Tag Archives: second

Law to put private companies at the centre of the NHS passes second reading. Where are the news reports?

Backhander: the new Health and Care Bill will apparently allow private companies to take your tax money – intended to support the NHS – and then use “commercial confidentiality” laws to hide how they spend it.

What a blackout.

The Health and Care Bill – a planned law by the Conservative government that aims to put private, profit-making businesses at the centre of the English NHS – passed by a huge majority just after 7pm today (July 14).

At the time of writing – more than two and a half hours later – I found only one news report about it, in Scottish website The National.

Where’s your report, BBC? Where’s yours, ITV, Channel 4, Sky News? How about you, The GuardianThe Mirror? Anyone else at all?

During the debate, health minister Edward Argar admitted that the Bill would lead to increased private influence in the NHS – but tried to sugar-coat it.

“We are determined to embrace innovative potential wherever we find it,” he said.

Let’s consider what he calls “innovative potential”:

The Bill will break the NHS in England into 42 separate ‘Integrated Care Systems’ (ICS), each with its own – tight – budget that could lead to cuts in care.

These new organisations would be open to the private sector – and the removal of competitive tendering means contracts could be handed straight to asset-stripping profiteers.

Already, 200 firms are connected to the new ICS structure, including at least 30 US-based health insurance companies.

Companies could be given access to confidential patient information, more patient care will be given by less qualified staff who are cheaper, and non-urgent referrals to hospital delayed or refused because of pressure to make savings.

A drive towards cash-saving digital services means face-to-face GP appointments may end.

The long-awaited overhaul of the care system may end up being a demand on already-overworked family carers to take on more unpaid work as unprofitable community services are stripped away altogether.

National agreements on pay, terms and conditions for NHS staff may be swept away with employees ordered to work wherever private-sector employers find it easiest to make a profit – undermining team working, union organisation and continuity of care.

The much-anticipated return of responsibility to the Secretary of State means a politician will be able to make devastating decisions about the NHS without any democratic accountability.

The Health Secretary will be able to deregulate jobs – offering them to candidates who don’t have the right qualifications but are available for the right price, risking harm to patients and interfering with professional judgement and staff development.

The NHS will be exempt from the Public Contract Regulations 2015, meaning it will be impossible to reject bids for contracts on the grounds of non-compliance with environmental, social, or labour laws guaranteeing Freedom of Association and the Right to Strike, or on the basis of a bidder’s previous history.

The Health Secretary will also impose local service reconfigurations, weakening or abolishing the right and power local authorities currently have to scrutinise significant health changes.

The Bill will not treat a single extra patient, nor will it recruit even one more nurse.

That is exactly what I told my Conservative MP, Fay Jones, when I wrote asking her to speak against the Bill, and to vote against it. Of course, she did neither. She’s a Tory drone.

Fortunately, some others had the courage to stand up for their constituents who would be affected (including those in Scotland and Wales, of course).

Dr Philippa Whitford, SNP health spokesperson, said the Bill could mean private companies will be able to take public cash and not have to publish accounts of how it is used.

“It is hard to see this as anything other than a blatant conflict of interest,” she said. “Private companies hide behind commercial confidentiality and don’t publish accounts of how they spend public money.”

Labour’s Zarah Sultana said the Bill “will put on steroids the cronyism we’ve seen in this pandemic, where Tory mates and donors having handed billions of pounds in dodgy Covid Government contracts, and it will implement a healthcare model that incentivises cuts and closures, rationing funding to health boards. This dangerous Bill is another step to privatisation.”

But they were rare voices of reason among the bleating of almost 360 Tory sheep.

A Labour amendment to deny the Bill its second reading was voted down by 359 votes to 218, and the Bill passed to the committee stage of the legislative process by 356 votes to 219.

It seems Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid want to pass this Bill into law before the end of the current Parliamentary session on July 22. With this kind of complicity from their party faithful on the Green Benches, they seem certain to succeed.

And with an apparent news blackout on coverage of this crisis for publicly-provided health care, it seems the NHS will pass into the hands of the asset strippers before most of us even know it could.

Source: Health and Care Bill: NHS ‘takeover’ legislation passes second reading | The National

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Has Sajid Javid ditched his extra-Parliamentary jobs or is he breaking the rules too?

