blog archive jan 2017-oct 2019

8th October 2019

Deportation threat lifted on NHS doctor
You may have read that the government was abandoning its hostile environment, but not so. Doctor Mu-Chun Chiang has been threatened with deportation, she made a mistake on her paperwork. Now the Home Office, in the face of a well-organised campaign, have rescinded.

BMA patience runs out, planning a legal challenge to Capita
First there was the GP pensions fiasco,  then 160,000 patients records were archived in error; these are just two of the many administrative failures committed by Capita since primary care services were outsourced in 2015. The BMA has complained to the government but no action is taken, now it's planning legal action.

There's been zero public consultation, but CCGs are merging
With no public consultation and no parliamentary scrutiny, the number of organisations that administer our health services is set to a reduce from today’s 191 CCGs to around 40 over the next two years.

Private contracts amount to 26% of NHS budget, not 7%
The presentation of data on NHS expenditure is flawed. It obscurs a clear understanding of where money within the system is going. In 2018/19 the amount spent by NHS England on the independent sector was around 26% of total expenditure, not 7% as widely reported. 

Migrant women charged £7000 for maternity services
Migrant women who have miscarriages are being wrongly charged £7,000 for antenatal care despite never going into labour, doctors and campaigners have warned.

Trusts using creit check firms to charge overseas patients
Lewisham and Greenwich Trust, which runs two hospitals in south east London, has been handing information from referred patients to Experian since at least 2015, helping it to recoup millions of pounds. The information, including name, address, date of birth and NHS number, is routinely passed on when a patient is referred to the trust.


1st October 2019

Labour pledge to create a drug company
Labour’s new policy document, Medicines for the Many, promises to create a publicly-owned company to make cheap versions of medicines the NHS needs but cannot afford, like Orkambi.

"Under the Knife" film
The NHS is seriously ill. Ugly self-interest, corruption and deceit are slowly bleeding the NHS dry; this film exposes the true severity of this disease. Do please make an effort to see it; admission is free, it's on a screen near you, check this out here, click on "List of all screenings".

Is financial support for training nurses being brought back?
In what is an admission the government's mean-spiritedness, some form of financial aid might be re-introduced, after nurse training bursaries were withdrawn by the Tories in 2017. There has been a sharp decline in nurse training applications since then.

NHS privatisation to be reined in?
Plans in the Tories proposed Queen's speech next month will restrict the obligation, brought in by the Conservative/Libdem coalition via the Health and Social Care Act 2012, to offer all NHS contracts to bids from the private sector. Is this another acknowledgement of their failed NHS policy?

The crisis in child mental health
Suicides among young people, those aged 10-24, have reached a 16-year high with 6,507 suicides registered in 2018, an increase of 11.8% on 2017 figures alone. This appalling increase in the mental ill health of young people comes against a background of years of deliberate underfunding of the NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

"I couldn’t send another homeless mentally ill patient out on the streets"
Dr Julia Patterson of campaign group EveryDoctor tells why she quit NHS psychiatry service because it has been ‘cut back to its very bone.' She said ' the level of stress endured by frontline NHS staff is unbelievable.'


24th September 2019

Government is 'starving the NHS'
NHS trusts across England have paid more than £607m to Whitehall in interest over the past five years; the government charges 6% interest rate. Trusts can request loans from the department if they face a shortfall in funding day-to-day operations. A nurse adds "We’re so short-staffed that patient care is compromised".

The NHS is 'on life support'
Here's a personal account from the mother of a patient who's life was saved by the NHS. Hospital social workers were run off their feet with too many referrals and were unable to properly assess the patient's post-discharge support needs.

"There are not enough doctors, there’s not enough nurses..."
Watch an angry father at a hospital berate B. Johnson at what Johnson planned as a press opportunity. He told our PM that his baby daughter had nearly died because the ward on which she was treated was “not safe for children” after years of austerity.

'Under the Knife': our publicly-funded NHS has been 'systematically dismantled..'
A film titled 'Under the Knife' warns that the 2012 Health and Social Care Act implemented by former health secretary Andrew Lansley was the culmination of three decades of 'covert, creeping privatisation' of the NHS. Do see it.

Caroline Molloy in USA on the fight for our NHS
Do watch Caroline Molloy, who writes for Open Democracy website tell a conference in San Francisco the tale of the gradual privatisation of our NHS.

Oxford Churchill Hospital PET scanner services
Despite the attentions of MPs and national media and the opposition of all clinicians involved a contract between Oxford Hospitals Trust and private company InHealth has been signed, involving the use of mobile scanners that give an inferior service to those run by the NHS in hospitals. Scroll down the page to find the letter to Oxfordshire Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Labour's General Secretary conference speech
Jenny Formby describes the cancer care she received and Labour's plan to take back our NHS as a publicly run and comprehensive health service.


17th September 2019

Charging overseas patients
Without any analysis to define the implications of introducing charges, is it worth the loss of compassion, of the detriment to the ethos of the NHS, of national reputation, of the cost of collection compared to the sum collected, the government forges ahead with its hostile environment. It's even prepared to bear additional expense to achieve greater hostility.

Further analysis of NHS funding starvation
The Institute of Public Policy Research identifies the state of our 'Make do and Mend' NHS - "...since austerity began there has been historically low capital investment [in NHS]", and recommends an 80% uplift in capital investment.

Plan for CCG mergers - were you consulted?
In a continuation of the government complete lack of parliamentary scrutiny and public consultation, Clinical Commissioning Groups - the local NHS administrative organisations set up under the H&SC Act - are going to be merged; they not only won't consult you, they won't even be local.


13th September 2019

"demands for productivity improvements and savings are increasingly unachievable"
This is a quote by the chief executive of NHS Providers following the resignation of the head of South Tees Hospitals Foundation Trust. The government policy to pressurise trusts to save more and more, regardless of the effect on service gives the appearance that any failure, beit not meeting targets or other medical crisis, is the fault of the trust involved, not of overall government funding.

Migrant charges: pregnant women at risk
The safety of vulnerable mothers and newborn babies is being put at risk by NHS fees that deter undocumented migrant women from accessing care. Midwives have called on the government to scrap NHS charges for pregnant women who are refugees, migrants or visiting from overseas.

NHS England instructs London GPs to restrict referrals
Government is rationing of our healthcare. GPs will be urged against referring patients to hospital specialists and consultants. A primary aim of all government NHS policy is cost-cutting. NHS is under-resourced compared to other countries and lags a long way behind other high-performing health systems in many key areas of health care resources. GP leaders have condemned the proposals.

Hospital trusts handicapped by PFI payments
An initial £13 billion of private sector-funded investment in new hospitals will end up costing the NHS in England a staggering £80bn by the time all contracts come to an end, says the IPPR.


6th September 2019

No-deal brexit a threat to public health
Read a letter signed by a long list of medical experts who express their alarm at the risks to public health wrought by a no-deal Brexit.

600 GP partners lost in past 12 months
Increasing workload, especially for GP partners, is blamed for the dramatic fall in the number of GP partners over the past year. The partnership model is the bedrock of NHS primary care; it ensures that medical ethics rather than corporate interest is the driver of primary care.

NHS needs 5000 trainee doctors a year
The lack of GPs is so acute that ministers must boost the number of medics who train to be family doctors to a record 5,000 a year, the head of the profession is demanding. The unprecedented rise in the number of GP trainees is needed urgently because the workforce has shrunk so sharply and waiting times for appointments have become so long.

Why the NHS should be protected from a US trade deal
As soon as we sign a trade deal with the US, our hands are tied. Because the NHS in England has already been opened up to competition, and many healthcare services are already outsourced to the private sector, it is vulnerable to automatic inclusion in trade deals; our NHS is already open to competition from private companies like Virgin Care.


28th August 2019

The motives behind accountable care revealed
An NHS Strategy Unit document reveals what accountable care is about. "The rationale that underpins the development of Accountable Care Organisations is to moderate healthcare costs through service coordination and integration". If the number of instances of a procedure falls then the organisation can expect a reward. It is in the interest of the organisation to find ways to limit healthcare activity, see Executive Summary page ii. Further to this see Scrap Accountable Care.

Private hospitals and over treatment
A report by the Centre for Health and Public Interest demonstrates how the incentives applied by private hospitals encourage consultants to refer patients where the consultants stands to gain financially. A patient could be given treatment which is unnecessary or even harmful.

Steep increases in NHS charges for migrants
A report from Bristol shows that migrants are being charged for NHS care. Vulnerable people who should get free healthcare are being forced to pay large sums while others are being chased by bailiffs.

Strike by NHS staff over backdoor privatisation
Hundreds of low-paid staff at Bradford hospitals have voted to strike indefinitely over plans to effectively strip them of their NHS status in what could prove to be a test case over “backdoor privatisation” and the creation of a two-tier workforce.

Huge number of patients have hospitals appointments cancelled
Soaring numbers of patients are suffering repeated cancellations with notice only given in some cases the night before via letters dispatched by taxi. Patients have been left waiting years to see a hospital doctor after their NHS slot was axed again and again.


23rd August 2019

Primary Care Networks: another Tory move to shun responsibility
Falling GP income and higher workload have had the effect of encouraging doctors who are 50 plus to retire early and for those that continue to become part-time to be able to manage their workload. The result, patient difficulty in getting a GP appointment. The government's response is not for an emergency programme of GP training or funds to encourage newly-qualified doctors into primary care, but to corral surgeries into networks with the carrot of extra funds provided they offer a wider range of services. GPs now carry the can for failing primary care.

Vulnerable patients charged for NHS care
Since 2015, NHS trusts have been required to identify and charge overseas patients who are ineligible for free healthcare, as part of the ‘hostile environment’. Read here of an asylum seeker who was presented with a bill for £21,000.

The brutal reality of homelessness seen from an A&E
A worker in an A&E department reports on the rising numbers of homeless people she sees in the course of her work. The solution for the author is better social care investment and sufficient accessible accommodation.


19th August 2019

Optum is telling our CCGs how to shrink the NHS
US companies are teaching our health managers how to cut our NHS. Between April 2018 and January 2019, NHS England paid Optum £6,784,671.33 to tell NHS and Local Authority Executives how to make massive cuts to NHS and social care spending, by imposing cost-cutting USA Accountable Care models in their areas.

Promise of extra NHS capital funds are just a start
Nine years of austerity and £4.3 billion of capital funding diverted to keep day to day NHS spending in balance have created a £6 billion maintenance backlog, £3 billion of it safety critical. So says the chief executive of the organisation representing NHS trusts.

Primary care networks 'could worsen inequalities'
Primary care, mainly GP surgeries, are being organised into groups to encourage collaborative working and to provide a wider range of services. But, this Oxford GP thinks health inequalities could increase because PCNs might reduce GP time available for consulting, that too often GP premises are deficient for the new role, and the workforce crisis will work against expectations. A patient's right to see a fully-trained GP are being eroded, you may be directed to be seen by a pharmacist or a less qualified health assistant.

GP practices are closing in record numbers
In 2018 almost 140 surgeries closed their doors estimated to affect a record half a million patients, more closures than in any previous year. if practices are struggling and people are stressed and overworked, who wants to go and work there?’

NHS procedures are being rationed, check out your area
If you've had a hernia you'll know it's painful; a cataract could prevent from driving. These are two so-called Procedures of Limited Value being rationed under new NHS England rules, even the number of hip and knee replacements are being limited. Check out your area here.


3rd August 2019

Privatised midwifery service collapses
One to One Midwives secured a contract with the NHS to provide a single dedicated midwife to provide antenatal, birth and postnatal care across Essex and the Northwest of England. Now they have gone into administration, calling into question yet again contracting out NHS services to the pirvate sector. How much more evidence do we need?

"The Tories don't care about the poor or the NHS"
Johnson’s new senior adviser and master-mind of Brexit, Dominic Cummings, is recorded saying "Tory MPs largely do not care about poorer people. They don’t care about the NHS." This may not be a surprise to you.

Only 3% of funds for new NHS building has been released
Of the building projects approved by the government since 2017, just 3% of the funding for them has been released. £2.5bn of capital funding has been announced by the government for the NHS, but less than £100m has been distributed to local providers over the last two years – equating to just 3 per cent of the total funding listed in several headline-grabbing media announcements.


20th July 2019

No privatisation promise: private firms given record £9.2. billion in 2018
The amount of the NHS budget going to private healthcare firms has reached unprecedented levels, despite the health secretary’s pledge to roll back outsourcing of patient care. The government handed a record total of £9.2bn last year to private providers such as Virgin Care and the Priory mental health group.

