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There’s a strike today by public servants over attacks on their pensions. Chancellor George Osborne and the Con-Dem coalition government is confrontational to the unions over the strikes and blame the strikers – and everyone and everything else except themselves – for damaging the UK economy.

Conservative election poster 2010

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

Day of strikes as millions heed unions’ call to fight pension cuts | Society | guardian.co.uk

  • • Disruption across UK as many services come to virtual halt
  • • Airports, schools, rail services and hospitals affected
  • • Reform of public sector pensions is at heart of dispute

The UK is experiencing the worst disruption to services in decades as more than 2 million public sector workers stage a nationwide strike, closing schools and bringing councils and hospitals to a virtual standstill.

The strike by more than 30 unions over cuts to public sector pensions started at midnight, leading to the closure of most state schools; cancellation of refuse collections; rail service and tunnel closures; the postponement of thousands of non-emergency hospital operations; and possible delays at airports and ferry terminals.

The TUC said it was the biggest stoppage in more than 30 years and was comparable to the last mass strike by 1.5 million workers in 1979. Hundreds of marches and rallies are due to take place in cities and towns across the country.

Pickets began to form before dawn at many hospitals, Whitehall departments, ports and colleges.

The strikes have been called over government plans to overhaul pensions for all public sector workers, by cutting employer contributions, increasing personal contributions and, it emerged on Tuesday, increasing the state retirement age to 67 in 2026, eight years earlier than originally planned.

Union leaders were further enraged after George Osborne announced that as well as a public sector pay freeze for most until 2013, public sector workers’ pay rises would be capped at 1% for the two years after that.




BBC News – Strike ‘not expect to affect urgent NHS care’

The NHS is confident emergency and urgent care will be mainly unaffected by the strikes, managers believe.

The walkout will be the biggest in the health service for more than 20 years, with the government expecting a fifth of the workforce to take action.

But contingency measures have been put in place to protect services such as A&E units, cancer treatment and end-of-life care, NHS Employers said.

Routine appointments and non-emergency operations are likely to be hit though.

Health workers who are members of Unison and Unite will take part in the strikes on Wednesday.

Between them they have more than 500,000 health staff, including nurses, health care workers, admin staff, porters and cleaners.

But not all of these will take part, because unions have agreed urgent care should not be affected. For example, ambulance staff will be on strike but they will still be on hand to answer 999 calls.

“Many services will be working in much the same way they do at a weekend or on a bank holiday”

Dean Royles NHS Employers

Radiographers, physics, podiatrists and chiropodists are also walking out.

However, the British Medical Association, Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives are not taking part.

George Osborne: strikers are ‘damaging our economy’ – Telegraph

George Osborne opened a new front in the Coalition’s escalating conflict with the unions yesterday as he announced pay cuts for millions of state employees.

On the eve of the largest national strike since 1979, the Chancellor told nurses, police, teachers and council workers they would suffer real-terms reductions in pay until at least 2015.

State employees also face seeing their salaries reduced further under plans to abolish national pay deals, Mr Osborne warned.

Union leaders accused the Chancellor of launching a “class war” after he chose to announce the pay reforms just hours before a national strike over pensions by 2 million public sector staff was due to begin.

Mr Osborne’s statement came as official forecasts predicted 710,000 more public sector workers could lose their jobs in the next six years.

Workers ranging from lollipop ladies to nuclear physicists are expected to join the industrial action over pensions, which ministers expect to close 90% of state schools and bring “gridlock” to airports.

Royal College of Nursing Scotland comments on latest NHS workforce figures – RCN

Figures released by the Scottish Government’s NHS Information Services Division (ISD) today reveal the number of nursing staff employed by NHS Scotland is continuing to fall, with a further 372 posts lost between June and September 2011. This means that in the space of a year, the number of nursing and midwifery staff in post has fallen by 1,569 (2.7%) to 56,309, and more than 2,000 nursing posts have been lost in two years.

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland Director Theresa Fyffe said:

“True to their word, health boards are cutting the number of nurses they employ, as they set out in their workforce projections for the financial year. As a result the number of nursing staff working in our NHS is at its lowest level since 2006. Health boards are in the unenviable position of having to balance their books and make savings at the same time. This is resulting in cuts to the nursing workforce – the backbone of the NHS – so they can save money on their wage bills, yet at the same time Scotland’s population is getting older and living longer with complex conditions so healthcare demand is going up. These cuts are not only bad news for patient care, but mean that the remaining staff in the NHS are increasingly over-stretched. Our most recent survey of members in the NHS found that half reported they were too busy to provide the standard of care they would like to.

Bowel cancer patients dying due to lack of surgeons – Telegraph

An audit of bowel cancer patients has found that 11 per cent of those undergoing emergency surgery in England and Wales die within 30 days of an operation.

