Tag Archives: patient

Tories text cancer, transplant and asthma patients to axe them from shielding list

Big Brother: he’s watching vulnerable people and has decided that too many of them are getting government help. So some will lose it, no matter how badly they need it.

What the actual blazes is the Tory government trying to do now?

The apparently unilateral decision to axe people with serious medical conditions from the shielding list will undoubtedly have severe consequences.

(Although This Writer’s own contact who is on the shielding list only ever received one food parcel, in any event. It came unheralded and unlabelled and he had no idea what it was at first.)

People with cancer, liver disease or severe asthma have been dropped from the UK government’s coronavirus shielding list by text message before their doctors have been able to speak to them.

The decision to remove people with various health conditions from the shielding programme has caused upset. The text also informed people they would no longer qualify for government food parcels.

Many who received the messages last Friday believed they were fake. But the government has since confirmed the texts are correct and are official government communications.

Certain patients who have had a liver transplant, are on immunosuppressant medication, or have decompensated cirrhosis have also received texts. People with brittle asthma and those with other types of cancer were also told they were no longer getting additional help from the National Shielding Service.

Apparently, a government spokesperson said: “The government is committed to supporting the clinically extremely vulnerable and all decisions about whether someone should shield are clinically led.

“In some cases health experts have advised that a patient no longer needs to shield themselves from coronavirus. Where this is the case, the person will be informed that they are not on the shielded patient list.

“Those advised that they no longer need to shield may still access forms of support including the NHS Volunteers network, and will retain their supermarket priority delivery slots.”

The claim is that the government had asked clinicians to review people’s records to ensure that only those who needed to shield were on the shielded patient list.

Apparently doctors should have written to explain the decisions that had been made, and the text was supposed to both confirm that support would end and direct patients to other forms of help.

Clearly, that hasn’t happened.

This looks like an attempt to save money by withdrawing support from vulnerable groups, who may then contract Covid-19 or die for other reasons.

With no advice on other forms of help, and no wherewithal to collect supplies (if they wisely ignore the government’s claims and continue to shield at home), what are these people going to do?

You can guess what the Tories want.

Source: Cancer, transplant and asthma patients axed from shielding list by text message | World news | The Guardian

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Coronavirus: Medical groups unite to condemn bulk ‘Do Not Revive’ plan for sick and disabled people


This should be seen as absolute proof that it has been a policy to deny coronavirus care to people with long-term illnesses and disabilities.

This Writer has noted some scepticism in the responses to yesterday’s article about the GP practice in Wales that wrote to people with ongoing medical conditions, telling them that equipment used to treat coronavirus is being rationed and they were not likely to be treated if they contracted the disease. Instead, the letter asked them to sign a form directing medical staff not to attempt to resuscitate them if they succumbed to the virus.

My own attitude to this is clear: as we have all paid into the National Health Service, throughout our lives, we all deserve the best possible care available from it. I asked: do politicians and royalty get preferential treatment? If so, why?

Also, just because a person has an underlying condition, that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to shrug off the virus, given the same help that is provided to everybody else.

Now the British Medical Association, the Care Provider Alliance, the Care Quality Commission and the Royal College of General Practitioners have released a joint statement, saying more or less the same.

Here’s the statement:

It reads [boldings mine]:

The importance of having a personalised care plan in place, especially for older people, people who are frail or have other serious conditions has never been more important than it is now during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Where a person has capacit, as defined by the Mental Capacity Act, this advance care plan should always be discussed with them directly. Where a person lacks the capacity to engage with this process then it is reasonable to produce such a plan following best interest guidelines with the involvement of family members or other appropriate individuals.

Such advance care plans may result in the consideration and completion of a Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) or ReSPECT form. It remains essential that these decisions are made on an individual basis. The General Practitioner continues to have a central role in the consideration, completion and signing of DNAR forms for people in community settings.

It is unacceptable for advance care plans, with or without DNAR form completion to be applied to groups of people of any description. These decisions must continue to be made on an individual basis according to need.

