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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.

  • Cancer patients face ‘perfect storm’ as Covid piles pressure on NHS Guardian October 22 with a grim warning:
    “Progress in clearing the NHS cancer treatment backlog in England has gone into reverse amid high Covid cases and staff shortages, analysis suggests.
    “With rising coronavirus hospitalisations also now piling pressure on the health service, experts have warned patients should brace themselves for worse to come as a “perfect storm” looms in cancer care.
    “The NHS has been striving to catch up with the pandemic backlog of cancer care but the analysis by Macmillan Cancer Support of official data suggests the drive has recently suffered a setback, with growing numbers of potential cancer diagnoses missed.
    “Four key cancer measures have fallen back, with two dropping to their worst ever recorded level….”

  • Boris Johnson’s recklessness over Covid-19 has led to a new NHS crisis Rachel Clarke in the New Statesman Oct 22:
    “This week, in the first national Covid press conference to be held in five weeks, the Health Secretary Sajid Javid looked the population in the eye and claimed: “We are a lot closer to normal than we were a few months ago.”
    “I suppressed the impulse to swear in front of the children, but only barely. The truth is that, in the week ending 17 June, the number of Covid hospital admissions numbered 1,220. By the week ending 17 October, that number had surged to 5,250 patients.
    “As I write, the daily Covid death toll has reached a seven-month high, and one in five intensive care beds are occupied by patients gravely unwell with the virus. Javid may deny on camera that the NHS is facing unsustainable pressures, but even he has to be aware that this is disastrously far from “normal”.
    “The truth – and it’s a truth the government seems to be doing everything in its power to deny – is that the NHS has been in the grip of a crisis ever since early summer. For months, events have been regularly occurring that should never take place in a properly functioning health service….”

  • Sajid Javid's alternative reality Blog by Independent health expert Shaun Lintern (Oct 22) nails the complete lack of leadership from ministers or NHS England:
    “… It seems there is real denial at the top of the NHS and government. At yesterday’s Downing Street press conference Sajid Javid said: “We don't believe the pressures on the NHS are unsustainable”. The UK’s military has been called in to help ambulance services to cope this summer in just one sign of how bad the situation is. I’m not sure what Sajid Javid’s definition of ‘unsustainable’ is but having to rely on soldiers to drive ambulances is in all four UK nations is not business as usual.
    “The health secretary also described almost 1,000 deaths a week as "mercifully low" - a comment he should not be allowed to forget anytime soon.
    “A day earlier NHS England’s CEO Amanda Pritchard told MPs on the health committee the NHS had not been overwhelmed during the pandemic – again she didn’t define what she meant by being overwhelmed but for a bit of a reality check consider that the NHS paused routine treatment for millions of patients, called in the military to staff wards and cancelled life-saving surgery.
    “Staff worked 20 hours days with makeshift critical wards set up and staff who had no experience of critical care being drafted in to look after sick and dying patients….”

  • Covid booster jabs: New vaccines minister hasn’t made a single national media appearance during slow roll-out MSN report Oct 21 showing how seriously Johnson is pushing for booster jabs:
    "Boris Johnson’s newly appointed Minister for Vaccines and Public Health has been accused of going missing in action during a crucial period in the UK’s fight against Covid.
    "Opposition MPs and a leading medical expert have condemned Maggie Throup for failing to keep up the pace of vital public health messaging and effectively “hiding away” from the media since taking the post.
    "The Tory MP for Erewash joined the Government under Boris Johnson’s Cabinet reshuffle on 15 September but has so far made no national media broadcast appearances – despite a sluggish uptake of the Covid booster jabs and rising case numbers.
    "Ms Throup has only made two appearances on BBC local radio, in her constituency, since taking up the post."

  • ‘Tsunami of unmet need’: Care watchdog contradicts government with dire NHS warning Independent Oct 21:
    “England’s NHS and care services face a “tsunami of unmet need”, the health watchdog has warned, despite ministers insisting that hospitals are coping with the huge surge in demand.
    “… The Care Quality Commission’s chief executive, Ian Trenholm, said NHS and care staff “cannot be expected to work any harder than they already are if we’re to get safely through this winter”.
    “What we’re seeing is many services are at capacity, and in many cases beyond capacity, and problems that traditionally could have been diverted can no longer be diverted,” he said.
    “Organisations needed to come together and work differently, he warned: “If these things don't happen there is the genuine risk of a tsunami of unmet need with many people not getting the care that they so desperately need this winter.”

