Tag Archives: injury

Does Whately’s scorn for student nurses hide a deeper Tory agenda?

Airhead or conspirator? What did Helen Whately mean when she said student nurses were ‘not deemed to be providing a service’?

After 25,000 student nurses volunteered to help NHS staff cope with the Covid-19 crisis in April, ‘care’ minister Helen Whately has announced that a new £5,000 grant will not be backdated to allow them to receive it because they are “not deemed to be providing a service”.

That’s the information we get from Nursing Notes:

The government scrapped the NHS Bursary system for student nurses and midwives in 2015 which subsequently led to a significant drop in the number of applicants.

Later this year the government will introduce the NHS Learning Support Fund which will provide non-repayable grants of up to £8,000 per year for both new and current student healthcare professionals.

Those who completed their course between this period feel understandably short-changed by a lack of financial aid – relying solely on student loans.

Tom Pursglove MP – himself a Tory – wrote to Ms Whately, asking for the grant to be backdated after he was contacted by student nurse Jessica Collins.

Ms Whately writes; “The Government has no plans to introduce a scheme that will backdate the offer for students who completed courses in earlier years.

“Student nurses in training are supernumerary and are not deemed to be providing a service. They are required to undertake 2,300 hours of clinical practice to learn the skills necessary for entry to the workforce.

“Whilst they may be performing limited clinical duties, this is under close supervision and they are not being paid to staff hospitals.”

Fine words from a government minister whose department would have been overwhelmed if those students had not volunteered their apparently non-existent services in April!

It would be easy to dismiss this comment as the witterings of an airhead and there is plenty of evidence to support such an interpretation of Ms Whately’s contribution to society.

Indeed, her letter goes on to claim – falsely – that those assisting with the COVID-19 pandemic were required to join an “emergency register” and would be paid a six-month clinical placement. According to Nursing Notes, this is not true – another lie to add to the ever-increasing pile of porkies the Tories have laid at our feet during the crisis that they made so much worse for people in the UK by their own selfishness, ignorance and laziness.

And what does Ms Collins, a mother-of-two who is graduating with debts of £60,000 because the Tories cancelled student bursaries, and who launched a petition calling for student nurses’ debts to be written off that attracted 200,000 signatures, think of the minister’s unkind words?

She told the Mirror: “The most shocking point of it was that we’re ‘deemed not to be providing a service’.

“I think you would only need to work one shift with us to see how we’re providing care for patients.

“We are under exactly the same pressures, we’re under exactly the same stresses.

“And the way she’s worded that just seems un-empathetic and so callous.”

Jessica said nursing students already feel undervalued and “to have it in writing I think is awful”.

She added: “I shared it with my closest circle first and there were a lot of tears, proper tears because it was that upsetting to some people.”

It seems Ms Collins will have a chance to clear the air with the minister next week, as part of a group conference call to discuss the issue.

This Writer believes nothing will come of this call apart from more hot air being blown down the phone lines at Ms Collins and student nurses like her.

And I reckon that – national loyalties notwithstanding – they will need to look to their own best interests when they graduate.

Other nations’ health services provide better pay and conditions than the NHS as it is run by the Conservatives, and nobody would blame them for taking employment that will help them clear the debt into which Tories like Ms Whately have pitched them.

If it creates a problem for the Department of Health and Social Care, so be it. The Tories already told nurses from foreign countries that they are not welcome, and it would do the country good to see that any problems in providing nurses are entirely caused by Conservative MPs.

And now I must ask: is that the plan?

Remember Noam Chomsky’s words on how the National Health Service could be privatised?

The Tories de-funded student nurses – and have now added insult to injury by saying they were “not deemed to be providing a service” during the Covid crisis.

If those nurses quit the NHS for better pay, then the NHS won’t work and people will get angry.

You know the Tories won’t take the blame – they never do. They’ll simply say the NHS as a system was always doomed to fail because socialist models always do – the usual baloney – and finish privatising the lot.

And the next time you need hospital treatment, they’ll slap you with a bill so large you could never, ever, hope to pay it.

Are you looking forward to that?

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Put the blame for the Paris attacks where it belongs: On terrorists, not Islam

A French police officer takes cover while on the lookout for the shooters who attacked the restaurant 'Le Petit Cambodge.'

The horrific attacks on the people of Paris prompted an outpouring of anti-Muslim sentiment on the social media, long before Islamic State took responsibility for what happened.

We all know the score now – or at least we should: At least 127 people lie dead and many more injured, and France is in a state of emergency after a series of bomb and gun attacks in Paris on the evening of Friday 13 November. The terrorist group Islamic State claimed responsibility, several hours after the attacks took place.

The social media – in particular, Twitter – responded with hysteria that was mostly directed at Muslims, regardless of whether people of that religion supported the atrocities or not. This Writer has Muslim friends who were extremely distressed by the hatred shown to them.