That is more than four times higher than the rate for those who had pre-planned surgery (2.4 per cent).

Part of the reason for the difference is that those presenting as urgent or emergency cases are sicker. For example, their tumours can be so large that they can be blocking the intestine, which can kill very quickly. They can also cause deadly bleeds.

However, surgeons believe it is also because hospitals have tended to prioritise pre-planned surgery over emergency surgery, due to the way they are paid.

Professor Paul Finan from Leeds General Infirmary, lead author of the audit, said: “There has been a real push to do elective [pre-planned] surgery to reduce waiting times, and emergency surgery has become a bit of Cinderella.

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Conservative election poster 2010

A recent news article about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat (Conservative) coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

Controversial NHS shake-up will cost over £3bn, Labour claims – Main Section – Yorkshire Post

CONTROVERSIAL reforms of the NHS will cost nearly £3.4 billion, Labour claimed last night.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham accused the Government of “burying” the true scale of the cost of the reorganisation in papers setting out the technical details of the plans.

He claims an order for primary care trusts (PCTs) to hold back two per cent of their budgets over two financial years to pay for the overhaul will total £1.69bn this year and £1.7bn in 2011-12.

Government estimates put the cost of the shake-up, which includes giving GPs control of health service budgets, at around £1.3bn but academics have predicted the final bill will reach double that.

Mr Burnham said: “This wasteful reorganisation is costing the NHS even more than we first feared.

“It is scandalous that the Government is spending £3.5bn on an unnecessary reorganisation when the NHS is facing the biggest financial challenge in its history.

“On his watch patients are waiting longer for treatment and thousands of nursing jobs are being axed.

“These shocking new figures show that the reality is that patient care is being cut in real terms. If ever a reason was needed to stop this reorganisation, then this is surely it.”

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People admitted to NHS hospitals for emergency treatment during the weekend are almost 10% more likely to die than those taken in during the week, according to a new report. While concerning, this is likely to be more complex than it first appears e.g. there are likely to be more DIY and sporting activities, more drinking etc at weekends.

There are suggestions that the government may reverse its intention to abolish the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people in care homes.

Public sector strike over pensions on Wednesday.

UK Uncut

We start with some simple points of agreement. The brutal cuts to services about to be inflicted by the current Government are unnecessary, unfair and ideologically motivated. The coalition are particularly fond of two obscene catchphrases: ‘There is no alternative’ and ‘We’re all in this together.’ Both slogans are empty and untrue. The cuts will dismantle the welfare state, send inequality sky-rocketing and hit the poorest and most vulnerable hardest. A cabinet of millionaires have decided that libraries, healthcare, education funding, voluntary services, sports, the environment, the disabled, the poor and the elderly must pay the price for the recklessness of the rich.

Austerity-economics is the policy of the powerful. It cannot be stopped by asking nicely. We cannot wait until the next election. If we want to win the fight against these cuts (and we can win) then we must make it impossible to ignore our arguments and impossible to resist our demands. This means building a powerful grassroots mass movement, able to resist the Government cuts at every turn.

UK Uncut

The Government’s Line lies


“There is no alternative.”

We are told that the only way to reduce the deficit is to cut public services. This is certainly not the case. There are alternatives, but the government chooses to ignore them, highlighting the fact that the cuts are based on ideology, not necessity.

  • One alternative is to clamp down on tax avoidance by corporations and the rich and tax evasion, estimated to cost the state £95bn a year
  • Another is to make the banks pay for free insurance provided to them by the taxpayer: a chief executive at the Bank of England put the cost of this subsidy at £100bn in a single year

Either the tax avoided and evaded in a single year or the taxpayer subsidy to the banking industry could pay for all of the £81bn, four-year cuts programme.

“We are all in this together.”

Since the banking crisis:

David Cameron himself has said that the cuts will change Britain’s “whole way of life”. Every aspect of what was fought for by generations seems under threat – from selling off the forests, privatising health provision, closing the libraries and swimming pools, to scrapping rural bus routes. What Cameron doesn’t say is that the cuts will also disproportionately hit the poor and vulnerable, with cuts to housing benefit, disability living allowance, the childcare element of working tax credits, EMA, the Every Child a Reader programme, Sure Start and the Future Jobs Fund to name a few.

The facts speak for themselves; we are not all in this together, we are paying for the folly of reckless bankers whilst the rich profit.

Conservative election poster 2010

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

NHS hospitals have higher death rates at weekends, research finds | Society | The Guardian

People admitted to NHS hospitals for emergency treatment during the weekend are almost 10% more likely to die than those taken in during the week, according to a new report.

