A coalition to defend #ourNHS

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  • Memorial of Health & Social Care Workers taken by COVID-19 Moving and interactive a digital tribute and memorial by Nursing Notes to the dedicated members of our health and social care family who gave their lives during the fight against Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19).
    NursingNotes is committed to planting a new tree in a protected forest for every single health and social care worker who loses their lives because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • (2 Jul 2022) Enhanced sick pay for NHS staff with Covid to be scrapped as infections rise Evening Standard article July 2 confirming that NHS England is once again driven by austerity limits on funding and seeking short term cash savings at the expense of any longer-term workforce strategy:
    "Enhanced sick pay which was given to NHS staff during the Covid-19 pandemic is set to be cut next month.
    "The special pay arrangements were offered to staff who were off work sick with either Covid or long Covid during the pandemic. Staff received pay if they were isolating from the virus and a full 12 months pay if they had long Covid."

  • (27 Jun 2022) The NHS wreckers cannot accept that the British public still back it Polly Toynbee in the Guardian June 27 brings together the growing and persistent round of political attacks on the NHS that are being rolled out by the right wing press. All the models for so-called right wing ‘reforms’ are more expensive, more exclusive than NHS. The Private sector has no interest in unprofitable services or patients, and represents no solution to A&E delays, waiting lists or mental health.
    "Whenever the NHS falls into the abyss through underfunding it hits an existential crisis when its ancient ideological opponents, dormant in the good years, creep out of the earth like a revived locust plague.
    "What excited them this time was the latest British Social Attitudes survey showing that public satisfaction with the NHS had plummeted to 36%. It has only ever been lower once, at 34% in 1997, presaging the fall of a Tory government.
    "Hoping for a popular revolt against the NHS, critics ignore the rest of this survey. The reasons for dissatisfaction were obvious: waiting times for GP and hospital appointments, staff shortages and government underfunding. Only 25% think the NHS should not get more funds.
    "Across Labour and Tory supporters there were “high levels of support” for NHS founding principles – 94% backing free for everyone, 86% for funding through taxes."

  • (27 Jun 2022) NHS patients to be offered chance to travel for surgery BBC News June 27 with the confirmation that the government has given up on ensuring timely local access to elective treatment, and now the NHS instead is offering the “choice” of long distance journeys to get treatment many miles from home. It seems from the small proportion of long-term waiters who have agreed to travel that this will make little or no difference to waiting lists.
    “NHS patients in England who have been waiting more than two years for surgery are being offered hospital treatment in alternative parts of the country.
    “More than 6,000 long-term waiting-list patients are being offered travel and accommodation costs where appropriate to help the NHS through the backlog.
    Health officials want to ensure nobody is waiting more than two years by the end of July.
    “More than 400 patients have already said they would be prepared to travel.
    “Three patients waiting for surgery in Derby have already received treatment in the Northumbria health region, with another two patients booked in, NHS England said.”

  • (25 Jun 2022) NHS staff on track to suffer a further 7% real-terms pay cut Nursing Notes June 25 report:
    "The independent body who advises on NHS pay has reportedly recommended a 4% to 5% pay award.
    NHS staff are reportedly on track to receive yet another real-terms pay cut of up to 7%.
    "According to the Guardian newspaper, the independent body (NHSPRB) who advises on NHS pay across England and Wales has recommend a pay award of 4% to 5% to the Government.
    "Experienced frontline nurses are already around £6,000 per year worse off now than in 2010 when the Conservative party first took office and implemented austerity measures.
    "With a cost of living crisis and inflation expected to hit 10%, this means NHS workers face another real terms pay cut of up to 7% if the Government accept the recommendation of the NHSPRB."

  • (23 Jun 2022) It looks likely the Government will be forced to come clean over companies handed VIP Test and Trace contracts Good Law Project press release June 23:
    “For more than a year, Good Law Project has been working to uncover the politically-connected firms that benefitted from the Government’s £37 billion Test and Trace programme.
    “We know that 50 companies with close links to Ministers, Peers and Government officials were given access to a priority route through which they secured lucrative Covid testing contracts. But, shockingly, the Government has refused to come clean over which firms profited.
    “Now, following our long Freedom of Information battle, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which took over responsibility for the testing regime, has finally confirmed that it is making contact with the 50 ‘VIP’ firms in order to answer our request.
    “We’ve gone back to UKHSA, calling on them to publish both the names of companies who received priority treatment and the names of those who referred them.
    “We expect to hear back by 5 July and will publish their response, along with, we hope, the names of the 50 further VIPs.”