It’s saying that any policy requiring medical staff to write off any individual – of any age and condition – as untreatable without discussing their situation with them is wrong.

If the government has handed that down to healthcare providers as a requirement, then it is wrong.

If anybody has already died as a result of such a policy, then those responsible must be identified and must pay the appropriate penalty.

This is real. It is important. It could be deadly. Don’t let the Tories get away with it.

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Coronavirus discrimination: surgery asks chronically sick and disabled patients to refuse treatment

People with serious health conditions and disabilities who are registered with a GP surgery in Wales had a nasty surprise in the post.

The surgery sent them a letter saying if they caught the coronavirus, the best thing for them to do would be to reject treatment and wait for death – and it asked them to sign a form confirming it.

Llynfi Surgery, in Llynfi Road, Maesteg, sent the letter to patients with serious health conditions such as incurable cancer, motor neurone disease, and untreatable heart and lung conditions, on March 27.

It comes as further confirmation that people with disabilities will suffer adverse discrimination in the coronavirus crisis – that government guidance is to abandon them.

The letter states that people with these conditions are “unlikely to be offered hospital admission” if they become unwell with coronavirus and “certainly will not be offered a ventilator bed”.

It continued: “We would therefore like to complete a DNACPR form for you which we can share with the OOH [out of hours] GP services and which will mean that in the event of a sudden deterioration in your condition because of a Covid-19 infection or disease progression the emergency services will not be called and resuscitation attempts to restart your heart or breathing will not be attempted.”

Going on, it suggested that the “best option” for patients is to stay at home to be cared for by their family with “ongoing support from ourselves and community nursing services”.

It listed “benefits” to signing the DNACPR form:

  • “Your GP and more importantly your friends and family will know not to call 999”;
  • “Scarce ambulance resources can be targeted to the young and fit who have chance of surviving the infection”, and;
  • “The risk of transmitting the virus to friends, family and emergency responders from CPR (even chest compression alone) is very high. By having a DNACPR form in place you protect your family and emergency responders from this additional risk”.

The final line reads: “We will not abandon you but we need to be frank and realistic about what the next few months holds for all of us.”

Wales Online reported on this scandalous correspondence, saying that the local health board had contacted patients who were upset by the letter, to apologise and “answer any concerns”.

And both the Welsh Assembly member and MP have issued a joint statement saying this was “not a standard letter” and the board is working with the surgery “to offer compassionate and sound advice in the very best traditions of our health service”.

You’ll notice that there isn’t a single line in these comments that contradicts the suggestions in the letter.

If anything, it seems the authorities have simply been embarrassed that it has stated the facts about government guidance on long-term sick and disabled patients who contract the coronavirus in a blunt way.

The affair seems to be confirmation that the government is indeed using the coronavirus to cull “useless eaters”, in line with the eugenics beliefs of Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings, and the Nazi-style persecution of people with long-term health issues that has been carried out by successive Conservative governments over the last decade.

Source: Surgery asks sickest patients to sign ‘do not attempt CPR’ form if they get Covid-19 – Wales Online

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Kiss doctor-patient confidentiality goodbye in the Tories’ latest NHS cash-saving scheme

GPs are no longer to have confidential, one-on-one interviews with patients who have certain conditions, if the Tory government has its way.

If you can’t afford private medicine, you don’t deserve to discuss your medical conditions in privacy, according to the latest crackpot Tory scheme for our cash-strapped NHS.

Having starved the service of funding and staff with a series of stupid or selfish policy decisions, they have left it incapable of coping with the demand for GP time.

So patients are to be deprived of their dignity with consultations organised for groups of up to 15 patients at a time.

The fact that people don’t want the intimate details of their medical conditions bandied around more than a dozen other people – not all of whom may be strangers – won’t enter into the Tories’ calculations.

The whole loony plan is further evidence that Conservatives consider the rest of us to be nothing more than herd animals.

Don’t forget that the Department for Work and Pensions describes benefit claimants as “stock”. Clearly that mentality has polluted the NHS as well.