  • NHS hospital declares ‘critical incident’ as demand higher ‘than any time during pandemic’ Independent Oct 21:
    “A major hospital has declared a “critical incident” after a surge in demand saw more than 100 patients awaiting treatment in A&E and 25 ambulances queueing outside. The Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske, in Truro said “unprecedented” pressure this week is worse “than at any point during the pandemic.”
    “It urged “families, friends and neighbours” to collect any patients who are able to “to leave hospital sooner.”
    “Managers at Cornwall’s main hospital raised the operating level from OPEL4 — known as a ‘black alert’ — to an ‘internal critical incident’ to allow for greater cooperation to ease the crisis.
    “It comes as the government is under intense pressure to reimpose some Covid-19 measures amid a surge in cases, with many other NHS clinics and hospitals across the country facing similar pressure.”

  • Care sector pushed to brink by staffing catastrophe UNISON Press Release Oct 21:
    “UNISON and the National Care Forum (NCF) have written jointly to Sajid Javid today (Thursday) calling for urgent action over the staffing crisis engulfing the care sector.
    “The letter to the health and social care secretary says they’ve taken this “unprecedented step” in response to daily reports from care providers and staff of serious worker shortages.
    “They say this “recruitment and retention emergency” has been triggered by “chronic underfunding leading to low wages, staff burnout, and mandatory vaccination”.
    “It comes ahead of the government’s spending review next week, and amid warnings that social care desperately needs an injection of cash just so care providers can maintain existing levels of service.
    “UNISON – the largest union representing employees in social care – and the NCF, the organisation representing not-for-profit care providers, say social care is gripped by a staffing crisis of “a magnitude that threatens to overwhelm the sector” unless the government steps in.”

  • Covid: UK daily cases surpass 50,000 for first time since end of lockdown Independent Oct 21:
    “The UK has recorded over 50,000 Covid-19 infections for the first time since the end of lockdown, latest government figures show.
    “A total of 52,009 cases were reported today, marking an increase of almost 3,000 cases since yesterday.
    “The news comes after Britain recorded more than 40,000 new positive cases for eight consecutive days leading up to 20 October.
    “Latest figures show there have been 372,603 people with a confirmed positive test result over the past 7 days - an increase of 18 per cent compared to the previous week.”

  • Third of low-income households unable to pay bills, finds research Guardian October 21 report on the government-driven worsening of poverty, and with it the health and prospects of millions of children and their parents:
    “Nearly 4 million low-income households are behind on rent, bills or debt payments, up threefold since the pandemic hit, according to a study revealing the growing cost of the living crisis facing the UK’s poorest families.
    “A third of the 11.6 million working-age households in the UK earning £25,000 or less were found to be in arrears on their rent or mortgage, utility bills, council tax bills or personal debt repayments, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).
    “The charity called for urgent government action to support families at the sharp end of pandemic-related financial pressures, including the reinstatement of the £20 uplift in universal credit, which was withdrawn earlier this month, and help with debts.
    “Behind these figures are parents gripped by anxiety, wondering how they will put food on their children’s plates and pay the gas bill; young people forced to rely on friends to help cover their rent and avoid eviction,” said Katie Schmuecker, the JRF deputy director for policy and partnerships.”

  • Yes, we have to live with Covid – but not with such irresponsible ministers Guardian Oct 20:
    “The UK has one of the highest per capita infection rates in the world: four times higher than Germany, nine times higher than France, and 25 times higher than Spain. Britain is a total outlier in western Europe.
    “By the start of October, 1 in 20 schoolchildren were Covid-positive. Already, before winter sets in, the NHS is struggling to cope with hospitalisations – one in five intensive care beds are occupied by Covid patients – while still having a backlog of more than 5m delayed treatments to clear.
    “The chief executive of the NHS Confederation, Matthew Taylor, said today, “We are right on the edge”, and called for the government to implement its Plan B for Covid. This would entail compulsory masks in indoor spaces and secondary schools, vaccine passports and advice to work from home. None of these things would cause significant economic disruption: no one is calling for a lockdown. They could mostly be implemented tomorrow.
    “They won’t be, as the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, indicated today. Downing St says it is keeping a “close eye” on the situation – which makes you wonder what they would need to see before acting.
    “This complacent attitude was exemplified by the health secretary, Sajid Javid, who reassured us recently that the infection rate “feel[s] quite stable”. As though the relatively massive absolute numbers – well over 40,000 new infections recorded every single day, which he now admits could hit 100,000 this winter – don’t matter so long as they don’t change….”

