Tag Archives: service

UK’s biggest chain of GP practices lets unqualified staff replace doctors

This is what happens when you ask profit-driven Tories to run your country:

The UK’s biggest chain of GP practices lets less qualified staff see patients without adequate supervision, an undercover BBC Panorama investigation has found.

Operose Health is putting patients at risk by prioritising profit, says a senior GP.

The company, with almost 600,000 NHS patients, is owned by US healthcare giant Centene Corporation.

In the interest of fairness: Operose says it is not short-staffed and operates in patients’ best interests. But…

BBC Panorama sent undercover reporter Jacqui Wakefield to work as a receptionist at one of the UK company’s 51 London surgeries… A GP working at the practice said they were short of eight doctors. The practice manager said they hired less qualified medical staff called physician associates (PAs), because they were “cheaper” than GPs.

Panorama gathered evidence that PAs were not being properly supervised at the Operose practice. The PAs told the undercover reporter they saw all sorts of patients, sometimes without any clinical supervision. They said the practice treated them as equivalent to GPs.

One GP, who wished to remain anonymous, said she had witnessed the way PAs had been used where she worked. “They were fantastic colleagues and trained to do certain roles, but not trained to basically do as much work as a GP. They were doing the same job as us, with less experience, less qualifications and earning less money,” she said.

“Doing the same job… earning less money.”

It’s all about money.

Even with the best will in the world, unqualified – or underqualified – staff will not help patients as well as properly-qualified doctors. That is clear.

But it is the logical result of many years of privatisation in the National Health Service.

Labour – to its shame, under Tony Blair – started the process, allowing large businesses to buy up practices in England instead of each practice being run by “partners” providing services to the NHS.

And this is the end of it, it seems – the end of patient care, and the beginning of patient profit.

If you live in England, and you have to put up with this dismantling of a once-great system, I pity you.

Your health has been bargained away to private profit-led corporations for the sake of money. Was it worth it? If you’re health and think so, will you think the same when your health fails.

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After Partygate: public bring their own boos to Boris Johnson’s jubilee party

As a man who hates being disliked, the reaction of the public when Boris Johnson arrived at – and departed from – the Queen’s platinum jubilee thanksgiving service may sting him more than his Partygate fine.

Let’s watch – and listen to – what happened. Here’s Johnson’s arrival:

Labour leader Keir Starmer turned up a few minutes later – and the crowd remained quiet for him.

But when Johnson left at the end of the service, the jeering had become markedly louder:

Or do you think it’s just that the media microphones were closer to the crowd?

If so, you may be confused by the BBC’s coverage, which muted the catcalls later. Skwawkbox demonstrates this on video, here:

Johnson has been trying to brazen out the backlash against him after being fined for attending one party at Downing Street during the Covid-19 lockdowns that forbade any such events from taking place, and the Sue Gray report that showed he attended many more parties than just one.

His cronies, like Dominic Raab and Priti Patel, have lined up to play down the significance of the fines, and of the evidence that Johnson lied to Parliament.

The corrupt prime minister has rewritten the Ministerial Code to ensure that minor law-breaking – like being fined – is no longer punishable by forced resignation from the Cabinet.

But lying to Parliament still carries the ultimate sanction because it indicates not only that a minister could not be trusted on one occasion, but that he or she can’t be trusted at all.

And grassroots Conservatives seem to be pressuring their MPs to push Johnson out of office before the electorate has a chance to push the Tories out of government altogether.

The head of the activist group that is actually called Grassroots Conservatives has publicly called for Johnson’s removal.

Ed Costello told the Telegraph: “I’ve come to the conclusion that he probably should resign, and if he had any sense he would resign before he was pushed.

“He needs to go before the next election, because some of what he has done will put off voters. He just hasn’t been wholly honest about what went on, and it would have been better if he ’fessed up and it would all have been over.”

Grassroots Conservatives was launched during David Cameron’s time as prime minister, to pressure the party into upholding “small-c” Conservative values of “stable family, sound economy and strong defence”.

So it seems likely that it may represent the views of a large number of Tory voters – especially bearing in mind the boos, jeers and catcalls from all those (mainly-Tory?) royalists outside St Pauls.

Depending on whether 54 letters of “no confidence” have been handed in to Sir Graham Brady, chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, Johnson could be ousted in a vote as soon as next week.

But is he ready to throw in the towel?

Source: Boris Johnson booed as he arrives at St Paul’s for platinum jubilee event | Boris Johnson | The Guardian

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What’s the big secret about how Lebedev became a Lord? What did Johnson do?

Buddies: Boris Johnson and Evgeny Lebedev. What public interest issues could possibly justify delaying whether the liar on the left interfered to put the son-of-a-Russian-spy on the right into the House of Lords?