Wasted millions on hospital closure programme
NHS North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups admits the blueprint for one of the NHS’s largest planned reorganisations has failed. This was part of the NHS England programme euphemistically called "Shaping a Healthier Future", the plan was to replace some acute hospitals with care provided in the community; four acute hospitals, Hammersmith, Central Middlesex, Charing Cross and Ealing, could be downgraded. The proposal involved the loss of more than 600 acute hospital beds. Nobody is prepared to resign despite the loss of £76 million.

The chemist will see you now
The deskilling of our NHS is taking shape; instead of dealing with the fall in GP numbers your health problem might be dealt with by a chemist.

Stephen Fry narrates a comparison of UK/US health systems
We all know the facts but seeing them presented in this video provides a dramatic comparison between the disastrous US healthcare system and the NHS. Also a blog brings home the immoral profits made by drug companies and heart-rending stories of funding healthcare in the US.

Long delays for cataract operations
The old are at higher risk of falling and creating unnecessary hospitalisation owing to the ever-increasing waits for cataract operations.


19th July 2019

NHS charging overseas patients: another horror story
An eight months pregnant woman from Western Europe on holiday in the UK came to a hospital's maternity department because she started to bleed. Obstetricians performed an emergency Caesarean but the baby died. They were asked to pay £10,000 but were unable to, resulting in the baby's body being withheld.

Most NHS land sales funds go to revenue
Less than a quarter of the money raised from NHS property sales last year went back into the capital budget for reinvestment in the estate, according to provider accounts.

Hospitals are charging for ops now banned under NHS
Rules introduced in April of this year banned four operations on the NHS except in very rare cases with special permission, and a further 13 are highly restricted. Some hospitals are prepared to perform these operations privately.

The Capita scandal: yet another error revealed
Capita admitted to an administrative error where emails and letters relating to cervical screening were not processed correctly. This has followed a litany of disasters - patient records not being transferred, surgeries not receiving payments. It was stripped of administering cervical screening cancer earlier this year. Primary care services were privatised to the outsourcing giant in 2015.


13th July 2019

Pensions dispute: surgeons work to rule
Tax rules that restrict the amount of tax exempt pay allowed in any financial year have resulted in well-paid consultants receiving large tax bills: what should have been a system of gradually increasing penalties is a 'cliff edge'. The staffing crisis in the NHS has caused reliance on hospital doctors doing overtime, now being withdrawn.

Hancock to solve pension issue by 2020
The health secretary has promised to solve the issue, about doctors receiving tax bills caused by limits on pension tax exemptions, by 2020. But is that quick enough to avoid another winter crisis in 2019/20?

Another subco dispute: Bradford hospital staff to strike
Described as 'backdoor privatisation' porters, cleaners and security staff are taking industrial action over plans by Bradford teaching hospitals NHS trust to set up a new company to run the services they provide. Click here to find out more about subco's.

New '5000 more GPs' deadline
In admitting that the Jeremy Hunt promise of 5000 more GPs was just an empty headline grabber, Matt Hancock has offered to set a new deadline. What are the chances eh? What about setting deadlines for the rest of the NHS - nurses, radiographers, hospital doctors?


6th July 2019

Private firm aborts dermatology contract early
Following a critical CQC report that highlighted concerns about standards of hygiene and cleanliness, Concordia Specialist Care Sevices has terminated its contract at very short notice.  It waliked away saying it  would “no longer be able to provide the service” leaving an NHS provider to pick up the work.

BMA: 'NHS Long Term Plan will lead to privatisation'
The BMA voted to oppose the proposals in the long-term plan saying it could result in more privatisation; for example, the shift of care from hospitals to the community and the establishment of primary care networks which will lead to Integrate Care Provider (ICP) contracts which could be 'competitively tendered' to private providers.

Consultants refer to private hospitals they have a financial interest in
Growing patient numbers combined with inadequate NHS provision has resulted in the NHS funding its patients for treatment in private hospitals. A report by the Centre for Public Health Interest reveals 548 senior NHS doctors own shares or equipment or both in private hospital to which they refer patients.

BMA says scrap migrant charges
Regulations launched in 2017 compel hospitals in England to check overseas visitors’ eligibility for free NHS care and seek payment upfront from those deemed ineligible, such as asylum seekers and visa overstayers. The BMA now urges ministers to scrap these controversial rules that force migrants to pay upfront. This follows the death of a patient who was visiting relations in England and who was deneid NHS cancer care.


1st July 2019

BMA says Long Term Plan leads to privatisation
Doctors at the British Medical Association annual representatives meeting have voted to oppose the NHS long-term plan as a ‘plan for a market-driven healthcare system’.

General practice is losing doctors faster than recruiting them
Chair of the BMA's General Practice committee identified three issues that are forcing GPs out of the profession. They are pensions, GP premises, the support service run by Capita as well as concerns over sharp hikes in service charges for some practices.

Austerity and inequality fuelling mental illness
Dr Dainius Pūras, the UN's health envoy, said policies that address inequality and discrimination would be far more effective in combatting mental illness than the current emphasis on medication and therapy.


26th June 2019

Emergency hospital beds now used all year round
Temporary beds which are supposed to only be used to cope with spikes in demands like winter crises are now being used all the year round. The Kings Fund said in a report on comparisons of different health services "The picture that emerges ... is that the NHS is under-resourced compared to other countries..." 

NHS hospital now charges £18,000 for hip operation
Warrington and Halton Hospitals Trust offers new hips for £18,143 among a list of 71 costly private treatments, operations that used to be free. Patients will get free treatment only when they meet certain criteria, including how severe their ­condition is. Many patients will have to wait in pain while they get worse before the trust provides NHS care.

Integrated care trust comes bottom of patient survey
Croydon Health Services Trust, which provides acute and community services to the south London borough, was the only NHS trust to be scored “much worse than expected” in the survey released this week. The trust was put into special measures in July 2016 because of concerns over its financial position when it had a deficit of £36 million, and taken out in February 2017 after it reduced its expected deficit to £25 million.


22nd June 2019

Staff to strike over transfer to wholly-owned subsidiary
Porters, housekeepers, domestic assistants and maintenance staff at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust will strike on 24-26 June. They are being transferred from 1 July to a wholly owned subsidiary, Summerhill Services Ltd, a move that allows the Trust to avoid paying tax, employing a VAT 'dodge'.

Public urged to complain about 25% cut in health visiting workforce
Suffolk residents are being urged to write to their MP in a bid to stop a proposed 25 per cent cut to the county’s health visitor workforce. Suffolk has seven MPs including health and social care secretary Matt Hancock who represents West Suffolk.

'Chaos' as PCN deadline approaches
GPs complain they are unable to meet the primary care network (PCN) registration deadline. NHS England hasn't issued the promised guidance (a template data sharing agreement that all GP practices are expected to review and sign by 30 June). GPs point out that their workload has increased as a consequence of the new PCN services and there's a lack of up-front funding to pay for it.


18th June 2019

Long term plan will fail without an extra £8 billion
A Health Foundation report, endorsed by the NHS Confederation, says waiting times will continue to get worse and hospitals will be overstretched without a further £8000 million injection of cash.

Record number of cancer patients are waiting
In England almost 20,000 patients had to wait more than the 14-day maximum to have their first appointment with a cancer specialist, easily the largest number since records began. The target is that once referred, 93% of patients see a specialist within the 14 day period.

GPs forced into primary care networks
London GPs think the area of that the network covers runs counter to '...geography, council guidance on neighbourhoods, community organisations and [patients'] preferences ', purely to meet the bureaucratic requirements of the CCG.

Author of 'This is Going to Hurt' hits out at Hunt
Adam Kay says Hunt was “the biggest villain of them all” for “hacking back at NHS funding, driving overworked staff to breaking point, leaving us with over 100,000 vacancies.'

Watch KONP doctor take "think tank" to task
Dr Sonia Adesara of KONP takes on the Institute of Economic Affairs, a right-wing lobbying organisation that purports to be a think-tank, over Trump and the threat to the NHS from US-UK trade deals.

GPs fill gaps left by public health cuts
Both the Health Foundation and The King’s Fund warn that the government ‘must make a clear and urgent commitment to restoring £1billion of real-terms per head cuts to the public health grant’. This, say GP leaders, is one of the causes of trainee doctors not choosing to be a GP, and more GPs working part-time, because public health funding cuts have driven up practice workload.


11th June 2019

Hancock rejects review of Oxford cancer contract
The blinkered lunacy of government policy continues, as the Secretary of State for Health rejects the request by Oxford Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee for him to review the awarding of the contract to outsource PET scanning from the hospital to the private firm InHealth. Didn't Hancock say that the NHS wouldn't be privatised on his watch?

GP shortage: we are 'on the cusp of a major workforce crisis'
GPs are being driven out of the NHS to avoid taxes that can mean they lose money for working more. The BMA has warned that even GPs in their 30s have been advised by accountants to reduce their working hours to avoid incurring annual allowance tax charges.

Circle loses contract to run ISTC
Circle is losing the contract it has held for 11 years to run the Nottingham NHS Treatment Centre. When Independent Sector Treatrment Centres were introduced in 2003 there was no analysis to show how the involvement of the private sector offers better value for money than simply investing in existing hospital trusts. In 2006 a Health Select Committe report said "We are not convinced that ISTCs provide better value for money than other options such as more NHS Treatment Centres..." (see bottom page 5).

KONP co-chair says 'We should be terrified of US firms" but ...
An article written by Tony O'Sullivan explains how existing government legislation is already privatising our NHS, but most of the 53,000 contracts to private firms are on the periphery of the NHS. US firms want to get at the essence of the NHS, the delivery of healthcare.

Private firms banned from 'lead provider' role
Some NHS contracts handed to private firms allow the company to subcontract services to other companies, for example Optum for 'commissioning support'. Such is the failure of this arrangement that the government has now banned 'lead provider' NHS contracts to private firms.


7th June 2019

Government gives GP at Hand CCG £21 million
When patients sign up for the smart phone service they leave their existing surgery, often the patient is unaware of this outcome. This has created a financial shortfall for the local CCG, Hammersmith and Fulham. Such is the enthusiasm that the government has for technological advances that it will hand over £21 million to the CCG to stabilise its funding.

Sure Start saves NHS millions
Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has discovered that where Sure Start offered high levels of service in poor neighbourhoods in England, visits to hospital to treat injuries fell among all children of primary school age. Such a shame that so many of the centres have closed.

Burnout and bullying causes NHS to quit
Disillusioned doctors and nurses are leaving the health service at all stages of their careers because they find working in it too stressful, the new workforce strategy drawn up by NHS leaders warns.

NHS workforce planning to be devolved to regions
Regional Integrated Care Systems will be expected to take on a greater role in workforce planning. The new NHS England and Improvement regional teams will become responsible for coordinating recruitment and five-year system workforce plans. This way it will give the impression that the fault always lies with the local body, never the inadequacy of government funding.

NHS managers unhappy with instruction to cut capital spend
NHS Providers warns of rebellion over efforts from national bodies to cut their planned spending on building and maintenance projects. Providers have cash available to spend on capital schemes to address patient safety risks, but are prevented from doing so by Treasury accounting rules and the government’s national spending limit.

GP crisis: we're losing the idea of continuity of care
The headlines continue to tell the story of the precipitous decline in General Practice. Behind the figures is something less tangible but as important – the destruction of the general practice model based on personal continuing community-based care from a GP that you know and who knows you.


3th June 2019

NHS staffing crisis: nursing shortage
Plans to hire nurses from other countries has been dropped. Why the nursing shortage? Many point to the decision by George Osborne to stop paying nursing students’ tuition fees and maintenance grants as the key factor.

NHS staffing crisis: GP shortage
You may remember when Jeremy Hunt was health secretary, he promised there would be 5000 more GPs by 2020. What has the government done about the two issues that discourage young doctors from choosing primary care a) the increase in GP workload and 2. the fall in GP income. The answer, nothing, in fact there's been a fall in GP numbers in the past year. Not that there's an absence of government policy on primary care, eg. networks; it's just that the government chooses to ignore one of the major problems facing the NHS, the staffing crisis.

Surgery closures hit an all time high
Surgery closures have risen almost eight-fold in six years, hitting record levels in 2018. Nearly two million patients have been affected by surgery closures across the UK including full practice closures, branch closures and surgeries that closed following a merger since 2013.

Threat of US access to the NHS in new trade deal
The US will want business access to the NHS in any post-Brexit trade deal, the US ambassador has said, prompting anger from politicians and campaigners.