GPs are to offer shared appointments for groups of up to 15 patients with similar conditions under NHS plans.

Patients who participated in a trial said they benefited from group appointments after receiving support from other participants, according to the head of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP).

Doctors reported finding the sessions effective at dealing with a variety of health issues like diabetes, arthritis and obesity as they do not have to repeat the same advice individually.

There is a UK shortage of GPs and medical staff, which has been exacerbated by a decline in EU applicants to work as nurses and some NHS staff returning to EU countries.

However medical bodies say that is not the primary motivation behind the new scheme.

Source: Group GP appointments: how NHS plans to see your GP with up to 14 people will work

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Have firefighters been conned into giving hospital patients lifts home?

[Image: West Midlands Fire Service.]


It is the Fire and Rescue Service, but This Writer can’t really see how hospital patient transportation can be considered a rescue.

And if the contract is supposed to be worth £2 million over three years but has only raised £300,000 in half that time, then it seems the West Midlands service has been conned.

I know councils are strapped for cash, but it occurs that taking firefighters away from their main responsibilities and paying them less than the agreed amount is counterproductive.

There is a petition to stop firefighters being asked to work in this manner and to make them fully available for emergencies once again.

Please consider signing it here.

Firefighters have lost front-line staff and engines to fulfil ‘loss-making’ care contracts, sources have claimed.

West Midlands Fire Service had agreed a two-year contract with councils to respond to emergency call-outs from OAPs who have fallen at home, while one local authority is also paying for hospital patient transportation.

Firefighters and civilian staff can and have volunteered to take part in the flexible contract scheme, which can boost their wages by 25 per cent.

Sources say employees had been told that the social care agreements would earn the cash-strapped Fire Service £2 million over three years.

But it is claimed just £300,000 has been raised so far in 18 months, while some firefighters and engines have been taken off the frontline to take part in the schemes.

Source: Fury as firefighters ‘taken off frontline to drive elderly home from hospital to meet care contracts’ – Birmingham Mail


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Tory-engineered NHS crisis is causing unnecessary deaths – and Theresa May boasts 

Read this, if you can stomach it:

An elderly woman who called 999 complaining of chest pains died while waiting almost four hours for her ambulance to arrive, while in a separate case another pensioner died following a seven-hour wait for a hospital bed.

On Tuesday, an 81-year-old Essex woman called 999 complaining of chest pains, but when paramedics arrived at her Clacton home and forced entry into the property they found the woman dead, according to the GMB union.

East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) said crews arrived three hours and 45 minutes after the initial call was made on Tuesday.

In a separate case, a Portsmouth hospital has vowed to investigate after an 88-year-old woman died following a seven-hour wait for a bed.

Josephine Smalley spent five hours in an ambulance and another two hours on a trolley in a corridor at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

She died on New Year’s Day, after having a heart attack and previously a stroke.

Now read this:

Image by MP Tracy Brabin of paitents on the floor in Pinderfields Hospital.

Pictures have emerged of patients lying on hospital floors as they wait to be treated – a situation branded ‘”deeply troubling” by an MP.

It comes as new NHS winter pressure figures revealed that nearly 2,000 patients have been kept waiting in the back of ambulances for more than half an hour outside the district’s A&E departments this winter.

Now Batley & Spen MP Tracy Brabin has released what she described as “shocking photographs of patients sleeping on floors” at Pinderfields Hospital over Christmas.

But a boss for the Wakefield hospital, used by many people from the Spen Valley, told the Telegraph & Argus the patients in the photos “may have chosen to lie down, as seats were provided.”

This Writer has to agree with MagsNews:

But what does Theresa May have to say? This:

It turns the stomach.

The Labour Party has it right with the following:

The Conservatives’ betrayal of the nation’s health is the shame of Britain.


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Sharp rise in ambulance patient deaths in England is all part of the Tory plan

Serious incidents resulting in the death of a patient rose from 31 in 2012 to 72 in 2016 [Image: Rui Vieira/PA].