  • They let Covid rip through our care homes Good Law Project Oct 20:
    “… In May 2020 Matt Hancock the former Secretary of State for Health and Social Care claimed the Government ‘right from the start…threw a protective ring around care homes’. This was simply untrue. Good Law Project has exclusive access to the evidence – and it is horrifying.
    “Despite knowing elderly people were more likely to die from Covid, Government prioritised the rapid discharge of patients from hospitals into care homes, without sufficient testing. Incredibly, there is no mention of testing at all in the Government note: ‘How can we free up hospital bed capacity by rapidly discharging people into social care? 17 – 18 March 2020’.
    “Government ignored the pleas of care home staff, who were forced to take in patients discharged from hospital who had not been tested, knowing it would put their residents at risk.
    “One email dated 22nd March 2020 shows Dr Jenny Harries, now Head of Test and Trace, and officials in the Department for Health, discussing the fact that care homes on the ground did not want to take people from hospital without a negative test. Instead of listening and implementing testing, it appears the Government asked Dr Jenny Harries to issue statements to reassure worried care home staff ‘it’s safe to accept patients from hospital’.
    “As history records, it wasn’t.”

  • MPs set to reject move to make water firms cut sewage discharges Guardian on October 20 with yet another brazen example of Tory contempt for public health and the environment:
    “The government is to reject calls to place a legal duty on water companies to reduce raw sewage discharges into rivers.
    “MPs will debate the environmental bill on Wednesday in its final stages through parliament, and clean water campaigners want them to back what they say is a key amendment on sewage that was agreed in the House of Lords.
    “In 2020 raw sewage was discharged into waters more than 400,000 times over a total of more than 3.1 million hours. Sewage pollution is a key component of what MPs have heard is a chemical cocktail of pollutants going into rivers.”

  • Charge Bolsonaro with murder over Covid toll, draft Brazil senate report says Guardian Oct 19:
    “The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, should face murder charges for his role in the country’s “stratospheric” coronavirus death toll, a draft report from a senate inquiry into Brazil’s Covid crisis has recommended.
    “The 1,078-page document, published by Brazilian media on Tuesday afternoon, is not due to be voted on by the commission until next week and could yet be modified by senators.
    “But the draft text paints a devastating portrait of the neglect, incompetence and anti-scientific denialism many believe has defined the Bolsonaro administration’s response to a public health emergency that has killed more than 600,000 Brazilians.
    “Bolsonaro’s “deliberate and conscious” decision to delay buying Covid vaccines needlessly condemned thousands of citizens to early graves, the report claims.”

  • Implement ‘plan B’ winter measures now or risk NHS crisis, Johnson warned Guardian Oct 20 on increasing warnings from NHS professionals and management on the need for action to contain the new surge of Covid-19:
    “Ministers must urgently implement sweeping “plan B” winter measures or derail efforts to tackle the backlog of 5 million patients, the head of the NHS Confederation warned as the UK recorded its highest daily Covid death toll since March.
    “Infections have been rising sharply since the start of October but the government is resisting introducing the extra restrictions set out in its winter plan such as masks, vaccine passports and advice to work from home.
    “… Downing Street said it was keeping a “very close eye” on the situation. But Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation which represents the healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said immediate action was required to prevent the NHS “stumbling into a crisis” where the elective care recovery would be jeopardised.
    “Taylor said: “We are right on the edge – and it is the middle of October. It would require an incredible amount of luck for us not to find ourselves in the midst of a profound crisis over the next three months.”

  • Single rooms should be ‘default’ in hospitals, says Powis (£)HSJ story October 19 indicating the extent to which the preoccupation with infection control has left no room for priority to be given to re-organising existing buildings to restore capacity lost because of Covid. The single room set-up would reduce the numbers of beds and increase the costs of building and running any new hospitals that may eventually be built. But NHS England's medical director says:
    “Single rooms should be the ‘default’ for inpatients in English hospitals as they would improve infection control and patient flow, NHS England and Improvement’s national medical director has said.
    “Stephen Powis told the Commons health and social care committee the need to move towards individual rooms was a key consideration in determining the NHS’s capital budget which is being negotiated with ministers.”