30th May 2019

'50% of A&E patients can be treated elsewhere' dismissed as myth
The assertion, in an NHS England report by Matthew Swindells, its 'National Director: Operations and Information', that "50% of A&E patients could be treated elsewhere" has been dismissed by the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. Matthew Swindells formerly worked at Cerner Group, a Kansas-based health and technology consultancy.

Daily Express blows lid on NHS privatisation
Keep our NHS Public's co-chair, a retired consultant paediatrician, states that the use of the NHS logo by private companies is deceiving patients as the health service continues to undergo privatisation.

Capita disaster number 5: 160K patient records wrongly archived
How much longer should we put up with yet another NHS privatisation scandal, the outsourcing of primary care services to Capita? It's revealed that Capita has wrongly archived 160,000 patients records, when they should have been transferred to their new GP practices.

Mental health crisis: time to act
Here's a video of mental health practioners talking about the crisis in mental health services, especially the crisis in children mental health services, identifying the cuts in funding mental health has suffered since 2010.

NHS providers and private companies 'not a fair competition'
This article by the Centre for Health and Public Interest, reveals the fundamental obstacles suffered by NHS trusts in competing with private interests for NHS contracts.


13th May 2019

The GP crisis continues while the government does nothing
Patients in deprived areas need more medical care than those in more affluent places. However such is the shortage of GPs that the number of patients per GP in deprived areas is significantly greater than in more prosperous localities. As if we need further evidence of the crisis, GPs are seeing up to 60 patients a day, double the number considered safe, as services struggle with staff shortages and a rising demand for care.

KONP's charter for primary care
Although a long article, Louise Irving's analysis of primary care is worth a read. She offers a realistic assessment of the government's new 'primary care networks' but in the end only a significant increase in GP numbers with improved funding will genuinely redress the crisis.

Dramatic fall in nurse numbers
Almost 5,000 nurses and midwives from EU27 countries have quit the NHS in the past two years, with many of those identifying Brexit as the trigger. The Royal College of Nursing said "“Politicians should be alarmed that almost one in three [of those who] quit nursing [did so] because of intolerable pressure".

Private providers offered NHS billion pound budgets
Despite promises that the government has stopped privatising NHS services, NHS England has invited providers to take on mental health commissioning powers despite the evidence that privatisers offer poorer service as they design their operation to create profit. Compare this with the conclusions of a CQC analysis of 'NHS v private' provision of mental health services, go to Summary, 'main conclusions' point 3.

BBC Panorama: Why can't I get an appointment?
Quite simply, go to 13 minutes 20 seconds through it for the facts about GP numbers, retirements, etc. and what's happened to Hunt’s promise of 5000 more GPs.


6th May 2019

Can't make any profit, so Virgin walks
Virgin Care has walked away from its community services contract with East Staffordshire, a 'prime provider' contract that allows it to sub-contract separate services to other private providers. Virgin claims it would lose money, so it leaves the service up to another provider, perhaps the local NHS trust. The CCG claims it 'remains committed to the principal of integrated services', but are they integrated when provided by a multitude of private organisations?

GP At Hand will trigger other GP closures
Because the government allows a choice system, that allows patients to join practices outside their area, the CCG has to pick up all the health costs of the patient, including any secondary care services. Also, GPs the area are losing their healthier patients to GP At Hand. This reduces the income they have to treat patients with higher needs. This may eventually force GP closures.

Sodexo's minimum wage workers in dispute
The union agreed Agenda for Change agreement does not apply to workers in private firms, so porters, cleaners and domestic staff employed by multinational facilities management organisation Sodexo, and who are members of the trade union GMB, have conducted a protest across three London-based hospitals.


1st May 2019

Anti-FGM campaigner denied cancer care dies
An anti-FGM campaigner from Gambia, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and denied NHS treatment, has died. The 54-year-old man known as Saloum, was denied free NHS medical treatment after he collapsed in the street last December. He died on Sunday evening after being rushed to Royal Derby hospital hours earlier.

Staff crisis: Kings Fund shies away from stating the obvious
The obvious being that the NHS staffing crisis is caused by years of underfunding. Kings Fund identifies that the staffing crisis needs attention but doesn't offer the obvious solution. In 2016 the nurses training bursary was axed and since applications for nursing degrees has plummeted. Nurses pay, despite the recent 6.5% increase spread over 3 years, has been cut in real terms by 14% since 2010. There are 100,000 vacancies in the NHS.

South London pathology to be privatised
Despite endless number of scandals and promises that privatisation has been abandoned, outsourcing of NHS services continues. South London NHS patients will have their medical tests diagnosed by private companies if more than £2billion worth of diagnostic work is farmed out to commercial firms as planned.


26th April 2019

KONP's response to the legal changes in the Long Term Plan
The government's NHS Long Term Plan was published with media fanfair, even though tackling the NHS's staffing crisis was ignored. Here's Keep Our NHS Public's response, note KONP's proposal in the Public Contracts Regulations paragraph. The government can assert Parliament's supreme authority without being trumped by EU competition law.

Mental health crisis
Mental health patients are being locked in secure wards similar to old-style asylums. One patient at Birmingham and Solihull mental health NHS foundation trust spent more than 21 years in one of the wards. The average length of stay in a locked unit at Sussex Partnership NHS foundation trust was 602 days, almost two years. Whereas more than a quarter of NHS doctors suffer from mental health conditions; leading medics say many refuse to seek help for fear it will ruin their career.

Pregnancy club sold mums' information
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Bounty (UK) Limited £400,000 for illegally sharing personal information belonging to more than 14 million people. The company operated as a data broking service until 30 April 2018, supplying data to third parties for the purpose of electronic direct marketing.


22nd April 2019

MPs: staff shortage means it's impossible to deliver long term plan
A public accounts committee report states there are currently around 100,000 vacancies across the NHS, with staffing shortages considered ‘one of the biggest threats to financial sustainability in the NHS’, with ‘little sign of the shortfall improving’.

Thousands of NHS staff on minimum wage
An estimated 100,000 low-paid cleaners, porters, security guards and catering staff who work for private contractors in hospitals across England are being treated as “second-class employees”. Many struggle to support their families, a minimum wage earner gets arpound £13K a year.

Over the counter medicines ban results in half of expected saving
NHS spending on drugs available over-the-counter in England fell by £25.9m, despite promises of up to £100m in savings. But the legality of doctors refusing to prescribe them needs clarity. Read the comments at the end of the article.


4th April 2019

PET scan outsourcing (1) No relocation, but ...
NHS bosses have made a significant U-turn over plans to privatise cancer scanning services, the PET scanners will remain located in Oxford's Churchill hospital. However, it appears that InHealth will still be operating the equipment - the climbdown is only related to the location of the scanners. It's yet to be made clear, but the service seems still to have been privatised, but in-house. And ...

PET scan outsourcing (2) NHS England threatened to sue trust
NHS England threatened to sue Oxford Hospital NHS Trust for libel, for daring to raise concerns that privatising the PET scanning service, an important element in their world class cancer care, would endanger patients’ health.

Campaigning works! London A&E saved
Charing Cross hospital in Fulham will not lose its A&E unit nor will it lose hundreds of beds under a scheme that would have downgraded it to a “local” hospital and that would have sold 87% of its site for housing.

The Americanisation of our family doctor service
This is a very long podcast of the underlying intentions of NHS England for our primary care service that are contained in 1) the new GP contract 2) grouping GPs into primary care networks and 3) encouraging them to sign up to Integrated Care Partnerships.

29th March 2019

BMA highlights £550 million cuts in public health funding
The BMA has demanded the reversal of £550m in public health cuts, as GP leaders warned the funding reduction had driven up practice workload and denied patients vital services.

CCGs offer GPs cash to cut referrals
CCGs are still paying practices to meet specific referral-reduction targets and in some cases giving GPs money linked to the level of savings achieved, through profit-share arrangements.

Trainee doctors denied leave
Hospitals have refused to let trainees take time off for their weddings and told them to use holiday entitlement rather than compassionate leave to attend funerals of relatives. One trainee was told told by his trust that it would only grant him compassionate leave to spend time with his wife, who had just had a miscarriage, if she had died.

For GPs joining an ICP is risky
Royal College of GPs chairman says "entering in to an ICP [government's so called Integrated Care Partnership] agreement is a one-way street to loss of independence, direct management control and potential wholesale privatisation".


25th March 2019

Your NHS is shrinking!
Under the cloak of so-called "sustainability" health services are being rationed. Check you area to see what procedures have been cut from your NHS. These cuts are being called 'Procedures of Limited Clinical Value’, a term originally applied to alternative and complementary therapies and cosmetic procedures.

Bailiffs used to chase migrants' NHS charges
NHS trusts are using debt recovery firms to pursue thousands of patients for millions of pounds, prompting complaints of harassing phone calls and intimidating doorstep visits. Of the trusts that gave data only about £1.5m of the £21m of debt referred to private firms has been recouped – barely 7%.

Labour will ban outsourcing public services
A series of outsourcing disasters have prompted Labour to announce that it would ban privatising services that deal with vulnerable people, for example, those that test for sickness benefits and some NHS cancer services.


22nd March 2019

STP results in limiting access to at least one of four basic elective treatments
NHS England's drive to save funding has caused nearly one in five clinical commissioning groups to restrict access to at least three basic elective surgeries and treatments, according to researchers, under programmes often called "Clinically effective commissioning".

GPs offered money not to refer
GPs working within primary care networks will be able to take part in a ‘shared savings’ scheme that will allow them to ‘benefit’ from efforts to reduce avoidable A&E attendances, admissions and delayed discharge.

Disastrous privatisation taken back in-house
Capita is to be stripped of its contract to run the administration side of the cervical screening programme and the service will be brought back in house, NHS England has announced.

Shortfall of 11500 GPs by 2029
The health service in England currently has 'more than 2,500 fewer GPs than it needs'. In five years' time this gap will widen to 7,000 GPs if current trends continue and by 2028/29 the NHS faces a shortfall of 11,500 GPs, the think tanks warn.

Travellers and migrants turned away from surgeries
The Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) charity has said that travellers and other vulnerable groups without a fixed address or proof of ID are being turned away from GP surgeries despite NHS guidance that they should be treated.

Doctors demand removal of 'anti-immigrant' registration forms
Local doctors groups have called for the scrapping of a requirement for practices to ask patients to self-declare whether they are not ordinarily resident in the UK and may have to pay for NHS treatment.

Quarter of GP at Hand patients have left
More than one in four NHS patients who registered with Babylon GP at Hand quit the video consultation service. Babylon GP at Hand admitted that the figures reflected the fact that many people were unaware that doing so meant they would be deregistered from their existing GP practice


18th March 2019

NHS workforce "in crisis"
The 2018 NHS Staff Survey show that doctors and other health care professionals across England are working in a system under extreme pressure due to chronic underfunding, workforce shortages and rising patient demand.

Boots milking NHS funds
Chemists employed by Boots have voted to join a trade union, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association, following attempts by management to prevent such a move. Previously in 2016 it was disclosed that Boots have been pressurizing their chemists to do medicine-use reviews (MURs), to milk the NHS of funds.

MPs urge halting cancer scan privatisation
Even local Tory MP has written to NHS England saying scrap the plan to outsource positron emission computerised tomography (PET-CT) scanning in the Thames Valley. It would mean patients are driven to a different site to receive vital scan services.

West London CCGs fear bail out due to GP at Hand
Smart phone app for primary care is hosted by Hammersmith and Fulham CCG, and as the host it has to pay for these new patients’ NHS healthcare, despite most of them living and receiving much of their care outside the CCG’s catchment. The cost of hosting GP at Hand patients could be as much as £10 million. Further, GPs report being alarmed that its video content was not inspected.


11th March 2019

Hospitals told to send more A&E patients home
Even patients with severe pneumonia may be sent home under new instructions from NHS England. One in three emergency admissions will be sent home without an overnight stay, after being given access to on-the-spot tests. You might be asking, how can a government official dictate that patients are sent home?

Doctors "disgust" at privatised cancer scan contract
Despite its international reputation for cancer care, Churchill hospital in Oxford has lost its contract to carry out PET-CT scans to a private company. Doctors at the hospital said they were “disgusted” by the loss of the contract. Patients will now have to be taken by ambulance to two new locations.

Satisfaction with NHS falls to its lowest for a decade
Barely half of people surveyed (53%) are happy with how the NHS is run, the lowest percentage since 2007. It is 16 percentage points lower than in 2010, when the coalition government’s austerity programme began.