It seems the Conservative government has found yet another piece of important information about Boris Johnson that it wants to hide. That’s right: Boris Johnson.

It concerns the way Johnson’s close friend, the Russian son-of-a-spy Evgeny Lebedev, was ennobled (given a place in the House of Lords).

Parliament voted to instruct the government that it must provide all information on how this happened, by April 28.

But the government has ignored this instruction from the UK’s sovereign institution.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Ellis has argued that he could not give out information where it was “not in the public interest to do so” and the government would need more time to deal with “all the necessary considerations”.

Funny, that. The instruction was given at the end of March so ministers have had a month to sort out any public interest issues. That’s plenty of time.

Also, we all know that the substantive issue is whether Boris Johnson interfered to override concerns about Lebedev by the security services. There’s absolutely no public interest issue around that.

In fact, it seems to This Writer that “Save Big Dog” is the only issue here.

Let’s recap the situation, from This Site’s previous article:

The Guardian revealed back in 2020 that Boris Johnson overruled concerns voiced by the security services in order to give Lebedev a peerage:

Two days before Johnson met Lebedev in March [he did this on March 19, right after telling us all to stay in our homes because of Covid-19, so this happened on March 17], the House of Lords appointments commission (Holac), which scrutinises all nominations, wrote to the prime minister. It is understood to have expressed concerns about Lebedev’s proposed peerage and asked Downing Street to reconsider.

The commission, made up of cross-party peers, carries out “propriety checks” on candidates. It does not have the power of veto. But it can suggest that a party come up with an alternative, which is what is understood to have happened in Lebedev’s case.

Peers were apparently alarmed following a confidential briefing from the UK security services. They told the commission Lebedev was viewed as a potential security risk because of his father, Alexander Lebedev, a one-time Moscow spy. During the late cold war period, Lebedev Sr worked undercover at the Soviet embassy in London. His real employer was KGB foreign intelligence.

Johnson ignored the concerns and Lebedev became a Lord.

Labour leader Keir Starmer called for Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee to review all the reports on Lord Lebedev that Holac saw, after Russians in the UK came under suspicion in the wake of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Lebedev himself has supported publication of the material, saying, “I have nothing to hide.”

But Downing Street insisted that “all peerages are vetted by the House of Lords Appointments Commission” – an assertion that failed to acknowledge that Holac can’t veto an appointment, which always remains within the gift of the prime minister.

And Johnson himself has denied overruling the concerns expressed by the security services.

If the documents are published and show that Johnson did indeed ignore concerns raised by the security services, then he has lied in his capacity as prime minister. If he uttered those words in Parliament, then he will have broken the Ministerial Code and his resignation will be required.

And the irony is that any security risk posed by Lebedev is tiny in any case – because Lords are not shown “classified” documents.

It seems clear that the Tory government is hiding something, and it seems clear that the only thing they have to hide is interference by Boris Johnson in UK security concerns.

Ellis has promised to publish the necessary information “promptly” on May 10, when Parliament reconvenes.

This will be after the local elections, and I wonder whether the delay is motivated by the possibility that it will influence voters against supporting the Tories. But then, why not just say, “This may affect the outcome of an election”?

Or would that be an admission of Johnson’s guilt?

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NHS experts say Covid-19 is crippling the health service; Downing St doesn’t want to know

The message from Downing Street: who do you believe? NHS experts, or this dozy windbag?

You remember NHS experts saying the surge in Covid-19 infections is threatening the service, with serious delays and falls in the quality of care?

Downing Street couldn’t care less.

The NHS Confederation has now joined the Society for Acute Medicine in warning that the government should reintroduce greater mask-wearing and encourage mixing outdoors – as the health service is already suffering a “major impact”.

This is the response:

Downing Street rejected the proposals but said that it was “alive to the pressures” that the NHS is facing.

A No 10 spokeswoman said: “There is no change to our guidance and our living with Covid plan still stands.

“Thanks to a combination of vaccination and treatment and our better understanding of the virus we are now able to manage it as we do with other respiratory infections, so that remains the case with our approach.

“But obviously we continue to monitor any changes in the behaviour of the virus.”

How incredibly ignorant.

NHS Confederation chief exec Matthew Taylor is right, isn’t he?

He said: “The brutal reality for staff and patients is that this Easter in the NHS is as bad as any winter.

“We have a Government that seems to want to wash its hands of responsibility for what is occurring in plain sight in local services up and down the country.

No 10 has seemingly abandoned any interest in Covid whatsoever.

“NHS leaders and their teams feel abandoned by the Government and they deserve better.”

Source: Downing Street rejects NHS leaders’ plea for more Covid-19 curbs | The Independent

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Covid-19 is STILL threatening the health service, says senior doctor

STILL at breaking point: the UK’s National Health Service.

