Tag Archives: John Reid

Get the NHS out of the clutches of the politicians

BMA campaigns to “look after our NHS”

I can’t quite work out if we should be jumping up and down with joy, but suddenly cancer patients seem to be flavour of the month.

Instead of looking for a baby to kiss – remember those days?  all parties are keen to woo us.  Today thanks to PC etc. cancer patients have taken their place.

So why am I suspicious? As a patient in the middle of what is brewing up to be a political storm, I want to shout “I AM THE PATIENT – YOU SHOULD BE WORRYING ABOUT ME – NOT WHAT IS VOTE CATCHING!”

As the political football to be kicked about whichever way the main parties want to show off their credentials, and hung out to show the ‘caring’ side of whichever party is on that day’s platform, when the election is over we, and our problems, will be kicked into a corner and forgotten.

Now, the latest organisation to set out to woo us is the British Medical Association (BMA).  Its  “Look after our NHS” campaign has existed since last year, but was aimed at medical professionals. Now organisers are taking their campaign public and asking us to support them.

However, instead of asking US what WE want – “Look after our NHS” opposes private sector involvement in the NHS.

The BMA argue that the focus of private companies will always be profits and dividends for their shareholders, rather than reinvesting the money in better care, treatments, or research and development.

The campaign argues that if budget cuts are inevitable, given the state of the UK’s public finances then the brunt of these cuts should focus on the cost of private sector involvement in the NHS. The NHS should be publicly funded and its services should be publicly provided.

Have they actually looked at the cost of private treatment?  Seen how private hospitals are running their theatres more efficiently – and in some cases seven days a week?  Friday afternoon/evening and Saturday morning is often the busiest time of the week in private hospitals;  that is when the Consultants operate in private hospitals as their NHS hospitals’ theatres are shut from Friday mid-day.

Just before he resigned, Lord Darzi spoke in a key-note speech on how French people, who pay a combination of taxes and private insurance for their medical care, actually pay less per head than we do in taxes to fund the NHS.

I am reminded of asking the head of a 500-bed German hospital “where is the Administration block?”  In her hospital the doctors seemed to be running things – where were the Administrators?  Her reply, “if I had as many administrators as you have in British hospitals, the Insurance companies would be asking why I was wasting their money”.

So involving the private sector can cut down on over-spend.

Instead of banging away on the old, old platform hitting at the ‘rich’, shouldn’t the BMA be campaigning for the NHS to be taken away from the political arena and run by those most closely involved – with input from patients?  How can we have an efficient health service if it answers to whichever political party is in power?  We have had to many changes at the top in recent years, and not one was any use – John Reid, Patricia Hewitt, now Andy Burnham – did any one of those politically-appointed Ministers do anything for our benefit?  No – is the answer.  All their stupid initiatives and changes were politically- led, led to massive over-spend and have led to patients being unable to get through to book an appointment – so administrators boast they have cut down waiting lists, political quangos have refused funding for drugs which are regularly prescribed to patients in Europe, etc.

The BMA should be campaigning to get control of the NHS back into the medical sector – take it away from politicians – then work out if some services might be handled more efficiently by the private sector, and what the NHS could copy from them.  For the patients’ benefit.

The BMA campaign plans to distribute leaflets and posters to GP practices through its members.   www.lookafterournhs.org.uk.

It might be worthwhile leaving a comment – letting them know what PATIENTS want.

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Derby Gripe Moles dig up NHS Waste

Situated almost in the middle of Britain, what goes on in the NHS in Derby is  typical of the NHS around Britain.

An army of obliging moles are working diligently digging up stories – here are some of their recent findings.                They are anonymous, and we have promised to protect their identity.  You know what the NHS does to Whistleblowers!

Mole No. 1 reports
A paratrooper shot in the neck by the Taliban contracted MRSA in a British hospital as he fought back from his injuries. Sergeant David ‘Paddy’ Caldwell was diagnosed with the potentially deadly superbug at a Birmingham hospital after being airlifted back from Afghanistan. He had been leading his platoon in an assault on a heavily-defended Taliban compound when he was hit in the throat and neck by machine-gun fire

After first being treated at a field hospital in Afghanistan, Sergeant Caldwell was transferred to the intensive care unit at Selly Oak’s Royal Centre for Defence Medicine.  Sources said Sergeant Caldwell contracted MRSA after three months at the hospital. He is now recovering from the infection.  Bet you the Military Matrons that used to run the Military Hospitals (before the Govt. axed them) wouldn’t have allowed any bug in THEIR establishments.

It seems that civilian hospitals aren’t able to protect their patients – no wonder the powers-that-be are desperate to get patients home – it’s safer there.

