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Ed Miliband highlights the huge increase in quangos and costs associated with the ConDems’ destruction of the NHS – quangos are to increase from 163 to 521. The RNIB reports that operations are not being performed because of cuts. Tower Hamlets GPs support striking public sector workers.

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.

NHS redundancies to cost public £852m – UK Politics, UK – The Independent

Taxpayers face an £852m bill for redundancies as a result of the Government’s shake-up of the National Health Service.

The Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, who challenged David Cameron over the figure at Prime Minister’s Questions, warned that many of the staff being sacked by strategic health authorities and primary care trusts (PCTs) would be re-employed by the GP commissioning consortiums replacing PCTs.

Mr Miliband said the U-turn over the original reforms would increase the number of statutory organisations in the NHS from 163 to 521, instead of cutting bureaucracy as the Government suggested. “Is this what you meant by a bonfire of the quangos?” Mr Miliband asked.

The Prime Minister insisted the shake-up would save £5bn by cutting bureaucracy. He told Mr Miliband: “What we inherited was a situation where the number of managers was going up four times as fast as the number of nurses. What’s happened since we took over? The number of doctors has gone up, the number of bureaucrats has gone down.”

Patients denied sight-saving ops as NHS tries to save cash, RNIB warns – mirror.co.uk

PATIENTS are being denied sight-saving operations in an effort to save money, a charity claimed yesterday.

More than half of primary care trusts have introduced arbitrary tests for those who want cataracts removed, research by the RNIB found.

It said: “Patients are being forced to live with unnecessary sight loss. It is pretty clear this is cost-cutting.”

The RNIB found 70 of 133 PCTs that responded applied their own rules and ignored surgery guidelines. It said hip, teeth and knee operations are also under threat.

Pulse – GPs take to the streets to support public sector pension strikes

Dozens of GPs and practice staff in east London are to publicly protest in support of teachers, civil servants and other public sector colleagues striking over pension cuts.

Around 600,000 public sector workers are expected to walk out tomorrow over the Government’s proposed changes to pensions. It comes as the BMA’s annual representative meeting in Cardiff prepares to debate a motion calling for a ballot on ‘all forms of industrial action’ if consultants’ final-salary pensions are replaced by a career average scheme.

GPs and staff from practices across Tower Hamlets are planning two protests in high-visibility spots in the borough: one outside the council offices on Roman Road, the other on a traffic island in the middle of the A13.

Dr Anna Livingstone, a GP in Tower Hamlets and member of City and East London LMC, told Pulse: ‘We in Tower Hamlets feel very strongly against the [health] bill and in support of public service workers.’

‘GPs normally work through their lunch break, but tomorrow we won’t be doing so. Tomorrow we’ll use the time to make a statement in solidarity with those on strike.’

She added that the stark inequalities between rich and poor communities in the borough, which ranked in the top ten areas listed in the 2010 Indices of Deprivation, compelled herself and her colleagues to act.


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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Shadow Health Secretary John Healey criticises the Destroy the NHS Bill as introducing … “more bureaucracy, more complex decision making and more wasted cost.”

Crapita complains about not getting enough business from intended and proposed NHS privatisation.

ConDems release plans to replace NHS trust management with private managers. There is an obvious danger here – that NHS trusts will be deemed to be failing so that they can be replaced by private managers. It’s the “failed states” scenario of international politics played out in the NHS.

The Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association warns of a perfect storm in the NHS.

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.

Government ‘learned little’ from Health Bill pause, says Labour | GPonline.com

Shadow health secretary John Healey said the changes to the Health Bill had been a ‘political fix’ designed to ‘buy off’ the widespread opposition to the NHS reform plans.

He said the closer people look at the amended Health Bill ‘the less they will like the changes’ and ‘the more concerned they will become’.

But he warned that the government is ‘railroading’ the Bill through parliament, allowing little time for scrutiny of the changes. He also raised concerns that only 64 of the 299 clauses are being sent back to the House of Commons for further debate by MPs.

‘The government has only allowed 10 scrutiny sessions… which means there will be around seven minutes for each amendment for scrutiny,’ he said.