  • (23 Jun 2022) Rishi Sunak met private US social care firms to discuss ‘opportunities’ in the UK MSN News June 23 reveals previously hidden details of Rishi Sunak’s meeting with private sector health bosses in California last year. It strangely fails to mention the chronic under-funding of the NHS as the key reason why none of the major US players have been interested.
    “Mr Sunak was told by firms that they had little interest in working in the UK at the time. The attendees told the Chancellor that they were focused on growing in the US, and currently would not consider expansion to the UK.
    “Attendees reported that they saw UK healthcare as lacking innovation, although they thought it had improved in recent years.
    “The minutes, labelled “Official Sensitive’” read: “US healthcare firms want to focus on their domestic market before contemplating expansion, because i) it’s so vast: population and spend per capita much higher than e.g. in the UK; ii) it’s complicated and idiosyncratic; it’s not a portable approach.
    “UK healthcare has historically not been especially innovative, but some participants reported positive engagements where they’ve worked with the NHS recently.””

  • (21 Jun 2022) Battling the Crisis in Patient Safety Canadian publication The Tyee June 21 notes “The COVID-19 crisis has both divided and galvanized Canadians on health care.
    “While the last three years have presented new challenges to health-care systems across the country, the pandemic has also exacerbated existing challenges, most notably the high levels of errors and mistreatment documented in Canadian health care.
    “According to a 2019 report from the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, Canada was already facing a public health crisis prior to the pandemic: a crisis of patient safety. As the report details, patient safety incidents are the third leading cause of death in Canada, following cancer and heart disease.
    “Few studies calculate national data on this topic, but a 2013 report found that patient safety events resulted in almost 28,000 deaths.”

  • (19 Jun 2022) 1,000' foreign GPs are being threatened with deportation by the Home Office: Blow to the NHS after British taxpayers spent £50k a year training them Irony bypass in action. Daily Heil (June 19) flags up the nasty, racist and ultimately stupid and self-defeating Home Office policy which is driven by government concern to appease ... the Daily Heil and its racist, xenophobic readers.
    “A 'thousand' foreign GPs are being threatened with deportation by the Home Office in another blow to the NHS after British taxpayers paid more than £50,000 a year training them.
    “The NHS in England has already lost the equivalent of around 2,000 full-time GPs since 2015, which is making it harder for patients to secure an appointment.
    “Now new recruits have been sent letters informing them of their 'removal' from the UK just weeks after they finished training for their roles.
    “Home Office rules state foreign doctors must work under the skilled worker visa scheme for at least five years before they can apply for indefinite leave to remain - a timeframe that covers most specialist medical training.
    “But GPs usually gain their certificate of completion of training after three years, leaving a two-year gap during which they have to secure sponsorship if they want to stay in the country when their visas run out.”

  • (15 Jun 2022) Sajid Javid: pouring money into NHS is unfair on the young Times June 15 report makes quite clear that there will be no retreat from the savage reimposition of austerity for at least the first half of this decade – but with a particularly bizarre justification from Javid who appears unaware that young people need and use the NHS:
    “No more taxpayers’ cash will be poured into the NHS as this would be “unfair on younger generations”, Sajid Javid has said.
    “The health secretary said “the answer can’t always be more money” as he rejected demands from hospital bosses for extra funding to resolve the crisis in A&E departments.
    “Speaking at an NHS conference in Liverpool, Javid said healthcare would soon make up 44 per cent of day to day public spending, up from 27 per cent in 2000.
    “ ‘I don’t want my children or anyone’s children to grow up in a country where more than half of public spending is taken up by healthcare, at the expense of everything else from education to housing,’ Javid said.
    “ ‘That’s not a fair deal for the British people, particularly young people.’ ”

  • (15 Jun 2022) Integrated care systems: what do they look like? Useful June 15 report from Health Foundation in advance of ICSs gaining statutory status:
    "ICSs face a mammoth task. Staffing shortages in the NHS are chronic, record numbers of people are waiting for routine hospital treatment, and health inequalities in England are wide and growing.
    "But these challenges are not evenly distributed between ICSs – and some systems are better equipped to deal with them than others. Policymakers have allowed some flexibility in how local systems have been developed and organised, which means they vary widely in size, structure, and other characteristics.
    "In this long read we analyse publicly available data on some of the characteristics of ICSs and context in each area – including the organisational and policy context, health challenges, and capacity within the health care system to address them. We compare areas and discuss implications for policy."

