- Only Labour’s tax promise makes sense Tax expert Richard Murphy with a useful take on the main party manifestos:
"The IFS have said this plan from Labour is not credible. I disagree. The plan for investment is largely in small projects that can be ratcheted up quickly as skills become available. And the social plans will achieve their goal, including of increasing incomes. This is a plan for the moment.
"The tax dimension of it (and it’s always an aspect) also makes sense. To the extend that tax is needed the aim is threefold. Wealth is taxed more, as it is dramatically undertaxed now. Labour is right to tax it more. The same is true of corporation tax, where Labour’s proposed unitary tax base for international taxation will lead the world, whilst the increase in rates will simply bring the UK back into line with the world. No one is actually going to change their behaviour as a result of either reform. And nor, when it comes down to it, will almost any one those who are well off enough to earn more than £80,000 a year flee the country, or even work less, as a result."
- The £20.5 billion NHS England spending increase Full Fact nails a key fraudulent Tory claim to be giving a "record" cash increase to the NHS
- Tory candidate featured in party manifesto suspended as a midwife Guardian reveals:
"Natalie Neale, who is taking on the shadow health secretary, Jon Ashworth, in Leicester South, was barred from practising as a registered midwife for 18 months in August under an interim order by the Nursing and Midwifery Council while it investigates an unspecified allegation against her.
"Under the order, she must immediately inform any organisation employing her as nurse that she is subject to a condition of practice order.
"Separately, Neale lost a claim for wrongful dismissal earlier this year after she walked out of her role as a clinical advisor for the private health provider Care UK in 2017, when it was running services for West Midlands ambulance service."
- Fears child poverty may rise to record 60-year high under Tories Guardian highlights report from Resolution Foundation with a grim warning:
"An analysis by the organisation predicted a rise in the number of children living in relative poverty under a Boris Johnson-led government to 34.5% in 2023-24 up from 29.6% in 2017-18.
"The thinktank released its research after the manifesto launches showed a huge gulf in what the two main parties are prepared to put into public spending, with Labour committing 28 times as much as the Conservatives.
"Johnson set aside an extra £2.9bn a year by the end of the parliament that will largely go into more nurses, GP appointments and free childcare, while Jeremy Corbyn set out an extra £83bn a year for a programme of free broadband, scrapping university fees, reversing benefit cuts and extra funding for the NHS and social care.
"The Resolution Foundation said Labour’s £9bn of extra spending on social security would mean 550,000 fewer children in poverty but would not lead to current poverty rates falling."
- Johnson accused of misleading voters over a pledge to recruit 50,000 new nurses Nursing Notes breakdown of the Tory manifesto promise:
"The party pledged to recruit thousands of more nurses and bring back student bursaries.
"Boris Johnson has again been accused of misleaders voters as a pledge to recruit 50,000 new nurses has been branded “fake”.
"The new financial support measures for students would produce an extra 14,000 nurses, while 12,500 more will be recruited from overseas and 5,000 from nursing apprenticeships, party aides revealed."
- Patients left waiting for up to 12 hours at Great Western Hospital Report from Swindon Gazette & Herald on the failing performance at Swindon's PFI-funded hospital.
- Pensions workaround is best short term response available but falls short of a full and fair solution for all NHS staff NHS Providers respond to the short term fix which ministers have wrongly claimed has scrapped the tax system they brought in that has caused chaos in the NHS, penalising top paid consultants who work overtime.
- NHS hospital declares 'black alert' as patients queue for hours in A&E corridors Daily Mirror report on crisis conditions at Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro
"An NHS hospital has been placed on a 'black alert' OPEL 4 status as patients were filmed queuing in corridors and ambulances piled up outside A&E.
"Emergencies at the Royal Cornwall Hospital's soared over the weekend before the department was placed on the highest operational pressure level."