6th March 2019

Concern over healthcare becomes public's primary issue
Immigration is no longer the public’s top concern after it was replaced by health as the nation’s number one priority. In 2016 it was immigration but figures published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveal that in 2018 the public's top concern now is health.

More than 40% of GPs plan to quit in 5 years
Researchers have revealed that 42.1% of the GPs surveyed plan to leave the profession within the next five years. The survey found that workload was the most significant factor behind GPs' intention to quit the profession.

Bladder cancer patients wait up to 5 months for treatment
People with the disease have been forced to endure long waits because of a loophole in NHS cancer waiting time guidance. A flaw in the guidance means a patient who has only had a biopsy is counted as having been treated.


28th February 2019

Migrants wrongly made to pay
The Immigration Health Surcharge was introduced by the Tory government in 2015. Now if you're not entitled to free NHS care you will be asked for its full cost before treatment. Some hospitals have been making migrants pay for NHS care when they are entitled to receive it free of charge. 22 people were ordered to pay before they could start treatment, despite the seriousness of their condition. This number includes some who were denied cancer care without upfront payment.

Nurse agency charges £2700 a shift
Newcross Healthcare supplies thousands of agency health workers to care homes, many of whose residents have their fees paid by local councils. It charges £76.84 an hour to supply a head of care for a Sunday day shift. Newcross made a pre-tax profit of £21m in 2017.

Bullying and sexual harrassment endemiv in hospitals
Reports of bullying and harassment in England rose from 420 in 2013-14 to 585 in 2017-18. The Royal College of Nursing said there are "41,000 nursing vacancies in England alone, a solution to bullying in the health service goes hand in hand with solving the workforce crisis.”


22nd February 2019

Directors of cystic fibrosis firm got £15 million
Vertex Pharmaceuticals is in a stand-off with the NHS - its refusing to drop the price of Orkambi, a drug that treats the underlying causes of cystic fibrosis. Vertex has put a price tag of £105,000 per patient per year on the drug that must be taken for life. Its two UK directors received £15 million in share options in 2017.

Interesting read from a diabetes consultant
"Stop blaming patients for attending A&E...if that’s what they are choosing, stop the multiple channels, bolster A&E, put the resources there rather than spreading existing resources thinly." ...and..."24/7 Consultant cover: If you genuinely want that, stop playing silly politics and either invest OR decide which work needs to stop."

Soaring numbers of homeless NHS patients
Homeless people in England are arriving at hospital in their thousands with Victorian-era illnesses such as tuberculosis, as well as serious respiratory conditions, liver disease and cancer. Yet again the NHS picks up problems caused by inadequate resources in other areas, such as poorly resourced drug and alcohol services, and of course the lack of social housing.


18th February 2019

Dying man denied operation by hostile environment
Nasar Ullah Khan is 38 and has weeks, if not days, left to live. He came to the UK nine years ago and overstayed his visa, was refused a lifesaving heart transplant just before Christmas because of his ineligibility for free healthcare.  He was handed his first invoice for £16,000 on New Year’s Eve, days after he was told he would probably die within a month.

Big increase in NHS staff leaving due to long hours
Health unions have been warning for years that NHS personnel are cracking under heavy workloads, rising demand for care and widespread understaffing. Between June 2010 and June 2011, a total of 3,689 employees cited concerns over long working hours as the reason they had decided to stop working for the NHS in England. But 10,257 did so between June 2017 and June 2018 – an increase of 178%.

Sneaking Integrated Care through by secondary regulation
The total absence of scrutiny of the government's plans to force US style Integrated Care onto us is illustrated by the way it's used secondary regulation, see also here. Such a momentous change to the way healthcare is delivered (should that be "rationed"?) and the way our health services are funded, should receive full public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny by primary legislation.


15th February 2019

A&E waits at their worst ever level
More patients than ever before had to wait more than four hours for A&E treatment last month as winter put unprecedented strain on the NHS. Hospital A&E units in England dealt with just 76.1% of patients within four hours last month, they are meant to treat and then admit, discharge or transfer 95% of patients within four hours.

Labour: "120,000 deaths from austerity cuts"
A Labour Party broadcast blames 120,000 deaths on Tory austerity. Oxford University Professor Danny Dorling said: "The claim that there are at least 120,000 excess deaths is absolutely true and the only credible cause that it is possible to identify is austerity."

New GP contract good, but is there a hidden agenda?
Former GP and BMA leader tells us that general practice has finally received something close to sufficient funding from the Government. However all practices are being asked to join a network, designed on a business healthcare model. Might this lead private healthcare companies stepping in and start running them, with GPs becoming salaried with terms and conditions being dictated by private providers?

Private providers could grab unlimited share of GP consultations
A government response to a parliamentary question reveals the extent to which, under the agreement that has brought in a new GP contract, existing practices will face competition from new digital-first providers for their patient lists. This risks traditional surgeries having a higher proportion of elderly patients and those with complex needs.

Fragmentation of sexual health services "an insult to women"
The Royal College of GPs has called for an overhaul in the way sexual health services are delivered and funded in England after branding the current system an 'insult' to women.


8th February 2019

Age UK: "50,000 have died waiting for a care package"
The Commons public accounts committee (PAC) said "after eight years in which central government funding had halved" more than 50,000 people have died waiting for care while ministers dither over long-awaited plans to overhaul the funding of social care. The government first said in March 2017 it would publish its social care green paper, which has since been delayed several times.

The stress a hospital doctor is under
" I’m not unkind; I am deeply sorry for the effects of this system failure. I can’t allow myself to feel guilty. The regular overtime I put in ..... I am proud of the work I do but my ability to connect with people as they lie there with only hours left is continually pervaded by an overstretched, underfunded NHS workforce."

Council's public health cuts leave GPs unable to cope
Major cuts to public health spending by Walsall Council stem from a reduction in central Government funding will put pressure in GPs as patients have nowhere else to turn. The council has cut services to drug and alcohol treatment, sexual health and falls prevention services.


4th February 2019

Why we should oppose the NHS Plan
Alex Scott Samuel, senior lecturer in Public Health at Liverpool University, firstly identifies the principles of the NHS - publicly owned, pooling of risk, free health provision for those in need, and chronicles Tory attempts to undermine it, culminating in the NHS Long Term Plan, to convert "England’s single national health service into 40+ Americanised accountable care organisations with rigidly fixed budgets and strictly rationed services".

Fewer trainees doctors plan to become GPs
A report on the intended and final career destinations of F2 doctors found the proportion actually going into specialty training, including GP training, has plummetted from 71% in 2011, to just 38% last year. In 2015 the health secretary announced a plan to train 5000 new GPs by 2020,

Calls for NHS to fund £100k drug per patient per year
Vertex, based in Boston in the US, has priced a new cystic fybrosis drug at £105,000 per patient per year, which NHS England says is unaffordable. Orkambi could extend lives, but negotiations over the price the NHS should pay have been in stalemate with the pharma company refusing to reduce the price. Are we being held to ransome by big pharma?

29th January 2019

Why does the government do nothing about Capita?
If you look back through this news blog there have been a number of entries about the disastrous outsourcing of primary care services to Capita. Yet nothing is done about the appalling state of the service it provides. The BMA have attacked it repeatedly yet the government does nothing. Here the BMA demands compensation for GPs.

Patients at risk with ambulance and A&E waits
Patients’ lives are being put in danger by long delays for vital NHS care, a coroner has warned, following the death of a 93-year-old woman who waited 10 hours for an ambulance and another two to get into A&E.

Keep Our NHS Public's view on 10 year plan
The Government and NHS England have published the ‘NHS Long Term Plan’. KONP says "it contains 60 promises completely uncosted – yet which they claim will improve healthcare. The reality is very different: two-thirds of acute NHS trusts are in the red, cancer waiting times are the worst on record, A&E is in crisis and the average waits for GP appointments are up 30% to two weeks."


25th January 2019

Dying man billed £000's for NHS treatment
A patient came to the UK nine years ago and overstayed his visa, was refused a lifesaving heart transplant just before Christmas because of his ineligibility for free healthcare. Now he’s been told that he will be charged before he can receive end-of-life care. He was handed his first invoice for £16,000 on New Year’s Eve.

NHS 10 year plan (1): clears path for total privatisation
Integrated care systems could ultimately become integrated care organisations with a single provider responsible for regional health and social care. These 10-year contracts are likely to be won by private health or insurance companies. In other words, far from reversing privatisation, integrated care would consolidate privatisation.

NHS 10 year plan (2): the real picture
The government has cut £7 billion from social care and has underfunded the NHS by £20 billion in annual funding over the last 9 years. There is no plan to repair the damage done. Platitudes about prevention and better health are exposed by the £1bn cuts to the public health budget responsible for prevention. After 9 years undermining mental health, the ‘extra’ now committed is not new money but comes from elsewhere within NHS funding. Theresa May’s assertion that the NHS has never received higher funding is simply not true in relation to NHS funding required to meet need.


7th January 2019

Hospitals 'expecting mayhem' when cold spell hits
Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said hospitals will face “severe difficulties” with lower temperatures leading to a surge in patients needing care. Some A&E units and intensive care units are already full, especially with people who have serious breathing problems.

PM refuses to give promise on waiting times improvement
Despite the window dressing of the NHS 10 year plan, Teresa May, asked on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show whether targets would be met in future, admitted the NHS’s performance was “slipping” and blamed its inability to provide those types of care within the maximum waiting times on the fast-growing pressures it is under.

Mental health staff target set to be missed
A year after the government made the pledge, NHS mental health trusts in England had employed just 1,524 extra personnel, according to statistics collected by NHS Digital. In July 2017 the then health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said he would recruit of 21,000 extra personnel including psychiatrists and mental health nurses.

Vulnerable patients sent home from hospital
Vulnerable patients, many elderly, are increasingly being sent home from hospital in the middle of the night, despite repeated pledges to stop the practice. An investigation reveals the number of patients being discharged between the hours of 11pm and 6am has risen by more than a fifth in five years. Charities said the figures were a “tragic” reflection of an unsafe and inhumane health service, which was putting lives at risk.


31st December 2018

Is undermining GP partnerships a covert government policy?
Or is it just part of the Tory disdain for those employed in all forms of public service? An unnoticed NHS crisis has developed in GP partnerships - it is almost impossible to replace retiring GP partners, young GPs do not apply. The rates of pay for partners are lower than that for salaried or locum GPs, and the workload higher - in addition to patient care there's issues such as staffing and premises.

Cuts in mental health services leave it in crisis
Between 2010 and 2015, spending on children’s mental health services fell by nearly £50m. When a child needs mental health support the GP is the first port of call. A new survey of GPs found that 78% of them are worried that too few of their young patients can get treatment for mental ill-health and 86% have seen a rise in the last two years in the number of 11- to 18-year-olds with anxiety.

CQC inspectors: Are you surprised that underfunded A&Es get overcrowded?
So, the CQC rates this hospital as 'requiring improvement'. Why? Because of overcrowding. This is what happens when you take away 15,000 beds from the NHS and underfund it to the point of near collapse. Don't blame the hospital, blame the government.

All government NHS policies are aimed at cutting funding
Whether it's so-called "sustainability", privatisation of individual services, NHS England directives instructing CCGs planning, the primary aim of this government's policy for the NHS is cutting funding. Now it's removing so-called "unnecessay" medical procedures from the NHS, these are no longer free on the NHS. All this, and the UK is one of the lowest spenders on health services in Europe.


21st December 2018

Dorset hospital cuts: 'hundreds at risk of dying'
A report by the local ambulance service trust has condemned plans by Dorset CCG to close Poole’s A&E, maternity and paediatric services. It said that hundreds of patients including new born babies are at risk of dying or being left disabled. The local HOSC has referred the plans to health sec Matt Hancock ... I'm sure we can rely on him.

Medical colleges criticise charging migrants
Three royal medical colleges and one faculty say the charging regime is harming people’s health by deterring them from seeking NHS help when they fall ill. Payments in advance are “a concerning barrier to care”. The Tory government introduced charging in regulations in 2015 and 2017.

Full time GP workforce fell by 221 in a year
In October the government dropped the time limit on the promise to recruit 5000 more GPs. Now a report shows that the number of fulltime equivalent GPs fell by 221 in the year to September 2018.


17th December 2018

BMA condemns STP spend on management consultants
Freedom of Information responses from 19 of the 44 STP (sustainability and transformation partnership) areas show health managers spending vast sums on firms who are helping with projects such as ‘public engagement communications’, ‘strategy analytics and modelling’ and ‘strategic workforce planning’. 