Sajid Javid: look at that blank-eyed stare and ask yourself whether his appointment is good for the UK – or good for the banks who employed him?

Sajid Javid is going to have to try a lot harder if he wants us to think he can do the Health Secretary job better than Matt Hancock.

He has made a a ham-fist of it by trying to put down a vital question over conflict of interest between his new Cabinet role and his extra-Parliamentary jobs with JP Morgan bank and… who’s the other one with? – by failing to answer it.

In the Commons, Labour backbencher Richard Burgon asked – well, see for yourself, along with Javid’s ridiculous non-answer:

Yes, the Daily Express loved it, but that just shows the depths to which national journalistic standards have fallen.

It is perfectly reasonable to want to know whether a Cabinet minister is giving up jobs that might conflict with his duty to the nation.

I want to know if Javid is going to blab government secrets to JP Morgan and I want to know if he’s going to give away information – against the national interest – to his other employer.

That is, after all, the most likely reason they employed him.

He was warned by ACOBA – the Advisory Committee On Business Appointments – that there were “potential risks” that he could provide “privileged information” that would give his employer an unfair advantage over its competitors, in spring last year when he took the JP Morgan job.

ACOBA provided advice on how to avoid “potential risks” but it is easy to circumvent them. The only way to ensure that former ministers don’t blab is to forbid them from taking jobs until any information they had is out of date and useless.

Two years has been suggested as a reasonable period of delay but Javid took his jobs straight away and at the time of writing, the suggested period has still not expired.

It has been suggestted that Javid has already given up his outside jobs.

But if that’s true, where’s the evidence? We cannot rely on his say-so because he belongs to an organisation of liars, headed by a liar. We simply cannot trust him.

And that is the reason MPs – and commentators like This Site – are demanding full disclosure, as you can see from the following representative sample on Twitter:

Of course there are also serious questions to be answered about the decision to appoint Javid to the Health portfolio, considering his extremely shady history:

As far as his actual ability to do the Health Secretary job is concerned, Javid has already disgraced himself. But that’s another story…

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Greensill: civil servants told to declare unauthorised second jobs while independent inquiry move is rejected

David Cameron: he could almost be saying, “Don’t look at me! There’s a civil servant over there who stacks shelves at a supermarket because I froze her pay in 2011!”

The latest developments in the Greensill scandal show typical Tory attitudes – one rule for them and a different rule for the ‘help’.

So – as predicted by This Site – Conservative MPs have rejected a Labour plan for a full Parliamentary inquiry into lobbying by former MPs on behalf of their current employers. Instead, the government has commissioned a review, to be run by a friend of the Tories. It will be a whitewash.

Meanwhile, civil servants are being ordered to declare second jobs they have that “might conflict” with their rules. This is after repeated assertions that former procurement chief Bill Crothers’s second job with Greensill was thoroughly vetted and above-board.

It seems to This Writer that Boris Johnson is looking for someone to blame; trying to take the heat off his school chum and former colleague, David Cameron.

Of course, civil servants shouldn’t have second jobs at all, let alone second jobs that may create a conflict of interests with their duties in the interests of the nation.

But I wonder how anyone has the time. And it also seems to me that if they have managed to get away with this, then we still have to question the behaviour of government ministers who devised the rules on outside employment.

So if any civil servants – especially those in top jobs – are found to have broken the rules… and if serious conflicts of interest are discovered… then Boris Johnson is still going to have a lot of explaining to do.

Source: Greensill row: Civil servants ordered to declare second jobs – BBC News

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Now we have a vaccine, Boris Johnson is messing with it. Hasn’t he done enough harm?

Only in Tory Britain would a government approve a vaccine, then ensure that people don’t get the doses they need.

The makers of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have issued a warning about “alternative dosing” after the UK’s chief medical officers approved a change in guidance.

Now, instead of providing the second – booster – dose of the vaccine three weeks after the first injection, the jabs may be delivered up to 12 weeks later (nearly three months).

A spokesperson said: “There are no data to demonstrate that protection after the first dose is sustained after 21 days.”

