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Lipstick On A Monster – Comment on This NHS U-turn was a fake by Jacqueline Davis and Nursing Times Poll Results

7 Jul

The BMA has twice voted for the bill to be scrapped, and a British Medical Journal poll this week showed 93% calling for its withdrawal. Today the heart tsar, Sir Roger Boyle, resigned, saying: “I feel in my bones the current changes are not correct and ministers were not prepared to change them substantially.” How much more proof is needed that nothing significant has changed? The BMJ christened the bill “Lansleys monster” when it first appeared. The politicians took it away, slapped on some lipstick and asked us to embrace it. A monster with lipstick is still a monster. It needs to be terminated with extreme prejudice.

via This NHS U-turn was a fake | Jacqueline Davis | Comment is free | The Guardian.

For people interested in the NHS Reforms (ie. anyone who has ever received or is interesting in receiving public healthcare) this pretty good gaurdian article by Jacqueline Davis reports a few interesting things, and is a good read.

In brief:

  • All the mechanisms for privatization of the NHS are still in place
  • Many trusts will be tempted to boost private income at the expense of public patients
  • The proposed reduction in bureaucracy and putting the power into the hands of GPs in reality means increased bureaucracy (various monitors, consortia, groups and organizations are no proposed) and GPs subordinate to commercial companies
  • A Poll by the BMJ has received a 93% vote that even despite changes (or perhaps because of) the health and social care bill should be scrapped.
  • “The secretary of state’s “duty to provide” comprehensive health care is now so obscure that teams of lawyers are working their way through the legalese in an attempt to understand it”

On top of that the Nursing Times this week released the results of their own poll questioning “Do changes to the health bill go far enough to safeguard the NHS?”

The results were 100% no, displaying that readers of the Nursing Times unanimously have absolutely no faith in the health and social care bill and the changes which the government has been making to it.

In conclusion, doctors don’t like it, nurses don’t like it, it would appear many patients don’t like, hell even most politicians don’t even like it but a couple of politicians love it and so do private companies.

I’m still not too keen.

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Bury the bill — Delamothe et al. 342 — bmj.com

28 Jun

Only a handful of companies in the world exceed the £100bn turnover of the English NHS; none would have embarked on change in this harebrained fashion. This is the take home message for the next government that spots a once in a generation opportunity to reform the NHS.

via Bury the bill — Delamothe et al. 342 — bmj.com.

Mental health experts warn against pace of incapacity benefit cuts | Society | The Guardian

9 Jun

Liz Woollard, 48, who suffers from depression and anxiety, says she failed the test despite two GPs, a psychiatrist and a senior nurse stating she was not able to work. Following a 54-minute assessment, Woollard says she was turned down for employment support allowance. The subsequent report stated she “did not appear to be trembling … sweating … or making rocking movements”.

via Mental health experts warn against pace of incapacity benefit cuts | Society | The Guardian.

BBC News – Cameron outlines changes to NHS reforms after criticism

7 Jun

Good news on the reforms! Finally! But is it too good to be true? Lets hope not.

He said the NHS would remain a universal service, changes would improve “efficient and integrated care”, hospital waiting times would be “kept low”, NHS budgets would increase every year and there would be no privatisation nor cherry-picking by private providers.

“There can be no compromise on this. It is what patients expect. It is what doctors and nurses want. And it is what this government is determined to deliver.”

via BBC News – Cameron outlines changes to NHS reforms after criticism.

Nurse consortia role must be ‘enshrined in law’ | News | Nursing Times

6 Jun

More condemnation for the NHS Reforms.

In its response to the government’s “listening exercise” on amendments to the troubled legislation, Royal College of Nursing general secretary and chief executive Peter Carter said the bill needed “significant amendments”, rather than “minor and superficial” changes.

via Nurse consortia role must be ‘enshrined in law’ | News | Nursing Times.

Unison’s head of health calls for the bill to be scrapped altogether and the Royal College of Midwives general secretary describes it as reckless and poorly thought through.

Stop Lansley’s NHS plans – Evidence seems to suggest Lansley is NOT listening as promised and DOES plan to privatize

22 May

I had planned to write about a variety of things I was interested in on this blog. Just mostly because I enjoy learning and I enjoy writing. Writing helps me to put my thoughts and learning on a subject into a cohesive structure. Plus then it’ll be down on virtual paper so it’s there if I ever wonder again or ‘forget’ or even change my mind. I look back and see where I went wrong and learn from it.