A&E target: the worst ever November on record
Just 87.6 per cent of patients were seen within four hours, against a target of 95 per cent, it has not been hit since July 2015. A review of NHS targets is considering whether it should be altered, with minor injuries excluded from assessments, but senior A&E doctors oppose the idea, which has provoked criticism that it is simply an attempt to help ensure targets can be met.

The budget's £20 billion not enough to improve care
An analysis carried out by the Institute of Public Policy Research and Carnall Farrar  has concluded that the £20.5 billion budget boost in the Chancellor's budget is likely to be swallowed up by hospitals’ deficits, the ageing population, pay rises and the rising cost of drugs.

Brexit chaos delays NHS 10 year plan publication
The plan, setting out how the NHS in England will spend the £20.5bn budget increase Theresa May has promised, was due to come out early next week, but that has been postponed until January amid the government's chaotic handling of Brexit.

GP At Hand criticized for giving anti-biotic for sore throat
A promotional video for the smart phone app Babylon GP at Hand shows a patient with a sore throat being prescribed antibiotics. The Royal College of GPs condemned it "it risks undermining GPs' professionalism and is profoundly unhelpful".


13th December 2018

New calls to scrap Capita contract
The BMA has renewed calls for NHS England to strip Capita of its primary care support contract after it was revealed that 3,591 women did not receive information about cervical cancer screening in 2017. This is the latest in a series of blunders by the outsource giant, that works on overhead cutting as soon as it takes over a public service.

NHS patient data passed to Google
"DeepMind repeatedly, unconditionally promised to 'never' connect people's intimate, identifiable health data to Google", but this is exactly what has happened. Yet another commercial operation involved in the NHS expoits us for profit.

Every government NHS initiative is really about saving money
To hell with the effects on the service, whether its outsourcing or STP, every government intiative is really about saving money. The latest comes from the General Medical Council, government regulator of the medical profession, it's exploring outsourcing remote primary care based overseas. Suppose they could always improve GP pay (it's fallen by 23% in real terms over the past 10 years), consider workload reductions, but no, the government don't give a monkeys for the real issues.

Hammond's NHS present "more austerity"
Keep Our NHS Public's Tony O'Sullivan looks more carefully at the budget's 'apparent' funding increase of £22 billion. "The birthday present is a continuation of austerity. It fails to repair the damage done".


10th December 2018

Waiting lists explode so they pay surgeons privately
Here's an example of the false economy of not paying the NHS enough to maintain increasing demand. A list of NHS trusts which may need to outsource operations to reduce their waiting lists has been drawn up by regulators and given to private providers. This means trusts pay their own surgeons at extortionate rates for their private work at local private hospitals.

Toughest ever winter is coming
NHS trusts are expanding A&Es, paying for patients to be cared for in nursing homes and looking after more people at home; experts have warned the winter will be the toughest ever. Patients also face being moved between hospitals to help relieve overcrowding as the NHS braces for a surge in demand during December, January and February.

So the NHS can run on volunteers, can it?
Rather than spend money on training nurses or doctors, £2.3 million is being given to recruit volunteers for the NHS. Our NHS is under doctored, under nursed and under hospital bedded, but we must have more volunteers.


6th December 2018

Former NHS boss to run private health firm
The revolving door exists in the NHS too. The person who helped devise integrated care for the NHS at NHS England has been appointed to be CEO of the UK arm of international insurance firm Centene. Centene already provides "support" for integration and population health, including the Rushcliffe new care model “vanguard” site and the wider Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System. See the next item on this.

Nottingham Council suspends its involvement in Integrated Care
Nottingham City Council has suspended its role in Nottingham's Integrated Care System. A councillor said "“Too many decisions about our local health and social care services have been taken without democratic oversight" and "“While we support the principle of integration of health and social care services, this process cannot be a cover for cuts or for privatisation of public services" which is what STP/ICS is really all about.

GP workload creates more hospital referrals
Owing to increased workload and consequential time pressures their diagnosis suffers and are now more likely to refer a patient to hospital than before. This report also highlights rising numbers of doctors leaving the UK, reducing their working hours or considering early retirement.


3rd December 2018

Hancock breaks ministerial code by backing private healthcare firm
Health secretary Matt Hancock Hancock has endorsed Babylon, a private healthcare company, in a paid-for newspaper supplement. In clear contravention of the Ministerial Code, he heaped praise on the company’s GP at Hand app, which allows users to have video consultations with doctors via their smartphone.

NHS bosses: 4 hour wait target can't be met, 'so let's scrap it!'
NHS bosses are considering a shake-up of A&E care that could lead to patients with only minor ailments no longer being guaranteed that they will be treated within four hours. The coalition government had reduced the target to 95% in 2010 from the original 98% set by Labour.

Pharma companies ripping off the NHS
NHS drugs bill for last year was £11 billion, an 11 percent increase from the previous year and a 55 percent hike since 2010; the drugs bill is rising faster than the NHS funding to pay for it. This financial burden is only going to increase as the first wave of new advanced cancer treatments called CAR-Ts, that reprogram the body’s own immune cells to attack malignant cells, are priced in the region of several hundred thousand pounds.

Kings Fund's support for NHS Long Term Plan
The Kings Fund is no longer regarded as an impartial even-handed thinktank; some think it's become part of the PR division of the Conservative Party, aka NHS England. Anyway, here's its assessment of the NHS Long Term Plan. It's full of 'visions' and hollow ambition with little evidence of the provision of adequate resources to back it up.


28th November 2018

Does NHS need 'trail-blazing leaders' or more doctors and nurses?
Just when you'd think the NHS has had enough of neoliberal idiocy health secretary Matt Hancock, rather than ensuring we have enough doctors and nurses, wants 'to take mid career business leaders and turn them into top tier NHS trailblazers”, under plans for health service leadership'.

Companies running 'inadequate' care homes take £113 million profit
An investigation into the accounts of 220 care homes that have been rated inadequate by recent inspection reports showed that at least 44, many of which will receive government funding to care for residents, were owned by companies making £133 million pre-tax profits for the year.

GP leader: Capita should be "stripped of primary care services"
The BMA's general practice chairman, Dr Richard Vautrey, said of NHS England "They can outsource a service but they cannot outsource their responsibility." He was referring to the unacceptable delays in processing GP pensions. Capita have an equally disastrous record in primary care support, resulting in around 1,000 GPs, dentists and opticians being delayed from working with patients, delays in moving medical records which impacted patients’ ability to access necessary care.


23rd November 2018

Yet more hospital staffing crises
Specialist hospital wards that provide cancer care and children’s services are closing at an alarming rate due to NHS’s deepening staffing crisis. A number of factors have caused this crisis, the real value of nurses pay has been cut by 12 % over the past decade, the abolition of bursaries for nurse training and EU nurses are leaving owing to Brexit.

All patients can now register with GP At Hand
The list of conditions previously deemed unsafe for the GP at Hand service have been removed by Hammersmith and Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group. Previously patients with complex physical and or mental health conditions, living with dementia, older people with conditions related to frailty, those with learning difficulties, women who are or may be pregnant and those requiring end of life care were not permitted to register with the service. GP At Hand, accused of cherry picking since it attracts the young and healthy, provides a smartphone app that offers primary care remotely and face-to-face.

Ben Goldacre is chair of new health technology board
You may be surprised to learn that Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Science and Bad Pharma, has been appointed chairman of the new Healthtech Advisory board. It will advise Matt Hancock on his technology vision for health and social care.


18th November 2018

Cancer patient dies after £30K demanded for treatment
Elfreda Spencer, a 71-year-old Jamaican widow, came to London to visit her daughter, Barbara Wright, when she started to feel breathless and tired; she was diagnosed with advanced cancer. Hammersmith hospital sent Spencer’s family bills for £5,404 to run various tests. The consultant recommended chemotherapy as soon as possible, but Imperial demanded £30,000 upfront; Spencer's family could not afford it. She died in January; now her daughter has received threatening letters from a debt collection agency.

Hundreds of patients denied treatment
Hundreds of patients have been denied treatment for serious health problems including cancer, arrhythmia and cardiac chest pains after ministers forced the NHS to impose upfront charges on migrants deemed ineligible for free healthcare. Migrants from overseas will have to pay £400 a year to receive NHS care.

Surely we must take back services outsourced to Capita?
Yet another Capita disaster, more than 40,000 women have not received information on cervical cancer screening after the NHS contractor Capita failed to send out letters. The problem, which occurred between January and June, affected 43,200 women who were supposed to receive an invitation or a reminder but received only one of the two, and also led to the delays of 4,508 results letters. This isn't the first disaster caused by the disastrous privatising of primary care services.

NHS asset sales fund revenue despite promises
Nearly two thirds of the money raised from NHS land sales last year was diverted into day to day spending budgets, despite a government commitment for the proceeds to be reinvested into new estates’ projects.


9th November 2018

Hancock's words not matched with funding
In his recent speech health secretary Matt Hancock said "We need to focus more on prevention ..." but the policy of this government is quite the opposite. The autumn budget will lead to £200m cuts to public health funding on top of £500m cuts since 2014/15.

Local GP groups call for ban on GP At Hand out-of-area
The conference of Local Medical Committees (LMCs), the professional organisation representing individual GPs and GP practices, is to call for the abolition of the out-of-area registration clause in the GMS contract which underpins Babylon’s GP at Hand model. Currently, patients who register with GP at Hand, which has attracted more than 30,000 predominantly young patients over the past year, are required to quit their existing practice.

Private home care firm 'on the brink'
The CQC says the care of almost 10,000 pensioners could be at risk due to one of Britain’s largest home care providers, Allied Healthcare, may be on the brink of collapse. The 84 local authorities affected have been told they have a duty to ensure that all pensioners receiving care from the company continue to get help, should the company go out of business. Since local authorities are forced to outsource care contracts why isn't it the responsibility of the firm?


6th November 2018

Keep Our NHS Public response to ICP
An Integrated Care Provider (ICP) is what NHS England prefers Accountable Care to be known as, and it has held a public consultation; not that it has been widely explained nor its full implications revealed. Here's Keep Our NHS Public's response to the consultation, an excoriation of government NHS policy.

You cut training bursaries and get nurse shortages
London hospital drops chemotherapy owing to the shortage of trained cancer nurses. The Cedar Centre at King George hospital in Ilford will cease provision from 12 November. The NHS has widespread staffing problems; at the end of June the health service had 107,743 unfilled posts, up 9,268 from the 98,475 total seen just three months earlier.

How to replace adequate funding with managerial gibberish
I fully support efforts that genuinely improve our health services, of course the first of these must be to fund the NHS adequately and paying staff a reasonable wage. But I view insisting on staff adopting zen mantras as pathetic obfuscation and an insult to the sterling efforts of NHS staff.

GP at Hand and CQC inspections
Does a CQC inspection of GP at Hand consider its wider effects on the primary care service? I doubt it. GP at Hand offers video consultations via smartphone, and has expanded its list attracting young healthy patients. It does not offer its services to pregnant women, those with complex need or mental health issues resulting in accusations of cherry picking.


30th October 2018

The government's deceitful NHS reorganisation exposed
Here's a very good summary of Accountable Care; not just what the government is doing but it reveals the undemocratic underhand manner in which it's being done.

The disaster that awaits the NHS if a no deal Brexit
Freedom of information requests show that in the event of a no deal Brexit it could take years to train enough staff to replace departing EU nationals, increasing the burden on the health service at a time when staff shortages are already starting to bite. They also suggest the consequences for patients could be serious if vital medical supplies are held up.

There's no evidence for 7 day a week GP surgery opening
The government isn't taking note of the evidence, in pilot schemes a quarter of the evening and weekend appointments remain unfilled, a far lower rate of demand than for appointments for existing opening times and a criminal waste of GPs' resources. Doctors would inevitably reduce their more useful midweek work in response to its enforced introduction.


26th October 2018

Trusts fear winter will be more difficult than the last
A report by NHS Providers says the challenges this winter are likely to be even more severe than the last. "NHS trusts are operating against the backdrop of widespread workforce shortages. At the end of June there were over 107,000 vacancies across the NHS, including nearly 42,000 nursing posts and 11,500 doctors."

Capita primary care support crisis continues
You couldn't make it up, apparently it's all GPs fault. When GPs are sent mail, e.g. test results, that were wrongly sent to them, they send them back to Primary Care Support England (PCSE). Such is the incompetent service provide by Capita that there are up to 10,000 of such misdirected mailings each month. NHS England, rather than taking the contract away from Capita, accuse GPs of putting patients at risk, they should send them back to the original sender - but GPs don't have time or money to investigate who the original sender was.