The diffference has sparked something of a war of words between the chemists and Chris Whitty. His organisation said:

In terms of protecting priority groups, a model where we can vaccinate twice the number of people in the next 2-3 months is obviously much more preferable in public health terms than one where we vaccinate half the number but with only slightly greater protection.

But that’s not what Pfizer is saying.

The claim is that providing the booster jab so late means there will be no protection from Covid-19 at all.

It seems Boris Johnson is offering people the illusion of protection, while in fact making us more vulnerable to infection (because people who’ve had one jab will think they are safe when in fact – according to Pfizer – they aren’t).

And there is even a suggestion that doctors will be asked to mix vaccines, so that people who have had the first Pfizer/BioNTech dose might get the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab as their second. What possible good will that do? They aren’t the same.

Doctors are complaining because they have been told to mess the most vulnerable people in the UK around – contacting them to say their booster shots have been delayed.

The move has prompted criticisms that this is a public relations con by the Conservative government. The reasoning is clear and obvious:

It looks much better to say a million people have been vaccinated (albeit with one shot) than that half a million people have had the full protection of the initial injection and the booster.

And here’s Matt Hancock:

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock said one million people have been given the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in the UK.

It’s clear that the critics have a good point.

And what will Boris Johnson say if a person who’s had the inoculation catches Covid and dies? “Bah!” isn’t going to impress anybody.

Source: COVID-19: Chief medical officer Chris Whitty warns coronavirus vaccine shortages will last months | UK News | Sky News

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Image of #Whitty confronting #Johnson over #Covid19 goes viral. What WAS he saying?

Whitty furious: but what was the UK’s chief medical officer saying to the prime minister who has bungled our defence against Covid-19 so badly?

Remember the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words? It seems the above image of Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty tearing Boris Johnson a new one has merited many thousands more:

That last tweet seems the most likely to be true, profanity-ridden though it is.

The image accompanied a Spectator article by Robert Peston in which that “magazine” heralded a report by the Office for National Statistics that is likely to say Covid-19 is on the march again everywhere, not just in regional pockets.

It is also likely to say that while the illness is rising in all age groups, it is now most prevalent in young people aged 17-29.

The article goes on to discuss the latest plan to stop the march of the virus, by forcing pubs, clubs and restaurants nationally to turf out customers at 10 pm or reverting to closing them altogether for a couple of weeks.

Apparently the name devised for this is “circuit breaker lockdown”, the aim being to interrupt the progress of the virus by stopping its flow along an established route.

Bit of a misnomer, that, as closing pubs at 10pm isn’t going to stop Covid being spread through them.

In any case, the damage has already been done; it’s fixing the barn door after the chicken has come home to roost.

The simple fact is that Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and their cronies (who don’t like being challenged, according to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, remember) should not have reopened pubs in the way they did after such a haphazard campaign to keep a lid on the virus.

And that’s what I suspect Whitty was saying when the image was captured.

The article does highlight the real aim of Johnson’s Covid-related restrictions on our freedoms:

The priority of the Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, is to suppress the incidence of the virus to a level that doesn’t prevent the NHS from treating other diseases and conditions.

So the idea is to infect the whole nation, piecemeal – presumably in the hope of eventually achieving that mythical “herd immunity” Johnson mentioned to Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby back in March.

And never mind how many people die or suffer permanent health consequences as a result. Charming.

Peston, and the Spectator, also suggests that Johnson and his government “moved too late to prevent the first wave”, and “eventually applied the sledgehammer of total lockdown at huge economic cost”.

This seems characteristic of many right-wing periodicals; they are deserting the Tories – and in fact have started to criticise them hotly over the Covid fiasco.

Guardian article points out that the same magazine – The Spectator – ran a “Where’s Boris?” cartoon on its front cover “featuring a distant blond dot on a tiny boat bobbing rudderless and oarless on a stormy sea”.

The Daily Mail had reached a similar conclusion. “Boris: We’ve Failed” the front-page headline blared, with the paper claiming it had warned of a “looming test crisis five months ago”.

“Too often the government has over-promised and under-delivered,” concluded a leader in the Times on Friday morning. “Policies have had to be swiftly abandoned after the exposure of entirely predictable problems,” the centre-right broadsheet continued, adding the A-level fiasco and the problems with the contact-tracing app for good measure.

