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Private Eye

May 28, 2017

Is the abandonment of the 18 week Referral to Treatment Target Illegal?
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 12:08 pm

Legality of Dropping 18 week RTT target

A credible legal opinion that the government’s abandonment of the 18 week Referral to Treatment target is illegal. Why are opposition parties not making more of this? Will it be left to crowdsourcing citizens once again to try to hold the government to account for what is happening to the NHS?

May 20, 2017

Private Eye Medicine Balls 1444 May 17, 2017
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 12:15 pm

Where is the promised parity for mental health care?

Promises to improve mental health services are likely to feature large in all manifestos, but who is most likely to deliver? Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told Andrew Marr that the Conservatives would find another 10,000 ‘mental health workers’ but didn’t say what form they would take and whether this was an increase on the current figure, or the figure when the Tories took office (we have 6000 fewer mental health nurses in England since to 2010, and 170 fewer fully trained doctors specialising in psychiatry and psychotherapy). Hunt also refused to say if new money would pay for this, or whether it would be pinched from elsewhere.

Only the Lib Dems have thus far seemed prepared to back up pledges with transparent funding commitments. Some NHS staff will never forgive them for jumping into bed with Cameron and allowing Andrew Lansley’s disastrous Health and Social Care Act, but in now committing themselves to opposition, they can return to being an unelectable think tank. The Lib Dems have pledged an extra penny on income tax to raise £6 billion for the NHS and social care, have proposed a dedicated health and

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Private Eye Medicine Balls 1443 May 3, 2017
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 12:04 pm

Labour’s Open Goal

Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth could promise anything about the NHS without much fear of having to implement it, but the government’s screw up of the NHS and social care represents Labour’s best hope of staying alive. Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act has been a very predictable disaster, with billions wasted on commissioning, tendering, retendering and even suing the NHS because companies such as Virgin didn’t get the tender they wanted.

Aggressive austerity has probably been responsible for the spike of 30,000 extra deaths in 2015, albeit of people unlikely to vote Conservative. Admissions for malnutrition have trebled in the last 10 years. Mental health services are being savagely cut and there has been an increase in suicide rates in those struggling to cope, including female nurses. The sub-inflation pay rises and refusal to guarantee the rights of NHS and care workers from the EU has lead to record vacancies and ever more dangerous gaps in staffing levels. And the results are there for all to see. Nearly 4 million people waiting for an operation. Over 200,000 people waiting for four hours of more in A&E in February alone. The number of people waiting

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Private Eye Medicine Balls 1442 April 18, 2017
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 11:58 am

Assisted Dying

We’re all going to die, but sadly not all quickly or with dignity. The provision of good palliative care in the UK remains patchy but even with the best that palliative care has to offer, some deaths remain very protracted and distressing. As Professor Ray Tallis puts it: ‘Unbearable suffering, prolonged by medical care, and inflicted on a dying patient who wishes to die, is unequivocally a bad thing.’ MD would willingly assist such deaths were it legal to do so, but the High Court has repeatedly made it clear that any change in the laws would have to come from Parliament, and it seems unlikely that politicians will ever enact the overwhelming will of the people to have the right to exit with dignity. And so the pointless suffering continues.

One of the strongest arguments against assisted dying is whether it could be legally and practically introduced in an understaffed NHS that struggles with assisted living. If we can’t give many patients decent humane lives, what chance decent humane deaths? To counter the concern that assisted dying would become the ‘go to’ option, we would need to offer everyone excellent palliative care first, and there is

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Private Eye Medicine Balls 1441 March 30, 2017
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 11:52 am

It’s still not safe to speak up in parts of the NHS – and the staff know it

The risks to the NHS of Brexit are well known. The promised extra £350 million a week to fund the service was never likely to materialise, but a staffing crisis may well do. There are currently 24000 unfilled nursing posts in England alone. The failure of government to guarantee a right of remain for the 140,000 EU nationals working in the NHS and social care system has bred further insecurity. In one survey, 42% of European health staff working here said they are now thinking of leaving the UK. Many have protested about being used as bargaining chips and almost 5,500 have left since the Brexit vote according to NHS Digital, a 25% increase on the 2015 figures. Coming in, only 96 European nurses registered to work in the UK in December, compared to 1,304 last July. Vital EU research funding streams could just disappear, as could EU collaboration on infectious disease control, licensing and regulation of medicines and public health initiatives. These risks are very real and present, yet the government’s latest mandate to NHS England made not a single mention

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