Research by the Dr Foster Intelligence comparative healthcare website found that one in eight NHS trusts had higher than expected death rates on Saturdays and Sundays, the Daily Telegraph reported. Many hospitals have vastly fewer numbers of senior consultants on site outside normal office hours, and rely on junior doctors, and nurses, to treat critically ill patients, according to the paper.

The report, which is officially published today, was said to have found that at 12% of trusts, 18 in all, mortality rates at the weekend were higher than expected; it also said that in a “handful” of trusts, the mortality rate was found to have risen 20% or more at weekends.

Government U-turn on scrapping mobility allowance expected – 11/25/2011 – Community Care

Charities are cautiously optimistic that the government will not now take away the mobility component of disability living allowance from 78,000 residents funded by the NHS or councils as envisaged in the Welfare Reform Bill, which is currently being debated in the House of Lords.

It is thought the government will announce its U-turn next month, though it is uncertain precisely what concessions the government is prepared to make on the mobility component.

The news follows disability rights campaigner Lord Low’s inquiry into scrapping the mobility component, which called for the benefit to be retained.

The government is holding its own internal review into the proposal, which would come into force in 2013 with the replacement of DLA with a new benefit, personal independence payment.

Steve McIntosh, policy and public affairs officer at Carers UK, said: “There are a number of areas, which the government is looking at again around the Welfare Reform Bill. We would welcome any move that the government would make to continue the mobility component in residential care and hope this represents a positive sign the government is looking to reconsider the decision.”

Wednesday’s strike is just the start | Len McCluskey | Comment is free | The Guardian

The day of action is a rebuke to an elite that gives money to banks at the expense of the poor

Last week ministers tried to raise a scare about the alleged cost of the day of action. The fantasy figure they came up with was £500m. Even were it true, you would have to multiply it 248 times to get to the minimum calculation of the sum taxpayers have lost bailing out the banks: £124bn. That is why the “all in it together” rhetoric has attracted such ridicule. And there is no respect in which it is less true than pension provision. Cabinet members Francis Maude and Eric Pickles can look forward to more than £43,000 a year in retirement at the taxpayers’ expense – about £37,000 a year more than the dinner ladies they are now asking to pay more to get less. For those striking it is a very different picture. They are victims of the elite policy of taking money from the taxpayer to give it to the bankers and then plugging the budget gap at the expense of some of the poorest.

Let me offer a few examples from members of Unite. A worker for the Ministry of Defence with 20 years of public service will have to start paying £870 extra a year for his pension, which is to be cut by 15%. Graeme, a firefighter from the north-east, will have to find an additional £79 a month not just until he is 60, as hitherto, but until he is 67. “Do you want a 67-year-old fireman coming to your rescue? Me neither,” he says.

Carole, working for a local authority in Lincolnshire, will be on strike because “my apparently gold-plated pension will be £6,000 per year”. She warns that if the government makes the scheme unaffordable, “people will walk away from it and it will fold”.

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Conservative election poster 2010

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

The British Medical Association (BMA) Council passed a motion expressing its “opposition to the whole Health and Social Care Bill” and calling for a public campaign of opposition.



BMA demands withdrawal of DoH plans to ‘privatise’ commissioning support | GPonline.com

The BMA Council has taken a decision to oppose the whole Health and Social Care Bill following a publication of draft guidance for commissioning support organisations.

Following the publication of draft guidance from the DoH – Developing commissioning support: Towards service excellence – the BMA will be urging clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to urgently review and where necessary change their structures to ensure they are able to fulfil their statutory functions without using private commissioning support.

Management in Practice – BMA has ‘misunderstood’ gov plans

The British Medical Association (BMA) has “misunderstood” commissioning support plans, the Department of Health has claimed.

In a statement to MiP a spokesperson from the DH said it will be BMA members that determine what form commissioning support takes in the future, not the government.

BMA gives members chance to vote on government’s final pensions offer | GPonline.com

Following a final offer from the government, expected in December or January, BMA members will be asked to give their views on whether the offer is acceptable.

A BMA spokesman said the union would also use the vote to get a ‘steer’ on industrial action.

The BMA Council agreed on Thursday that ‘given the strength of feeling within the profession, members should have their say on the future of their pensions’.

Following the Council’s decision, the BMA will begin an intensive workplace outreach programme to raise awareness of the proposals and to help ensure members’ personal details are completely up to date – a vital step if a ballot is to go ahead.

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum described the proposed reforms as ‘manifestly unfair’ since the NHS scheme was reviewed in 2008.

‘Doctors stand to be very hard hit by the proposed changes to the NHS pension scheme. Those at the start of their careers face the prospect of paying around £200,000 more in lifetime contributions, and of working much longer.

Join ‘Bevan’s Run’ to protest against THE BILL » Hospital Dr

Whatever your view of the Health and Social Care Bill – evil instrument of NHS privatisation or empowering tool for clinician-led commissioning – you’ve got to respect people who go the extra mile to get their message across.