Yet instead of learning from private medical care (private hospitals were testing for MRSI for newly-admitted patients long before the NHS – but how much does taking a couple of swabs cost?), those who take out private medical care insurance constantly get kicked in the teeth.  Currently, Gordon Brown’s trumpetted ‘nurse for every cancer patient’        plan is fine for NHS, but the scheme will be run on Macmillan ‘lines’, and their nurses still announce they don’t look after  private patients.

Previously, another Mole found that John Reid (he was once a Health Secretary – one of those whom you readily forget) announced he was going to buy all Britain’s 220 private hospitals and turn them into NHS ones. The deal would cost £5 BILLION but would allow an extra 250,000 patients a year to be treated. Private medicine could be killed off by genetic advances that will predict the diseases we are likely to get. Those at risk wouldn’t get insurance cover and with drastically fewer patients, private hospitals would shut. Dr Reid said, “If that’s the case, I’ll buy them out. We’ll take resources which have been the monopoly of the rich and use them for the benefit of all.”   So the only ones getting private care will be the politicians who have to have a private room “for security”.   Those who choose to  forego WAG handbags and long-haul holidays to scrimp and scrape so they can have peace and quiet when ill, won’t have that choice.

Incidentally, London Moles were present at a PR exercise organised by Ken Livingstone (he used to be Mayor of London, until kicked out by blonde-mopped flag-waving Boris Johnston) as a last desperate attempt to woo voters.  He decided cancer was a vote winner, and invited 30 women to ‘discuss’ treatment.  At one point during the evening the Chairman went round the table, asking the carefully-chosen representatives culled from housing estates and deprived areas of the capital, if any of them had ‘gone private’.  As she asked each one of the 30 present, 21 of them said their families had paid for private treatment – children had mortgaged homes, taken out bank loans, etc, “because we don’t want you suffering, Mum”.    Collapse of that PR exercise.

Another last gasp – this time from Patricia Hewitt – probably the most unpopular Health Secretary in recent times.  Another Mole reported she had announced that The Government wants to cut £400 million each year from the NHS budget by reducing the number of unplanned emergency hospital admissions for chronic illnesses. The plan is still on the table:   patients with conditions such as asthma and heart disease could have better home care with help from community nurses. Ms Hewitt said, “If we could cut these unplanned emergency admissions by 30% patients would have improved lives, hospitals would be able to plan their services better and the NHS could achieve savings of more than £400 million a year.” Wonder how much could be saved each year if a few admin staff jobs were axed?  But when I asked this Mole if he had any idea how patients were to be regimented so they didn’t have ‘unplanned emergency admissions’, he/she/it was sadly silent.

And don’t forget, John, Patricia and all the others could still be re-elected and up for Cabinet Office again – if their party gets in.  Being useless as a Minister is no bar to further high office.  And if they aren’t elected, there is always the House of Lords………

And Mole No. 4 is not only complaining, saying it is more of a ferret (there’s always one!), but looks like being a statistic if it doesn’t cut back on its digging.  With the run-up to the election every political party seems to have ideas of reforming the NHS.  Worrying doctors and nurses, but not the Administrators – they know that whatever is planned, their jobs will be safe – they will just hire more administrators to administer the planned cuts.  Or as NHS jargon describes their job:  Planned Facilitators.

In one  round of NHS re-organisation, the eight Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in Derbyshire could be combined into one massive countywide trust as part of a major cost-cutting exercise. Just as it was in the 1970s. Similar reductions in PCTs are planned across the country in a move to reduce the amount of money wasted on NHS bureaucracy. The Government’s aim is to save £250m a year and Derbyshire must save £3m, but the initial costs of making senior executives redundant could run into millions of pounds.

And as reported in Cancer News elsewhere, each time a PCT is ‘re-organised’, all 150- something Trusts hare off to their favourite designers and printers, to get a new logo and re-print all those tons of paperwork they love to send through the post.  Well, someone has to keep the postal workers in a job.

N.B.  Moles should watch out.  NHS Choices in Derby offers Mole removal on the NHS, and says “your mole may be removed if it is causing you to be depressed”.

This is unfair to Moles – they are just the messenger – without them we don’t know what’s going on.  So next time you want to copy Jasper Carrot and sit up all night with a gun to protect your lawn – don’t shoot the messenger.

For more of the Moles’ reports: http://www.derbygripe.co.uk/nhs.htm

Their anonymity has been protected so they don’t get accused of being whistleblowers, and cost the poor taxpayer lots of money when they sue.  Well, Moles probably have rights too.

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