At the minute though all I can do is try to get my head around these NHS reforms.

I’ve actually looked into a variety of international comparison studies and research now. There are pros and cons of each healthcare system in each country plus pros and cons of the methodologies used in each study.

One thing that I believe I have discovered however, is that any claims that the NHS delivers low quality or low value for money are based purely on ideology and are nothing more than political rhetoric.

In fact Lansley has claimed to have evidence a number of times falsely. I’ve read that ‘evidence’ and the researchers actually explicitly concluded that by 2012 that NHS would be ahead of most countries, including France which spent much more money – if it continue as it was.

I’ve detailed that in my letter to my MP, quoting Ben Goldacre’s piece on Lansley’s claims and the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal article that re-assed the ‘evidence’ Lansley had and further confirmed that his assessment was either 1) a misunderstanding on his part or 2) a deliberate attempt at misinformation.

My problem is that when the facts are on your side you argue the facts. It seems that Lansley is straight up purposefully misleading the public, and then I can only conclude that he is up to no good.

Anyway there will be more on that when I’ve finished reading all of this very complicated research(and long, did I mention long? pages and pages and pages long of complicated policy and research documents, I’m not even into policy that much but it seems important that this be something I attempt to understand more deeply…always love a bit of interesting research though tbh…yeah I’m a nerd). I’ll deliver my understanding of it all then.

But right now, I’ve received a very interesting newsletter.

I’m not really one for ‘conspiracy theories’ but evidence seems to be appearing that Lansley isn’t planning on listening during this listening exercise in that slightest and that he does in fact plan on privatizing the NHS. Letters to companies show that he and his top advisers have told private health companies that they can expect “big profits” in the future when we move to a more american ‘insurance based’ style.

There was one piece of research which demonstrated that out of five top countries the UK not only spent the least on healthcare but was top in for quality in a number of categories with America spending more than double the UK on healthcare and landing bottom in quality in a very large number of categories per capita and yet has never been demonstrated to be clear cut top. In fact in all research there are some areas America does well and some it does very very badly – some comparisons demonstrate America far below average in comparisons of 30 countries in certain aspects…America is also one of only two countries in which 100% of people are not covered for health. On top of that only 89% of people who are covered actually receive treatment. This seems bad news as currently 100% of brits are covered by the state and will receive treatment when we need it.

The bottom line is that if anyone claims that an American style system is clearly and demonstrably the way forward they either haven’t looked at the evidence, they don’t understand the evidence or they are lying about it…of course there are pros and cons but the evidence as I currently understand it seems to suggests America’s system is less cost effective and in many areas poorer quality than the NHS…as I said I’ll dig through these studies in more detail later in a more thorough report.

For now, read this…

“When we tell him his plans aren’t working, he doesn’t seem to want to hear what we’re saying.”

Dr Hamish Meldrum, Chair of the British Medical Association, May 2011. 


YouGov research paid for by 38 Degrees members has found that 95% of the public have no idea how to get involved with the “listening exercise”. (1)


Andrew Lansley’s “listening exercise” has been carefully stage-managed. Lots of events have been announced after they’ve finished or shut off from the public – like in Sheffield where local 38 Degrees members couldn’t get in because it was invitation only. But that’s not the only reason it’s a sham – behind the scenes, health officials have been told to carry on with Lansley’s original plans(2)


Doctors, nurses, and patients’ groups have been queueing up to say how dangerous Lansley’s NHS plans are. [3] Last week, the Royal College of GPs said they could “unravel” the NHS. And last Sunday, The Observer revealed that one of Lansley’s top advisers told private health companies to expect big profits when the NHS moves to a US-style “insurance system”.

We can’t let that happen. We all rely on the NHS sooner or later, to take care of us and our loved ones. It’s not perfect, but that’s no excuse for ignoring the advice of the real experts and pushing through these huge, untested changes. To stop these plans, 38 Degrees members are contacting and meeting MPs up and down the country. We’re building a huge petition showing the extent of public concern.

So now let’s put these adverts all over the papers – and make sure everyone knows they can get involved with our growing campaign to stop these dangerous NHS changes.