The argument about Covid-19 is still raging. Who are you going to believe – the politicians or the medical experts?

Here’s a medical expert – Dr Tim Cooksley, president of the Society for Acute Medicine.

He’s saying that the surge of Covid infections caused by the BA.2 variant of Omicron has caused a wave of illness among hospital staff, creating knock-on effects of overcrowding and low morale.

He said:

“The NHS and social care continue to be under immense strain and the system is becoming increasingly compromised.

“The reality is that we are seeing overcrowding in acute care settings with patient flow throughout the system impaired and patients stuck for long periods in emergency departments and acute medical units (AMUs) which results in worse patient outcomes.

“Due to this, paramedics are then stuck unable to transfer their patients into hospitals and get back on the road, resulting in 999 patients being left at home for longer periods without clinical assessment and treatment which potentially has a significant impact on their outcomes.

“These were problems that existed before Covid, however they are now exacerbated by high staff absence levels, fatigue and low staff morale, worsened by often not being able to deliver the standard of care they wish.”

More than 71,000 staff in acute trusts in England were off work last week because of sickness – two in five as a result of Covid, while more than a quarter of ambulance handovers were delayed by more than 30 minutes, Dr Cooksley said.

He described the Government’s goal of tackling the backlog in elective, non-urgent care as a “distant prospect”.

Covid-19 infections in most of the UK remain near or at record levels.

And Boris Johnson has spent years saying tens of thousands of nurses and doctors are entering the health service.

Where are they?

Or was this just like his more recent promise to “take control” of energy prices? That it’ll happen sometime, or maybe never?

Source: NHS patient care increasingly compromised, senior medic warns – upday News UK

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Civil servants are upset that their pay is being cut like everyone else’s

Poor babies: civil servants have implemented government policies that have caused the cost-of-living crisis and a dramatic fall in UK living standards. Did they really think they were not going to be hit as badly as the rest of us?

Members of the organisation that implements government policy are reportedly up in arms after finding out that the policies they are implementing also affect them.

With inflation surging to seven or eight per cent, Cabinet Office minister Heather Wheeler has informed public sector employers that they may award pay rises up to just two per cent, plus up to an extra percentage point in some cases, to be “targeted at specific priorities in their workforce and pay strategies”.

It’s a massive pay cut, the same as the rest of us are facing.

The Guardian article I’m using as a source suggests that average rises are 4.8 per cent but I’ve yet to hear of anybody receiving that much. What happens to that average if it’s applied only to the bottom 90 per cent of earners?

Meanwhile, MPs are getting a huge pay rise that will cover increased costs – even though most of them will claim those costs on expenses in any case.

Mark Serwotka of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union did his duty by pointing out that the government is cutting pay in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis:

“The failure of the government to recognise the cost-of-living crisis is a disgrace and shows utter contempt to our members, who have worked themselves to the bone during the pandemic … PCS will now be discussing an industrial response to this outrage.”

But didn’t the rest of us work just as hard to keep the UK going during the pandemic? This Writer didn’t stop working for a single day but my income has fallen hugely.

And the civil service has been happy to implement the decisions that are impoverishing the rest of us.

It would be easy to say that these people should have had a backbone and refused to inflict misery on millions of their fellow citizens.

But that would be unrealistic. They are servants – it’s in their job title. Their purpose is to do what the government demands, no matter how destructive or deranged.

So it’s better to say:

If the civil service will force the rest of us to suffer this government-inflicted persecution, it should be prepared to join us in it, rather than taking industrial action out of self-interest.

Source: Fury after civil service pay rises capped at 3% amid surging inflation

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Why have junior civil servants been targeted by the first Partygate fines?

Not fined yet: Boris Johnson (right) acts as questionmaster in a quiz at one of the alleged Downing Street parties.

Let’s answer the question in the headline straight away: junior civil servants have been fined because they haven’t challenged the imposition of the penalties by the Metropolitan Police.

It is understood, but hasn’t been confirmed, that the fines relate to a leaving party for a Downing Street advisor, held on June 18, 2020.

Police have issued 20 fines, each worth £50.

According to the BBC,

One … government source said police had targeted “low-hanging fruit”, and another agreed this appeared to be the police’s approach.

Civil servants have not been provided with help for legal costs and are being advised to pay any fines they receive, while senior staff and politicians have paid for private legal advice.

A recipient can contest a fine, in which case the police will review the case to decide whether or not to withdraw the fine or take the matter to court.

And Sky News has said the investigation may have been slowed down by the need to consult the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS):

A CPS lawyer would be needed if the recipient of a fine decided to fight and take the issue to a magistrates’ court.

The CPS can ask the police to do more work, or direct them to collect more evidence until it is satisfied it could prosecute a case.

Sky News understands that the Metropolitan Police did not fully consult the CPS at the start of the investigation.

