NHS agency staff provider to be privatised – for profit, not service

Wasn’t the NHS criticised recently for being too reliant on agency staff instead of permanent employees? Yet now the Conservative Government intends to privatise the main provider of agency staff, in order to create a “profitable business model”. Hmm. And the quality of service doesn’t enter anywhere into the Tory calculations. This is because a nationalised service like the NHS – used as a necessity by millions of people – is an automatic money-maker. The aim is clearly to rip off patients by providing the worst possible care for the…

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Tories blew £100k of public money hiding ‘Mandatory Work Activity’ firms – because they were profiting from it?

This Blog, and others, has spent years warning that the Conservative Government will spend huge amounts of public money hiding what it is doing. So the revelation that Iain Duncan Smith spent £100,000 hiding the names of companies that have exploited the cheap, unpaid workers available through ‘Mandatory Work Activity’ comes as no surprise. It is easy to see why. Between June 2011 and July 2012, the total profit made by Mandatory Work Activity provider companies, charities and councils was nearly £1 billion. There was no cost associated with that profit, either –…

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David Cameron threatens crackdown if over-55s are barred from accessing pensions

One thing you can always say about David Cameron – he talks a good fight. There’s usually no substance behind the rhetoric, though. His pension is perfectly safe – he has been an MP long enough to have secured the gold standard of UK pensions. He won’t care about yours. David Cameron has threatened a Government crackdown on pension providers that are failing to offer all of the freedoms promised by the Conservatives ahead of the general election. The Prime Minister pledged to keep a “careful eye” on the companies…

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IDS should be a candidate for his own Work Programme

Iain Duncan Smith has failed to get Work Programme providers to “support” harder-to-help claimants into work, according to the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee. It used the example of Employment and Support Allowance to illustrate its criticism, saying almost 90 per cent of claimants on the Work Programme have not moved into jobs. This is no surprise to anybody. If it’s news to you, where have you been for the last three years? Work Programme providers hit back against criticism in 2013 by saying they needed more money – a move that…

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Greatest Coalition Failures: National Health Service

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…

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Social security/welfare: How badly has the Coalition failed the nation?

  Does anybody remember the Coalition Agreement? This was the document drawn up between the Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties, either in May 2010 or in March that year, depending on who you believe. Did they stick to it? Of course they didn’t! The whole thing seems to have been a Con job. A glance through it today reveals inconsistencies with what has happened, deviations… some might even say outright lies. Let’s have a look at a chapter, shall we? 19. JOBS AND WELFARE This seems an obvious place to…

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US verdict on DWP’s privatised sick note service – David Hencke

Vox Political discussed the appointment of Maximus as the provider of the new ‘Health and Work Service’ – Lord Freud’s latest scheme to stop people claiming ESA by forcing them back to work before they’ve had a chance – in July. In brief, the company masquerading as ‘Health Management Ltd’ is a front for MAXIMUS, an American company that is already a Work Programme provider here in the UK, meaning there is a clear conflict of interest as described in the previous article. Also, the scheme represents the expansion into…

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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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Jobs for the boys – and a possible conflict of interest – in new government contract

The Coalition government has named the company that is to carry out its new programme to discourage people from claiming incapacity benefits – and, like all Coalition decisions, it is a disaster. The contract for the new Health and Work Service in England and Wales will be delivered by Health Management Ltd – a MAXIMUS company. This is triply bad for the United Kingdom. Firstly, MAXIMUS is an American company so yet again, British taxpayers’ money will be winging its way abroad to boost a foreign economy, to the detriment…

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Public money is being thrown away on government-contracted scroungers

It turns out that some people really do get to lie around all day, doing nothing apart from watching the money rolling in. Bloody scroungers. I’m sorry to swear – and you know I’m not usually rude – but these Work Programme provider companies really get my goat. The revelation that companies such as Ingeus, A4e and Working Links were getting undeserved ‘incentive’ money (see also the BBC’s article), rather than being paid by results as has been claimed loudly and repeatedly by Tory ministers and backbenchers, is nothing new to…

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