had been a good reason, we would have heard it; we haven’t.

So there isn’t a good reason.

Has the Health Department been in collusion with the Department for Work and Pensions to hide the threat to people with long-term illnesses and disabilities?

If so, then protestations about multiple causes of suicide are moot.

The facts indicate that a suicide risk exists – and has existed for several years.

In failing to highlight such a risk, it seems to This Writer that the Department of Health has been derelict in its duty. Agreed?

The Department of Health (DH) has refused to say why it failed to warn NHS bodies and other local services that claimants of out-of-work disability benefits are at a hugely-increased risk of attempting to take their own lives.

DH published the latest version of its national suicide prevention strategy in January this year.

The strategy was published four months after NHS Digital produced the results of its Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS), which showed that more than 43 per cent of claimants of employment and support allowance (ESA) had said (when asked in 2014) that they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives.

But the suicide prevention strategy fails to mention these figures or to highlight ESA claimants as a high-risk group, even though it briefly mentions Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) guidance for dealing with ESA claimants who may be at risk of suicide or self-harm.

This week, a DH spokeswoman refused to explain why the figures were not mentioned in the strategy or why ESA claimants were not highlighted as a group at particularly high risk of suicide.

Instead, she said: “As I know you’ve discussed with the DWP, suicide is a very complex issue, so it would be wrong to link it solely to anyone’s benefit claim.

“There is clear guidance in place for DWP staff members to follow if a claimant expresses a desire to self-harm, to ensure the claimant receives appropriate care and support.

Source: Department of Health silence over failure to highlight ESA suicide risk


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DWP ‘manipulated Access to Work figures to hide cuts and harassment’ – quelle surprise

Why is the DWP not under continual criticism for the way it collects and presents statistics?  The intention is always to put forward the best possible impression of the Department – and never to present the facts in a clear, usable way.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been accused of manipulating statistics in an attempt to hide the ongoing barriers, cuts and harassment experienced by disabled people seeking support from a key disability employment programme.

The claims followed the release of new figures which showed the number of disabled people approved every year for support from the Access to Work (AtW) programme had fallen by 15 per cent under seven years of Conservative rule.

The scheme has been repeatedly praised as an effective way of supporting disabled people in work and ensuring they keep their jobs, and provides funding for work-related support such as aids and equipment, communication support, travel to work, physical adaptations to a workplace, and hiring support workers.

Deaf and disabled campaigners cast grave doubt last night (Wednesday) on the figures and suggested DWP was attempting to camouflage continuing cuts to people’s support.

Although the figures show the number of people who had support packages approved in each year, they do not include those who continue to receive AtW support without the need for reassessment, or show how many people lost their support or had it cut after being reassessed.

This means it is impossible to know how many disabled people are currently receiving AtW compared with previous years, or how the average level of support packages have risen or fallen.

Ellen Clifford (pictured, right), Inclusion London’s campaigns and policy manager, said DWP’s document “takes creative use of statistics to a whole new level of unreality”.

She said the motivation for changing the way the statistics were collated could only be to disguise what was really happening “because they now provide a much less clear picture of how many people the scheme is benefiting… The manipulation of figures in this way suggests the DWP has something to hide”.

Source: DWP ‘manipulated Access to Work figures to hide cuts and harassment’


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It isn’t the NHS keeping service cuts secret – it’s the Conservative minority government

Leaked proposals from three areas have already revealed plans including downgrading or closing A&Es [Image: Chris Radburn/PA].

Shame on The Guardian for accusing the NHS of hiding planned service cuts.

The health service is run by the minority Conservative government and must do what it is told.

Its spokesperson is right to say it must work within its budget. As for the information it releases – that’s up to the Tories.

So let’s be honest – it’s not the NHS hiding the facts; it is the Conservative Party. Again.

The NHS has been accused of keeping the public in the dark about controversial plans to plug a £250m funding gap by rationing services.

The crowdfunded campaign group 38 Degrees submitted freedom of information (FOI) requests to the government, NHS leaders as well as trusts and clinical commissioning groups in the 13 areas affected but all except two refused to release details of planned changes.

Leaked proposals from three areas have already revealed plans including downgrading or closing A&Es and extending waiting times for operations, and 38 Degrees says the public is entitled to know what else is in store.

Source: NHS accused of keeping secret its plans to cut services | Society | The Guardian


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Why should doctors resign because of the #NHSCrisis caused by Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt?

Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt are the Tory fools who have created the crisis in the English NHS. Tell them they are to blame. Tell them they should resign now.

The more I think about the unreasonable comments and demands made by Theresa May and her health secretary Jeremy Hunt, the less acceptable they seem.

We are told senior GPs could resign in huge numbers because Mrs May has irrationally chosen to scapegoat them for the humanitarian crisis sweeping the National Health Service in England. But why should they?

Surely we can all see where responsibility really lies?

The Conservatives aren’t responsible for the NHS in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – and those countries aren’t experiencing any crisis – except possibly where their services are reliant on facilities based in England.

The Conservatives are responsible for the NHS in England, and it is in England that the crisis has occurred.

Therefore Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt are responsible for causing the current crisis; so Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt should resign.

Why are high-profile politicians and medical leaders not already demanding their heads on a plate?

Theresa May seems keen to blame anybody but herself – she tried to pin the crisis on the elderly before claiming that A&E departments are buckling because she thinks GPs are lazy.

Enough is enough.

Whenever Mrs May, Mr Hunt or any other Tory (with the exception of Dr Sarah Wollaston, who has spoken up for the NHS, thereby proving she is in the wrong political party altogether) tries to run down the NHS, its doctors, nurses, specialists, workers or users, let’s just tell them:

“No. You are to blame. Resign.”

It’s a simple message, and easy to repeat.

Put it out there a few times and even our Tory-loving mass media might get the hang of it.

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