Tag Archives: winter

Is this Boris Johnson’s latest plan to kill the NHS – make doctors so sick of it that they quit?

At breaking point: doctors are planning to quit the NHS en masse – just as we need them the most – because of Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and their daft Tory mismanagement.

A survey of NHS doctors has shown two-thirds want to quit within three years due to Covid-19 burnout and low pay. Is this what Boris Johnson wants?

He would be able to speed privatisation, claiming that the NHS has failed due to lack of staff – while (obviously) neglecting to admit that this is due to his own underfunding of the service.

However: it seems this is the worst possible time for it to happen as Johnson’s daft-headed response to the Covid crisis appears to have triggered a massive increase in infections.

The UK has recorded a massive rise in the number of people testing positive for coronavirus, amid concerns the government has lost control of the epidemic just as people are returning to work and universities prepare to reopen.

On Sunday almost 3,000 people in the UK tested positive for Covid-19, a 50% increase in a single day and the highest daily total since May.

That’s a massive increase – and it’s only likely to get worse.

In fact, with Johnson still in charge – and Matt Hancock still Health Secretary – it seems certain the UK is heading for a disaster of titanic proportions.

Source: More than 1,000 UK doctors want to quit NHS over handling of pandemic | Society | The Guardian

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Tory ministers silent as they’re urged to prevent ‘wave of evictions’

Homeless: this man was photographed living on the streets in Birmingham before Covid-19. Who knows how many more will be living there – prey to the virus – after August 23?

The government’s moratorium on evictions ends this week, putting tens of thousands of people in danger of eviction – in the middle of the biggest recession the UK has ever experienced.

The Tories have been urged to safeguard the people under threat – but they are strangely silent. One wonders whether they would be so quiet if their fellow Conservatives were being turfed out of their stately homes for any reason.

So when the ban on evictions in England and Wales ends on August 23, it seems likely to signal a wave of homelessness, with people forced onto the streets to face joblessness (as a result of the Tory recession), illness (because of the Tory failure to fight Covid-19) and the cold (because winter is coming).

Landlords in England have been able to issue notices of eviction three months in advance of taking possession; in Wales, the Labour government has ordered that they cannot take possession before six months have elapsed.

No reason need be given for them to take possession. Boris Johnson has promised to end “no-fault” evictions in a new “Renter’s Reform Bill” – but he has shown no inclination to bring such legislation to Parliament.

Previous prime minister Theresa May had made the same promise, but she never brought such a Bill to Parliament either.

And there really are a lot of private landlords stuffing the Tory benches in the House of Commons.

Of  course, evictions and homelessness will have a knock-on effect on the economy – at a time of recession – as it costs the government and the emergency services more to help homeless people than it does to keep them housed.

The Tories know this because they’ve seen the same evidence I have.

And yet they are silent.

It seems they are more keen to inflict cruelty on others than to do their job – which is to run the country efficiently. Wasn’t that always the way with the toffs?

Source: Ministers have just seven days to prevent a ‘wave of evictions’, MPs and charities warn | The Independent

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Excess winter deaths hit highest level since 1976 last year; will the Tories make it even worse?

Claire Perry: Her thumb’s up in this image but it seems she has been “crossing [her] fingers and hoping things will improve”.

The Tory cull of the weak and the old continues unabated with the annual increase in excess winter deaths.

Like the increase in child homelessness, this is a story I have to write every year – because every year, under a Conservative government, the numbers increase.

In 2013, Age UK predicted that 24,000 older people would not survive the winter – 200 deaths per day. By the winter of 2017-18, according to the Office for National Statistics, that figure had leapt to 417 per day.

That’s 17 deaths every hour.

The total number of excess (that’s avoidable) winter deaths was said to be 50,100 – the highest since the winter of 1975-76.

Excess winter deaths in England and Wales. See story HEALTH Deaths. Infographic from PA Graphics

More than a third of the deaths were caused by respiratory diseases, and deaths were higher among females and people aged over 85.

The government – and particularly Energy minister Claire Perry – has been blamed for the increase, which charities say can be attributed to a “laissez-faire” policy that amounted to “crossing [her] fingers and hoping things will improve”.

It certainly seems that Ms Perry thinks she has better things to do than her job. Recent television appearances have shown remarkable displays of misandry (hatred towards men because they are men) and an instance in which she libelled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on the BBC’s Question Time.