  • (15 Jun 2022) NHS racism making doctors 'anxious and depressed' BBC News June 15 highlights a BMA report, once again on NHS England’s abysmal failure to address discrimination or support its most vulnerable staff:
    “A new report from the British Medical Association (BMA) - shared exclusively with BBC News - has found that 76% of respondents have experienced racism at work. About 60% say it has affected their mental health.
    “More than 2,000 people took part in an online survey which formed part of the report, and was open to all UK doctors in medical workplaces. About 66% of people who responded were from ethnic minorities.
    “About 40% of the NHS's 123,000 doctors are from minority backgrounds, compared with approximately 13.8% of the general population.
    “BMA chairman Chaand Nagpaul warns of a mental health crisis among doctors - and that by making medics anxious and depressed, racism is putting patient safety at risk too.”

  • (14 Jun 2022) Universal Health Care Could Have Saved 330,000 Lives During Covid: Report The Fiscal Times June 14 picks up on important new research by US public health experts:
    “The U.S. has recorded the highest number of deaths from Covid-19 in the world, at more than 1 million. According to a new analysis by a group of public health researchers, the uneven and fragmented nature of the American health care system has played a major role in running up that grim tally.
    “The researchers argue that a single-payer universal healthcare system would have performed far better, saving as many as 330,000 lives during the first two years of the pandemic, as well as billions of dollars.
    “… The researchers estimate that a universal health care system would save the U.S. $438 billion a year under normal, non-pandemic conditions. With Covid, a universal system would have provided another $105 billion in savings, the researchers estimate, thanks in large part to lower hospitalization costs.”

  • (14 Jun 2022) A&E waiting times last year almost eight times worse than NHS figures suggest Some real facts surface in the Daily Telegraph, (June 14) which draws on important research by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. Away from the news pages, the Torygraph’s virulent right wing columnists are shamelessly exploiting these same service failures as a way to attack the NHS itself – even though the private sector has no ambition or facilities to treat the emergency patients in these delays:
    “Accident and emergency waiting times last year were almost eight times worse than official NHS figures suggest, according to analysis by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.
    “Some 1,047 patients a day, on average, waited 12 hours or longer from their time of arrival at emergency departments across England in 2021, according to figures released to the College under Freedom of Information laws.
    “According to official figures from NHS England, however, around 133 patients a day, on average, waited 12 hours or more to be admitted to hospital from A&E.
    “But these figures only measure the time patients wait from the moment they are told by a doctor they will be admitted to a bed, known as Decision to Admit (DTA), which the Royal College argued is a "gross under-representation of the reality".
    “The Royal College instead used the Time of Arrival (TOA) metric, which is measured from the moment the patient steps foot into A&E.”

  • (14 Jun 2022) Rundown NHS hospitals have become a danger to patients, warn health chiefs Guardian June 14 highlights figures and failures that have been frequently argued by Health Campaigns Together, SOSNHS and The Lowdown – and quotes timid requests from NHS leaders who should have been systematically raising these issues since last autumn’s hopelessly inadequate spending review.
    “NHS patients are being put in danger and waiting lists are getting even longer due to a £9bn maintenance backlog and a major lack of capital funding that has left some parts of hospitals “extremely dilapidated” and unfit for patients, health leaders have warned.
    “Boris Johnson promised in 2019 to “build and fund 40 new hospitals”. But the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA), the government watchdog, later gave the project an “amber/red” ranking, meaning its delivery “is in doubt with major risks or issues apparent in a number of key areas”.
    “At the same time, the NHS in England is facing a £9bn maintenance backlog. Half of that sum, which is up from £6.5bn just three years ago, is required to tackle failings classed as posing either a “high” or “significant” risk to patients and staff.”

