The Tory £780million Privatisation Deal – What Labour Think

Jeremy Hunt’s claim that the NHS is not for sale lay in tatters last night after he signed the largest privatisation deal in history.

The Health Secretary, who has repeatedly denied health services are being siphoned off to private firms under this Government, faced furious reaction as the £780million deal was revealed.

The sale to a total of 11 private firms, some with dubious records, are intended to help hospitals tackle the backlog of patients waiting for surgery and tests.

Heart, joint and a variety of operations will be carried out, as well as scans, X-rays and other diagnostic tests. Under the deal struck by the NHS Supply Chain, many services will be provided in mobile units, rather than hospitals.

The news was met by anger, not leasst because three of the 11 profit-driven firms have previously been slammed for providing poor quality of care.

National Health ServiceAndy Burnham, Shadow Health Secretary comments on the issue:

David Cameron is clearly determined to go to any lengths to avoid a head-to-head debate with Ed Miliband.

I know for one of the reasons why: he is terrified of being held to account for his betrayal of the NHS.

Last time out, he promised to protect the NHS. There would be no top-down reorganisation, he said.

Within weeks of taking office, the PM went back on that. He brought a Bill before Parliament which is now forcing the privatisation of NHS services.

Cameron and Clegg did not have the permission of a single voter to put the NHS up for sale. They just did it.

They forced a privatisation plan through parliament with the votes of people loaded up to the eyeballs with private health interests.

The Great NHS sell-off is a Parliamentary scandal.


Cameron is savvy enough to know he can’t afford to be called out before 20million voters. It would be fatal for his re-election chances.

In the past two years, large chunks of the NHS have been sold off. As today’s examples show, when private firms with a record of giving poor patient care are taking contracts, our proud NHS is becoming a race to the bottom.

That is why NHS privatisation must become an election issue. The public need a chance to say at the ballot box whether they support it or not.

Minister’s claims that “NHS Privatisation isn’t happening” show they think they can take us all for mugs. On May 7, they may have another thing coming.

Labour will call a halt to Cameron’s NHS privatisation and invest an extra £2.5billion a year to recruit 20,000 nurses and 8,000 GPs, and guarantee GP appointments in 48 hours.

Cameron used the NHS to take the keys to Downing Street. Labour’s mission is to ensure his betrayal of it makes him hand them back in eight weeks.

Gregory. A 2015  Daily Mirror 13/03/2015 P. 6

“Focus on Disability has no political allegiance – just the hope things will improve. We can make a choice on May 7 – but whatever our choice, will it improve the lot of the less fortunate in our failing society?”

More about this NHS privatisation issue.

What the NHS needs – A ‘mums’ story – more grief !

Politicians argue about waiting lists and targets, but it’s first hand hospital experience that paints the most telling picture.

Sonia Purnell writing in The Independent on Sunday on this years very worrying reports about the NHS and the experience of her mother.

Fridays have a special significance in the NHS. Go under the surgeons knife on this day and you are 44 per cent more likely to die than after the same operation on a Monday. This conclusion, from a study of four million patients by Imperial College London, blamed poor hospital care over weekends.

National Health Service

Here was just another of this year’s scary reports about the NHS. It would be wrong to say that what I witnessed last month in a suburban London hospital amounted to outright cruelty, as in Stafford, or the “extremely poor”, working relationship exposed last week at the maternity department of Cumbria’s Furness hospital.

But during hours spent watching staff and patients on a ward – particularly over the weekend – it became blindingly clear why so many people die at the weekend. Not that I only saw appalling conduct – there were instances of compassion and the best possible technical care. But it seemed to be a matter of luck and timing – plus the presence of some bolshie relatives – as to which prevailed.

My 86-year-old mother is proud, in fair health, and a scourge of squirrels on her bird table. It was after spotting one raider from her bedroom and rushing down to shoo it away that she lost her footing. She picked herself up, and went to the doctor. The nurse placed a Stri-strip on the wound and sent her on her way. By the next day her arm was swollen and turning black. Worse, she was in a lot of pain.

An X-ray on the Thursday afternoon revealed that she had chipped a chunk of bone off her elbow and needed an immediate operation to pin it together. Eight hours later, she was still waiting in a cubicle to be admitted to an orthopaedic ward. Her face was etched with fatigue and pain, and despite her hearing aids, she was finding it hard to follow what people were saying.

When my mother reached the ward at at 10pm, an unsmiling staff nurse demanded the same information that she had already given in A&E. But this time, instead of a kindly young doctor kneeling in front of her, the nurse hunched over a computer with her back to my mother, barking questions.

In other circumstances, the fact that the nurse’s English was so bad would have been worth of understanding. But amid incomprehension and anxiety, I found my liberal sensibilities sorely tested. “When did you fell?” she shouted into the computer. My mother was startled and increasingly teary and did not know how to reply. “When did you FELL?” the nurse screeched, still not looking around.