But she won’t lose her job. If pensioners die, the Conservative government record this as a “positive benefit outcome”.

To add perspective to the facts, in 2014-15 the number of excess deaths had increased from 24,000 to 44,000.

The ONS tried to suggest fears over the effectiveness of that year’s influenza vaccine caused the spike in deaths – but it seems the vaccine in fact proved extremely effective and people who died had been put off having it by government publicity.

Source: Charities demand action after excess winter deaths hit highest level in 40 years | South Wales Argus

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Old anti-doctor story revived to take the heat off the Tories during NHS winter crisis – claim

“This same article came out in the middle of junior doctors’ strikes,” wrote Dr Lauren Gavaghan when she retweeted the article quoted below, on Twitter.

“Now middle of NHS crisis.

“It might just help,” she added, “to make the NHS a more attractive place to work, so doctors and nurses wouldn’t want/need to leave.

“But no…let’s drum up some bad press for doctors.”

Poor show, Torygraph. You’ve let the side down.

Junior doctors who go abroad to work after benefiting from £220,000 worth of world class training should be forced to pay back some of their costs to the NHS, healthcare leaders say.

Source: NHS ‘should consider forcing doctors to pay back training costs if they quit’ 


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Tory announces ‘chair’ solution to NHS winter crisis

The culprit: Philip Dunne thinks pressures on the NHS can be handled, as long as patients have a chair to sit on.

If Theresa May’s Cabinet reshuffle was an attempt to divert attention away from the winter crisis that has already killed many National Health Service patients, it has failed…

… mostly because one of her health ministers managed to make a career-defining mistake during a Parliamentary debate on the situation, while Mrs May was discussing Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s Cabinet position with him in 10 Downing Street.

For those of you who are unaware of the situation (or at least, of what the Tories are saying about it), Mrs May has said the NHS has been better-prepared for what she called “winter pressures” (she doesn’t accept that there is a crisis) than ever before.

Here’s what Accident and Emergency doctor Adrian Harrop has to say about that (hint: he disagrees profoundly):

Still not convinced? Watch this:

That’s what it looks like on the ground. Here’s another doctor – Dagan Lonsdale – with the facts and figures – and a message about Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt:

The message was so strong that Ralf Little, who came under fire from Mr Hunt for suggesting that the Health Secretary had been lying to the British public, satirised himself – and landed another blow on Mr Hunt – with the following:

https://twitter.com/RalfLittle/status/949395807417053191

Meanwhile, Theresa May had been trying to calm concerns about overcrowding in hospitals. Faced with claims that some had no beds free at all, she said that delayed discharges – where elderly people (for example) were being kept in hospital when they did not need to be – were “coming down”. We’ll come back to the issue of crowding momentarily but in the meantime, here’s a graph courtesy of another doctor, Lauren Gavaghan:

Or perhaps Mrs May simply had not done her research and was saying whatever she thought people wanted to hear, in the hope that nobody would notice the falsehood. That seems to be epidemic in Conservative ministers at the moment.

Dr Gavaghan goes on to explain the situation in slightly more detail:

Some saw the Cabinet reshuffle – and the possibility of a new Health Secretary – as a ray of hope amidst all this misery:

Others were more realistic:

It was at this point that Philip Dunne MP, Conservative Minister for Health, made his career-defining contribution to a Commons debate on the crisis:

No doubt that will have provoked a reaction in you, dear reader. It certain did in others:

(Mr Mason was comparing the NHS with the case of Toby Young, whose appointment to the Office for Students was vigorously defended in the Commons chamber after the NHS debate, despite his blatant unsuitability for the job, only some of the reasons for which were mentioned in the tweet above.)

So there you have it.

There is no winter crisis because Theresa May says there isn’t.

Jeremy Hunt has been rewarded for decisions that have caused the deaths of NHS patients by being handed control over social care as well as health, in the Cabinet reshuffle.

And there’s no need to worry about hospital overcrowding because at least the very sick will have chairs to sit on.

And in the background, Tory privatisation cheerleaders are waiting for the right moment to claim that private companies could do a better job.

That moment must never come – because private companies not only can’t do a better job, they won’t.