  • (13 Jun 2022) UK doctors with long Covid say they have been denied disability benefits Guardian June 13 with yet more evidence of the complete indifference and contempt to NHS staff welfare from the government whose ministers led rounds of cynical, empty applause for them during the pandemic.
    “Doctors who worked on the frontline during the pandemic and have been left with long Covid say they have been denied financial support by the UK government, with some left with little option but to sell their house.
    “Months or even years after an initial Covid infection some people continue to have symptoms, from fatigue to brain fog. According to the Office for National Statistics, as of 1 May an estimated 2 million people in the UK reported having long Covid, as the condition is known.
    “Now healthcare staff in the UK have told the Guardian that despite being left with serious impairments as a result of long Covid, they have been turned down for personal independence payment (Pip), a non means-tested benefit helping people with the extra living costs of their chronic illness or disability.”

  • (13 Jun 2022) UK’s biggest GP chain replacing doctors with less qualified staff BBC News June 13 flagging up the Panorama under-cover investigation into the services delivered by US corporation Centene, which has emerged as the largest private provider of GP services (although with fewer than 1% of GP practices).
    “The UK's biggest chain of GP practices lets less qualified staff see patients without adequate supervision, an undercover BBC Panorama investigation has found.
    “Operose Health is putting patients at risk by prioritising profit, says a senior GP.
    “The company, with almost 600,000 NHS patients, is owned by US healthcare giant Centene Corporation.
    “… BBC Panorama sent undercover reporter Jacqui Wakefield to work as a receptionist at one of the UK company's 51 London surgeries. The BBC is not naming the practice or the staff who work there.
    “A GP working at the practice said they were short of eight doctors. The practice manager said they hired less qualified medical staff called physician associates (PAs), because they were "cheaper" than GPs.”

  • (13 Jun 2022) Don’t Let Them Rehabilitate Jeremy Hunt Timely reminder in Tribune June 13 from HCT editor John Lister on the real track record of the former health secretary who has tried to reinvent himself:
    “On becoming Health Secretary… Hunt was still fending off claims by the Observer that he had personally intervened to speed up the award of a £650 million community services contract covering his constituency to Virgin Care.
    “By the following year, Hunt was battling in vain to get the Court of Appeal to overturn a judicial review ruling that his efforts to impose heavy cutbacks on Lewisham Hospital Trust were unlawful. Hunt ignored powerful evidence of the damage that the plans would cause, and afterwards sought new legislation to give him wider powers to intervene.
    “Then, in 2013, using cynical and distorted statistics, Hunt outlined plans to combat so-called ‘health tourism’ in line with Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ for migrants. These plans included introducing a new £200 ‘immigration health surcharge’ for anyone seeking visas to enter the UK, and allowed NHS Trusts to charge up to 150 percent of the cost of treatment in secondary care.
    “These fees have since been increased and enforcement tightened, with serious consequences for many migrant workers and their families. The fight to repeal them is still being waged by campaign group Patients Not Passports.
    “In 2015, Hunt rashly—and implausibly—promised 5,000 extra GPs by 2020, which, of course, have not been delivered. Then he went on to provoke a bitter and lengthy dispute with junior doctors over pay and conditions, which only made recruitment of trainees more difficult.”

  • (11 Jun 2022) NHS ‘doesn’t need any more money’, says Sajid Javid as waiting lists rise More deluded nonsense from Sajid Javid reported by Guardian June 11. Javid compares NHS unfavourably to hugely indebted subscription based Netflix – and insists despite all of the evidence to the contrary that it needs no more money:
    “The NHS needs reform rather than more money, the health secretary has said, while admitting that record-high waiting lists will continue to rise before they fall.
    “Sajid Javid said the health service already had the resources it needed and did not require more to care for patients effectively. “The NHS now has locked in the resources it needs. It doesn’t need any more money. What it needs to deliver for more people is not money. It needs reform,” he said.
    “In an interview with the Times, he compared the NHS to the now defunct video rental chain Blockbuster, arguing that it needed to be dramatically restructured in order to continue delivering healthcare free at the point of use.
    “ ‘You want to have a system that, yes, it’s got the values of 1948 but looking at delivery towards 2048,’ he said.
    “Javid made the same comparison in a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, saying the country had a “Blockbuster healthcare system in the age of Netflix”, though he later defended his comments by saying he did not mean it should become a subscription-based service.”