I explained she was hard of hearing and tried to answer for her, but it was nearly 11pm by the time my mother was allowed into bed. “Please, please make sure someone helps her with her hearing aids in the morning, as she will otherwise not be able to hear at all,” were my parting words.

Before her procedure the next day, a doctor phoned to say that she was not responding to questions and he was going to have to operate without her consent. Only after he hung up, did my sister and I wonder if anyone had remembered her hearing aids.

We knew that after her operation it would be essential to keep her broken elbow high to help restore circulation, and that the next few hours and days would be crucial if she were to keep the use of her arm. Yet, later, my sister found her on a ward racked with pain and her bad elbow jammed between the mattress and the bed’s metal frame. Blood from her canula has stained the sheets, and there was no sign of her hearing aids. We eventually found one under the bed – along with various items of medical waste.

After we remonstrated, my mother was finally given morphine, but that night became confused and was moved nearer the nurses’ station for “closer observation”. The next day, a Saturday, a woman was sitting up in her chair – but she was no longer our mother.

She recognised me, but was making no sense. Again, there were no nurses in sight. I eventually tracked down a junior doctor (in charge of three large wards), but he refused to examine her as he knew “nothing about her” and had other patients who were “very unwell”. The bandage on her arm had slipped leaving the wound unprotected. It took four requests to the nurse before she redid it, tutting as she went.

Lunch came – and we were there to help – but no one took the Cellophane off our elderly neighbour’s salad, and her plate was balanced on her cutlery so that she could not find her fork. Another patient called and called for assistance to go to the loo and in her desperation weed on the floor. When the nurse returned she crossly grabbed an adult nappy, and wiped it up and down over the puddle with her shoe.

Another fed-up patient tried to escape, and others tried to follow her to freedom. An overwhelmed auxillary was reduced to raising her voice at the agency nurse in charge who seemed reluctant to come out of her office.

My mother – in what we assumed to be a drug-and trauma-induced haze – seemed unaware of the mayhem. The next day, though, something of her normal personality had returned. So had the pain. Her pills had been left in front of her but without any water.

Monday brought a different world.  The kind doctor returned; a physiotherapist turned up with a sling (three days after the op); order was imposed under Sister’s beady eye. There were no attempted break-outs or accidents. “I will be looking after your mother today,” Sister said, to my great relief.

But why were none of these people on duty at weekends? Why did patients and visitors put up with such lack of care as if they expected or deserved no better? Perhaps what I witnessed does not warrant a full report, but it shocked me all the same.

Purnell. S 2015 The Independent on Sunday 08/03/2015 P.46

“Your story Sonia, is typical of what’s happening daily, not just weekends, thousands of times, as our NHS is now fast becoming the ‘No Hope Service’.”

Anger as fat people are denied ops by NHS

Overweight patients are being denied routine treatment by four out of five clinical groups in England, an investigation has found.

Procedures including IVF, hip replacements and even hair removal are refused if the patient is seen as too fat.obese man

Belly – ‘do not treat’

Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group has banned all non-emergency ops, for anyone with a BMI, or weight-to-height index, of 35 or more – deemed severely obese.

Smokers are also denied some treatments by two in three providers according to figures obtained by GP magazine.

Dr Richard Vautrey, of the BMA’s GPs Committee, warned: “If it’s purely cost-saving, it’s not ethical.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “Blanket restrictions are unacceptable. Decisions should be based on individual clinical needs.

McDermott N. 2015 The Sun 07/03/2015 P. 29

“This has been going on for a long time, but with the pressure on the NHS can it be stopped?”

The Bed Manager – Does Job Description=”The Job”

Although quite ill recently and on a NHS ward I had no problem in “clocking onto” the bed manager. She appeared more animated than all other ward staff and the giveaway was complete as the names of each patient on the wall being each bed was quickly viewed – we seemed not to be there. Low and behold within 20 minutes myself and three other patients had been moved to a short stay ward – we had to queue to get in as we were just dumped at the nursing station.

Below is just part of a typical bed manager’s job description:

Clinical Site Practitioners
Matron/Divisional Manager for Medicine/ Head of Nursing

POST SUMMARY: The post holder will be a qualified nurse and registered with the Nursing and midwifery Council with an up to date PIN number.

The post holder will be a member of the clinical, mobile bed management team responsible for the Trusts bed complement.

The team is responsible for placing the right patients in the right place at the right time, maintaining Government targets relating to trolley waits in the ED, minimising the short notice cancellations of elective admissions and single sex accommodation allocation. They will be proactive in the application of discharge plans for patients.

The post holder will develop good working relationships with staff on the wards and in ED to ensure the effective utilisation of available beds.