Campaigners in Dorset force A&E closure referral
The tireless efforts of NHS campaigners in Dorset were rewarded with a victory at Dorset's health scrutiny committee; it has referred the CCG's NHS programme of cuts and closures to Secretary of State. The underfunding of the NHS there has resulted in a shortfall of £158 million by 2021. Hancock will consider the referral that includes the closure of Poole's A&E ...... and waive them through; thus demonstrating the stupidity of referring policy decisions to the very minister responsible for the funding shortfall in the first place.

22nd October 2018

May's £20 billion will only pay off debts
NHS bosses are warning that the promised expansions of cancer and mental healthcare will prove impossible because a large amount of the £20billion that the prime minister pledged this year for the NHS by 2023-24 will be used servicing historic debts.

Another Virgin surgery rated inadequate
A Virgin GP practice, the Church Lane Surgery in Braintree, was described by the CQC as lacking in leadership and safety systems were 'inadequate and did not ensure that patients and staff would be kept safe from harm'. This follows the rating of another Essex Virgin practice that, before Virgin's take over was rated as outstanding by the CQC and when taken over by Virgin was rated as inadequate just 18 months later.

MPs do not understand accountable care jargon ... surprising?
More than three quarters of MPs surveyed said NHS organisations should “simplify their language and explain concepts more clearly..." But do NHS England officials really want the public to understand what they are proposing? Isn't it the case that the more people realise what they are doing the more opposition to what they propose will grow?

How United Health is infiltrating the NHS
Optum is a subsidiary of the American giant corporation United Health. With NHS England’s blessing, Optum is all over the NHS, installing their technology and redesigning the NHS to suit its needs. It sells the NHS commissioning support services, a decision support for GP prescribing called Scriptswitch which is in most GP surgeries, referral management services and now accountable care. See here how United Health is embedded in our NHS and how it embezzled the US Medicare system.


15th October 2018

Dad dies: a victim of a private ambulance service
 Amvale Medical Transport, the private firm running the local service in Leicestershire sent an ambulance with a broken defibulator to a heart attack victim; it couldn't call for back up because they hadn't got radio equipment, and then took the patient to the wrong hospital.

Hospitals warn of a lack of preparation for winter crisis
Hospital trusts are saying that staffing shortages and lack of adequate funding will create a winter crisis greater than the last one. Funding for extra demand has already been spent owing to the summer heatwave, high demand is constant all year round now.

Sussex patient transport crisis continues
In 2017, following a period of disastrous service, Coperforma, a private company, was stripped of its contract. Patients had missed their appointments because the transport failed to turn up and the local CCG had to fork out to hire taxis owing to Coperforma's appalling service. Now it seems the private company brought in to replace Coperforma, Thames Ambulance Service Limited, is running into financial problems. It's making ambulance staff redundant amid continued problems with the service it provides.

NHS England plan for NHS privatisation
Simon Stevens wants legislation to accelerate the implementation of his long term plan. The language he uses is not clear, but here are some phrases that give us clues to the plan's intention. Legislation should enable “the ability for local NHS organisations to function in a way that is more consistent with the move towards systems working [and population health]. ”'Removing impediments [to local organisations working as systems] which exist [in] procurement and competition legislation”. Is this code for allowing private organisations to run a fragmented NHS?


10th October 2018

A booking system for A&E??
The latest desperate idea from this government in place of proper funding and staffing, is an appointments system for attending A&E. Many questions are raised over its potential implementation. How would the increased capacity be managed? Patients would presumably be required to phone in and be triaged on the telephone which raises the obvious question of who would manage the extra calls and how certain a call handler could be of any underlying issues without a face to face consultation.

Private healthcare firms squeeze out groups of GPs
Profit-driven firms are squeezing traditional GPs out of running family doctor services because of rules that NHS bosses and ministers both believe harm patient care. Doctors, MPs and campaigners have hit out at the “creeping privatisation” of general practice, with private companies being handed contracts ahead of groups of GPs.

GP at Hand censured for misrepresentation
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ruled that GP at Hand ads were misleading because they failed to make clear that patients would have to quit their existing practice to sign up. Not only does GP at Hand exploit out-of-area arrangements and cherry-pick healthy, young patients, but it has done so without being clear with the public from the beginning that by using the service they will be deregistering from their own GP.

Sign the petition to stop the Americanisation of our NHS
Members of the public, NHS campaign groups and trade unions are acting to stop NHS England from introducing a cost-cutting Accountable Care Organisation contract that will make it harder to get the healthcare we are entitled to. In their hundreds, they are donating to help crowdfund a legal challenge to this contract in the Court of Appeal later this autumn.

Mental health patients waiting over 13 years for treatment
People with mental health problems are waiting so long for NHS care they are ending up jobless, divorced or in financial distress because of the delay, according to a report. A Royal College of Psychiatrists survey of the experience of 500 diagnosed mental health patients found that some had waited up to 13 years to get the treatment they needed.


1st October 2018

Does he care?
Health secretary Matt Hancock is likely to preside over a massive crisis in primary care. Owing to the age structure of the profession and the high number of likely retirements, 2.5 million patients in England alone at risk of seeing their practice close within the next five years. He could have offered GPs an incentive to stay on, or plan an increase in GP training - but no. His response is to back the spread of the likes of GP At Hand, the smart phone application that offers automated appointments, that won't accept the most demanding patients, the old, the pregnant, those with complex conditions or who are mentally ill - those who take up most of a GP's time.

RCGP asks Hancock to reconsider encouraging GP at Hand
The Royal College of GPs has asked the health secretary to think again over his endorsement of GP at Hand. Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said '.. the app has the potential to create a ‘two-tier’ primary care service ‘where healthier patients… can get an online appointment quickly and conveniently whilst those with the greatest clinical need… find it more difficult to access timely care'.

Want to contribute to the fight against a US-style care health system?
The NHS is facing an onslaught of cuts. More and more people are unable to get the healthcare to which we are entitled. Now NHS England wants to introduce a cost-cutting Accountable Care Organisation contract designed to “manage demand” for NHS services. The public and NHS campaign groups can take action to stop this. A donation will help fund a legal challenge to this contract in the Court of Appeal later in the autumn.

BUPA employee stole patient data and tried to sell them
BUPA has been fined £175000 for its breach of data safety. The Information Commissioner's Office said that it had discovered technical and organisational failures at Bupa that left 1.5 million records at risk for a long time.


27th September 2018

Carillion collapse with cost taxpayer £120 million
The collapse of construction company Carillion into liquidation is likely to cost us £120 million, while its directors and senior executives have largely slithered off into lucrative new roles. Unite said ministers were to blame for allowing Carillion to file for compulsory liquidation with only £29m in the bank, rather than enter a managed form of administration. One of the worst effects of the collapse is that Carillion were responsible for the completion of a new Liverpool hospital; now the government has to step in and pay £335 million to complete it.

Our health services are being axed
At the end of June NHS England formally announced its plan to withdraw 17 clinical procedures meaning they would no longer be routinely offered on the NHS. Treatments such as knee arthroscopies for patients with osteoarthritis, and varicose vein removal and grommets for glue ear in children, will no longer be available to anyone on the NHS. We need to reject unjustified rationing plans which will force patients to either suffer or seek private treatment, please complete the consultation before this coming Friday; here's guidance from Keep Our NHS Public to complete it.

Campaigning works!
Tireless efforts by local campaigners including the submission of a 20000 signature petition has resulted in the threatened closure of a highly-valued NHS walk-in centre and minor injuries unit in Sheffield being saved.

NHS mental health staff crisis
Mental ill health and its accompanying consequences in doctors have undoubtedly been hugely exacerbated by the government’s treatment of the NHS over the last eight years. As well as the usual demands of the job there is now a year-round crisis in staffing with a clinical vacancy rate of 50,000. Equally the NHS may offer world-class treatment to its patients, yet it is notoriously poor at looking after the health of its own employees. There is little support for staff and hardly any slack in the system to allow for time off sick. 

Top GP warns Hancock about GP at Hand
Professor Martin Marshall warns that there may be unintended consequences of technological innovations, like the smart phone application offered by GP at Hand. He asks for 'rigorous evaluation' before rushing to implementation. In a criticism of recent announcements he warned that the case for adopting new technology should not be made 'at big glossy seminars with the media there'.


21st September 2018

Fury as patients have to prove their right to NHS care
Campaigners from East London Keep Our NHS Public set up a mock immigration post outside the annual meerting of the Barts NHS Trust, to illustrate the effect of Barts intention to introduce identitiy checks on anyone unable to assure staff of their right to free healthcare. Presumably they'll pick on people who appear to originate from outside the UK, even England perhaps! Last year Barts invoiced 1900 patients a total of £13 million. What Barts don't tell us is how much they actually collected of that £13 million and the cost of the extra administration that charging and chasing patients costs.

Unison claim victory as NHS trust abandons plans to outsource staff
Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust (TEWV) has reversed its decision to outsource more than 500 NHS non-clinical staff to a new wholly owned subsidiary company called Tees Esk and Wear Valleys Estates FM Ltd. While existing staff may have retained their terms and conditions of employment (but for how long?), new staff would be offered poorer job terms.

New health secretary wants 'loads of companies' to follow GP at Hand
Totally disregarding the issue of cherry-picking young healthy patients, Matt Hancock has said he wants 'loads of companies' to follow in the footsteps of the private provider behind the controversial GP at Hand service. Even the Tory chair of the health select committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston urged NHS England to 'hold firm and insist on proper evaluation of unintended consequences', while to BMA said it will destabilise the entire primary care system.


14th September 2018

NHS land for sale: 718 sites on offer
Last year the Naylor Report recommended trusts being encouraged to sell off 'unproductive land' to prop up their finances. As a result the amount of land for sale has soared, leaving campaigners worried that it's an irretreivable fire sale of NHS assets.

National consultation on NHS long term plan
Theresa May has promised a long term plan for the NHS and the government has launched a national consultation for the public to put its views on it but with a pitiful publicity. Anyway, should you wish to express your view on the NHS, for example, whether it should be a) properly funded at least to an EU average, b) should be run as a publicly adminstered national health service and not as a means for corporate profit, then click here.

Immense pressure on GPs, 1200 get mental health support
Almost 1,200 GPs are currently receiving support for mental health issues including burnout, stress and addiction from a specialist NHS service set up to support under-pressure primary care doctors.

Hancock says GP At Hand 'should available across England'
GP at Hand, available just in West London and Birmingham, offers GP appointments via smartphone, but pregnant women, patients with learning difficulties or those with complex needs cannot register for its service resulting in accusations that it is cherry-picking. When patients sign-up for it they deregister with their existing practice and funding moves with them, leaving one CCG having to be bailed out by NHS England. Now health secretary Matt Hancock, disregarding the destabilising effect that GP At Hand has on England's primary care service, says it should be available across all of England.

Sadiq Khan - 'reverse public health cuts'
The £600m reduction to London councils’ public health grants between 2015/16 and 2019/20 should be reversed says London mayor in announcing a strategy to tackle London's health inequalities. He said "Without the government stepping up to the plate and providing the funding our city needs, tackling London’s health inequalities is going to be much harder."


3rd September 2018

Maternity units forced to close due to staff shortages
Freedom of Information requests to all 135 hospital trusts in England reveal that maternity units had been closed 287 occasions to expectant mothers; 11 of the trusts said they had been forced to close their doors more than 10 times during the year. The Royal College of Midwives has reported a shortage of 3500 midwives in the NHS in England.

General practice is losing 100 partners every month
From March to June 2018, numbers of GP partners in England fell sharply from 22,593 to 22,285 - a drop of 308 partners in total. Partner GPs are more likely to be trusted and are more popular with patients, especially with patients with complex problems. GP income has fallen dramatically over the last 10 years whereas workload has increased significantly.

Sexual health services demand increases amid drop in funding
Attendances at sexual health clinics in England in 2017 increased by 13% over attendances in 2013. Sexual health services are provided by local councils; they are not funded through the NHS. This increase in demand comes at a time of £600m in public health cuts, and the Local Government Association which represents 370 councils in England and Wales said budget reductions needed to be halted immediately to cope with rising demand.


22nd August 2018

Campaign against ACO can appeal
An Accountable Care Organisation Contract proposes that healthcare providers are not paid per treatment, but by a set amount for the provision of named services during a defined period. The campaign group '999 Call for the NHS' argues that this contradicts the principles of the NHS, in that there's a risk that the funding is insufficient; the NHS is a contract to provide all necessary health services with no limit on funding. A judicial review found against the group, but they have been given permission to appeal it.