I’ve mentioned the chairman of the Israel Medical Association in the past who completed a 12-day hunger strike earlier this year in a bid to secure better pay, work conditions and funding for the country’s public doctors.

Dr Clive Peedell is about to embark on his own form of suffering in order to raise the profile of his anti-Health Bill campaign. He’s a clinical oncologist, co-chair of the NHS Consultants’ Association and a member of BMA council. Along with another oncologist Dr David Wilson, he’s going to be running 160 miles from Aneurin Bevan’s statue in Cardiff to the Department of Health in Whitehall.

It was Bevan, the founding father of the NHS, who famously said: “The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it.”

The Courier – ‘We are getting absolutely pummelled’ — NHS Tayside worker describes pressure amid recruitment freeze

The situation looks unlikely to improve any time soon as the health authority’s director of finance, Ian McDonald, confirmed there is a freeze on ”non-essential” recruitment.

He said that will last at least until the end of next March and probably beyond.

The disgruntled employee said: ”There are not enough bodies to do the work and we are getting absolutely pummelled with jobs. Management have got to save 30-odd million pounds so there are cutbacks and they are not filling jobs.

”The people that are left are getting hit with doing their own job and the jobs of the people that are not replaced. It is really hard and nobody seems to be doing anything about it.”

A Ninewells Hospital worker was unimpressed with the claim the freeze is limited to ”non-essential” posts.

”What the managers don’t realise is that if there aren’t enough cleaners, porters and kitchen staff, then the doctors and nurses can’t do their jobs properly. Doctors and nurses aren’t the only essential staff.”

Mr McDonald said he was leading by example and was not filling three posts that had become vacant in his own department.

”It just means every other member of staff is having to work a bit harder,” he said.

He explained that managers who want to take on staff and fill posts must go before an NHS Tayside panel that scrutinises the request.

”For posts that become vacant between now and March 31, they will be separated into two — essential to recruit or non-essential. Essential posts we will fill. If they are not essential, they will be deferred.

”That is not just an issue between now and March 31 but that would probably continue in to 2012/13 (financial year beginning April 1).”

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Tory Health Minister Simon Burns called activists opposed to the Con-Dem coalition government’s plans to destroy the NHS “zombies”. Burns comments echo a similar comment by David Cameron exposing the Con-Dems’ contempt for parliamentary democracy. He said that those that opposed their Neo-Victorian policies should “grow up”.

This is about the stupendously rich and priviledged’s arrogant sense of entitlement and superiority. There is no need to debate on the issues since opponents are simply dismissed as immature or the living dead – or is it less than human? The super rich are so divorced from reality that they simply cannot understand that anyone could disagree with them. Please sir, can I have some more?

I paraphrase my step-father on the Tories’ ‘Big Society’ return to Neo-Victorian hypocrisy and prudery and their failure to maintain the deception of parliamentary democracy: Another deception, of course, is David Cameron’s discussion of the “Big Society”. In truth he is keen to undermine society – and even undermine democracy itself.

A century and a half ago, almost all services that ordinary people depended on were provided either by private companies or voluntary organisations founded by rich individuals. Gradually the vote was extended, first to men and then to women. The intention of universal sufferage was to create a society where the most important services were in the hands of peoples’ representatives to ensure that they were available to all and in an acceptable form to the majority of the population. This formula has never worked perfectly of course and we need new methods to make our representatives and service managers more accountable to the people.

Instead of trying to improve this formula, the Tories want to destroy it utterly and return public services back to the Capitalist and the rich voluntary bodies. Nobody else will have any influence on our public services. The clock will be turned back a century and a half and many of the major features of a democratic society will be destroyed.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development thinktank reports that the NHS is good and that it is repeated reforms that is damaging it.

Conservative election poster 2010

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

‘Zombie’ insult angers activists / Britain / Home – Morning Star

Health campaigners hit back today after Tory Health Minister Simon Burns called them “zombies” for making noise about the government’s controversial NHS reforms.

The MP insulted campaign group 38 Degrees in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon while responding to a question by shadow health secretary Andy Burnham.

The question related to a demand by 38 Degrees that the government releases its NHS risk register promptly so peers have the full facts during their debate of the Health and Social Care Bill in the House of Lords over the next few weeks.

Mr Burns said: “I think Mr Burnham does himself a disservice by simply joining the rants of organisations like 38 Degrees who are frightening people and getting them almost zombie-like to send in emails.”

The campaign group said that it was “shocked” to hear the minister attacking members of the public who had emailed their MPs about their concerns regarding the Bill while neglecting to explain why the government is delaying releasing the details, despite the Information Commission ruling that it must.