  • England’s GPs overwhelmingly reject Health Secretary’s plan to ‘support’ general practice BMA Press Release Oct 19:
    “Thousands of GPs in England have told the BMA that the Health Secretary’s package of measures to supposedly rescue general practice is useless. 93% of respondents surveyed by the BMA say it is an unacceptable response to the current crisis.
    “Almost 3,500 GPs in England took part in the snap poll1 after Sajid Javid published details of a package which he claimed was to improve access to GPs. However, doctors have made clear it would in fact increase workload and bureaucracy on GPs and their colleagues, reduce the number of appointments available, and impact the quality of patient care, while threatening to name-and-shame and penalise practices that need the most help.
    “The 93% figure is the clearest articulation yet that frontline GPs working across the country do not believe the plan will go any way to addressing the pressures facing general practice, staff and patients.
    “The BMA is warning that the impact of such a damaging move from the Government on staffing levels could be disastrous. The latest GP workforce figures show that England has lost around 1,800 full-time equivalent, fully-qualified GPs since 2015, despite the Government promising 6,000 more.
    “However, Sajid Javid could be to blame for this number plummeting further. In addition to today’s survey results, a separate survey2 of more than 6,000 GPs in England, conducted in the week before the announcement, found that two-thirds (66%) of respondents were prepared to reduce their hours to protect themselves from the current crisis, while more than half (54%) shockingly said they would consider leaving the NHS all together if the Government did not provide them with the support they needed.”

  • Third Scottish health board asks for military assistance for winter Independent Oct 19:
    “A third Scottish health board has requested help from the armed forces as it faces staffing shortages ahead of the winter months.
    “A formal request for military support was made by NHS Grampian as the health service faces growing pressure as a result of coronavirus and the backlog of care built up during the pandemic.
    “Last week, the British Army was called in to help NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Borders, with a total of 86 personnel deployed for a three-week period.
    “Soldiers are also helping the Scottish Ambulance Service vehicles under a separate arrangement.
    “… Staffing pressures mean acute services - such as emergency departments, surgeries and diagnostics - in the NHS are operating at capacity.”

  • Millions waiting to receive booster jab amid fears of rising Covid hospitalisations Independent Oct 19:
    “Almost 5 million people are at a greater risk of catching Covid as they have yet to receive their booster jabs, health officials and experts have warned.
    “Under government guidance, those aged over 50 and vulnerable groups who were double vaccinated at least six months ago are eligible for a third dose, but there are fears that poor communications around the programme and logistical complications could be hindering uptake.
    “Although vaccine coverage is high across the UK, infection rates are returning to those seen during the winter wave. Some 49,156 tested positive for Covid on Monday, a weekly rise of 22 per cent and the highest figure since the end of lockdown.
    “The failure to “top up” waning protection levels could place further pressure on the NHS, with hospitalisations of the elderly already beginning to creep up.”

  • Patients waiting almost 50 hours for a bed in crowded A&E departments Independent on the escalating crisis in acute hospitals Oct 18:
    “Patients are waiting almost 50 hours for a bed in accident and emergency departments – including children with serious mental health problems – amid warnings a winter crisis in the NHS is already underway.
    “The Independent has seen information showing multiple patients at Royal Preston Hospital in Lancashire have faced lengthy waits for a bed in recent days with some spending in excess of 40 hours before getting a bed.
    “One patient last week spent at least 47 hours in the A&E with staff warning the long waits are a regular occurrence.
    “The situation is being replicated across England with multiple hospitals declaring incidents and seeing record waits for patients to see doctors. Some patients have waited 13 hours in the back of an ambulance before even getting into A&E.
    “At Ipswich Hospital, in Suffolk, a child under the age of 16 with serious mental health problems waited almost 48 hours in the A&E department there last week. The trust confirmed this was because of a lack of specialist mental health beds being available for children – a problem being reported across the NHS.”

  • Statement on accreditation status of Immensa Health Clinic Ltd / Dante Labs Ltd Statement from UKAS, the National Accreditation Body for the United Kingdom, clarifying that it never accredited the latest company to be embroiled in a Covid procurement scandal:
    “From the beginning of the pandemic, UKAS has been working with government to provide advice on quality assurance and accreditation of laboratories performing COVID-19 testing including laboratories that have been supporting the national testing provision (NHS Test and Trace) and also private testing providers.
    “Since November 2020 UKAS has been working with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to develop a three stage UKAS accreditation process for private providers of COVID-19 testing. Under the scheme, organisations that take swab samples and/or test them are required to demonstrate their ability to meet the required standard by progressing through each stage – application, appraisal and accreditation – with increasing levels of assessment by UKAS.
    “Only after successfully completing the third stage is the organisation accredited by UKAS. To date, UKAS has received over 500 applications/extensions to scope requests for COVID-19 testing/sampling and has accredited 245 public and private sector laboratories/sample-takers.
    “Neither Immensa Health Clinic Ltd nor its related company Dante Labs Ltd has been accredited by UKAS.”

