Yes, the NHS has PFI debts – but put the blame where it’s due… on the TORIES

The legacy of the harm done to the National Health Service by the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major has been brought into sharp focus by a new think tank report. The IPPR think tank has published research showing that NHS trusts will have to pay out £55 billion to Private Finance Initiative (PFI) investors by 2050, having already paid £25 billion. PFI was used extensively by the New Labour government of Tony Blair to bring desperately-needed investment into the NHS after the Tories bled the service dry.…

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Is this why the Tories are ditching PFI? Brand-new £24m health centre will NEVER be used by NHS patients

Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond gave in to demands from the Labour Party and agreed to stop signing Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deals in his Budget yesterday (October 29). Perhaps this is the reason: Altrincham Health and Wellbeing Centre was meant to be the major new health hub for south Trafford – but it is to be converted into offices without a single patient ever crossing its threshold. The building was constructed by local developer Citybranch for investment company Canada Life after a £35m deal. Now NHS Property Services is leasing…

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POLL: What do you think of Labour’s plan for employment reform?

John McDonnell has outlined Labour’s proposed employment measures to bolster the strength of unions and transform the gig economy in a speech to the Trades Union Congress. If you’ve managed to miss the details, here’s a short video about the headlines: We think all workers deserve the same employment rights and protections. Make sure your friends know about this 👇 pic.twitter.com/we30e9YcLk — The Labour Party (@UKLabour) September 11, 2018 And here‘s The Guardian with some of the finer details: “A Labour government would ban zero-hours contracts, repeal the Trade Union Act,…

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PFI schools have fire safety issues: Isn’t this a breach of contract?

According to The Independent, eight schools built under Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts have fire safety issues that could affect the health of pupils. The revelation raises serious questions about the safety of public facilities built by the private sector, according to the newspaper: PFI supporters say private contractors generally get major projects done quicker, cheaper and to a higher standard than the public sector. However, these claims are increasingly disputed. A report in 2011 by a Treasury Select Committee of MPs comparing PFI with traditionally procured projects said “we…

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Will NHS England kill patients while trying to protect its budgets?

Here’s an illuminating story. An elderly person in Bristol attended hospital early last week, complaining of severe pain that suggested a hernia. A doctor examined this person and said that, in fact, a double-hernia was in evidence – but the hospital could not provide any form of treatment because the patient’s GP practice had not referred them. The hospital was unwilling to treat the patient if the GP practice was unwilling to pay for it, you see. The patient had to go home and phone their doctor. The practice agreed…

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Taxpayers are being misled into funding the private firms that are raiding our NHS

It seems more than half of the UK’s voting public would be willing to pay more income tax in order to fund the National Health Service. Pollsters ComRes told The Guardian that 49 per cent of people would accept a tax hike if the money went directly to the NHS, compared with 33 per cent who would not and 18 per cent who didn’t know what they would do. This must be very gratifying for David Cameron, whose creeping privatisation of the NHS is at least partly to blame for…

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Why NHS charging is a zombie policy

http://youtu.be/e6ci9ROmTO8 Several political organisations (including, to Yr Obdt Srvt’s regret, Labour) have been talking up the possibility of imposing charges on the public for NHS services. Possibilities under discussion have included direct charging at the point of use or a new ‘NHS tax’. Nobody wants to mention that this means paying for the NHS twice (we already fund it with our taxes/NI contributions). BBC Radio 4 recently ran a debate on NHS charging, on which one of the speakers was Dr Clive Peedell. This gentleman is a stalwart of the…

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Is Jeremy Hunt trying to fool us with the same con trick, all over again?

It seems that Jeremy Misprint Hunt is trying to pretend that his planned law making it easier to close good hospitals to prop up bad ones (and boost private health firms in the process) is happening because “Conservatives genuinely care about the NHS”. Writing in The Guardian, he tells us that Clause 118 of the Care Bill currently on its way through Parliament – the so-called Hospital Closure Clause, “is necessary because we need the power to turn around failing hospitals quickly and – in extremis – put them into…

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Tory talk and support for backdoor genocide will ruin any chance of defeating the Blue Meanies

Yesterday I wrote that Ed Miliband’s speech on social security reform was the beginning of the Conservative victory in 2015 – and picked up a little criticism for it in some areas. I stand by my words. Ed’s speech proved he is not a leader but a follower. He has agreed to follow Conservative spending cuts and not reverse them. He has agreed to follow Tory spending plans for the first year after a Labour government takes office (if it does) in 2015. He has said he would cap social…

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MPs’ shocking behaviour is par for the course in Cameron’s government

It must have been very difficult for David Cameron, returning from his spectacularly ill-timed holiday in the sun to find that his colleagues had been having a much better time than he has – at home. It seems that he returned to “crisis talks” at Downing Street, where aides told him of a “sensational love affair” which has potentially significant political implications for him. Apologies for the hyperbolic language involved, but this information comes from the Daily Mail. The newspaper said it could not disclose the identities of the people involved…

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