The ambulance service is indeed under “excessive pressure” – but we all need to remember that this is not patient pressure, but pressure caused by Jeremy Hunt’s de-funding.

Mr Hunt is pushing the NHS towards privatisation and the way to do that, as Noam Chomsky has observed, is to de-fund the service so it starts to fail. When people complain, he can say that a publicly-funded health service doesn’t work and privatisation is the only way forward.

It is only after the service has been placed entirely in the hands of private companies that the public will realise privatised services are not better and do not receive more funds. Experience shows that money paid into such companies is drained out of them as profits, while investment dwindles.

Oh, and your services end up in the hands of foreign powers. Supporters of Brexit should pay particular attention to this, as they were fooled into voting for it in the belief that control would revert to the United Kingdom.

It won’t. Take a look at the privatised rail, water and energy companies.

The deaths of a few hundred people mean nothing to the Tories who are pushing these policies through – as those of use who have watched their behaviour towards benefit claimants and those on social care know very well.

A sharp rise in the number of patients dying unexpectedly while under the care of NHS ambulance staff has prompted warnings that the service is under “excessive pressure”.

NHS figures for England obtained under freedom of information (FoI) laws show “serious incidents” resulting in the death of a patient more than doubled from 31 in 2012 to 72 in 2016, rising year on year.

One trust noted that a serious incident meant a three-year-old asthma patient had died, and another death was logged as being caused by a delayed response linked to “no resources”. Deaths were also due to missed diagnoses and long delays, with one patient even taken to the wrong hospital.

Serious incidents are logged when the consequences for patients and staff are so significant they warrant investigations. The number of such reports that involved death, low, moderate or serious harm, injury and abuse rose sharply over the five-year period, almost doubling from 194 in 2012 to 376 last year.

Source: Alarm over sharp rise in ambulance patient deaths in England | Society | The Guardian


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Health dept’s most senior official is WRONG – passport checks are not needed before hospital treatment

Chris Wormald said the ‘controversial’ proposal was not part of health service culture but that visitors from abroad did not have an automatic right to free care [Image: Andrew Milligan/PA].

Chris Wormald said the ‘controversial’ proposal was not part of health service culture but that visitors from abroad did not have an automatic right to free care [Image: Andrew Milligan/PA].


It seems the Department of Health is joining in the wave of immigrant-bashing sweeping the UK – and the western world – at the moment.

So let’s make something perfectly clear:

THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR ANY UK RESIDENT TO HAVE TO BRING THEIR PASSPORTS TO HOSPITAL BEFORE TREATMENT, NO MATTER WHETHER THEY ARE UK CITIZENS OR NOT.

Got that?

The only way anybody qualifies for service at an NHS hospital is if they have been referred by their GP – and that means they must be registered with that GP as an NHS patient.

Everybody living in the UK has the right to register with an NHS GP if they live within that doctor’s catchment area, even if they come from a foreign country.

Entitlement to free NHS treatment depends on the length and purpose of a foreign national’s residence in the UK, not their nationality.

Hospital treatment is free to people who are ordinarily resident in the UK – but then, these are people who would have registered with a GP, whose details will be on file and who would not, therefore, need to show a passport when seeking treatment.

In England, a visitor from the EEA will need to present a valid EHIC or other healthcare documents (such as S2 or S1 forms) or they may be charged for care. A visitor from a non-EEA country would need to ensure they are covered for healthcare through personal medical insurance for the duration of their visit, even if they are a former UK resident.

And many services in NHS hospitals are exempt from charges, meaning they are free to everybody – including Accident and Emergency.

So there is no reason for anyone to have to bring a passport with them to hospital. Either they are on the register, or they will have insurance, or they’ll need to pay – but only if the service requires it.

I can’t, at the moment, see any reason for hospitals to demand passports from people seeking treatment.

I cannot understand why the Department of Health’s permanent secretary, Chris Wormald, is trying to suggest this as a requirement…

… Unless he is simply trying to persecute foreigners – and that is not in his job description.

