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A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

Redcar illness rates some of the worst in NHS – Local News – News – Gazette Live

REDCAR’S health trust, ambulance staff and mental health workers covering Teesside have some of the worst sickness rates in the country.

In July, August and September, NHS sickness rates across the North-east were 4.31%, 4.16% and 4.37% respectively, well above England’s average of 3.99%, 3.82% and 4.11%.

However, Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services, had sickness rates of 5.37%, 5.38% and 5.61%.

A spokeswoman for the trust said: “A range of measures to help improve staff wellbeing and reduce sickness absence rates have recently been put in place and more are planned. The early signs are promising.”

Cambridgeshire and Peterbourough NHS Foundation Trust criticised by health watchdog – News – Cambridge First

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says Cambridgeshire and Peterbourough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) is failing to meet five essential standards required of it and “won’t hesitate to use enforcement powers if improvements are not made swiftly”.

The concerns raised by the CQC included care plans failing to be “person centred”, a seclusion suite not meeting environmental or Mental Health Act requirements, less than robust incident reporting and auditing systems when it comes to safeguarding vulnerable people from abuse and a poor standard of decor in one ward which “does not promote the dignity and wellbeing of people using services”.

Staffing levels were also picked out as a problem area with “not always sufficient numbers of staff with the right competencies, knowledge, qualifications, skills and experience available to meet the needs of patients”.

GP raises confidentiality concerns over patients files plans (From York Press)

A YORK family doctor says he fears for patient confidentiality under the Government’s plans for the future of the NHS.

Acomb GP Brian McGregor, vice chairman of the North Yorkshire branch of the Local Medical Committee, said private medical records may have to be shared with local authorities as they take on more public health responsibilities.

Under the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill, local councils would be given control of areas such as commissioning carers or running health awareness campaigns.

Dr McGregor said: “They will not only have access to your medical records but be able to disclose it for any number of undisclosed reasons.”

Leeds General Infirmary children’s heart surgery: Petition passes 11,000 | Leeds | guardian.co.uk

A petition to save the children’s heart surgery unit from closure at Leeds General Infirmary has smashed through the 11,000 signature mark.

More than 8,000 people have signed the petition in the past fortnight after an NHS review of children’s heart surgery provision across the country put the LGI unit at risk.

The Save Our Heart Surgery Unit campaign is now aiming to collect 20,000 signatures – you can sign the petition here. The campaign has also set up a Facebook group which has more than 1,500 supporters and is encouraging people to lobby their MP.

Cheltenham MP speaks out about Government plans for NHS|Gloucestershire news

LIERBAL Democrat MP Martin Horwood has voiced concerns over the coalition Government’s plans to reform the NHS.

The Cheltenham MP fears the proposed overhaul of health care in the country runs the risk of quite serious destabilisation in the NHS.

The Health and Social Care Bill, which is going through Parliament, would hand the purse strings to family doctors.

Hugh Bayley: IS the National Health Service in danger? – Columnists – Yorkshire Post

There has been plenty of comment about the Government’s plans to order another NHS reorganisation, introduce competition and pass chunks of the NHS budget to private hospitals, but this misses the £20bn question. Will the NHS have enough money to keep pace with relentlessly rising demand for health care?

The Government has set the NHS three tough financial challenges. First, their spending review cut the annual increase in funding to 0.1 per cent a year for four years – and rising inflation has already turned this into a 0.1 per cent cut. Under Labour, the NHS budget grew by 5.7 per cent a year to keep pace with demand.

Second, the spending review has switched £1bnn a year from health to social care – which is good for frail elderly and disabled people but bad for those needing hospital treatment.

Third, the Government has ordered “efficiency” savings of £20bn by 2014 – a squeeze of four per cent a year. Political parties talk about efficiency savings when in opposition, but it is brave in government.

Where will these savings come from? Over the next two years, Ministers say almost half will come from their freeze on pay. I was a health service trade union negotiator when Jim Callaghan’s Labour government imposed pay restraint in the 1970s. The current Government may make their pay freeze stick for two years, but it will be followed by a pay bounce.

NHS record on cancer survival rates criticised by MPs | World news | The Guardian

Cancer care in the NHS still falls short of comparable European countries despite 10 years of investment and government initiatives, according to an influential House of Commons committee.

A report from the public accounts committee says too many people are dying of cancer in England within a year of diagnosis, usually because they do not seek help when they have symptoms or their GP does not recognise the disease. It is estimated that 10,000 more lives could be saved every year if survival rates were as good as the best in Europe.

The committee gives credit to the Department of Health and the cancer tsar appointed by the last government, Professor Sir Mike Richards, for the progress in the last decade, but says it is not enough.