- Care homes need the industry leaks to be plugged, not just more money Open democracy article by CHPI's Vivek Kotecha shows how the extra money for social care is likely just to line the pockets of shareholders:
"Currently, a substantial chunk of the money which currently goes into the privately-owned adult care home sector doesn't go anywhere near front line care, but instead leaks out to investors, private equity firms, and real estate companies that are often based in offshore tax havens. Pour additional funds into the sector, without reform, and there’s a high risk of more of the same.
"In September, the Chancellor promised an additional £1.5bn of funding for social care. But in CHPI’s latest report, we estimate that of the £15 billion currently going into the independent care home sector, around 10% leaks out in the form of profit, directors’ fees, debt repayment, and rents, often dubiously calculated and paid to other parts of the same organisation.
"That’s right – the same amount of money promised by the Chancellor, is currently just leaking straight back out again."
- NHS nurse stressed after working 12-hour shifts killed herself after 'downward spiral' Guardian reports "A dedicated NHS nurse who had 'nightmares about work' committed suicide after the stress of working 12 hour shifts left her unable to lead a life of her own at home, an inquest heard.
"Leona Goddard, 35, had dreams of settling down and having a family but struggled to have a social life after being burdened with unpredictable work hours and extra responsibilities at Prestwich Hospital in Manchester.
"Although her work colleagues rated her as ''outstanding'' Miss Goddard, a nursing manager who worked in a mental health unit, had developed low self esteem due to the long hours."
- Older people dying for want of social care at rate of three an hour Guardian reports on the shocking scale of the gaps in social care and their brutal impact:
"At least 74,000 older people in England have died, or will die, waiting for care between the 2017 and 2019 general elections. A total of 81 older people are dying every day, equating to about three an hour, research by Age UK has found.
"In the 18 months between the last election and the forthcoming one, 1,725,000 unanswered calls for help for care and support will have been made by older people. This, said the charity, was the equivalent of 2,000 futile appeals a day, or 78 an hour."
- Calls to scrap ‘immoral’ NHS fee for foreign staff Guardian reports:
"Boris Johnson’s plans to charge foreign staff who help save British lives £625 a year to use the NHS will worsen its staffing crisis, doctors’ and nurses’ leaders have warned.
"They have reacted with dismay over the prime minister’s proposal to increase the so-called health surcharge payable by non-EU staff for the third time in four years and demand it should be scrapped completely.
"The Conservative party announced on Sunday it was going to increase the surcharge from £400 to £625 a year for all non-EU migrant workers and extend it to all EU citizens who migrate to the UK after Brexit.
"The fee is payable for each member of a family migrating, meaning nurses from popular recruitment spots such as the Philippines and India who come to Britain with a spouse and two children will have to pay the government £2,500 a year for the privilege of working in the NHS."
- Millions 'missing out' on NHS dentistry Just after Labour first floated the idea of restoring free basic dentistry on the NHS -- now incorporated in their manifesto -- BBC report spells out the scale of the problem:
"More than 2 million adults in England are unable to see an NHS dentist, BBC analysis suggests.
"They include an estimated 1.45 million who have tried and failed to get an NHS appointment in two years with the rest on waiting lists or put off by cost.
"Another 2 million assume they cannot get care where they live, suggesting nearly one in 10 miss out overall.
"Dental leaders said the findings - based on official NHS data - showed access was a problem in every region."
- Hitting the poorest worst? How public health cuts have been experienced in England’s most deprived communities IPPR report spells out the scale, and unequal impact of years of cutbacks in public health spending since 2014, showing that the poorest areas with the greatest needs have suffered the largest cuts. Why is this not surprising?
- Privatisation in the English NHS: fact or fiction? Nuffield Trust presents their different appraoch to the scale of privatisation of NHS funded services, that appears to be a tacit counter to the recent blog by CHPI researcher David Rowland -- without ever mentioning it. Instead the Nuffs embark on their own set of figures:
"Around 22% of the English health spending goes to organisations that are not NHS trusts or other statutory bodies.