Profit-making firms pick and choose the healthcare work they do, and wouldn’t go near Accident and Emergency treatment.

The problems we are seeing at the moment have been created entirely by the Conservatives’ decision to cut funding to the health service – a decision that has no rational basis at all.

They did it because they felt like it.

And people are dying.


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Nobody believes Theresa May: NHS funding is a Tory joke at OUR expense

Theresa May is covering herself in denial – if only for the public. In fact, she knows perfectly well that her deliberate policies have sent people to their deaths. She just doesn’t care.

The problem here is that facts can say whatever people want them to.

The BBC’s evening news yesterday (Sunday) referred to real-terms increases in NHS funding since the Conservatives came into office in 2010 of 1.2 per cent, rising to 2.25 per cent in 2016-17.

But the average since the NHS was founded is four per cent, so the Tories have lagged far behind.

You can see the difference in spending choices in the following graph:

The Tories have increased spending, sure – but by a miniscule amount compared with the previous Labour government.

But that’s not the whole story. As a percentage of GDP – the total amount of money made by the UK every year – spending on the NHS has suffered a sustained reduction – its largest ever – since the Tories arrived in 2010.

This is a deliberate attack on the healthcare available to the nation, at a time when demands on the service are increasing – partly due to other Conservative Party policies.

Cash-strapped citizens are eating unhealthily, adding to the possibility of health problems. Benefit claimants are being subjected to huge psychological stress by the Department for Work and Pensions, increasing the chances that they will suffer serious health issues. Working people, forced to try to survive while their pay is cut, in real terms, year on year, are also heading for health disasters. There are other government-related health issues.

And what is the result of these changes, forced on us by the Conservatives?

Theresa May has said the Tories have provided the NHS the amount of money they thought it needed – tacitly admitting that they have been underfunding the service badly:

But then, as one prominent doctor has pointed out:

No. We would have to have seen a plan to solve the issues that have caused the recent deaths, and we have seen nothing of the sort. Instead, Theresa May is planning to reward the Health Secretary who has enacted the policies that caused the deaths.

Oh really?

This takedown by Peter Stefanovic is excellent because it answers flannel with fact:

Some have suggested that Mrs May and Jeremy Hunt are simply refusing to accept the facts – that they believe their line that the NHS is better-prepared for what Mrs May calls “winter pressures” (she’s refusing to admit it’s a crisis). This is not accurate:

And the media are trying to stir up support for private health:

Let’s just remember that we already pay for the NHS. It takes nearly 30 per cent of public spending (although a large amount of that now goes into the bank accounts of private health corporation board members, thanks to Conservative changes introduced by Andrew Lansley and David Cameron for no reason at all).

This is the best possible way of paying for the health of the nation, although the amount of public money being spent on it, and the uses to which that money is put, are varied depending on who is running the government. Clearly the current, Tory, model is one of mismanagement and waste.

Clive Peedell has the right idea:

But then, he’s a doctor, not a businessman. The Tories would never be interested in anything he has to say.


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Jeremy Hunt’s planned promotion shows Tories value TREACHERY above all else

Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt are the Tory fools who have created the crisis in the English NHS.

What a message to give the people of the UK: That under Conservative rule, cheats do prosper and treachery is a valued trait for government ministers.

That is the message being given by Theresa May, who reportedly wants to promote Jeremy Hunt in a Cabinet reshuffle planned for Monday (January 8).

The only thing making her hesitate is the fact that the NHS winter crisis that he has engineered – at her request – might cast a shadow over her plan to make him First Minister, replacing the disgraced Damian Green as her de facto deputy prime minister.

Despite all her best attempts at rigging media coverage of the catastrophe, public opinion is that Mr Hunt has made a pig’s ear of managing the health service in England.

With that in mind, why would the British people accept him in the second most responsible job in government?

Here’s how the Torygraph has reported Mrs May’s dilemma:

Hunt when she reshuffles her Cabinet next week because of the worsening winter crisis in the NHS, The Daily Telegraph understands.

Mrs May wants the Health Secretary to take over the role of de facto deputy prime minister vacated by Damian Green last month but has been warned that the timing could not be worse.

She will spend the weekend deciding whether to keep Mr Hunt in his post until the spring, rather than moving him as part of a reshuffle aimed at refreshing the public face of the Government.