New Statesman – The BMA should oppose the health reforms

Since the announcement of changes to the NHS in July 2010, the BMA has practised a cautious approach of critically engaging with the coalition’s proposals. Concerns which have been highlighted have largely been ignored by the government. The independent trade union and professional association represents over 140,000 members and could be a strong voice. At the Special Representatives Meeting (SRM) of the BMA convened for 15 March 2011 the views of all doctors across the country have the chance to be heard for the first time.

A snapshot survey of doctors throughout the country found an increasing opinion that at the SRM the body must move to all-out opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill. All respondents to the survey recognised absolutely a need for change in the NHS. None felt the proposed reforms represented the correct solution.

Pulse – GPs told to delay referrals until April

Exclusive: Thousands of GPs are being told to delay referrals until the next financial year, sparking fears that consortia will be passed crippling ‘legacy debts’ in the form of back-logged hospital activity.

The Government bowed to pressure following Pulse’s A Clean Slate campaign and spared consortia debt built up by PCTs in this financial year – but anything accumulating from April will be GPs’ responsibility.

A Pulse survey of 450 GPs has found as many as one GP in eight has been asked to delay referrals for the final quarter of the year until April, as trusts desperately seek short-term fixes for deficits.

EXETER will see the highest number of public sector job losses in the region, according to economists.

EXETER will see the highest number of public sector job losses in the region, according to economists.

Experts say this is largely due to the city being a key administrative centre serving a wider area.

It is home to both the city and county councils, while “substantial losses” are also expected in Exeter’s health and emergency services, points out the report by the South West Observatory – a research body for regional decision-makers.

BBC News – Government health reform plans ‘unethical’ warns BMA

A key element of the government’s NHS reform programme has been branded “disgracefully unethical” by the British Medical Association (BMA).

Dr Laurence Buckman says a system of incentive payments for GPs could be seen as rewarding them for withdrawing treatment.

The “Quality Premium” will be paid as part of health service reform plans.

Tories lying about our NHS – Letters – The Star

Another day another lie from the Tory-Lib Dem con merchants.

This time ‘Posh’ Dave Cameron told us all the NHS was safe in the Tory ‘nasty party’s’ hand yet we are now told by activist group ‘False Economy’ that at least 50,000 NHS jobs will go.

This is another blatant lie told by ‘Posh’ Dave while looking we public straight in the eye with his lies.

Lib-Dems threaten revolt over reforms that ‘put NHS at risk’ | News

Senior Lib-Dems are threatening to oppose Health Secretary Andrew Lansley‘s flagship reshaping of the NHS giving GPs control over the bulk of its budget. MPs and peers accused Mr Lansley of putting the NHS at risk by pushing through “monumental reorganisation” while seeking £20 billion of efficiency savings.

Andrew George, who sits on the Commons health committee, warned: “The Government has already gone through three red signals and is heading for an avoidable high-speed train crash.

“Although the easy pickings from the wreckage will be gleefully picked up by the private sector, most informed observers are warning that the rest of the NHS may be fatally wounded.”

NHS cuts mean closure of Brierfield nursery – News – Burnley Express

A BRIERFIELD nursery is set to close in April as it is no longer financially viable.

The Tree House Nursery, based in the Family Tree Centre in Tunstill Square, opened its doors four and a half years ago offering a service for children aged between six months and five years.

Despite growing numbers of children at the nursery, NHS East Lancashire has decided to close it as it has relied on additional funding from the Family Tree Centre that is no longer available.

NHS threatened by ‘disruptive’ reforms, says Shirley Williams | Politics | guardian.co.uk

Shirley Williams, a Liberal Democrat peer, has challenged Andrew Lansley’s plan to reform the NHS, saying it will “dismember” the service through an “untried and disruptive” reorganisation.

Williams said in a column in the Times that she remains “unconvinced” by the health secretary’s policy to reshape the National Health Service by scrapping health authorities and handing over funding control to GPs.

The health and social care bill outlines plans to hand 80% of the NHS budget to family doctors who are forming consortiums to work on commissioning services.

Why are the Lib Dems betraying the NHS? » Hospital Dr

Traditionally, the Liberal Democrats have always stood on a political platform promoting a more just and progressive society, based on a mixed economy, supporting public institutions to ensure equal opportunities for all.

They have a proud heritage in assuming responsibility for the social security and health of the nation’s citizens, which includes David Lloyd George’s introduction of a welfare system between 1908-14. This was followed by the Beveridge report in 1942, which led to the creation of the Welfare state and set the foundations for the formation of the NHS by the Labour Party.

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