NHS news review

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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.

Hospitals cutting surgery follow-up checks to save cash – mirror.co.uk

By LACHLAN MACKINNON, Health Correspondent

Hospital bosses are facing claims they are cutting post-surgery care because it is an “easy target” to save cash.

The ratio of patient checks following operations has dropped over the past two years and looks set to be cut again.
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Critics warned that patients are being discharged back to GPs too early and family doctors may not have the time, funding or necessary skills to deal with problems.

Richard Hoey, editor of Pulse magazine, which analysed data from all 168 acute hospital trusts in England, said: “Reducing post-operative checks has been seen as an easy target by NHS managers looking for efficiencies. Often they will leave patients short of the follow-up care they’d expect.”

Based on last year’s total of 10.1 million operations, calculations show there were 22.2 million post-surgery appointments.

This is 1.2 million fewer than would have been expected based on 2009/10 rates – and 1.6 million fewer than four years ago.

However, the drop may be even higher as the number of operations carried out on the NHS is increasing year on year.

But the Department of Health insisted: “All patients with a clinical need for a follow-up appointment in hospital should have one.

“We have not set targets to reduce such appointments and have no plans to do so.”

Patients denied operations at the last minute, say GPs – Telegraph

GPs say they are referring patients on one set of criteria, only for the patients to be told during pre-operative hospital checks that they no longer qualify.

Dr Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said primary care trusts (PCTs) – which pay for pre-planned operations – were guilty of treating patients like “commodities”.

She said: “Patients must not be treated as commodities and pushed back and forwards.”

PCTs started tightening up on qualifying criteria for ‘elective’ operations at least a year ago, for example demanding that patients had to demonstrate higher thresholds of pain or disability before being allowed hip or knee replacements. Other common procedures affected include removals of cataract and skin tissue like bunions and gangalions.

Some believe this rationing is reflected in NHS statistics which show the number of overall referrals from GP has dropped in the last year.
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However, this is the first time it has emerged that patients are being approved for referral, and later told they cannot have an operation.

GPs told Pulse, a magazine for doctors, that the practice was going on in London and Buckinghamshire.

Dr Jim Kennedy, medical director of the local medical committee (LMC) for Berks, Bucks and Oxon, said: “Patients have gone down the [care] pathway after being accepted under old thresholds and suddenly are denied care using a different threshold. That is clearly unfair.

“Our main priority is to make sure if a patient is admitted under one set of criteria, those rules are applied throughout the process.”

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