“Thousands of members have been in touch with 38 Degrees since Mr Burns made his remarks to express their disappointment that he’s chosen to insult them in this way,” said 38 Degrees executive director David Babbs.

“Many have said how worrying it is that a senior member of the government doesn’t seem to think we have a right to contact him about something as important as the NHS.”

Related: David Babbs: 38 Degrees Members are Not ‘Zombie Like’

A new return to Victorian values – UK Politics – UK – The Independent

Coalition health bill will undermine NHS, says OECD thinktank | Politics | The Guardian

Each reform costs years of improvements in quality, report suggests, but Andrew Lansley insists change is needed

The last thing the NHS needs is a large reform as it is one of the world’s best health systems and has been improving patient care for years, says the author of the OECD’s flagship report into international care and treatment.

The report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development thinktank, which is funded by wealthy governments, says the NHS has cut heart attack deaths by two-thirds since 1980; the public rarely has to pay to meet health needs; and citizens have comparable life expectancies to their neighbours on the continent. Among global diseases the UK also scores well: less than 5% of adults had diabetes in 2010, contrasting with 10% in the United States.

“The UK is one of the best performers in the world. But outcomes are not what you expect because there is a big reform every five years. We calculate that each reform costs two years of improvements in quality. No country reforms its health service as frequently as the UK,” said Mark Pearson, head of health at the OECD.

When it was put to Pearson, a respected economist, that the NHS faces its biggest upheaval in 60 years with the coalition’s health bill, he said: “The NHS is so central to the political process that every politician has to promise to improve the NHS. But there’s no big reform that will improve it. Better to let it bed down and tinker rather than wondering about more or less competition. It is less the type of system that counts, but rather how it is managed.”

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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Changes in guidelines for Caesarean sections is in the news. The Independent suggests that the shortage of midwives is “linked to rise in Caesarean births”.

The BMA warns new government proposals could give the private sector an advantage in the commissioning support process.


The banks have run the global economy into the ground. Bankers, encouraged by the government, gambled recklessly with our money, and they lost. Spectacularly. Remember 2008? In the UK, the government decided it had to step in with a bail-out because these banks were ‘too big to fail’. According to the Bank of England, the cost of this bail-out now exceeds £1trillion. The result is that all high street banks- from Barclays to RBS- owe their existence to public financing.

What did we get for our billions? A banking system that serves ordinary people rather than the super-rich? No. Regretful bankers who refuse to reward themselves with massive bonuses? No. How about increased financial regulation to ensure this crisis couldn’t happen again? No. The government has done nothing to stop it being business as usual for banks.

What’s worse, the money that was given to the bankers is the money now being taken from the poorest in society, guaranteeing a rise in poverty, debt and inequality. Nearly £7 billion will be paid out in bank bonuses this year. This sum is more than the first wave of public spending cuts. We are not all in this together because it’s us who will pay if education, health, housing, libraries, woodland and much, much more, disappears from our lives.

Who’s telling us we must make these cuts? A government led by a cabinet of millionaires, in bed with the bankers, which is now pulling off an audacious con-trick in front of our eyes.

This is how their story goes. The crisis was caused by a bloated public sector. We binged away all our money on luxuries like healthcare and free education and council services, care for the elderly, for people with disabilities, school sports and free school meals for children living in poverty. Now the country is bankrupt and we must repent, detox, cut back. We have to relinquish our welfare state to appease the circling money men. Welcome to the Age of Austerity but don’t worry because we are all in this together.

We say – don’t believe their lies. This is their crisis, but there is no austerity for the bankers.

Conservative election poster 2010

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

NHS caesarean guidelines aim to push down demand for procedure | Society | The Guardian

No woman who wants a caesarean should be refused one, but if women have the risks of surgery explained to them, the numbers should fall, according to fresh NHS guidance on childbirth.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has tried to deny speculation in the media that the new guidelines meant women would be entitled to a caesarean on demand, but the implication remains that nobody should be turned down.

Nice said most women would choose a vaginal delivery if they received proper information, and its guidelines committee said they did not recognise the concept of women choosing a caesarean because they were “too posh to push”.

Most women who asked for a caesarean had either physical or mental health issues that made them unable or unwilling to try ordinary delivery, they said.

Midwife shortage linked to rise in Caesarean births – Health News – Health & Families – The Independent

Warning comes as health body revises guidelines to allow women to demand surgical delivery

Caesarean birth rates may rise from their present record levels unless urgent action is taken to address the “massive” midwife shortage, childbirth experts have warned.

The warning came as the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) updated its guidance to enable women to demand a Caesarean section, even when it was not medically necessary and despite its higher cost to the NHS.