The CPS could have questions about the unusual questionnaires used to extract more information from those in government.

The implication running through both broadcasters’ interpretations of events is that senior civil servants and Conservative politicians are indeed contesting fines.

The reason for this may be the question of whether a fine represents proof of criminality.

Ministers and senior civil servants – like, for example, Boris Johnson and Cabinet Secretary Simon Case – are likely to want to do everything they can to avoid an implication that they have committed a criminal act.

With the question undetermined, it seems they are seeking to challenge any fines imposed on them.

But this means that they may face court prosecution and any conviction following such an event would certainly be for a criminal offence.

If this is the route Boris Johnson has chosen, then he is in very serious trouble indeed.

Source: PM not among first fines issued to people in government for breaking lockdown rules

Government to tell whether Boris Johnson overruled security services on Lebedev peerage

Boris Johnson and Evgeny Lebedev: 10 days after saying he saw no evidence that Russians were influencing UK politics, Johnson has elevated this Russian to the House of Lords.

Parliament has ordered the Tory government to publish confidential information on how Evgeny Lebedev, the son of a Russian spy, was offered a place in the House of Lords.

The Guardian revealed back in 2020 that Boris Johnson overruled concerns voiced by the security services in order to give Lebedev a peerage:

Two days before Johnson met Lebedev in March [he did this on March 19, right after telling us all to stay in our homes because of Covid-19, so this happened on March 17], the House of Lords appointments commission (Holac), which scrutinises all nominations, wrote to the prime minister. It is understood to have expressed concerns about Lebedev’s proposed peerage and asked Downing Street to reconsider.

The commission, made up of cross-party peers, carries out “propriety checks” on candidates. It does not have the power of veto. But it can suggest that a party come up with an alternative, which is what is understood to have happened in Lebedev’s case.

Peers were apparently alarmed following a confidential briefing from the UK security services. They told the commission Lebedev was viewed as a potential security risk because of his father, Alexander Lebedev, a one-time Moscow spy. During the late cold war period, Lebedev Sr worked undercover at the Soviet embassy in London. His real employer was KGB foreign intelligence.

Johnson ignored the concerns and Lebedev became a Lord.

Labour leader Keir Starmer called for Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee to review all the reports on Lord Lebedev that Holac saw, after Russians in the UK came under suspicion in the wake of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Lebedev himself has supported publication of the material, saying, “I have nothing to hide.”

But Downing Street insisted that “all peerages are vetted by the House of Lords Appointments Commission” – an assertion that failed to acknowledge that Holac can’t veto an appointment, which always remains within the gift of the prime minister.

And Johnson himself has denied overruling the concerns expressed by the security services.

If the documents are published and show that Johnson did indeed ignore concerns raised by the security services, then he has lied in his capacity as prime minister. If he uttered those words in Parliament, then he will have broken the Ministerial Code and his resignation will be required.

And the irony is that any security risk posed by Lebedev is tiny in any case – because Lords are not shown “classified” documents.

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Free parking for hospital staff to end as Javid piles insult onto the injury of NHS pay

NHS staff, already insulted by derisory pay rises inflicted on them by the Tory government, are being told they’ll have to find the cash to pay for their parking places again from Friday.*

And the cost is likely to be anything up to three times what they were paying before, because of a Tory manifesto promise from 2019.

The government pledged in their December 2019 election manifesto to provide free parking for some patients and staff on their night shifts.

We know the move has prompted at least one privately run car parking company to pass on the cost to daytime NHS workers.

At the time, I questioned why hospital car parks are run for profit by private companies in the first place. Our health care is supposed to be free at the point of use so I asked, is our useless Tory government getting around that by charging us all to get there?

The question was rhetorical; the short answer is yes.

But neither Sajid Javid nor Boris Johnson, the apparent architect of the policy, appear to have thought it through.

With hospital car park firms passing their losses from free parking on to those who still have to pay, it will soon cost staff too much to work there. Or is that the plan?

*That’s if they work in England, of course. Those of us in Wales (for example) get free hospital parking because healthcare here is considered to be a service to the public, not an opportunity to fleece us.

Source: Free parking for hospital staff to end on Friday – Javid | Evening Standard

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If you thought the UK National Insurance rise was going to the NHS: that was a Tory lie

Rishi Sunak: His – and Boris Johnson’s – claim that a massive hike in National Insurance, announced last year, would go entirely to fund the National Health Service and social care… was not true. Were you fooled?

Boris Johnson’s claim that his – and Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s – National Insurance rise would sent £12bn to the NHS and social care was a lie, economic analysts have confirmed.

They pointed out that measures in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement have chopped that amount in half – but added that it was never intended to go to the NHS in the first place.

Here are BBC Business Editor Simon Jack and Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies to explain:

Were you fooled by the Tory liars?

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.

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