  • (11 Jun 2022) Paramedics are ‘leaving in droves’ as ambulance callouts almost double Guardian report June11
    “The number of calls for an ambulance in England have almost doubled since 2010, with warnings of record pressures on the NHS that are seeing A&E patients stuck in corridors and many paramedics quitting the job.
    “Ambulance calls have risen by 10 times more than the number of ambulance workers, according to a new analysis of NHS data. An increase in people seeking emergency treatment, GPs unable to cope with demand and cuts to preventive care are all being blamed for the figures.
    “The analysis, carried out by the GMB union, found that there were 7.9m calls in 2010-11. By 2021-22, however, the number had risen to 14m, an increase of 77%. Over the same period, the number of ambulance workers has risen by just 7%, heaping more pressure on staff.
    “While the figures represent all calls for an ambulance, some of which go unanswered and do not lead to a vehicle being sent, they reveal the increasing pressures that have led to claims that patient safety is being put at risk by ambulance waiting times.”

  • (10 Jun 2022) £4bn of NHS Covid PPE to be burned as it is unusable, says committee report Guardian report on the latest episode in the PPE scandal:
    “Protective clothing worth £4bn bought early in the pandemic to stop NHS staff being infected with Covid is to be burned because it is unusable, a report has revealed.
    “The imminent destruction of so many items and waste of public money is disclosed in a report by the Commons public accounts committee (PAC) that is scathing of the DHSC’s strategy when the Covid pandemic struck in 2020.
    “The PAC, which oversees spending by Whitehall departments, found that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has £4bn of PPE in storage which cannot be used by frontline workers because it is substandard.
    In their report out on Friday, the cross-party group of MPs said: “The department has no clear disposal strategy for this excess PPE but told us that it plans to burn significant volumes and will aim to generate power from this.”

  • (9 Jun 2022) Palantir gears up to expand its reach into UK’s NHS Financial Times article June 9 warning of sinister new “partners” seeking a double profit – cash and data – from the NHS. The £360m 5-year contract is not enormous, but would further entrench Palantir’s links to the NHS.
    “US data analytics group Palantir is gearing up to become the underlying operating system for the UK’s National Health Service, poaching senior NHS officials as part of a bid to win a £360mn contract to manage the data of millions of patients across England.
    “The company, best known for its ties to the security, defence and intelligence sectors, has been the NHS’s go-to data analytics provider during its Covid-19 crisis response. Its Foundry software was used in the management of ventilators and PPE equipment, delivery of the nationwide vaccination programme and helping to tackle the backlog of 6mn patients waiting for elective care.
    “The secretive company, co-founded by Peter Thiel, an early investor in Facebook and prominent supporter of former US president Donald Trump, is now manoeuvring to expand its reach into the NHS over the next decade.”

  • (9 Jun 2022) UK healthcare staff call in sick to avoid using car as cost of fuel soars, union says Guardian report June 9:
    “Low-paid health and care workers are calling in sick because they cannot afford to fill their cars with petrol to travel to work, the head of the UK’s largest trade union has warned.
    … Christina McAnea, general secretary of the public services union Unison, said some of her members were likely to strike in the coming months, faced by real-terms pay cuts as the cost of living crisis bites.
    “[Petrol price rises are] having a big impact on people with jobs that mean they have to travel. So community health workers, health visitors, care workers, social workers … are saying they just cannot afford to do their jobs any more,” she said.
    “We’re actually hearing of people who would rather phone in sick because they don’t have the money to fill up their cars and do their jobs. And more and more people are leaving public services, even in local government. There’s huge vacancies across local government.”