The move is intended to help medical staff to intervene earlier with women who may be worried about natural childbirth. Evidence shows most can be reassured about the safety of a vaginal delivery. But if, after discussion of the risks and benefits, a woman still wants a Caesarean, they should be able to have one, the guidance says.

The previous guide, in 2004, said “maternal request is not on its own an indication for Caesarean section” and could be declined by a doctor.

Experts launching the guidance yesterday said they expected demand for Caesareans to fall as a result of earlier intervention and new advice that those who have had two or more Caesareans, and those with HIV, may safely opt for a vaginal birth.

However, a report from the Royal College of Midwives yesterday said the maternity services faced a “looming crisis” as a result of a 22 per cent rise in the birth rate since 2001 and a shortfall of almost 5,000 midwives in England. Lack of midwife support during birth was an important reason for high Caesarean rates, Malcolm Griffiths, consultant obstetrician at Luton and Dunstable Hospital and chairman of the Nice guideline group, said.

Government proposals ‘prioritise private companies’ – News – Practice Business

The BMA warns new government proposals could give the private sector an advantage in the commissioning support process

New proposals from the government would give the commercial sector an in-built advantage in the commissioning support process, the BMA has warned today.

Draft guidance from the Department of Health – ‘Developing commissioning support: Towards service excellence’ – makes a number of recommendations about how clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) should function from 2013, including how the technical and ‘back-office’ functions should be provided.

Current primary care trust (PCT) clusters are forming commissioning support units and from 2016 would be encouraged to form social enterprises and partner with the private sector.

These proposals would position commissioning support in a full-scale market and introduce commercially-focused criteria to determine who is eligible to provide this support.

These criteria would make it very difficult for CCGs to employ their own commissioning support staff and for NHS commissioning support bodies evolving from existing PCT clusters to compete against large, established commercial organisations, the BMA believes.

As such, CCGs would be left with little choice but to use these large, commercial organisations to provide a huge range of commissioning support services, from transactional services such as payroll and IT services, to equipping CCGs with the complex and sensitive population data that inform commissioning decisions.

There are significant concerns that this would lead to an imbalance of power between clinical commissioners and large, commercial providers of support, says the BMA, undermining the government’s proposals for genuine clinician-led and locally-focused commissioning.

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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‘Proof’ government plans to privatise NHS? – Channel 4 News

Exclusive: GPs say they have firm evidence now that the government is planning to privatise the National Health Service as part of its reforms.

In a document seen by Channel 4 News, plans are laid out for how services will be bought for patients.

And family doctors say the details show for the first time the scale of the involvement of private companies. The document, Developing Commissioning Support: Towards Services Excellence, is a draft sent out to various health organisations.

Under the NHS reforms, GP practices will form consortia and they will manage about 60 per cent of England’s NHS budget. But it has been acknowledged that some GPs will not want to – or be capable of – managing such huge enterprises.

This document sets out how commissioning support units can be set up.

Dr Jonathan Tomlinson, an east London GP and blogger, said: “The document says that GPs who are wanting to design services from their patients will have to get support from private companies. However that support is so comprehensive as to include absolutely everything that commissioning involves.

“In other words, looking at the needs of their local population, choosing and designing the services that they need, managing the contracts, monitoring the quality. There’s almost nothing left for us to do. And it even goes so far as saying that they can see a role for GPs perhaps in managing learning difficulties or other small local community services but even then private companies will be doing the directing.”

This all comes a fortnight after the Department of Health signed a deal with the private company, Circle, to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire. However, GPs say this document goes further. Circle will be in charge of “providing” a service. This will be the private sector purchasing patient care and ultimately deciding what they do and do not want to buy.

The British Medical Association is now to discuss the document at its council meeting on Thursday. But Channel 4 News understands that members of the BMA’s GP committee reacted with fury when they were shown it last week and have demanded the leadership takes a stronger stand against the reforms.

The Royal College of GPs is also planning to discuss it at its next council meeting.

The think tank, the Kings Fund, said that it had always been acknowledged that GPs would not do the commissioning – or buying of care – on their own.

Professor Chris Ham, King’s Fund chief executive, said: “What GPs are worried about is that they will have to increasingly rely on the private sector to provide them with the expertise they need to manage £60bn of public money. There could be benefits from that if they get access to better, more expert people but of course there are real concerns this is a further step towards the privatisation of some aspects of NHS services.”

Conservative election poster 2010

A recent news article about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat (Conservative) coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

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Benefits appeals system ‘on brink of collapse’

Lord Freud, Tory welfare reform minister says that the Con-Dem coalition scum government want to stop GPs signing patients off on long-term sick leave. This appears to be a particularly ridiculous decision by the Con-Dem coalition scum government which ignores the fact that it is GPs that will have intimite knowledge of their patients’ health issues.

BMJ Careers reports that huge numbers of Consultants are taking early retirement because they’re angered by ongoinging changes to the NHS.