Source: Hospitals may require patients to show passports for NHS treatment | Society | The Guardian

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A&E, cancer and maternity units to close in major vandalism on NHS by Tories and their stooges

Prof Sir Bruce Keogh argues that centralising some types of medical care benefits patients. Does anybody accept that, in this context? [Image: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images].

Prof Sir Bruce Keogh argues that centralising some types of medical care benefits patients. Does anybody accept that, in this context? [Image: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images].


This is not an overhaul, because overhaul implies improvement. This is an act of vandalism on England’s life support machine.

You don’t close down a unit that could give valuable life-saving treatment to somebody – when it matters – and tell them to trek who-knows-how-many-miles down the road instead. They’ll be dead on arrival.

Sir Bruce Keogh can say whatever Jeremy Hunt tells him to, and I’ll call him a Tory stooge, because that’s what he is – and a dangerous liability to the health service, and the health of people across England.

How much more of this homicidal stupidity do we have to take?

When do the Tories cross the line?

Do we have to wait until people start to die – after these reckless and irresponsible plans are put into action and the health service cut beyond its ability to cope?

Or should the people who actually do the work in the health service just say enough is enough and refuse to go through with it?

I know it’s not a practical solution but neither is a plan for “sustainability and transformation” that transforms our internationally-revered health system into a death trap.

These so-called plans have gone too far already. They’re to be ripped up and a strong – and lasting – message sent to the swine who created them.

And the next person to see Jeremy Hunt should actually kick his ass. Hard.

Thousands of hospital beds are set to disappear, pregnant women will face long trips to give birth and a string of A&E units will be downgraded or even closed altogether as part of controversial NHS plans to reorganise healthcare in England.

A Guardian analysis of the 24 NHS regional plans that have now been published – more than half the total of 44 – has found that health service chiefs plan to push through an unprecedented centralisation of key hospital services across England.

Opposition to the plans is growing among campaign groups, councillors and a growing number of MPs, including Conservatives, in areas where major changes are planned amid fears that patients will be unable to access urgent care quickly enough.

Source: A&E, cancer and maternity units to close in major NHS overhaul | Society | The Guardian

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Greatest Coalition Failures: National Health Service

zcoalitionfailNHS

National Health Service staff went on a four-hour strike today (Monday) against a pay freeze which has meant one in five of them have had to take other jobs in order to make ends meet.

Health Secretary Jeremy Misprint Hunt, whose 10 per cent pay rise on his ministerial salary of around £140,000 is safe, said the health service could not possibly afford to add one per cent to workers’ pay. The minimum starting salary for a registered nurse is £21,478; Hunt’s pay rise alone could cover a one-per-cent increase for no less than 65 such nurses, and they are by no means the lowest-paid NHS workers.

The strike has come as The Times newspaper claimed that “senior Tories have admitted that reorganising the NHS is the biggest mistake they have made in government,” with at least £5 billion a year wasted on inefficiencies.

The paper’s online version is hidden behind a paywall, but its front page states: “David Cameron did not understand the controversial reforms and George Osborne regrets not preventing what Downing Street officials call a ‘huge strategic error’, it can be revealed.

“The prime minister and the chancellor both failed to realise the explosive extent of plans drawn up by Andrew Lansley, when he was the health secretary, which one insider described as ‘unintelligible gobbledegook’.

“An ally of Mr Osborne said ‘George kicks himself for not having spotted it and stopped it. He had the opportunity then and he didn’t take it.’

“The admission came during an investigation by The Times that has found at least £5 billion is wasted every year on inefficiences, such as overpaying for supplies, out of date drugs, agency workers and empty buildings, a study carried out for ministers said.”

The report raises several questions. Firstly, if Lansley’s reforms were a mistake, that doesn’t mean Cameron and Osborne would have proposed anything better. Tories are almost universally dedicated to the end of the National Health Service and the worsening of working-class health.