"But this includes many services that the general public would regard as being within the health service. For example, almost all the GPs, dentists, pharmacists and opticians who treat NHS patients are private businesses, and have been since the inception of the NHS in 1948."
- Shrewsbury maternity trust could be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter Independent's new health correspondent Shaun Lintern has continued his exposure of safety scandals he began when he was at the Health Service Journal.
The scandal is already the biggest in NHS maternity services, and seems set to be the biggest ever failure of care to hit the NHS.
- Barking's ex-BA finance chief quits due to lack of progress (£)HSJ report on the failure of a high-flying former BA finance chief brought to earth by the intractable financial crisis of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge hospitals trust.
- Revealed: NHS running short of dozens of lifesaving medicines Guardian reports on worrying information and government attempts to keep it under wraps:
"The NHS is running short of dozens of lifesaving medicines including treatments for cancer, heart conditions and epilepsy, the Guardian has learned.
"An internal 24-page document circulated to some doctors last Friday from the medicine supply team at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), headed “commercial-sensitive”, listed many drugs currently hit by shortages at the NHS."
The document warned: “This information is confidential to the NHS, please do not upload to websites in the public domain.”
- NHS bosses accused of gagging staff during election campaign Guardian report probes deeeper after "NHS staff claim they are being prevented from speaking out during the election campaign because their bosses are applying rules about political neutrality too zealously.
"Health workers have been told not to get involved in any political debates on social media during the campaign. NHS organisations have also banned staff from appearing in uniform or featuring any of their equipment, such as an ambulance, in their online posts or profiles."
- To Lower Costs, Trump to Force Hospitals to Reveal Price of Care New York Times report on the latest attempt by Trump's administration to bolster the illusion that market forces and price competition can be used to transform the monstrously inequitable and inefficient US health care system - rather than the establishment of the 'single payer' system campaigners are fighting for.
"The Trump administration on Friday announced it would begin forcing hospitals to publicly disclose the discounted prices they negotiate with insurance companies, a potentially bold move to help people shop for better deals on a range of medical services, from hip replacements to brain scans.
“For decades, hospitals, insurance companies, lobbyists and special interests have hidden prices from consumers, so they could drive up costs for you, and you had no idea what was happening,” President Trump said Friday afternoon in the White House’s Roosevelt Room. “You’d get bills that were unbelievable and you’d have no idea why.”
- NHS staff working 1m hours a week of unpaid overtime, Labour says Guardian reports "NHS staff are working over a million hours a week of unpaid overtime to help the health service deal with an unprecedented demand for care, according to research by the Labour party.
"Its estimate is based on an analysis of data in the NHS Staff Survey of the views and experiences of 497,000 health service personnel in England.
"The most recent edition of the survey, published in February, found that many staff put in extra hours for no extra pay, and that some do as much as 11 hours a week unpaid overtime.
"Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said staff working beyond their standard shift were paying the price for the NHS’s widespread workforce shortages."
- Is the NHS facing unprecedented demand? BBC report notes that much of the rising demand is said by the government to be due to an increasingly elderly population: but this increase should be no surprise – these are not recent immigrants, but people who have been living here for decades..
“From 2006 to 2019, the whole UK population rose by about 1% per year - but the proportion of those aged 85 or over has risen more rapidly.
“Figures from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) indicate treating an 80-year-old is, on average, almost four times as expensive as treating a 30-year-old.
Older people are more likely to be living with long-term conditions for which there are no cures, notably dementia. They often also have multiple health problems, which can add to the cost and complexity of their care.”
Perhaps the most chilling note is struck by Richard Murray, from the Kings Fund, who “said the number of people arriving at hospital had risen relentlessly over time. The difference now is that they are often a lot older, have multiple conditions and are sicker.”
“Relentlessly” suggests an irritation that these sicker older people have not had the decency to die, and that they are only hanging around to be awkward.