The Royal College of Nursing reports that 50,000 jobs are under threat or have already gone in the health service in England. The Con-Dem coalition scum government disputes the figure.

100,000 NHS workers are expected to participate in the 30th November day of action over public-sector pensions.

Two nonsense NHS stories.

Conservative election poster 2010

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

Benefits appeals system ‘on brink of collapse’ | Politics | The Guardian

C4 investigation reveals government’s work capability assessment programme is clogged with costly, unresolved cases

Thousands of ill and disabled people have become trapped in a revolving door of medical assessments and appeals at a cost of £80m, with many claimants on their second and third attempts to overturn rulings that remove their benefits.

The government’s drive to cut Britain’s multibillion-pound welfare bill by moving long-term unemployed people off sickness benefit and into work is at risk of descending into chaos, according to a Channel 4 news investigation.

The work capability assessment programme, which assesses benefit claimants to see whether they are fit for work is “teetering on the brink of collapse” as the system becomes clogged up with appeals.

Ministers introduced more stringent medical tests as part of welfare reforms designed to cut the number of people claiming incapacity benefits, currently at 2.4 million. They say sickness benefits are too often abused as an excuse for being out of work, and have pledged to end what they call the “something for nothing” culture.But the number of appeals by claimants who believe they have been incorrectly assessed as medically able to work has quadrupled in two years, with the projected numbers for 2011-12 expected to reach 240,000.

GPs Should Lose Power To Sign Patients Off Long-Term, Argues Tory Minister

Stripping GPs of the power to sign patients off on long-term sick leave could lead to “fewer wasted lives”, a Tory minister has insisted.

Lord Freud said the Government wanted to intervene earlier to stop patients drifting into “unnecessary” on-going state support.

A Coalition-commissioned report due next week will recommend that independent assessors rule on long-term sickness instead of GPs.

Government is embarking on the biggest shake-up of the welfare state since its formation and the reforms include reassessing all sickness benefit claimants and replacing sick notes with fit notes that set out what work individuals are able to carry out while ill.

NHS Dissatisfaction Linked To More Consultants Retiring Early, UK

A report by BMJ Careers today shows that the number of consultants who take voluntary early retirement in 2011 has soared up by almost three quarters compared with 2010. According to the BMA, this staggering rate reflects consultants’ growing dissatisfaction in terms of the ongoing changes within the NHS.

The report, based on new data obtained from the NHS Business Services Authority Pensions Division demonstrates that the number of consultants who have opted for voluntary early retirement before the age of 60 has risen by 72.4% from 2010 to 2011. Whilst 98 consultants opted for voluntary early retirement in 2010, the numbers increased to 169 in 2011. The proportion of consultants opting for early retirement has almost doubled over the last 5 years from 7.3% in 2006 to 14.0% in 2011. 

Deputy chairman of the BMA’s Consultants Committee, Ian Wilson explained that the reasons why many consultants chose to retire at the earliest possible opportunity is based on a combination of factors, including changes to NHS pensions, working increasingly long hours and increased work intensity, partly caused because of less junior doctors’ being available due to working time restrictions, as well as the reform of the NHS.

Dr. Wilson declared:

“Anecdotally doctors are telling us all the time that if they could retire, they would retire, whereas in the past doctors tended to want to carry on for as long as they were able to. People are feeling disempowered by NHS structures and NHS functioning, and there’s an attraction for people to retire from the rat race.”

BBC News – Nearly 50,000 NHS jobs ‘under threat’

The RCN has been closely monitoring job cuts since April 2010.

The posts it has identified have either being lost already or are due to be cut by March 2015.

Many of them do not involve redundancies as the NHS tends to cut posts by not replacing staff who leave or retire.

The total highlighted – 48,029 – is the equivalent of shutting four large hospital trusts.

It includes all types of staff from administrators and porters to doctors and nurses.

The union also carried out an in-depth look at 41 trusts where cuts were being made.

In total, nearly half of the posts under threat were clinical and the scale of the cutbacks represented nearly a tenth of the workforce on average.

In the worst cases over 20% of the workforce was due to be culled.

The RCN said the findings were proof that the savings the NHS has to make – £20bn over the next four years – could not simply be achieved through efficiencies.

Related: RCN: NHS heading for crisis point as job losses mount – RCN Ministers deny claims of cutting clinical jobs in NHS | Society | The Observer

More than 100,000 vote for pensions walkout | News | Nursing Times

More than 100,000 NHS workers have now voted to strike against changes to pensions, after two more unions announced their ballot results this week.

NHS introduces £1,500 talking plate which warns obese families about their eating habits | Mail Online

NHS paramedics given bullet-proof jackets over fears of a Mumbai-style terrorist attack | Mail Online

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Why cuts are the wrong cure from False Economy on Vimeo.