Of course they’re not willing to shift loyalty away from the Tories altogether… at least, not yet.

Labour leader Keir Starmer, for all his attempts to drag his party back into Tory orbit (and perhaps because of it) has failed to impress anybody apart from the most fervent haters of the man he replaced, Jeremy Corbyn. That party will need to find a new leader with a drop of socialism in his blood and a penchant for a decent soundbite. That’s not happening any time soon.

But just look at that picture.

This Writer has never seen a middle-aged bald man look so ready to smash somebody else’s face in – and I make that statement as a middle-aged, bald man myself.

It seems clear that Johnson is at a crossroads – but has probably sold his soul to the devil already. He’s on a road to a Hell of his own making – the question now is whether he’ll drag us all down with him.

Source: With scientists divided, it’s time for politicians to decide | The Spectator

People are blaming Johnson’s government for second wave, as he introduces new Covid Gestapo

Dictator: now Boris Johnson has introduced his own Covid Gestapo to ensure we all do as he demands.

Boris Johnson seems to be introducing martial law in all but name, with the announcement of new ‘Covid martials’ to maintain social distancing in city centres.

Who will these people be? What will be their qualifications? Why should we let them bully us around? What penalties will we face if we don’t? Depending on the answers to these questions, this is the equivalent of introducing secret police to keep us all following the Tory dictator’s line. Perhaps you may think that is too strong a line to take, but that’s because you are British and will put up with almost anything.

We do all have our opinions, though – and a poll on this site shows that blameshifting attempts by Johnson and his cronies are not working.

Results so far show that 89.47 per cent of voters think Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, Dominic Cummings and the Tory government are responsible for the new rise in Covid-19 infections. A further 9.47 per cent blame their relaxation of lockdown. That’s 98.84 per cent of respondents (although this is of course an unscientific poll).

Only three people blamed young people and one person blamed seasonal change (which is known to trigger a rise in coronavirus-style infections).

Meanwhile the number of schools that have suffered Covid outbreaks is approaching 500:

Pupils at these schools have been sent home again to self-isolate until they get the all-clear – meaning their education is suffering still more disruption and their parents are unable to go back to work; someone has to look after them.

Experts said reopening schools would push infections up.

And parents are safer staying home to look after their kids: it keeps them off public transport and out of enclosed offices and workplaces, which are known to be the best environments for the virus to spread.

Pubs, restaurants and other public places where food and drink are consumed, are also great incubators for Covid-19 – and Johnson was warned that infections would rise after he reopened them, but he reopened them anyway.

Matt Hancock has had to tell MPs that the escalation of a Covid outbreak in Bolton was fuelled by pubs.

But there are no new restrictions on pub or restaurant visits – apart from those that count everywhere: you can’t go with more than five other people who you’ll probably be seeing elsewhere in any case.

You can go into a pub on your own, that is packed with strangers. Apparently Johnson thinks you are less likely to catch Covid-19 from people you don’t know and don’t spend time with regularly than from people you do.

That is, of course, quite irrational.

So it seems to This Writer that Boris Johnson’s new rules have nothing to do with restricting the spread of Covid-19; stopping a second wave. He seems to be using that as an excuse to restrict public freedom, here in the UK.

And remember, we have no idea when – if ever – he intends to relax these restrictions – or withdraw his new secret police.

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POLL: with the second Covid-19 wave well under way, shall we pre-empt the Tories and lay blame?


Who can disagree with this?

It does indeed.

And the Tories seem keen to spread the blame, offering several candidates for us to accuse already.

But we don’t have to believe them!

It’s time for a poll:

Who do you think is responsible?

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Sunak threatens tax raid in yet another Tory u-turn

Rishi Sunak: I like this shot because he looks nervous. If I was in his position, asking Tory backbenchers to raise taxes, I’d be nervous too.

This won’t play well with the Tory backbenchers: after u-turn after u-turn over Covid-19 and schools, their government is promising yet another u-turn – over tax.

Tories pride themselves on being a tax-cutting party. But Rishi Sunak is said to be threatening not just one but several tax hikes:

And to add insult to injury, the planned policy change means the Conservatives will be mirroring a policy planned by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour in its 2019 election manifesto:

And if the voters don’t like it – and they don’t:

… What are Johnson’s already-disgruntled backbenchers going to do?