  • (7 Jun 2022) SoR reacts to "shocking news" of Rutherford Health collapse Radiographers’ union the Society of Radiographers responds (June 7) to the collapse of private sector diagnostics firm Rutherford Health:
    “… the SoR would be asking questions about how NHS contracts were awarded to the company in the light of its seemingly precarious financial structure.
    "We will be asking for full, honest reflection from those who gave these contracts to Rutherford. We had no direct warning that this was coming although we had warned the NHS about over reliance on firms borrowing huge amounts to compete essentially against the NHS for potential work. When Rutherford awas being awarded the contract in Taunton for the new CDC we specifically asked the NHS about what guarantees they had around their long term financial viability and what plan B might be. We were essentially told not to worry."
    “… public funds should not be used by investors to make quick returns while putting patients and staff at risk through financial disaster.”

  • (6 Jun 2022) NHS nurse shortages a risk to safety, says Royal College of Nursing BBC June 6 report:
    “Shortages of nurses in the NHS are posing a risk to patient safety, the Royal College of Nursing is warning.
    “RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said patients were going without the care they needed because of the problems.
    “Feedback from the union's members in the UK cited people going without medicines and deterioration of sick patients going unnoticed as concerns.
    “One in 10 nurse posts in England is unfilled.”

  • (31 Mar 2022) Why is the UK seeing near-record Covid cases? We still believe the three big myths about Omicron Important Guardian article March 30 begins:
    "We’re living in two realities: one in which people have returned to living life as if Covid is over, and the other in which we are approaching record levels of infections, with an estimated 4.26m cases last week. Most of us know people who have Covid, work and education are being disrupted, and the NHS is under severe pressure again due to new patients and sick staff. Admissions with Covid are only 2% below the first Omicron peak two months ago and still rising. "

  • (31 Mar 2022) Nation’s mental health hampered by Commons’ rejection of workforce amendment Royal College of Psychiatrists (March 31) joins the chorus of bodies and individuals slamming the government's refusal to take the NHS workforce crisis seriously:
    “Despite a strong campaign by the College and over 100 other organisations, the House of Commons has rejected an amendment requiring the Government to publish regular independently verified assessments of current and future workforce numbers.
    “The amendment to the Health and Care Bill requires the Secretary of State to report every two years: …
    “Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:
    “We’re disappointed that the House of Commons has rejected this crucial amendment. The nation’s mental health relies on long-term planning, yet successive governments have failed to take decisive action to tackle staff shortages.
    “If the NHS is to avoid lurching from one crisis to another, health leaders must be able to predict where doctors, nurses and care staff are most urgently needed.”

  • (27 Mar 2022) Government paid firm linked to Tory peer £122m for PPE bought for £46m Guardian March 27 with another revelation of the scale of gross profiteering from crony contracts:
    "PPE the government bought for £122m from a company linked to the Tory peer Michelle Mone was purchased from the Chinese manufacturer for just £46m.
    "The extraordinary profits apparently made by PPE Medpro and its partners in the supply chain are revealed in documents leaked to the Guardian, including contracts and an inspection report for sterile surgical gowns supplied by the firm.
    "Despite being bought at the start of the pandemic and delivered in 2020, the 25m gowns were never used by the NHS after government officials rejected them following an inspection."

  • (27 Mar 2022) Coronavirus keeps 200,000 pupils out of school as infection levels near record highs Canary article March 27:
    “Some 200,000 children are off school in England due to coronavirus (Covid-19), the education secretary said. He also promised more details on rapid testing this week when universal free provision is stopped. It comes as infection levels have approached record highs in England.
    “Nadhim Zahawi said further information about lateral flow tests will be set out on 1 April, when mass free testing will end in England. The government has said free tests will only be made available to the most vulnerable. But an education union has said removing free access when coronavirus cases are high “feels irresponsible”.”

  • (24 Mar 2022) Private emails reveal Gove’s role in Tory-linked firm’s PPE deals Guardian March 24:
    “Michael Gove was secretly involved in the process through which a PPE company linked to the Tory peer Michelle Mone secured huge government contracts, according to newly released documents that show private emails being used for government business.
    “The correspondence threatens to embroil Gove in the deepening controversy surrounding PPE Medpro, the company awarded government contracts worth £203m after it was referred to the “high-priority lane” for well connected companies.
    “They will also add to the growing scepticism over Lady Mone’s repeated insistence that she was not involved with the company, and cast further doubt on statements made on her behalf by her lawyers.”

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