The post holder will be offered three weeks training from the Clinical Site practitioners

Bed Management Responsibilities:

The post holder will be responsible for the allocation of all emergency and elective admissions across the Trust, ensuring safe and appropriate patient placement with the supervision of the Clinical Site practitioners / Matron.

The post holder will be required to balance the demand for emergency admissions against an optimal level of elective activity.

The post holder will be responsible for the allocation of all patients on the medical assessment, using the “Trust patient Movement Policy”.

The post holder will be expected to support the Clinical Site Practitioners in the co-ordination of Major and Serious untoward Incidents as required.

The post holder will work closely with the Clinical Site Practitioners to ensure seem-less 24-hour bed management service.

Monitor outlier level and repatriate all outlying patients as soon as possible, taking into account the continuity of care.

Maintain an accurate bed state, including updating Patient Administration system and Patient Tracking.

Ensure the timely and accurate completion of data relating to bed utilisation is available for the daily and weekly sitrep reports.

The post holder will contribute to the overall good of the organisation by being a positive role model and to treat all staff, visitors and service users with courtesy.

It is expected that the post holder will be able to carry out all of the duties listed. The duties will vary from Department to wards and they may carry out other similar duties in support of the ward environment that are not listed.

No duties are to be undertaken by the post holder unless they have received the appropriate training. The post holder will be continually supervised and supported by the Matron and Clinical Site Practitioners.

Clinical Responsibilities:

The post holder will be expected to regularly communicate with the wards, and support junior nurses co-ordinating the admission and transfer of patients.

The post holder will have a ‘hands on’ approach in assessing and evaluating patients care prior to transferring to the appropriate area for the patient’s condition.

The post holder will encourage and promote the use of evidence based clinical nursing practice.

The post holder will continue to develop their cannulation and venepuncture skills in line with Trust guidelines.

The post holder will act as a positive role model.

The post holder will maintain a flexible approach to working hours in order to meet the needs of the service.

The post holder will work closely with the ED Department Shift Leader to the safe and appropriate allocation of all emergency patients allocation.

The post holder will be offered training in all areas listed above.

Bed Manager“I’m sorry that this may seem irrelevent to some.

To me it’s a joke and epitomises the mess our hospitals are in. Seeing is believing”

NHS “sell-off” not to far away – contracts to be publicised

The Government was yesterday exposed for secretly trying to accelerate NHS privatisation.

New regulations tabled in Parliament on February 6 – just before recess – force organisations to publicise contracts worth £625,000 or more they put out to tender across Europe. Private firms such as Virgin Care and Ramsay Health Care, would be eligible to bid.

The rule could apply to thousands of deals advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Currently they only have to be advertised if there is a cross-border interest.

Dr Clive Peedel, of the National Health Action party, said: “This couldn’t be clearer confirmation, this government is hell-bent on accelerating the privatisation of NHS services.”

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham yesterday told MPs privatisation “could get much worse” as a result and pledged to repeal the rule if Labour was elected in May.

The Department of Health said: “Local doctors decide if big contracts go to tender or not, but if they do, they need to publicise it.”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has denied claims the Government is privatising the NHS.

Gregory. A 2015 Daily Mirror 25/02/2015 ~P. 4

“Don’t believe a word of the spin and rhetoric being spouted by senior ministers and MPs before this election. Our NHS is going to go through cataclysmic changes in the next few years and be worried, be very worried.”

NHS compo bill doubles in 3 years

Patients won almost £5million from the NHS last year over bundled operations.

Case included blundering surgeons operating on the wrong organs and medical equipment being left inside patients.

The compensation bill for these so-called “never-events” has doubled in just three years.

Payouts have been made to patients who discovered surgeons operated on the wrong foot, leg, eye, or finger.

One person woke from their op to find all  their teeth had been removed in error.

Another had spinal surgery carried out on the wrong part of their back.

Some doctors took important biopsy samples from the wrong organs.

Other blunders saw patients having pieces of surgical equipment accidentally left inside them.

The items included clips, swabs, forceps, screws, wires and, in one case, part of a latex glove.

In total the National Health service Litigation Authority which is responsible for dealing with compensation cases from hospitals in England, said it paid out £4.8million to patients last year.

A total of  £1.7million was handed over in 21 cases where patients claimed a surgeon had operated on the wrong part of their body.

In another 144 cases, with a total compensation payout of £3.1million the NHS was successfully sued over items accidentally left inside patients.

Both types of surgical mistakes are dubbed “never events” by he NHS because they are not supposed to happen under any circumstances.

The NHS recorded 312 such events in the last year.

They included 123 incidents of objects being left in patients and 89 where the wrong part of the body was operated on.

