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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.

Run to London from Bevan’s statue in Cardiff will highlight ‘threats to the NHS’ – Health News – News – WalesOnline

A 160-mile protest run will start in Cardiff tomorrow to highlight doctors’ fears about plans for NHS England. Leading Welsh doctor Stefan Coghlan explains why he’s taking part in Bevan’s Run

BEVAN’S Run, which starts from the statue of Aneurin Bevan, the founder of the National Helath Service, in Queen Street, Cardiff, tomorrow, is the idea of Dr Clive Peedell, a clinical oncologist from Middlesbrough.

He plans to run 160 miles to the Department of Health in a protest about the Health and Social Care Bill, which will transform the NHS in England.

Dr Peedell, like many other doctors, believes the proposals will undermine Bevan’s founding principles.

Dr Stefan Coghlan, the British Medical Association’s Welsh Council chairman, will be running alongside Dr Peedell when he starts his cross-country protest.

Here he explains why:

“I THINK what Clive is doing is fantastic – it’s a big feat to run 160 miles in five days. I’m only going to make a relatively small contribution compared to that by seeing him off and running 10k myself.

“The Health and Social Care Bill poses such a great threat to a publicly- owned and publicly-funded NHS in England that every citizen should be concerned about it.

“The impact isn’t confined to England, as it will also affect Wales because a proportion of NHS services, like specialist care, are provided in England.

“We have to be concerned about ensuring these services are of the same quality as we have now.

“The Health and Social Care Bill is about the privatisation of the NHS – it’s not just about providers of care looking to make profits but there’s also the potential for commissioners to be making money from their patients.

“The only way they will be able to do this is by trimming services; rationing services and by providing lower quality services and that will affect our patients, more so in England.

Overseas nurse numbers rise by 40% | News | Nursing Times

The number of nurses coming to work in the UK from overseas rose by 40% last year, new figures show.

According to the Sunday Mirror, there were 3,197 nurses from the EU registered in the NHS between November 2010 and November 2011. This was compared with 2,256 during the previous 12 months.

NHS leaders say they are increasingly looking to recruit more nurses from Europe due to senior staff members retiring and the falling number of trainee nurses in the UK.

Of the 660,000 nurses working in the NHS, around 87,000 are from overseas. The majority of these hail from the Philippines, Australia, India and South Africa.

The trend has seen many hospitals running language classes to help their staff understand commonly used English phrases.

Royal College of Nursing general secretary Peter Carter told the Sunday Mirror: “We fully support nurses’ rights to work in other countries around the world. But patient safety must remain the top priority and staff must have the skills for the job.

“Britain should plan ahead and train enough staff to meet our needs.”

NHS Pensions, BMA Launches Final Survey Of Its Members, UK

About 130,000 BMA Doctors and medical students across the UK will be questioned regarding the government’s final offer in negotiations on the future of the NHS pension scheme in a major survey that has been launched by the BMA (British Medical Association).

The BMA intends to learn whether the participants’ views on the offer are acceptable or not. If they are not acceptable, they want to know what action the participants are prepared to take, which could potentially lead to a formal ballot on industrial action.

Even though improvements have been negotiated on the original offer, all doctors still remain to be hard hit. The deductible amount for their pension will be increased from their pay this April, with further increases to follow in 2013 and 2014. For those at the beginning of their career this means they possibly pay more than £200,000 in additional lifetime contributions, whilst the normal pension age would increase, with many doctors having to work until the age of 68 years before they are able to receive a full pension. In addition, the current final salary scheme would be changed to a new career average scheme, which would leave the majority of doctors with worse overall benefits.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, Chairman of Council at the BMA, declared:

“We want doctors and medical students to be fully aware of what’s coming their way, and to have their say on what happens. Everyone will be affected, and it’s up to the whole medical profession to influence what we do next. Either way, the implications are huge. We face either major, damaging changes to our pensions, or the first ballot of doctors on industrial action since the seventies.

The BMA, along with the other unions, has not accepted the offer. That, quite rightly, is for our members to help decide. Throughout intensive negotiations, we repeatedly pointed out that the NHS pension was radically overhauled only three years ago, and is actually delivering a positive cash flow to the Treasury.” …

Unite rejects “pernicious” NHS pension proposals | PJ Online

Unite, the parent trade union of the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists, has officially rejected the latest Government proposals on NHS pension reforms.

The union’s Health Sector National Industrial Committee unanimously threw out the Government’s recommendations, as outlined in the “Heads of agreement” document published last month (20 December 2011).

The proposals were described as pernicious by Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey. He said they are an attempt to force NHS staff to work longer until reaching retirement, as well as pay higher pension contributions for a lower payout.

BBC News – Ministers back call to quiz patients on lifestyles

NHS staff in England must adapt their roles to ensure they promote good health under plans being published.

An independent panel of government advisers says health professionals should take every opportunity to discuss diet, exercise, smoking and drinking habits.

Ministers have backed the proposal from the NHS Future Forum to “make every contact count”.

But the Royal College of GPs says the move could drive some patients away.

The recommendation is part of a series of papers from the panel of independent experts. Their first report last year outlined changes to the Health and Social Care Bill.

They are now setting out their conclusions on four other areas – public health, information, improving links between services and education and training.

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