38 Degrees | Blog | Our ads to stop Lansley’s NHS plans.


NOTES
Quote from Dr Hamish Meldrum: http://www.politics.co.uk/interviews/health/interview-bma-s-hamish-meldrum-$21388805.htm
[1] http://www.38degrees.org.uk/lansley-yougov-poll 
[2] Letter ‘shows pause on NHS reform is stunt’ http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23942461-letter-shows-pause-on-nhs-reform-is-stunt.do 
[3] http://38degrees.org.uk/pages/save-our-nhs-who-is-worried

References are from the newsletter edition by Johnny at 38 Degrees.

BBC News – Nick Clegg to oppose NHS competition regulator

18 May

Good news. Clegg is attempting to save the NHS…and the Lib Dems as well of course. It’s good to see him actually standup for his own policy for once. It may or may not pave the way to Lib Dems getting a second chance…the most important thing is that he has recognized a problem with the reforms. Various problems have already been published in the very prestigious British Medical Journal, with bodies such as The British Medical Association, The Royal College of Nursing,  The Royal College of Physicians and The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy making their concerns heard.

The Lib Dems’ policy document, which Mr Clegg signed, is specific.

It says: “We cannot treat the NHS as if it were a utility, and the decision to establish Monitor as an “economic regulator” was clearly a misjudgement, failing to recognise all the unique characteristics of a public health service, and opening us up to accusations that we are trying to subject the NHS to the full rigours of UK and EU competition law.

“I have come to the conclusion that we must not make this change.”

via BBC News – Nick Clegg to oppose NHS competition regulator.

When the government first proposed the NHS reforms they said that the health professionals would know best how to run the NHS. I feel that in those statements they admitted that they lacked the knowledge necessary to interfere in how the NHS is run without the consent of health professionals. I agree, the government is correct that the greatest authority on how to run the NHS is the health professionals and not any particular political party or policy maker. This means that I agree with the concerns which a great deal of health professionals have raised over this bill. In conclusion, currently the most sensible stance to take appears to be that the NHS reforms are not currently acceptable and at the very least are in need of a lot of work.

Lansley responds to no confidence vote by claiming RCN supported health bill | News | Nursing Times

16 May

A 99% vote of no confidence from nurses and Andrew Lansley goes ahead and claims nurses support his health bill. Typical Con-Dem coalition. Typical Lansley.

“Chair of the RCN congress Rod Thomson also responded saying: “That’s an interesting form of listening from the secretary of state for health. I’m sure if he is not listening there will be other members of the government who are listening, including his boss because your message this morning was clear and unqualified.”

Lansley responds to no confidence vote by claiming RCN supported health bill | News | Nursing Times.

Save The NHS. Austin Mitchell MP is against NHS Reforms.

16 May

I recently signed a petition by 38 Degrees to Save The NHS http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/Protect_our_NHS_Petition#petition. Their website also requested that people write to their local MP http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2011/04/01/email-your-mp-to-save-the-nhs/. So I quickly searched the internet for information and evidence and compiled it, cobbling together this letter for my local MP, Austin Mitchell.

Dear Austin Mitchell MP,

Not long ago the coalition government announced their new reforms would put more power into the hands of doctors. Saying “Dr’s know best how to run the NHS”. That was effectively the government’s motto to sell the reforms to the public.

“The centrepiece of the reforms is giving power to the doctors, on the basis that they know what is best for health. The reasoning goes that doctors have an unrivalled knowledge of NHS in England. Now the same doctors are saying these reforms present a substantial threat to health care in this country. Lansley and co can’t have it both ways. Doctors are either the trusted guardians of the NHS, or they are not.…Past experience of GP commissioning has been patchy and mixed, showing GPs to be costly and unenthusiastic commissioners of health. Current worldwide experience of unrestricted private competition has shown it to decrease fairness in health provision.” –  http://www.labourlist.org/when-the-facts-are-on-your-side-argue-the-facts

The British Medical Association recently announced they completely oppose the new NHS reforms.

Firstly they complain that doctors, nurses and health professionals have no choice in the NHS reforms, which completely opposes the ‘selling point’ the government has been using.

“The BMA also argued there was “no electoral mandate” for the reforms as the plans were not part of the election manifestos put forward by the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats, whose members voted against reforms at the party’s spring conference, calling them “damaging and unjustified”. – http://www.guardian.co.uk/public-leaders-network/2011/mar/15/bma-doctors-vote-against-nhs-health-reforms

Doctors around the UK are protesting against NHS reforms, saying they are ill thought out and that the reform amounts to privatization. Continue reading