Private sector malignancy has spread too far
A London GP gives his view on NHS private providers - " They began by taking over ‘less essential’ services like hospital car parking, catering and cleaning ..... but they and cancer share two important goals in common: growth and domination..... Left unchecked neither will stop until it has achieved total control of its host. The corporate sector might promise the world but we should remember, behind all the gloss and promise it has only one ultimate aim – to make money for its shareholders."


15th August 2018

Virgin's £2 billion's worth of NHS contracts
This article provides a map of Virgin's march into our NHS. Virgin Care is a subsidiary of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group Holdings Ltd. Virgin uses 13 intermediate holding companies to distance the firm’s healthcare division from its parent company, which is based in the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands. The company does not publish a consolidated set of accounts for its healthcare operations, so it is impossible to even piece together the total revenue that it is making in the sector. Due to losses sustained Virgin Care has not paid tax.

The Bawa-Garba case
You may have heard of this case, a doctor was struck off the medical profession register owing to her medical involvement in the death of six year old Jack Adcock. You may not know the details; they are here. There followed an outcry particularly from the medical profession itself; it creates a precedent whereby doctors take responsibility for the lack of resources in our underfunded NHS; she was a training registrar in sole responsibility for the Children's Assessment Unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary, there was no senior consultant available. Since that decision she has been reinstated.

NHS England's director of primary care resigns after on-line postings
Dr Arvind Madan has been forced to resign after BMA leaders warned he had lost the confidence of the profession. BMA leaders hit out at online posts made by Dr Madan under a pseudonym, which appeared to dismiss concerns over the closure of small practices; he said that GPs should be 'pleased' when small practices closed. More than 900 GP practices have closed or merged over the past five years, hardly something that NHS England should be proud of.

GP At Hand expansion blocked
GP at Hand offers GP appointments via smartphone, but pregnant women, patients with learning difficulties or those with complex needs cannot register for its service resulting in accusations that it is cherry-picking. It threatens traditional practices because when patients sign-up for GP At Hand they deregister with their existing practice and funding moves with them. Now GP At Hand's expansion into Birmingham has been blocked by the CCG.


3rd August 2018

Hospital overcrowding results in more sepsis deaths
Sir Brian Jarman, the director of the Dr Foster research unit at Imperial College London, blamed the increase sepsis deaths partially on the consequences of real-terms funding cuts. “The biggest thing that’s important seems to be the number of staff – doctors per bed,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “One of the secondary important things is the overcrowding of hospitals".

Hostile environment in our hospitals and schools
Doctors, teachers and landlords have been made into border guards by government laws. NHS doctor Neal Russell has said how he treated a baby with complications that could have been avoided had the mother not been too frightened to attend antenatal appointments. "Unless people work in the affected professions or are subject to these measures, very few have any idea how deeply embedded they are" said a spokesperson for Liberty.

Ambulance trust considers using volunteer drivers
Ambulance trusts have suffered repeated budget cuts since 2010. As a result the East of England Ambulance Services Trust is considering drafting in the military and using volunteer ambulance drivers due to severe staff shortages. Senior paramedics have expressed deep concern about the “desperate” plan, saying it could put patients and staff at risk.

NHS England: "be pleased when small GP practices close"
Dr Arvind Madan, NHS England director of primary care, has suggested that GPs should be ‘pleased’ when small practices close, as there are ‘too many’ of them struggling to meet patient demand. He suggested that GP practices should take some blame for a failure to recruit. Clearly then Dr Madan, it's nothing to do with falling GP incomes and rising workload making primary care unattractive to newly-qualified doctors.

Takeover means superpractice has 380K patients
With it taking over a furthet 8 practices Modality, a West Midlands superpractice, will have 380,000 on its books. It's worth reading the comments added at the end of this article; one of them is "with the Modality model you almost never see a GP. You get triaged and dealt with by 'phone if at all possible, failing that you get booked with a Nurse, HCA or PA..."


30th July 2018

NHS England's "shambles" over outsourcing to Capita
The outsourcing of primary care support services to Capita was described by Parliament's public accounts committee as "a shambles". NHS England was so driven to cut costs that it ignored contractual provisions ensuring quality of service. The quality of service has been described by the BMA as "scandalous". A thousand GPs, dentists and opticians had been delayed from working with patients due to problems with processing new applications.

More NHS patients 'serious incidents'
The number of patients in hospital in England who are suffering harm in serious incidents because of delays in their treatment has risen significantly over the last two years. In revealing the figures, Norman Lamb, a minister in the Coalition government, said it is “inevitable” that understaffing across the NHS is likely to be “a key factor” in the increases, with doctors and nurses unable to give every patient the time and attention they need.


26th July 2018

Ebola heroes disgust at "hostile environment"
David Cameron hailed the NHS staff who worked in Sierra Leone, as “heroes”. But in response to the hostility to those of foreign origin under Teresa May, twenty doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists and others are handing their medals back. They want to register their disgust and abhorrence at how “hostile environment” immigration policies have made access to NHS care difficult and sometimes impossible for many.

Why we need a clear out of NHS management
Do you trust the people in charge of your local NHS services? I certainly don't, it's a nonsense to suggest they are representative of our wishes for our health services; NHS England is the "velvet glove" of real power. For example, my local CCG has had its Operations Manager parachuted in by NHS England decree. Here's another example of NHS managers driven to stupity by business style imperatives, it's been revealed that the North West London CCG has wasted millions on management consultants. It's not the only one.

Number of GP practices falls by over 200 in the last year
On 1 July 2018 there were 7,148 GP practices in England, data from NHS Digital reveal, down from 7,411 a year earlier. This does not differentiate between mergers and closures, but the BMA has warned that general practice is at serious risk of collapse, but this government refuses to respond to the crisis.


21st July 2018

New health secretary and his £28K from neoliberal think tank
Matt Hancock, the new Secretary of Sate for Health, has received £28,000 over eight years from Neil Record, who chairs the Institute for Economic Affairs, a longtime critic of the NHS. Its spokesperson said "the NHS is an international laggard in regards to health outcomes", but provided no evidence to support the claim. Hancock is a signed up member of Babylon-run health app saying he no longer has a need of a physical GP. The new mobile services do not accept patients with complex mental health problems or complex physical, psychological or social needs; they're left to the physical GPs.

Public health funding cuts: GPs unable to offer stop smoking support
A study by the British Lung Foundation has found that cuts to public health funding have led to a dramatic fall in prescriptions for stop smoking products and left many GPs unable to provide patients with support to quit. It said 'the results were the very real effects of sustained cuts to funding'.

NHS pay rise: not as much as they thought
The inclusion of the increment on the pay scale in the calculations of exactly how much they would get has deceived NHS staff. Newly published figures suggested that they may have accepted a pay offer last month on the basis of misleading information. NHS staff were expecting a nice chunk of back pay for the first year’s rise to be in their pay packets at the end of July, but the cost-of-living increase and the increment will be received on very different dates. It was thought that the whole new salary would be back-dated but only the relatively small cost of living increase will be.


16th July 2018

National Audit Office says NHS cash boost isn't enough
The chairman of the National Audit Office, the body that scrutinizes public spending, says the NHS will need far greater financial support than the cash increase announced recently by Teresa May. Her increase will do little more than sustain current services and nowhere nerar enough to meet the cost of services that will keep people healthier and independent for longer.

Watch Eleanor Smith MP propose the NHS Reinstatement Bill
Eleanor Smith, MP for Wolvehampton South West, proposed her NHS Reinstatement Bill under the parliamentary 10 minute rule, on 11th July 2018. Watch a video of her proposing her bill here.

Virgin GP practice understaffed and lacked clinical oversight
A practice once rated as outstanding by the CQC and when taken over by Virgin was rated as inadequate just 18 months later, in a subsequent inspection was criticised by the CQC for concerns around safety, leadership and access to appointments.

Cut in support for smokers who want to quit
The prescribing of drugs to help smokers quit smoking have plummetted in the last decade. Primary care prescriptions of nicotine replacement patches and gum and the smoking-cessation drugs bupropion and varenicline fell by three-quarters in England between 2005-06 and 2016-17.

Richard Bacon pays tribute to the NHS
The TV presenter said he thought his life was at an end following pneumonia in both lungs. He reserved particular praise for Lewisham hospital, which he said had identified the severity of his condition rapidly and within 90 minutes “had placed me into a lifesaving six-day coma”.


3rd July 2018

Labour commits to reinstating a public NHS
With the endorsement of senior NHS campaigners John Lister, Allyson Pollock, Alex Scott-Samuel, Peter Roderick and Tony O'Sullivan, the Labour shadow health secretary has issued a statement committing the next Labour government to proposing a bill in the first Queen’s Speech of a Labour government that would embody the principles of the NHS Reinstatement Bill. Prior to this there was concern that Labour had not agreed to support Eleanor Smith's Reinstatement Bill.  You can ask your MP, if (s)he has not already done so, to commit to taking the NHS back into public ownership here.

Government underfunding: more NHS services cut
Despite NICE guidance stating women under 40 should be offered 3 cycles of IVF, a survey reveals that trusts are planning to reduce this number to just one. The number of clinical commissioning groups offering the recommended three cycles has fallen from 16% (33) to 11.5% (24) in a year. Further to this, certain current NHS procedures are apparently "unnecessary", according to the NHS England that is, and are to be cut.

MPs committee challenges May's claim for a Brexit dividend
In her speech announcing £20 billion increase in NHS funding Teresa May made a claim for a Brexit dividend. The chair of the public accounts committee said any such increase was years away. The government’s narrow estimate of the so-called divorce bill does not meet this description. It omits at least £10bn of anticipated costs associated with EU withdrawal.

Video that celebrates the wonder that is our NHS
Called "The NHS: to provide all people", this account is about what the NHS is and of people's experiences of it. Settle down with a cup of tea to a eulogy to our wonderful NHS. This video demonstrates its principles, that it's a profoundly moral institution because it has always embodied a view of how human affairs should be ordered. It operates on the principle of equity or fairness: that we should all contribute to its funding on the basis of our ability to pay, on the principle of solidarity: the pooling of funding; the pooling of risk; acting collectively to meet one another’s needs.


28th June 2018

March to celebrate our NHS at 70 ...
...and to call for an end to underfunding and privatisation. A joint Peoples Assumbly and Health Campaigns Together march and rally starts at Portland Place, London W1, with a march to Downing Street. National secretary of the Peoples Assembly said '“We will be celebrating Our NHS at 70 but we will also be protesting because our NHS is under attack."

Ex NHS chief on how Teresa May got it wrong
There was no admission that the NHS is in crisis, no apology for bringing the NHS to its knees by years of underfunding, and no acknowledgement that a significant cause of the NHS's woes is the Lansley "reforms", the enforced privatisation of NHS services. The former head of the NHS, Sir David Nicholson, concurred with these sentiments.

General practice 'at serious risk of collapse'
The chair of the BMA's GP committee, Dr Richard Vautrey, in a speech at the BMA's conference said there have been record numbers of practice closures, GPs reporting extreme workload pressure, a decline in the GP workforce and many GPs seeking help for stress and burnout. More than a thousand GPs had reported themselves to the GP Health Service. Areas where general practice is close to collapse can be seen here.


25th June 2018

NHS trusts win legal challenge over Virgin contract
Lancashire County council had awarded Virgin a £104 million contract for children's healthcare, but the high court upheld the challenge by Lancashire Care NHS foundation trust and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS foundation trust, saying the council’s decision to score Virgin’s bid more highly than theirs was not adequately supported in its notes of the scoring procedure. 

The debt we owe Windrush generation
Guardian columnist Gary Younge writes an opinion piece detailing the contribution of the first West Indian immigrants to the NHS, in particular the contribution made by his mother,  just 19 years old when she, a Barbadian nurse, responded to the call to work for the NHS. He writes "The NHS, like so much of postwar Britain, was built by immigrants and could not have survived in its current form without them".

The birth of the NHS
It is worth remembering that when he pushed through his bill to create the National Health Service, Aneurin Bevan had to battle against the total opposition of the Tories, the medical professions and even some in the Labour cabinet. When he revealed his plans for nationalising the nation’s hospitals there was an outcry. The press rallied against the proposal, Churchill strongly opposed it while his Tory predecessor, Henry Willink, prophesied “the plan would destroy so much in this country that we value”.

BMA: NHS is 'run-ragged' by scandalous underfunding
A poll of almost 8,000 doctors by the doctors' union found that three quarters of respondents believe financial targets in the NHS override patient care. Underfunding is 'significantly affecting quality and safety in the NHS'. A majority of doctors fear that they will be blamed for errors caused by pressure or 'system failures' at work, and 95% of doctors say they are fearful of making mistakes.