Mr Healey meanwhile said that the cost of reorganisation is likely to rise as a result of the changes to the Health Bill.

He said: ‘The government is introducing more bureaucracy, more complex decision making and more wasted cost.

‘Commissioning, which is currently being done by PCT, will soon be split with at least five bodies.’

He also warned that the government is unlikely to carry out a new impact assessment of the updated Bill, meaning the NHS is being asked to implement a ‘far reaching set of changes’ without knowing the costs or the wider implications.

He said ‘Far from removing confusion and uncertainty in the NHS about the plans for the future, the government with its announcements and amendments is making that confusion and uncertainty greater.’

HealthInvestor – Article: NHS not making use of outsourcing partnerships, says Crapita’s Bryant

Delays to the government’s Health Bill and short-sighted policies in NHS trusts are holding back Crapita’s outsourcing operations in the sector, the company’s managing director for health has said.

Beverley Bryant, who joined Crapita last year after a stint at the Department of Health, said that despite the need to make huge efficiency savings under the government’s QIPP agenda, trusts were generally failing to reorganise their back office functions accordingly.

“Trusts are still working on their budgets on a year-by-year basis, when in reality if they want to make savings next year and the year after they are going to have to come out to market this year,” she told HealthInvestor.

“We’re trying to get the message across that if you centralise and streamline back office services across a number of NHS trusts, you can make big savings. But at the moment there aren’t many big projects doing that.”

Bryant also suggested that NHS bodies might not be “as used to the partnership approach to outsourcing as local authorities are”. But she added: “We’re confident that once a few start to do it, more will follow.”

Outrage over plan to use private managers in the NHS | Public Finance — official CIPFA magazine

Unions have reacted with fury to government plans to bring in private sector firms to run failing NHS trusts, while health service professionals have accused the Department of Health of recycling old failed policies.

In a June 4 document, Developing the NHS performance regime, health minister Ben Bradshaw set out plans for minimum standards of quality, safety and financial management.

Trusts failing to meet the standards – part of a performance management framework that will be distinct from the Healthcare Commission’s inspection regime – will be deemed to be ‘challenged’ and given a set timescale to improve.

Those that fail to lift their performance will have their management team replaced in one of three ways: by a fresh team of NHS managers; takeover by a foundation trust; or by the introduction of a private sector management team under contract.

Dr Jonathan Fielden, chair of the British Medical Association’s consultants committee, speaking at the BMA consultants’ conference, asked: ‘How much do they want to offend their backbenchers? How much do they want to demoralise the talent in the NHS that can do so much if not always played down and insulted by ministers? How little do they know of the complexities of the NHS? You can’t just fly in management.’

Unison senior national officer Mike Jackson agreed that it was ‘unlikely that private sector managers would have the necessary experience of delivering acute and emergency services to bring long-term benefits’.

He added: ‘There is a strong public service ethos in the NHS which would be severely damaged by bringing in private management.’

Climate is ripe for a perfect storm in the NHS » Hospital Dr

The Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) is a trade union that represents the interests of senior hospital and medical staff

Many trusts are openly saying that they can’t pay the bills and are resorting to draconian measures to balance the books. At the same time NHS staff remain under a pay freeze, redundancies are becoming the norm and staff are being asked to accept higher pension contributions in return for a lower pension income. Morale is low; and goodwill rapidly destroyed as the NHS is forced to manage a financial crisis not of the staff’s making.

Where does patient care stand in this mess? Many treatments are being put on hold or restricted. Care of the elderly is regularly reported as being sub-standard. Waiting times are lengthening; tensions within the NHS increasing.

Reform can only be built upon a solid platform and I fear that the sinking sands will inevitably lead to structural collapse. Raiding surplus pension funds to bail out the business is Maxwellian, dangerous and ill-conceived. How often are we told: “Staff are the greatest NHS asset?” Well now is the time for politicians to put their support for the NHS to the test.

The perfect storm is not a cheap sound bite. Until or unless NHS staff are valued, respected and treated fairly, the storm clouds will loom large.

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More to follow.

The British Medical Association (BMA) renews its opposition to the Destroy the NHS Bill and calls for it to be abandoned in its entirety.