Secondly, if David Cameron did not understand Lansley’s plans, why did he allow them to go through? As Prime Minister, he is responsible for the activities of his government and a lack of comprehension indicates that he is not fit for the role – and never was. Is it possible that Cameron was swayed by the fact that Lansley was his mentor at the Conservative Research Department and he thought he owed a favour?

Thirdly, if Gideon didn’t spot it, what does that say about his abilities as Guardian of the Public Purse? (Actually, here’s a link to an article about his abilities in this regard. Read it and weep, George!)

Finally, and perhaps most importantly: How did the government let the NHS fall into this terrible condition? For the answer, we have to go back, again, to the Coalition Agreement.

22. NHS

The Government believes that the NHS is an important expression of our national values [From this we may conclude that the Tories (and their little LD friends) decided to change the NHS and make it reflect their values]. We are committed to an NHS that is free at the point of use and available to everyone based on need, not the ability to pay [Fail]. We want to free NHS staff from political micromanagement [Fail], increase democratic participation in the NHS [Fail] and make the NHS more accountable to the patients that it serves [Fail]. That way we will drive up standards, support professional responsibility, deliver better value for money and create a healthier nation [Fail].

  • We will guarantee that health spending increases in real terms in each year of the Parliament, while recognising the impact this decision will have on other departments  [Vox Political has just spent several weeks demonstrating to the BBC that this has not happened].
  • We will stop the top-down reorganisations of the NHS that have got in the way of patient care. We are committed to reducing duplication and the resources spent on administration, and diverting these resources back to front-line care [Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act 2012 was the largest top-down reorganisation ever imposed on the National Health Service. It was also gibberish (as top Tories now concede) and has cost the service more money than it could ever hope to save].
  • We will significantly cut the number of health quangos [Clinical Commissioning Groups are quangos – so in fact it seems likely the number has increased].
  • We will cut the cost of NHS administration by a third and transfer resources to support doctors and nurses on the front line.
  • We will stop the centrally dictated closure of A&E and maternity wards, so that people have better access to local services [The Coalition government has never – let’s have that again: NEVER – refused permission for a plan to close A&E wards].
  • We will strengthen the power of GPs as patients’ expert guides through the health system by enabling them to commission care on their behalf [This refers, again, to CCGs. In fact, overworked GPs do not have time to plan and commission services, and have handed responsibility over, in most cases, to private health companies. This has opened the way for a huge amount of corruption, as these companies may commission services from themselves. More than one-third of doctors who are board members of CCGs have financial interests in private healthcare (NHS SOS, p 5].
  • We will ensure that there is a stronger voice for patients locally through directly elected individuals on the boards of their local primary care trust (PCT). The remainder of the PCT’s board will be appointed by the relevant local authority or authorities, and the Chief Executive and principal officers will be appointed by the Secretary of State on the advice of the new independent NHS board. This will ensure the right balance between locally accountable individuals and technical expertise.
  • The local PCT will act as a champion for patients and commission those residual services that are best undertaken at a wider level, rather than directly by GPs [Fail. This hasn’t happened]. It will also take responsibility for improving public health for people in their area, working closely with the local authority and other local organisations [Fail].
  • If a local authority has concerns about a significant proposed closure of local services, for example an A&E department, it will have the right to challenge health organisations, and refer the case to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. The Panel would then provide advice to the Secretary of State for Health [Fail. The right to challenge seems to have been introduced but has been ineffective].
  • We will give every patient the right to choose to register with the GP they want, without being restricted by where they live [Fail. In fact, the Coalition has given GPs – or rather, CCGs – the right to choose the patients they want, meaning they can exclude patients with expensive, long-term conditions. This has an effect on the promise to provide care to everyone that is free at the point of use, of course].
  • We will develop a 24/7 urgent care service in every area of England, including GP out-of-hours services, and ensure every patient can access a local GP [Fail, for reasons indicated above]. We will make care more accessible by introducing a single number for every kind of urgent care and by using technology to help people communicate with their doctors [The service was launched in 2013 and was a complete and utter failure – it could not cope with demand on any level].