Growing waiting lists force the Con-Dem scum government to introduce waiting list targets.

Labour pledges to repeal NHS bill when they are re-elected.

GMB union to join the 30th Novermber public sector strike on the Con-Dem government attack on pensions.

Stafford Hospital is employing army medics to keep its Accident & Emergency department open. I didn’t realise that army medics had proper qualifications.

Wake Up Call Episode 2 “A Betrayal of Trust” from Health Emergency on Vimeo.

Conservative election poster 2010

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

NHS waiting times force coalition U-turn on targets | Society | The Guardian

The government has been forced to abandon its opposition to NHS waiting time targets and introduce a new rule to halt the growing number of patients not being treated within the promised 18 weeks.

The U-turn is a surprise because the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, had previously criticised waiting times measures introduced by Labour to speed up patient care as “arbitrary Whitehall targets”.

But fresh evidence that waiting times are creeping up, despite David Cameron’s pledge to keep them low, has forced Lansley to change tack and impose an extra treatment directive on the NHS. He had previously castigated targets as unnecessary, likely to distort NHS staff’s clinical priorities and part of a bureaucratic “top-down” system he intended to overhaul.

It has been prompted by the disclosure that, among the 2.6m patients waiting for treatment at any time, almost 250,000 (9.4%) do not get treated within the 18 weeks guaranteed in the NHS constitution. Among these, about 20,000 patients have been left untreated for at least a year.

On Thursday Lansley warned the NHS in England that, as of next year, no more than 8% of all patients waiting at any one time would be allowed to have had their treatment delayed by 18 weeks or more.

Labour pledges to repeal NHS bill | Society | The Guardian

All provisions that turns health and social care services into a market-based system will be removed, says Andy Burnham

Labour have pledged to repeal the coalition’s controversial health and social care bill if they are re-elected, opening a new front in the debate over the NHS’s future.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham committed the party to undoing the proposed radical reorganisation of the English NHS in a speech on Wednesday. “Labour will inherit a very different NHS – lots of damage will have already been done. And let me make it clear – if the bill in parliament goes through, we will repeal it”, he told delegates at the Royal College of Midwives’s annual conference in Brighton.

“We will return the NHS to a national system based on the principle of collaboration on which it was founded in 1948,” added Burnham, who also emphasised that, in making that pledge he was “not talking about protecting the status quo”.

His remarks are likely to be welcomed by medical organisations and campaigners against health secretary Andrew Lansley’s planned legislation, which has been approved by the House of Commons and is currently in its committee stage in the House of Lords.

But a source close to Lansley claimed Burnham, Labour’s last health secretary who returned to the shadow role in shadow cabinet reshuffle, was in effect proposing yet another restructuring of the NHS which staff would not support.

GMB Set to Join Nov. 30 Walkout over Pensions – International Business Times

The GMB has voted to join a national strike over pensions to be held later this month.

The Nov. 30 walkout has been planned in protest against public sector pension reforms. A total of 33 percent of GMB members met and voted in favour of the strike by more than 4-1.

“It is now clear that millions of workers will be protesting on 30 November at the government’s attack on jobs and pensions,” GMB National Secretary Brian Strutton said.

Although the union has voted to join the strike, Strutton said there was still time for the government to negotiate and settle the issue of public sector pensions.

Strutton added: “The government has already accepted that the original proposals were unfair and wrong. It is not too late for the government to pull back from this confrontation and scrap this attack on pensions.”

The GMB is one of the UK’s largest unions with more than 600,000 members, including NHS and local government workers from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

UCATT, the union of construction workers, also voted recently to join the strike.

The strike, originally called by the TUC, has the support of 15 unions protesting against the government’s proposal to make public sector workers pay more and work longer to earn their pensions.

Army medics drafted in to keep NHS hospital running – mirror.co.uk

ARMY medics have been drafted in to keep an NHS hospital running for the first time in Britain – because it does not have enough staff.

Stafford Hospital has been forced in to the move to keep its accident and emergency department open during the day.

But the hospital, which is currently at the centre of an inquiry into hundreds of deaths between 2005 and 2008, will still shut A&E at night due to staff shortages.

And the situation will reach crisis when the military medics pull out.

The hospital offered £100,000 salaries and £500 per extra four-hour shifts, but its poor reputation and a national shortage of NHS consultants made hiring impossible.

So two emergency consultants, used to battlefield medicine, and four senior nurses also provided by the Ministry of Defence will keep the ward open.

But Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust chiefs decided the department, which has only four of the six consultants it needs, must shut between 10pm and 8am from December 1 for three months. And the Trust admitted without “urgent action”, there “will be significant risks following withdrawal of the military support”.

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