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July 30, 2017

Private Eye Medicine Balls 1447 June 30,  2017
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 11:47 am

Hunt Rides Again (Again)

The parlous state of the NHS and social care came top, or nearly top, of many ‘voter issues’ polls but Theresa May has again decided on more of the same, reappointing Jeremy Hunt as health secretary to force through £22 billion efficiency savings while the Brexit chaos plays out. The NHS is currently 7 years into the most austere decade in its history. Demand rises at 4% per year and yet there is ‘negative real per capita growth’ (i.e. funding cuts) planned for 2018/19 and 2019/20. Cuts in adult social care have already left half a million fewer people with publicly funded social care now compared to five years ago, and many are having to use the NHS as a safety net. To balance the books, the NHS will simply have to provide less for less. Longer waiting times to see a GP and get hospital treatment, longer journey times as local services are closed and some treatments not available at all. And the levels of work-related stress amongst staff will simply keep rising.

The required £22 billion savings could come in part from selling off idle NHS buildings and land to property developers. Otherwise it’s

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June 20, 2017

Preventing Serious Harm – Time for a National Whistleblower Centre
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 8:05 am

Preventing Serious Harm – Time for a National Whistleblower Centre

In 2011, I was asked on behalf of the Home Office to interview anti-radicalisation experts for the relaunch of the Prevent training programme for professionals to ‘ensure vulnerable individuals receive proportionate support at the earliest stages of radicalisation.’ I was asked as a doctor with a long history of supporting NHS whistleblowers, who simply believes we all have a duty to raise concerns about serious wrongdoing in any situation, and that authorities have an equally binding duty to listen, investigate swiftly and fairly, and protect those who raise concerns.

Prevent training has now been accessed in person or online by close to a million public sector workers and volunteers, and is compulsory for many. According to the home office, 92% of those who have attended training ‘left the session with an increase in their awareness of radicalisation and confidence to ensure vulnerable people receive proportionate support.’ Whether this soft outcome justifies the cost and time commitment is a matter for debate. Many doctors, teachers and unions oppose it as ‘unscientific’, worry about being snoops for the state and reasonably believe the funding could be better spent elsewhere.

I have received

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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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