Peter Walsh, chief executive of patients’ charity Action against Medical Accidents said: “There is no excuse at all for “never events” continuing to happen.

“Any incident like this causes an untold human cost as well as perfectly avoidable cost to the NHS which could be put to better use on patient care.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: ” As we build on our commitment  to openness and transparency we have published data on never events in greater detail than ever before.

“We have also launched a campaign to get hospitals to sign up to safety which will save 6,000 lives over the next three years.”

Nurse Donna Bowett won a six-figure sum from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals last year after doctors failed to remove a seven inch set of forceps used during surgery to take out her gallbladder.

Donna 43, was in agony for three months before an x-ray showed the instrument inside her.

Doctor scanning x-rayIf it wasn’t reality it would be a joke!

NHS spends £2m on iPhones and iPads….for pen-pushers

More than £2million of taxpayers’ cash has been spent buying iPhones and iPads for bureaucrats in NHS quangos.

Thousands of staff at NHS England and Public Health England set up under the Coalition’s reforms to save money, have been provided with smartphones and tablet computers. The Government insists they help staff work more flexibly, but the gadgets are all for managers – not doctors and nurses.

New details of spending on technology emerged in response to a parliamentary question by shadow public health minister Luciana Berger. The published data shows that NHS England and Public Health England, both formed last year, were the biggest spenders on iPads and iPhones.

The total bill for NHS England was £1.2million  and included 2,300 iPhones and more than 250 iPads, Public Health England also bought more than 2,000 iPhones in a total bill of £350,000. Other health bodies also ran up substantial bills, while the Department of Health itself has spent almost £40,000 on four iPhones and 95 iPads.

Labour MP Karl Turner said: ‘At a time when the NHS is in crisis, out-of-touch Tory ministers are splashing more than £2million on iPhones and iPads for pen-pushers.

‘Labour is promising  an extra £2.5billion beyond Tory plans – which will be spent on patients, not office perks.’

The Government has been repeatedly criticised for the controversial reorganisation of the NHS, which saw primary care trusts abolished and a new network of quangos and clinical bodies set up instead. The changes were designed to reduce the number of managers and put decision-making in the hands of doctors.

It was originally claimed that the controversial shake-up, which was not included in either Coalition party’s manifesto, would save £7.7billion, but the figure was later downgraded to £6billion.

A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘Employers across the world are embracing technology such as smartphones and tablets because they allow staff to be more flexible  and efficient, and in the case of the public sector provide better value for money for taxpayers.

‘Our bureaucracy-busting reforms to the NHS are saving £1.5billion a year. There are also over 13,500 more frontline staff and 7,000 fewer managers in the NHS since May 2010.’

Matt Chorley. Daily Mail 30th October 2014, p. 10.

Learning Disability – Healthcare Deficiency

Mencap have released a report that says that due to inadequate and unequal healthcare people with a learning disability are dying when their lives could be saved.

In 2007, following the deaths of six people with a learning disability in NHS care, Mencap published Death by indifference which exposed the unequal healthcare and institutional discrimination that people with learning disabilities often experience within the NHS. Death by indifference played an important role in influencing the Department of Health to commission the Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with a learning disability.
Mencap found that over 1200 people with learning disabilities die each year through unacceptable treatment in the NHS. These appalling statistic comes from research that Mencap commissioned from Professors Glover and Emerson of the Improving Health and Lives Learning Disabilities Observatory. Their research found that 1,238 children and adults die each year across England because they do not get the right healthcare.

Confidential Inquiry
On 19 March 2013, the Confidential Inquiry published the findings of its two year investigation. In total, the Inquiry examined the factors leading up to the deaths of 247 people with a learning disability aged four or older, who died between 1 June 2010 and 31 May 2012 in the South West of England.
It found that 37% of deaths of people with a learning disability were avoidable.
Over the past decade, families and carers have reported 85 deaths of people with a learning disability to Mencap. They have told us that hospital blunders, poorly trained staff and indifference are to blame for their loved ones’ death. The findings of the Inquiry confirm this and fears that people with a learning disability are still not receiving equal healthcare in all NHS settings and are continuing to die as a result.
Mencap strongly supports all the recommendations of the Confidential Inquiry. People with a learning disability have a right to receive the same quality of healthcare as anyone else. We welcome and join the Confidential Inquiry’s call for the establishment of a National Learning Disability Mortality Review Body in England to continue monitoring deaths of people with a learning disability in the NHS. We believe that lessons must be learned from the findings and implemented throughout the NHS as a matter of urgency.

You can download Mencap’s briefing on the findings of the Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with a learning disability here.

It’s disgraceful that in the UK a human being who is unfortunate enough to have a learning disability also stands a chance of dying because of neglectful healthcare due to their impairment. Their families not only have the grief of losing a loved one but the gut wrenching feeling that it could have been avoided.

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