Steve Field who lead the government’s ‘Listening Exercise’ on NHS ‘reforms’ says that the report is possibly wanting on addressing [edit: neglected] the cap on private patients.

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.

BBC News – Doctors reject revised NHS plans

Doctors have rejected the government’s revised NHS plans, urging their union to take a tougher stance.

Delegates at the annual British Medical Association conference voted in favour of calling for the Health and Social Care Bill to be withdrawn by 59%.

The union initially welcomed concessions by ministers this month on competition and patient choice.

But doctors at the Cardiff meeting said it was time to keep pushing the government “further and harder”.

The plans involve opening up the health service to greater competition and giving GPs a lead role in spending the NHS budget.

Amid mounting criticisms the government put the changes on hold in April. Two weeks ago ministers attempted to appease opponents by watering down certain aspects of the plans.

But delegates at the BMA said they were still not satisfied – despite pleas by BMA leader Dr Hamish Meldrum not to vote in favour of a series of critical motions.

One of those was calling for the bill underpinning the changes to be withdrawn.

Dr Meldrum said he would continue to ask for more.

But he added: “If you push too far you may lose some of the ground you have taken.”

But delegates were not convinced with 59% voting in favour of the motion.

Dr Jacqueline Applebee, a GP from London, said the overhaul would result in one of the “biggest ever social injustices” as it would lead to charges for services and backdoor privatisation.

38 Degrees | Blog | NHS Poll results – what should we do next?

Over the past few weeks, tens of thousands of us have been helping decide what we should do next with the NHS campaign by taking part in a survey on the 38 Degrees website.

Thanks to the huge outcry against their original plans, the government was forced to make some changes. They’ve changed parts of the wording and made a few real improvements – but some of the most dangerous problems remain.

We’ve not won yet – but we definitely have made progress. According to Andrew Lansley’s original timetable, the NHS changes would be law by now. Together, we’ve helped stop that happen.

NHS forum GP admits private patient doubts | Society | The Guardian

The government is facing renewed pressure over its health bill after the GP who led its “listening exercise” admitted he should have done more to flag up concerns about private patients in NHS hospitals, and grassroots doctors meeting in Cardiff demanded further changes.

Labour warned that the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, was still planning to create a “full-scale market” after Steve Field acknowledged that the government would leave hospitals vulnerable to European Union competition law due to the presence of private patients in NHS hospitals. Concerns about a backdoor privatisation of the NHS prompted David Cameron and Nick Clegg to appoint Field to lead the Future Forum review.

As Field was addressing MPs, who are considering the bill again at committee stage, doctors in the British Medical Association defied their leadership to pass a motion at their annual conference criticising the “respray” of the health and social care bill.

Field said a majority of NHS staff who attended his meetings had raised concerns about government plans to lift a cap on the number of private patients using NHS hospitals.

Labour said lifting the cap, which was introduced in 2006, would help foster a free market approach in the NHS.

Field said: “If you wanted a gut feeling from what was happening in the listening exercise – the feeling was actually the private cap should stay because people felt that would provide the protection. But it should be reviewed and put at a reasonable level.”

He admitted he had second thoughts about failing to mention the cap in his report. “To be honest, we didn’t put as much in our report as perhaps we could have done. In fact, it was one area, when we reread the paper at the end, we might have been stronger on.”

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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.

Doctors call for end to NHS postcode ‘injustice’ – Health News, Health & Families – The Independent

Doctors call for end to NHS postcode ‘injustice’

By Terri Judd

The injustice of a postcode lottery for medical treatment must end, doctors said yesterday as they began their annual conference.

In a series of heated debates they decried the financial constraints that were affecting patient care. To a standing ovation, British Medical Association (BMA) chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said the NHS was facing the most difficult financial situation of its 63 year history and urged health chiefs not to “slash and burn” to save money.

London GP Chaand Nagpaul said he found it “shameful” that some seriously ill patients had to consider moving home to get treatment unavailable in their area, adding there were were huge variations “entirely dictated by where they live”.

His own Primary Care Trust, he explained, had a list of 85 low priority treatments. He could only refer hernia patients for operations if they were in significant pain, people with cataracts if their vision was impaired enough or those needing hip or knee replacements according to how much their mobility was affected.

