NHS news review

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NHS news: PM Cameron takes responsibility, unpersuasive claims that Clegg is demanding reforms and that “substantive” reforms will be made, a report on Dept of Health publishing misleading and biased figures to persuade of the need for reform, opposition to privatisation of the blood service and nurses are backing strikes over further errorsion of their wages. There is also a strange story about Lansley that I haven’t linked to. I can’t see the logic of the argument but the argument is

  1. Lansley suffered a stroke
  2. His wife – a trained medical practitioner demanded further tests
  3. As a result of the demanded further tests, it was recognised that Lansley had suffered a stroke
  4. [Here’s the really strange abandoning of logic] It was only because of the intervention of his wife that his stroke was recognised “My case illustrates a problem with the NHS. If you are articulate and know what you want you can argue your way through to it.”If you’re not, then you just get what you’re given.”so control of a large part of the NHS should be given over to GPs – the very people that did not identify the stroke without the insistence of the wife that further tests were needed?

Conservative election poster 2010

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.

Nurses vote for strike ballot over pay freeze – Health News, Health & Families – The Independent

Nursing leaders dealt another blow to ministers yesterday by voting overwhelmingly to ballot for industrial action if the Government attempted to freeze their pay.

Delegates at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) conference also voted massively in favour of a motion saying Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s reforms of the NHS would not benefit patient care.

Health minister Anne Milton infuriated nurses earlier in the week when she said an offer was still on the table for no compulsory redundancies in return for nurses accepting a two-year pay freeze when they move up pay bands.

The proposal, made by NHS Employers last year, was rejected by all major health unions including Unison, the British Medical Association and the RCN.

The Operating Theatre Journal : Independent poll shows massive opposition to privatisation of the NHS blood service

Unite, Britain’s biggest union, will meet with Linda Hamlyn, chief executive, of the NHS Blood Service today (Friday 15 April), as the union releases an independent poll of 18,000 people showing that 74 per cent oppose the privatisation of any part of the blood service.

Unite will tell Linda Hamlyn that: “Whether it is the frontline or the back office, privatisation of any part of the blood service contaminates the whole of the blood service.”

The union will demand that the chief executive gives a ‘copper bottomed’ guarantee that there will be no further privatisation of the service. The poll also showed that 70 per cent of those who opposed privatisation had either given blood or had considered giving blood.

The Department of Health is currently leading a review into ways the NHS Blood Service could cut costs. As part of the review the DoH are talking to private providers. Unite has repeatedly asked for clarity on the future of the blood service, but both the National Blood Service and the Department of Health have failed to rule-out privatisation of parts of the blood service despite massive public opposition.

NHS leaflet mixes past and present | Ben Goldacre | Comment is free | The Guardian

HM Government has issued a new leaflet to justify its NHS reforms: Working Together for a Stronger NHS. It was produced by No 10, appears on the Department of Health website, and many of the figures it contains are misleading, out of date or flatly incorrect.

It begins, like much pseudoscience, with uncontroversial truths: the number of people over 85 will double, and the cost of drugs is rising.

Then the trouble starts. In large letters, alone on one entire page, you see: “If the NHS was performing at truly world-class levels we would save an extra 5,000 lives from cancer every year.” The reference for this is a paper in the British Journal of Cancer called “What if cancer survival in Britain were the same as in Europe: how many deaths are avoidable?”

This study does not aim to predict the future: in fact, it looks at data from 1985 to 1999 (seriously), which is a very long time ago. It finds that if we’d had the mean EU cancer survival rates in the 80s and 90s, we’d have had 7,000 fewer deaths then. Not 5,000 fewer. And to put the big number in context, by this study’s calculation 6%-7% of UK cancer deaths were avoidable in the 1990s. Since then, we’ve seen the massive 2000 NHS Cancer Plan, a new decade and a new century. This paper says nothing about the number of lives we “would save” now, and citing it in that context is bizarre.

BBC News – NHS bill to ‘substantively’ change, says Oliver Letwin

“Substantive” changes are to be made to the controversial NHS bill which is going through parliament, Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin says.

The amendments would be a result of discussions being held as part of the consultation, the Conservative MP said.

The government recently announced that ministers would take a “pause” to allow further talks to take place.

Labour wants the plans for the NHS in England, which encourage more private sector competition, to be scrapped.

Clegg to Lansley: Change NHS reforms or lose our support – Health News, Health & Families – The Independent

Nick Clegg issued a stark warning yesterday that the Liberal Democrats will not back Andrew Lansley’s controversial health shake-up without “substantial changes” to stamp out the threat of NHS privatisation.

In the clearest sign yet of a major coalition schism over the reforms, Mr Clegg set out five key demands which he insists are “non-negotiable”. They include blocking attempts by big business to “cherry-pick” services, giving doctors and nurses a greater say in contracting care, and delaying the handover of £60bn of health spending to groups of GPs beyond the planned 2013 deadline.

With the Lib Dems’ poll ratings dropping three points to 10 per cent in the latest Independent on Sunday/ComRes survey, Mr Clegg needs to prove his party is able to influence coalition policy ahead of elections on 5 May. The poll also reveals 41 per cent of people believe the Lib Dems should leave the coalition if they fail to secure changes on the health reforms.

The Deputy Prime Minister wrote to all 56 Lib Dem MPs in an attempt to counter claims that the Government’s decision to “pause” the progress of the Health and Social Care Bill was simply a PR stunt.

BBC News – NHS shake-up: I take responsibility, says David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he takes “absolute responsibility” for a shake-up of the NHS in England.

He said Health Secretary Andrew Lansley was doing “an excellent job” but the government was considering “real changes” to the plans.

Last week a nurses’ union delivered an overwhelming vote of no confidence in Mr Lansley’s management of the plans.

Dr Grumble: The Plot Against the NHS

The plot against the NHS
The plot against the NHS

If you detected an element of despair in Dr Grumble’s last post you would be right. Dr Grumble has just read The Plot Against the NHS. To be frank the picture on the cover says it all.

For years now poor old Grumble has been banging on about what he has seen being planned for the NHS. For years he has been incredulous at the disparity between the official position on the health service and what is clearly the intended direction of a multitude of policy documents that have emerged from our political masters. For years he has been wrestling to understand the real meanings of deliberately vague words such as contestability and plurality.

Grumble likes evidence. When data are massaged and the whole truth is kept secret, you do begin to wonder if perhaps you have misunderstood or are a victim of a pathological obsession. Can it really be that successive governments have deliberately kept their intentions for the health service a tight secret? Can it really be that the staff in the Department of Health no longer have the ethos of traditional British civil servants and do not ensure that the public know what is going on? Can it really be that we have a government that promises no top-down reorganisation of the NHS but is actually hell-bent on privatisation of our NHS?


27/11/13 Having received a takedown notice from the Independent newspaper for a different posting, I have reviewed this article which links to an article at the Independent’s website in order to attempt to ensure conformance with copyright laws.

I consider this posting to comply with copyright laws since
a. Only a small portion of the original article has been quoted satisfying the fair use criteria, and / or
b. This posting satisfies the requirements of a derivative work.

Please be assured that this blog is a non-commercial blog (weblog) which does not feature advertising and has not ever produced any income.


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