  • We will renegotiate the GP contract and incentivise ways of improving access to primary care in disadvantaged areas.
  • We will make the NHS work better by extending best practice on improving discharge from hospital, maximising the number of day care operations, reducing delays prior to operations, and where possible enabling community access to care and treatments.
  • We will help elderly people live at home for longer through solutions such as home adaptations and community support programmes.
  • We will prioritise dementia research within the health research and development budget.
  • We will seek to stop foreign healthcare professionals working in the NHS unless they have passed robust language and competence tests.
  • Doctors and nurses need to be able to use their professional judgement about what is right for patients and we will support this by giving front-line staff more control of their working environment.
  • We will strengthen the role of the Care Quality Commission so it becomes an effective quality inspectorate [The CQC has been rocked by the revelations of one cover-up after another, involving physical and psychological abuse of clients]. We will develop Monitor into an economic regulator that will oversee aspects of access, competition and price-setting in the NHS [Monitor has been turned into the enforcer of the government’s privatisation initiative].
  • We will establish an independent NHS board to allocate resources and provide commissioning guidelines [This is NHS England, which now takes decisions that would once have been in the hands of doctors. It can intervene in the running of any CCG, forcing changes where they don’t fall into line. It rigidly enforces spending limits].
  • We will enable patients to rate hospitals and doctors according to the quality of care they received, and we will require hospitals to be open about mistakes and always tell patients if something has gone wrong.
  • We will measure our success on the health results that really matter – such as improving cancer and stroke survival rates or reducing hospital infections.
  • We will publish detailed data about the performance of healthcare providers online, so everyone will know who is providing a good service and who is falling behind.
  • We will put patients in charge of making decisions about their care, including control of their health records [Jeremy Hunt wanted to sell your health records to private companies. Although the scheme was put on hold in February 2014, it seems to be running now. Your health records may already be in the hands of private companies].
  • We will create a Cancer Drugs Fund to enable patients to access the cancer drugs their doctors think will help them, paid for using money saved by the NHS through our pledge to stop the rise in Employer National Insurance contributions from April 2011.
  • We will reform NICE and move to a system of value-based pricing, so that all patients can access the drugs and treatments their doctors think they need.
  • We will introduce a new dentistry contract that will focus on achieving good dental health and increasing access to NHS dentistry, with an additional focus on the oral health of schoolchildren.
  • We will provide £10 million a year beyond 2011 from within the budget of the Department of Health to support children’s hospices in their vital work. And so that proper support for the most sick children and adults can continue in the setting of their choice, we will introduce a new per-patient funding system for all hospices and providers of palliative care.
  • We will encourage NHS organisations to work better with their local police forces to clamp down on anyone who is aggressive and abusive to staff.
  • We are committed to the continuous improvement of the quality of services to patients, and to achieving this through much greater involvement of independent and voluntary providers [Fail. The introduction of independent (read: private companies) and voluntary providers has been a costly disaster].
  • We will give every patient the power to choose any healthcare provider that meets NHS standards, within NHS prices. This includes independent, voluntary and community sector providers [Not true. The patient never has a choice].

The comments (in bold, above) relate only to a few of the calamities that have been forced on the NHS by the Coalition government (you may be aware of others) – and it is important to add that these took place only in England, where the Coalition has control. Health in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a devolved responsibility but the Tories and Liberal Democrats have tried to influence the provision of services by restricting the amount of money available to the other countries of the UK.

In addition, fears are high that the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the European Union and the United States of America will “lock in” the privatisation of health services, as corporations will be allowed to sue national governments if they impose changes that would affect a company’s profits. These claims have been rubbished by the European Commission and Tory ministers – but they would, wouldn’t they?

In summary: The last four and a half years have witnessed a sustained attack on the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, by a government that won most of its votes on a claim that it would protect and strengthen that organisation. It was a lie that has caused misery for millions – and is likely to have cost many, many lives.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
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