“No patient should ever have to endure the injustice of having their treatment denied simply based on their post code,” he said. “The criteria for these are often subjective, adding to the lottery effect.” Doctors in his surgery, were trying to “find a way around” the restrictions so they could continue to refer patients strictly on clinical judgment, he explained.

“For knee and hip replacements, these are people who have significantly impaired mobility. They are elderly and it could make a difference between going to the shops or being housebound. It is hard to argue that anyone who has a clinical need for a hip replacement should be restricted,” said Dr Napaul.

Surgeon, Ian McNab added that there were too many examples of patients being deemed low priority because of incorrectly interpreted evidence and a danger some could suffer permanent damage if they were not referred swiftly enough. “We must ensure that PCTs and their successors understand the consequences of their decisions and take responsibility,” said Mr McNab.

£600m cuts hit to elderly care / Britain / Home – Morning Star

Spending on social care for the elderly has been cut by more than £600 million this year, potentially putting lives at risk, charity Age UK said today.

Research by Age UK suggested older people’s care budgets had been slashed by a “devastating” 8.4 per cent as the government’s spending cuts bite.

This is despite a government pledge that more money would be invested in social care.

The figures were based on data obtained from councils under the Freedom of Information Act.

After 139 authorities responded, Age UK calculated that net expenditure on older people’s social care was falling by £610m in 2011/12 compared with 2010/11.

The charity also found that at least 61 councils were raising charges for services like home help and day care centres.

Age UK charity director Michelle Mitchell said: “Funding for social care is already inadequate and the system today is failing many older people at the time when they really need help.

“The consequences of cutting expenditure further to 8.4 per cent, indicated by our research, could be devastating.

“We are fearful that even more vulnerable older people will be left to struggle alone and in some cases lives will be put at risk.”


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.


Continue ReadingNHS news review

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Recent NHS news articles

  • the reforms to NHS ‘reforms’ are merely cosmetic and that the intention to destroy the NHS remains
  • doctors are the most trusted profession but that this is at risk from proposed changes to the NHS
  • some Liberal-Democrats realise that the reformed NHS ‘reforms’ do not satisfy the demands of the Spring conference
  • cuts
  • doctors prefer working in Wales due to the Welsh Assembly retaining a more traditional NHS
  • the British Medical Journal calls on the government to abandon it’s Destroy the NHS Bill.

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.

Andrew Lansley attacked for new NHS privatisation plans – mirror.co.uk

ANDREW Lansley has been accused of making only cosmetic changes to his NHS proposals as documents showed he was pressing ahead with privatisation.

The Health Secretary yesterday published 181 amendments to the botched Health and Social Care Bill, following an outcry from nurses and doctors.

But the changes do not alter Government plans for private firms to take over huge swathes of the NHS.

Critics were angry that health experts have just two days to look at the proposals before a Commons vote.

In particular, ministers seem to have backtracked on pledges to beef up the NHS watchdog Monitor, intended to rein in competition.

Opponents said health bosses could in future claim they were using private firms “in patients’ interests”.

Shadow Health Secretary John Healey said: “Plans to break up the NHS remain.”

Pulse – Doctors remain ‘most trusted’ profession

Doctors have come out on top again when it comes to occupations that the public trust – but the BMA chairman has warned that this trust could be put at risk in the future by the Government’s health reforms.

An Ipsos MORI survey of 1,026 people found that 88% trusted doctors to tell the truth, with the profession beating 20 other professions on honesty, including judges, clergyman and priests, and the police. Just 8% of respondents felt doctors did not tell the truth, and 4% said they did not know.

Doctors also placed number one in the same poll in 2009 and 2010.

The results came as BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum warned that the current high levels of trust that existed could be severely tested by the Government’s NHS reforms.

Speaking ahead of the BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting next week, Dr Meldrum said that retaining the current trust would ‘be key to getting through the challenges we face over the next few years’.

‘There is a danger that this trust could be put at risk by some of the Government’s plans,’ he said.

‘Doctors will have a greater role in planning and shaping health services and having a greater say about what is best for patients.’