And rightly so. Islamic State does not represent the Muslim faith, no matter what its title claims. This organisation is a gang of faithless bandits – no more, no less – who are trying to hijack an entire religion in order to create hatred and division among people beyond the borders of its own illegal caliphate.

Let’s put that in context: IS represents all of Islam to around the same degree as Zionists represent all of Judaism. Both groups have committed atrocities against others in the name of a wider religion – atrocities that the majority of the members of those religions don’t want.

As I stated on Twitter in the early hours of November 14, I’m not going to blame all of Islam for the actions of a few idiots.

And I’m not going to let anyone use Paris to justify the murder of Mohammed Emwazi – the man dubbed ‘Jihadi John’ by his colleagues in Islamic State.

The attack by US forces, approved by UK prime minister David Cameron, represents a lowering of standards. There was no justice to it – no attempt to make the man stand trial for his alleged crimes. It was state-sponsored murder of one of our own citizens – no more, no less.

In approving this raid, the British authorities have lost any claim to the moral high ground.

One more point. After the attack, France’s President Hollande promised “pitiless war” on the perpetrators. I was particularly struck by the response on Twitter from Chris Hayes of MSNBC. He wrote:

“Hollande’s pledge of ‘pitiless’ war is, I have no doubt, the kind of thing many people *want* to hear. But the US learned the hard way after 9/11 how hard it is to translate rhetoric, resolve and massive military advantage into actual security, peace or anything that resembles lasting and definitive ‘victory’.”

How true those words are.

America’s war on terror has been a crushing failure, not because of any military disadvantage but because of a lack of imagination. The terrorists were engaged on their own terms and simply turned military defeats into recruitment drives.

The message is clear: You don’t change people’s minds by killing their friends and families.

This is one reason Jeremy Corbyn is right to oppose the renewal of Trident; it is no deterrent against fanatics who want to attack the UK (just ask MI5) – and without knowing where they are based, where would the UK point its missiles?

No. The only effective response to this attack is intelligence. We all need to get smart.

And we can start by blaming the people responsible, rather than whoever they want us to.

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Cutting red tape has cost the taxpayer billions

A waste of taxpayers' money: This is Tory business minister and twit Michael Fallon. The amount of money his 'red tape' cuts have cost this country mean he should be behind bars, not in front of them.

A waste of taxpayers’ money: This is Tory business minister and twit Michael Fallon. The amount of money his ‘red tape’ cuts have cost this country mean he should be behind bars, not in front of them.

Conservative business minister Michael Fallon has announced that the Coalition government’s cuts in ‘red tape’ are saving businesses £1.5 billion every year. How wonderful for him.

What he has neglected to mention is the fact that the taxpayer will have to pick up the tab – possibly at much greater cost.

Fallon reckons the government is “stripping back unnecessary rules that restrict enterprise and act as a brake on jobs and growth”.

For example, the Coalition has:

  • Removed thousands of “low risk” businesses from “unnecessary” health and safety inspections;
  • Stopped “responsible” employers from being held liable for workplace accidents and injuries that are “totally outside of their control”; and
  • Simplified mandatory reporting of workplace injuries.

The words in quotation marks are questionable. Who decides which businesses are “low risk”? Why would health and safety inspections by “unnecessary” in their cases? How do we know an employer is “responsible”, and why – after being labelled as such – should we believe they would not lie about whether an incident was “totally outside of their control”?

The possibilities for corruption are huge, now that the “brake” has come off.

Fortunately, it is possible to measure – very roughly – the effect of these measures; you simply look at the number of people applying for incapacity benefits.

These are people who are unable to work because of illness or injury. Counting them is not a perfect way of measuring the government’s success in cutting red tape while safeguarding employees’ health, because factors other than the workplace may be relevant in a number of cases. However, these should be seen as a minority only.

We know that, in May 2010, before the Coalition government came into office and started stripping away this “unnecessary” red tape, 28,300 ESA claims were awaiting assessment.

From the same source, we know that the number currently awaiting assessment is “just over” 700,000.

700,000!

Mr Fallon wants you to believe that none of these claims relate to his red tape cuts but the increase is simply too large to be discounted.

The lowest possible assessment rate of ESA (the amount they receive before their claim has been assessed) is £51.85 per week. Even if all claimants were receiving this, that’s a cost of £36,295,000 to the government, per week. The taxpayer pays that bill.

Over a year, it adds up to £13,247,675,000.

That’s at the assessment rate. Now, some of these may be knocked off-benefit after assessment – but this process, itself, costs money. It costs £311 per claim, according to the most recent official source available to this blog at the time of writing. Clearing the backlog would therefore cost £217,700,000.

This means the cost of assessing the 700,000 claims that have mounted up during the years of Conservative-led, red-tape-cutting Coalition government totals a vertiginous £13,465,375,000.

That’s almost nine times as much as Fallon thinks is being saved – spent on ESA assessments alone!

What a waste of taxpayers’ money.

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