  • UK government ordered to reveal firms awarded ‘VIP’ Covid contracts Guardian Oct 18:
    “The UK government has been ordered to reveal which companies were given “VIP” access to multimillion-pound contracts for the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the early months of the Covid pandemic, in a ruling from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
    “The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has previously refused to disclose the names of 47 companies that had contracts awarded through the privileged, fast-track process allocated to firms with political connections.
    “A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) last year found that companies referred as possible PPE suppliers by ministers, MPs or senior NHS officials were given high priority by the DHSC procurement process, which resulted in a 10 times greater success rate for securing contracts than companies whose bids were processed via normal channels.”

  • UK lab investigated for false negative Covid tests is not fully accredited Guardian Oct 18 on the scandal surrounding the lab company that gave thousands of false negative tests for Covid:
    “The private laboratory that is under investigation for potentially issuing more than 40,000 false negative Covid tests was not fully accredited to perform the work, contrary to assurances made by health officials.
    “The UK’s independent accreditation service, Ukas, told the Guardian on Monday that neither Immensa Health Clinics Ltd nor its sister company, Dante Labs, had ever been accredited by the service, and that it had informed the Department of Health that statements suggesting otherwise were incorrect.
    “The UK Health Security Agency announced on Friday that it was suspending operations at Immensa’s laboratory in Wolverhampton pending an investigation into concerns that at least 43,000 people with coronavirus had been wrongly told their swabs tested negative for the virus.”

  • NHS hospitals still using out-of-date MRI and CT scanners, report says Independent Oct 18:
    “NHS hospitals are still using body-scanning equipment long past its recommended lifespan which could potentially have negative impacts on care, according to a report.
    “Channel 4’s Dispatches used freedom of information rules to find out how many CT and MRI scanners were in use after the 10-year mark, when NHS bosses recommend they be retired. More than one-quarter (27.1 per cent) of trusts in NHS England had at least one out-of-date CT scanner, a figure which leapt to 34.5 per cent for MRI machines.
    “Among the potential problems with obsolete units are the need for higher radiation doses to achieve image quality comparable to newer machines, and an end to software upgrades reducing their usefulness, according to an NHS report from last year. Ultimately these and other shortcomings can impact care, the document said.
    “Dispatches found several hospitals were using outdated CT scanners. All four machines at the Royal Berkshire Hospitals Trust were 10 or more years old, while King’s College Hospital was found to possess a CT scanner acquired in 2007 and another that was 11 years old.”

  • Woman dies after two hour wait in ambulance outside James Paget Hospital Norfolk Live story Oct 14:
    “A woman has died after suffering a heart attack while waiting in a queue of ambulances at the James Paget Hospital, Gorleston-on-Sea. The woman had been waiting in a queue of ambulances for more than two hours and died just as she got into the Emergency Department.
    “The incident happened on Monday morning (October 11), just days after local NHS services declared a maximum alert due to acute pressures.
    “The BBC reported that Norfolk and Waveney went to OPEL 4 the previous Wednesday over fears patient care could be compromised. Operations Pressure Escalation Level (Opel) 4 is declared when a "comprehensive care" is unable to be delivered and patient safety is at risk.
    “Speaking anonymously, an ambulance worker told the BBC: "We're under a tremendous amount of pressure.”

  • Austerity in England linked to more than 50,000 extra deaths in five years Guardian Oct 14:
    “Austerity cuts to the NHS, public health and social care have killed tens of thousands more people in England than expected, according to the largest study of its kind.
    “Researchers who analysed the joint impact of cuts to healthcare, public health and social care since 2010 found that even in just the following four years the spending squeeze was linked with 57,550 more deaths than would have been expected. The findings, worse than previously thought, were revealed in the journal BMJ Open.
    “The research by the University of York also found that a slowdown in life expectancy improvement coincided with the government’s sharp cuts to health and social care funding after David Cameron came to power a decade ago.
    “Restrictions on the growth in health and social care expenditure during ‘austerity’ have been associated with tens of thousands more deaths than would have been observed had pre-austerity expenditure growth been sustained,” said Prof Karl Claxton of the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York.”