‘But this will only work if it is a shared responsibility and the Government must be truthful about its intentions for the NHS and its future.’

UNISON Press | Press Releases Front Page

UNISON, the UK’s largest public service union, is warning that the government is encouraging staff to risk their jobs and patient services by encouraging them to set up social enterprise schemes in the NHS.

A National Audit office report into establishing social enterprises under the old ‘ Right to Request scheme’, found little hard evidence of the benefits of the scheme. However, the Government is planning to forge ahead and replicate it as – the ‘Right to Provide’ programme, risking patient services in the process.

Christina McAnea, UNISON’s Head of Health, said:

“The government is setting these enterprises up to fail. As fledgling organisations they will have to try and compete on an open market with private companies under its ‘Any Qualified Provider scheme’ – there is no offer or assurances about levels of business. The result will be either the collapse of services and jobs, or transfer into the private sector, with patients shunted from one provider to the next”.

“The government needs to take stock of this report and do some proper analysis of their programmes before they damage the NHS irreparably.”

Liberal Democrats say in leaked email: keep challenging ‘bad’ NHS plans | Politics | guardian.co.uk

In a leaked email the former Lib Dem MP Evan Harris, who has led the charge against the original Andrew Lansley blueprint, has condemned the revised plans as “bad”.

This is what Harris wrote in the email, part of an email chain seen by the Guardian:

There is a view that we should keep quiet, say we had a victory and hope no-one notices this stuff – but I think that is not realistic. The plans remain bad for the NHS, go beyond the coalition agreement and we must insist on sovreignty (sic) of conference on major issues not in the CA [coalition agreement].

Harris has already indicated publicly that he is not happy with the revised plans which were launched by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Andrew Lansley at Guy’s Hospital on 14 June. On 18 June Harris told the Guardian there were “new threats” hidden within the reworked NHS.

BBC News – NHS told to avoid ‘slash and burn cuts’

NHS chiefs are at risk of making “slash and burn” cuts to services in a drive to save money, doctors’ leaders say.

British Medical Association chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said he was concerned about the impact across the whole UK.

Reports have emerged of restrictions on a range of “low priority” treatments, while waiting times are under pressure.

The NHS Confederation, which represents health managers, agreed that any cost-saving measures must be well-thought through.

Speaking ahead of the union’s annual conference, which starts later, Dr Meldrum said there needed to be more transparency and debate about cuts.

Doctors ‘happier’ to be working in Wales than England amid proposed NHS changes – Health News – News – WalesOnline

Doctors in Wales say today they are “happy” to be working in Wales rather than across the border because of proposed changes to the NHS in England.

In a survey of more than 5,000 doctors in Wales, 86% told the British Medical Association Cymru they are “glad” to be working here.

And in an endorsement of the radical reforms to the health service in Wales two years ago, eight out of 10 doctors said successive Welsh governments have been right to seek to remove the internal market and competition from the NHS.

The Welsh Government has reaffirmed its commitment to uphold Aneurin Bevan’s founding principles for the NHS and maintain a health service free from market forces.

This is in stark contrast to the NHS in England and the proposals put forward by the UK coalition government.

Bury the NHS reform bill, says BMJ | InPharm

The influential British Medical Journal has called on the government to abandon its healthcare reform bill, which it says has not been improved by the recent amendments.

The BMJ’s deputy editor Dr Tony Delamothe and editor Dr Fiona Godlee have made a scathing attack on the reforms and the changes agreed via the Future Forum.

Their editorial published today on BMJ.com states: “it would be better for the NHS, the government, and the people of England to sweep [the amended Health and Social Care Bill’s] mangled remains into an unmarked grave and move on.”

Dr Delamothe and Dr Godlee say the Future Forum recommendations will add further layers of bureaucracy to the health service and would leave “the NHS with a similar proportion of bureaucrats to the Austro-Hungarian empire on the eve of the first world war—and about as flat footed”.

The authors argue that the most important problem facing the health service is the need to make £20 billion of efficiency savings over the next four years and this urgent issue is not being addressed. And they question, as they have done in previous BMJ editorials: “What is the rationale for the changes proposed in the bill?”

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