It’s ludicrous, isn’t it?

She has to try “refreshing the public face of the government” because so many of her Cabinet members have been sacked after a series of scandals late last year.

None of them are considered trustworthy by the British public, and she is thought to be the worst of all.

As for Mr Hunt – well, consider the reactions to his reported promotion on the social media:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/949636277846110208

Mrs May can dress Jeremy Hunt up as prettily as she likes, but she’ll never cover up his stink.


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The Tories created the NHS crisis deliberately and their apologies mean nothing

The following is a compilation of social media posts about the current NHS winter crisis, that makes a compelling argument that the Conservatives have deliberately caused the service problems, but are deceiving the public about it with the aid of a compliant media.

It is persuasive – and certainly one that people should remember while watching Andrew Marr’s interview with Theresa May, set to take place today (January 7).

https://twitter.com/ScouseGirlMedia/status/949682735068704768


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The NHS crisis is about making a profit from illness and death

More than one in eight ambulances taking patients to hospital on an emergency call this winter have had to wait more than 30 minutes to hand over to A&E staff [Image: Alamy Stock Photo].

This is good background to posts about the current NHS winter crisis.

Alongside the facts below, the article mentions action that has been taking by NHS England “such as cancelling operations, is helping to ease the problem but will not solve it”.

No indeed – in fact it is intended to ‘nudge’ patients towards the private sector. They can have their operation straight away if they can afford to pay for it. That would be a nice little earner for all those Tory MPs who have shares in the private money-grubbing pay-for-your-health scams.

And we are told: “Services that might help control demand – such as advice, health checks and smoking cessation programmes – are all being cut.” Because there’s no money in them?

Whenever we see information about the NHS, and the crisis in healthcare, we have to examine it critically.

Why are services being cut? Why are operations cancelled.

Under Tories, it’s never for the good of anybody’s health.

This is about profiting from illness. Always remember that.

This winter, the NHS finally ran out of road. Among the deluge of data revealing the depth of the current problems, three shocking figures stand out. So far, 23 out of 152 acute hospital trusts have declared black alerts – this means a wet week in January is a “serious incident” preventing them offering comprehensive care.

BBC analysis shows that, this winter, more than one in eight ambulances taking patients to hospital on an emergency call have had to wait more than 30 minutes to hand over to A&E staff. People who have had strokes are among them.

In the last week of 2017, bed occupancy averaged 91.7%, with virtually every trust in the country exceeding the widely accepted safe threshold of 85%.

The pressures are no less in general practice. So there is no safety valve, no reserve capacity, no underused resource. Old-style winter planning – such as opening extra wards – is largely redundant because hospitals need their entire capacity all year round. So in winter they have nothing left to give.

Source: What will it take for the government to confront pressures on the NHS? | Richard Vize | Healthcare Professionals Network | The Guardian


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This year’s NHS crisis has begun as patients experience sharp rising in A&E waiting times

The ambulance bay at Bristol Royal Infirmary [Image: Matt Cardy/Getty Images].

As Jeremy Corbyn put it, “This is completely unacceptable.

“Growing pressure on our NHS means more people waiting longer in ambulances and A&E departments having to divert more patients to other hospitals.”

Of course it is entirely in line with the claim that the Tories are trying to make the health service look incompetent in order to make a profit-making, privatised health system seem more attractive.

The minority Tory government may say it isn’t planning to sell off the NHS, but the recent announcement that the UK is holding private trade talks with the USA is a red flag to everybody who ever cared about the health service.

Of course, the real losers in this situation are the service users.

Growing numbers of patients taken to hospital by ambulance are having to wait an hour or more before they are handed over to A&E staff for treatment, NHS England figures show.

In the week to last Sunday, 17 December, one in seven such patients faced a delay of at least 30 minutes in the back of an ambulance or an area of the hospital where the crew look after them, up from one in eight the week before.

Hospitals are finding it impossible to stick to tough rules brought in for this winter by NHS England and NHS Improvement requiring that no patient should have to wait more than 15 minutes.

In a further sign of the extra pressure the NHS is under this winter, the number of times A&E units had to temporarily divert patients elsewhere because they could not cope with the demand for care rose from 25 the previous week to 30.

Source: NHS figures show sharp rise in patients waiting for A&E care | Society | The Guardian


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