- Global health and the digital Wild West: Short report from the Tek4HealthEquity conference Interesting critque of the new mania for apps and digital technology that is dominant in NHS England and of course dominates Matt Hancock.
Well worth a read:
"At the recent Tek4HealthEquity conference (1-2 Nov) organized by the Independent Panel on Global Governance for Health at the New School in New York City, we discussed the conditions upon which technologies might serve health equity. Presentations highlighted that discriminatory design, high costs and weak regulations are just some of the challenges to the idea of digital public goods capable of reducing global and national-level inequities in health."
- NHS set for 'worst ever' winter crisis as A&E waiting times worsen again Pulse magazine's take on the performance figures:
"The NHS is on a ‘collision course’ for its worst ever winter recorded, the BMA has warned again as A&E waiting times have failed to improve.
"New official data released today shows the NHS's peformance against the four-hour A&E waiting time target - in which 95% of patients are expected to be seen - is at its worst level since records began.
"Only 83.6% of patients were seen within four hours in all A&E departments in England in October, compared with 89.1% in October last year – the lowest figure since data was first collected."
- Hospital waiting times at worst-ever level BBC report states: "Key targets for cancer, hospital care and A&E have been missed for over three years - with delays for hospital care and in A&E hitting their highest levels since both targets were introduced.
"The monthly figures - the last before the election - prompted Labour and the Liberal Democrats to attack the Tories' record on the NHS.
"But Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "huge demand" was to blame."
- Figures show we could be on track for 100,000 trolley waits Response to today’s NHS performance statistics from NHS England, Nuffield Trust Chief Economist Professor John Appleby, who said:
“These figures show the next Government will immediately be faced with one of the bleakest winters in the NHS’s history. We have many months to go until seasonal pressures really hit the NHS, but October has already seen an unprecedented slump with performance against the main A&E target worse than ever. The health service is seeing far more patients, yet one in six is now waiting more than four hours in A&E. If the usual trends continue after Christmas, that would head towards one in five."
- More people than ever turning to food banks, charity says Guardian reports that the Trussell Trust, which runs two-thirds of the UK’s food banks, said it distributed a record 823,145 food parcels between April and September, including 301,653 that went to children.
"This was a 23% increase on the same period last year, representing the steepest rise the charity has witnessed since its network of food banks was fully established.
"The top three reasons cited by people needing emergency food were insufficient benefit income, at 36%, followed by delays in benefit payments at 18% and changes to benefit at 16%."
- Tory pledge to recruit 50,000 new nurses exposed as ‘fake’ after Boris Johnson unveils manifesto Swift deconstruction of key Tory manifesto pledge by the Independent;
"Boris Johnson has been accused of “deceit” over his plans for the NHS, after his promise of “50,000 more nurses” turned out to include 18,500 existing nurses who the government hopes to persuade to remain in the workforce."
- Conservative party manifesto 2019: fact checked Full Fact throws the spotlight on the Tory manifesto promises.
It notes that the Tories appear to have seriously underestimated the cost of paying for and supporting 50,000 nurses:
"Even without adding training costs, as a very rough indication, 50,000 nurses at pay band 5 cost the NHS in the region of £2.8 billion a year based on this estimate (or £2.6 billion excluding capital overheads). The actual cost will be higher as some move up the pay scale, and considering ongoing training costs as well."
- NHS scrambles funding to help hospitals with winter crisis (£) HSJ report on the fact that ministers have left it far too late for any extra cash to be found or to affect the performance this winter:
"In previous years there has typically been pot of winter pressures funding announced by the government – sometimes up to £700m - with money distributed widely among acute providers.
"The government has not done so this year – and the money of offer, thought to be a smaller amount, appears to be on an ad-hoc basis, targeted at providers that can use the resources most effectively.
"The purdah period leading up to the general election on 12 December would now be likely to prevent any national announcement of a fund."
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