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You’d better prepare for a Covid-19 second wave disaster because the Tories aren’t going to

Rishi Sunak: he won’t give the NHS any more cash because the Tory story is that Covid-19 is over.

Is anybody surprised that Rishi Sunak is refusing to give the NHS £10 billion to prepare for an expected new wave of Covid-19 infections?

The Tory narrative is that Covid is over.

Their government is sending people back to work, despite the number of deaths per day still being higher than when lockdown started. Tory donors are tired of going without their huge daily profits so the rest of us are being forced back to work, whether it kills us or not.

The pubs reopening, and the beaches being open before them, are just a means for the Tories to excuse themselves. They’ll say that any deaths arise from people’s leisure experiences, not from being forced back to work too soon.

Of course, putting money towards the treatment of renewed infections runs against this story – so Sunak won’t do it.

It doesn’t matter how many plebs die as a result.

NHS bosses have accused the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, of breaking a pledge to give the health service “whatever it needs” after he refused to provide a £10bn cash injection needed to avoid it being crippled by a second wave of the coronavirus.

They have warned ministers that without the money the NHS will be left perilously unprepared for next winter and the second spike in infections which doctors believe is inevitable. Nor will they be able to restart non-Covid services or treat the growing backlog in patients needing surgery.

The row piles pressure on Sunak to find more money for the NHS ahead of his summer statement on Wednesday.

The NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, has told the Treasury that it needs at least £10bn in extra funding this year to cover the costs of fighting the virus and reopen normal services. The money would mean the NHS could create extra beds in hospitals, keep the Nightingale facilities on standby, send patients to private hospitals for surgery and provide protective equipment for frontline staff.

Source: NHS chiefs in standoff with Treasury over emergency £10bn | Society | The Guardian

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Sappy Monday: Confusion and danger as Tories lift Covid-19 lockdown conditions too soon

Did you go down to the beach over the weekend? Then you’ve probably caught Covid-19 and are set to overburden our hospitals. Well done, you!

More people are going to die after the Tories lifted lockdown conditions too soon.

According to Boris Johnson’s silly “Defcon” scale, the UK is still at Covid Level 4: hospitals aren’t overwhelmed but the R number (the reproductive rate of Covid-19) is still above 1 in some areas, meaning more than one person is catching it for everyone who has it already. The government’s own guidance says it should continue in lockdown.

However, the Tories are behaving as if we have reached level 1, with sports events restored (starting with pigeon racing, of all things), and vulnerable people allowed to leave home for the first time in many weeks; your diabetic granny can now visit the supermarket, even if it means she catches Covid on the way and dies in a couple of weeks time. Nice! The guidance says this level is only likely to be reached when a vaccine has been created and there is no vaccine.

Schools in England have reopened but it seems the only people sending their children back are parents who have had enough of trying to “home teach” them, or who don’t understand that they won’t be able to interact with their friends without shouting.

As one response stated: schools should be places where knowledge is passed on – not Covid.

Are they safe? Judge for yourself on the basis of this:

The gullibility defies belief:

And there are inevitable contradictions:

Health officials made a desperate last-minute plea to the Tories, begging them to halt their homicidal plan to lift lockdown conditions – but their fears fell on deaf ears:

Senior public health officials have made a last-minute plea for ministers to scrap Monday’s easing of the coronavirus lockdown in England, warning the country is unprepared to deal with any surge in infection and that public resolve to take steps to limit transmisson has been eroded.

The Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) said new rules, including allowing groups of up to six people to meet outdoors and in private gardens, were “not supported by the science” and that pictures of crowded beaches and beauty spots over the weekend showed “the public is not keeping to social distancing as it was”.

On Saturday and Sunday, parks and seafronts were packed as people anticipated the lifting of restrictions on what has been dubbed “happy Monday”. Car showrooms and outdoor markets will also be reopened, millions of children will return to primary schools and the most vulnerable “shielded” people will be allowed out for the first time since lockdown began in March, all as long as physical distancing is maintained.

The argument is strong, and is supported by statistics:

The result of all this nonsense seems inevitable:

So what are you going to do? This, perhaps:

Otherwise…

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