  • 50% Of Americans Now Carry Medical Debt, A New Chronic Condition For Millions Forbes magazine Oct 13:
    “Fully half of Americans now carry medical debt, up from 46% in 2020, according to new data from Debt.com, a consumer financial education company.
    “More than half (57%) of Americans with medical debt owe at least $1,000, driven by diagnostic tests, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits, the survey showed.
    “In a weird way, Covid didn’t have as big an impact on medical debt as you might think—but only because medical debt was such a huge problem before the pandemic,” said Don Silvestri, CEO of Debt.com. “If anything, Covid forced more people to consider the seriousness of the problem.”
    “Though more people reported having medical debt compared to last year, less than half (46%) said their bills were in collections this year, down from 56% in 2020.
    “Despite the decrease, a recent JAMA study showed that debt collectors hold $140 billion in medical debt, not including credit card balances and unpaid medical bills that haven’t hit consumers’ credit reports.”

  • Plans to hand over NHS data to police sparks warning from government adviser Independent report Oct 11:
    “Plans to force the NHS to share confidential data with police forces across England are “very problematic” and could see patients giving false information to doctors, the government’s data watchdog has warned.
    “In her first national interview, the data guardian for England told The Independent she has serious concerns over Home Office plans to impose a responsibility on the NHS to share patient data with police which she said “sets aside” the duty of confidentiality for clinicians.
    “Dr Nicola Byrne also warned that emergency powers brought in to allow the sharing of data to help tackle the spread of Covid-19 could not run on indefinitely after they were extended to March 2022.
    “… The legislation could impose a duty on NHS bodies to disclose private patient data to police to prevent serious violence and crucially sets aside a duty of confidentiality on clinicians collecting information when providing care.
    “Dr Byrne said doing so could “erode trust and confidence, and deter people from sharing information and even from presenting for clinical care”.”

  • The Observer view on benefit cuts Observer Editorial Oct 10 on the benefit cuts that will undermine the health of millions for years to come:
    “The government enacted the biggest ever overnight benefit cut last week. In one fell swoop, low-paid parents and unpaid carers of disabled people have lost more than £1,000 a year from their annual budgets, at a time when energy and food costs are steadily climbing and many are still feeling the impact of the pandemic.
    “The result of these political choices is that more children will grow up without the fundamentals no child should ever be without: a warm and secure home; going to bed without feeling hungry at night. Not even Marcus Rashford, the footballer who speaks with such moral clarity about child poverty and who has forced the government to U-turn from enacting policies that cause harm to children, could extract a concession from the government this time.
    “It has justified this unconscionable policy on two grounds. First, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has argued this is not a benefit cut, but simply a removal of a temporary and pandemic-related uplift to low-income families with children. Second, Boris Johnson claimed in his speech to the Conservative conference last week that by dramatically reducing low-skill immigration in the wake of Brexit, he was setting the country on a path to productivity and wage growth that we are led to believe will more than compensate for his decision to slash financial support to parents and carers.
    “Both are rhetorical sleights of hand. The £20 a week boost in universal credit introduced at the start of the pandemic must be set in the context of a decade of cuts to financial support for low-income parents that cost some families thousands of pounds a year. These were delivered while Conservative chancellors initiated income tax cuts to the tune of billions a year that disproportionately benefited more affluent families.”

  • Sajid Javid working on radical plan to merge social care with health in England Observer report October 10, reporting on Tory plans for social care changes drive not by concern for social care but by problems in the NHS:
    “Radical plans for a new national care service under which health and social care would be delivered by the same organisation are being actively considered by the government for inclusion in a white paper next month, according to senior Conservatives and Whitehall sources.
    “The idea of local authorities and the NHS taking joint responsibility for social care, perhaps working from a single combined budget for the first time, would amount to one of the most far-reaching reforms since the NHS was founded in 1948.
    “At present, local authorities have responsibility for running social care services in their own areas. Critics say there is, as a result, insufficient incentive for cash-strapped councils to develop better care for people in their homes or in the community, as it is cheaper for them if those in need go into hospital where the cost is met from the separate NHS budget.
    “The result is that many people who could be cared for at home or in the community end up occupying much-needed hospital beds.”

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