Vulnerable patients find registering with a GP difficult
Everyone living in the UK is entitled to free primary care. Despite this a report reveals that a fifth of vulnerable patients, including homeless people, asylum seekers, undocumented migrants and survivors of trafficking and modern slavery, were refused registration with a GP surgery. Lack of paperwork was the most common reason for refused registration.

18th June 2018

Finally the penny has dropped, NHS needs more money
For the past 18 years, government ministers have denied the NHS needs more money, always quoting the confusing fact that it's been given record funding; the truth is the budget needs to increase by 3 to 4 % just to meet current demand. Ah but all of a sudden the Tories have changed tack, Teresa May has said she'll give the NHS more money. But will the increase be anymore than a sticking plaster, is it really enough to see a real improvement in A&E waits or cancer care? Doctors think not, the £20 billion annual rise by 2023/24 will in no way repair the damage inflicted over the last decade.

GPs on retainer scheme dwarfed by those leaving 
Asking GPs to remain in the workforce is a major part of the government's plan to deliver an extra 5,000 GPs by 2020/21. However, just 286 GPs are currently being supported by the GP retention scheme, whereas statistics from NHS Digital show that around 5,159 GPs left the profession in 2016/17, equivalent to around 430 a month. International recruitment has signed up only 58 doctors in 2 years.

Hawking - 'I wouldn’t have survived if it were not for the NHS'
In response to the US Investor’s Business Daily that argued that he "wouldn't have a chance in the UK, where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless" Hawking said "I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived." Further to this he blamed ministers for "funding cuts, pay caps and weakening the service through privatisation. He saw it all leading to a “US-style insurance system”.

Tories hint at scrapping NHS reforms, but still prefer privatisation
Even Tories are admitting that the Health and Social Care Act 2012 is a disaster, but insist that the way forward for it is privatisation through Accountable Care, which, under the cover of integrating health and social care will limit the combined funding, leaving it to unaccountable probably private companies to ration services to its population.


14th June 2018

Our NHS land sold off
Whereas there may be plenty of focus on privatisation, and recently on trusts transferring employees to wholly-owned private companies, less attention has been paid to selling off NHS land and property. The government has been encouraging NHS trusts to sell off so-called "less productive land", shrinking the amount of publicly owned land in the name of providing cash to ‘pump prime’ the government's plans to "transform" the NHS.

Analysis of the 2017/8 winter crisis
NHS Provisers is a representative association for NHS acute, community and ambulance trusts. It has analysed last winter's crisis and its key findings demonstrate the extent of the stresses the NHS was under, illustrated by the quote "staff were unable to deliver the standard of care they would like and patient care in too many instances was compromised."

Hunt admits failure to recruit 5000 new GPs
Being "committed" to an ambition to recruit more doctors just ain't good enough Jeremy, the fact is your policies has meant GP workload has increased while and their income has fallen, that's why newly recruited doctors shun primary care.

1 in 5 vulnerable patients refused GP registration
 Everyone in the UK is entitled to free primary care and NHS England guidelines protect the right to GP registration for individuals who do not have proof of address or identification at their disposal. Owing to confusion over patient rights pregnant women, children, homeless people and refugees are often refused registration at surgeries, pointing to the need for primary care staff training. Lack of ID or proof of address were cited as the most common reasons for refused registration.


28th May 2018

Record underfunding, disastrous reforms, have pushed our NHS to the brink
Jonathon Ashworth, Labour's shadow health secretary, has demanded the health secretary apologise to the nation for the disastrous Health and Social Care Act. He said the reforms amounted to a “shameful, failed experiment”; the government was warned they "...would lead to the fragmentation and privatisation of our public health service".

Windrush: Ex-NHS nurse billed for £4388 for treatment
UK passport holder Pauline Pennant had worked at Croydon Hospital as a nurse and retired to Jamaica. On returning for a family wedding she fell ill and was told she had to pay £4388 for treatment. The law changed in 2015, despite being a British citizen and still paying UK taxes through her state pension, Pennant’s retirement to Jamaica means she is no longer entitled to free NHS healthcare.

Hundreds of patients quit "inadequate" Virgin practice
Before Virgin Healthcare's takeover in July 2016, the Sutherland Lodge practice in Chelmsford was among the 4% rated outstanding across England. But an inspection report published on 14 May by the CQC reveals that Sutherland Lodge is now rated inadequate overall. As a result over 600 patients have quit the practice.


23rd May 2018

Government selling NHS sites to plug NHS funding
Despite not doing a thorough estate audit on the NHS, and thus establishing a genuine evaluation of healthcare needs, The Naylor report has resulted in a fire sale of NHS sites. The government accepted the report's findings and offered trusts a 2-for-1 deal to encourage quick sales of sites, see page 6 - such is their haste for revenue. Here's an example of such a sale, The Royal Free hospital is offering Queen Mary’s House in Hampstead, it currently provides affordable housing for 52 nurses and other key workers. Plans will convert the site into 162 luxury flats; the three-bedroom penthouse flats could sell for up to £10m each.

GP numbers falls especially in poor areas
Despite Hunt's promises, the total number of England's GPs has fallen over the past year. However, the shortage is particularly notable in poorer areas, whereas the numbers working in affluent areas has increased.

BMA calls for primary care support to be brought in-house
Primary care support services, handling for example the transfer of patient records, registration of GPs to permit them to practice, were outsourced to Capita in 2015. Since then there has been a continous flow of complaints of failed services. Now the BMA is calling for the services to be brought in-house, see letter to to Simon Stevens on 17th May.


17th May 2018

Surgery taken over by Virgin goes from outstanding to inadequate in 18 months
Before Virgin Healthcare's takeover in July 2016, the Sutherland Lodge practice in Chelmsford was among the 4% rated outstanding across England. But an inspection report published on 14 May by the CQC reveals that Sutherland Lodge is now rated inadequate overall.

Scrutiny office 'NHS England at fault over outsourced services'
The National Audit Office, a body set up to scrutinise government spending, says in a report that NHS England did not understand primary care support services; it was so set on cutting costs. Capita slashed staff involved in primary care support from 1,390 to 314. The result was GPs prevented from working because Capita "administered" the registration procedure, patients records haven't been transferred to their new GPs, doctors pensions payments have been delayed.

Shortage of GPs coninues despite Hunt's promises
England's total full-time equivalent GP workforce in March 2018 was 33,574, compared with 34,914 in March 2016. The 4% fall puts further pressure on the government over its September 2015 pledge to increase the GP workforce by 5,000 full-time equivalent doctors in 2 year's time.

Mobile GP service is 'cherry-picking' patients
GP at Hand is accused of cherry-picking patients because older people with frailty, people with dementia, those with learning difficulties or complex mental health issues and pregnant women are unable to register. It threatens traditional practices because when patients sign-up for GP At Hand money moves with them, something that patients may not be aware. This is not what the NHS is all about.


14th May 2018

Damning evidence of patients at risk from staff shortages
A Royal College of Nursing report identifes the dangers that patients face resulting from staffing shortages. It comprises 18,000 anonymous submissions from hospital nurses and reveals that some nurses are being asked to complete procedures beyond their expertise. Read the accounts by frontline staff of inadequate care, all down to staff shortages.

Scrap healthcare fees, but for everybody
The Royal College of Nursing highlight the plight of nurses from outside the UK who struggle pay the £200 per person to get NHS care, imposed by the Tory government in 2015. What we ought to be seeing is the scrapping of this mean-spirited charge for all, healthcare is a right not a commercially-bought expense. The cost of collecting the fee and of checking that patients have paid it at all will almost certainly outweigh the financial benefit.

Continuity of care is vital
Dr Clare Gerada, the former head of the Royal College of GPs, writes about the importance in primary healthcare of seeing the same doctor. GPs able to provide continuity of care to their patients and their communities should be at the very heart of the NHS.

CCG's funding of 'federation' at all costs
GPs are being told they must sign a contract despite their clear concerns over its impact on patients following the local CCG's decision to reduce the spend on clinical enhanced services. Camden CCG is to fund the collaboration of groups of surgeries, known as federating, at the expense of historically valuable services, like homeless health checks.


10th May 2018

NHS has the lowest level of doctors
Reasearch by the Kings Fund into healthcare spending in 21 countries shows that the UK has fewer doctors and nurses per head of population than almost all the other countries we looked at. Only Poland has fewer of both. The Fund's chief analyst said "“If the 21 countries [in the survey] were a football league then the UK would be in the relegation zone."

Government shamed into stop sharing data with Home Office
The Windrush scandal and the embarrassment of the Home Office's 'hostile environment' towards immigrants has shamed the government into a U turn - it will no longer allow NHS Digital to provide the Home Office access to patient records for the purposes of immigration control.

Private hospitals procedures called into question
Following the death of a hip replacement patient as the result of poor care in a private hospital Hunt has called for private hospital to improve their care. In private hospitals an independent surgeon generally operates alone and is often not available for post-operative care. If anything goes wrong, the nearest NHS hospital is an ambulance dash away.

GP at Hand leaves CCG facing an NHS England bail out
GP at Hand offers GP appointments via smartphone, but patients with complex needs and pregnant women cannot register for its service. Only the generally healthy young have been enrolled resulting in accusations that it is cherry-picking. The transfer of thousands of patients to GP At Hand has resulted in the local CCG losing revenue and needing an NHS England bail out.


3rd May 2018

Mum attacks Hunt's record on mental health provision
Listen to an articulate Rachel Bannister tear into mental health provision for her daughter under Jeremy Hunt's watch. (Start at 31:40) She says "what about those people who can't negotiate care as we have done?" Hunt refused to come on the programme to discuss it.

NHS is short of 400 specialist cancer care nurses
Cancer care in England is struggling owing to 400 vacancies for nurses trained in cancer care, raising doubts about the NHS’s ability to cope with the fast-growing number of people being diagnosed. The research by Macmillan Cancer Support warned that cancer patients were losing out, with some forced to wait to receive chemotherapy, while cancer nurses were being “run ragged”.

NHS England reported to watchdog about Capita
NHS England has not responded to a freedom of information request about outsourced services by Capita. The request was made 2nd March and the BMA hasn't received a reply. The BMA reported this failure to the Information Commissioners Office.

Campaign against sharing patient data with Home Office
Doctors of the World need your help in their campaign to stop NHS England data services allowing the Home Office access to patient data for immigration purposes. Fear should never be a reason for not seeing a doctor.


30th April 2018

Why funding the  NHS via National Insurance is wrong
Public taxation is the most equitable approach to NHS funding. Tax tends to be progressive: companies and individuals with more income and wealth pay more. While the general income tax bands aren’t great, the rich pay more as a percentage. The reverse is true for National Insurance: the richer you are, the less you pay as a percentage. Income over the Upper Earnings Limit (UEL) of £3,863 per month is taxed at just 2% in NI.

Grandmother's fight to save surgery closed by US corporation
The 89-year-old great-grandmother has become the face of her community's fight to stop the Osler House surgery closing. The decision to close the Osler House surgery in Harlow has its roots more than 4,000 miles away in the US. The surgery is part of The Practice Group, one of the largest GP providers in the UK. Its major shareholder is a multi-billion pound health insurance company called the Centene Corporation – based in St Louis, Missouri.

Government castigated over child tooth decay epidemic
Dentists have blasted government efforts as woefully inadequate as data shows the total number of children facing tooth extractions under general anaesthetic continues to grow. The British Dental Association has categorised the response from authorities in England as 'second rate' and called for a national effort capable of delivering transformative improvements in children's oral health.

Brexit blamed as EU nurses give up on Britain
The government’s refusal to detail the rights that the 3 million EU citizens living in Britain will have once the UK leaves the EU in March next year is a key cause of the loss of EU staff, said the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing. A total of 3,962 such staff from the European Economic Area (EEA) between 2017 and 2018. The number of EU nurses and midwives coming to work in the UK has fallen to its lowest level.

Thousands of South Asian doctors have supported the NHS
More than 10,000 doctors from South Asia kept the NHS going in its formative years and helped shape modern general practice. This is the subject of a book and an exhibition at the Royal College of GPs head office. Predominantly based in inner cities and industrial areas, South Asian doctors were the primary health carers for around 9 million people.


25th April 2018

Hospitals closing wards due to underfunding
Despite the current bed crisis trusts are closing wards at an alarming rate. At September 2017 82 “ghost wards” were recorded containing 1,429 empty beds, the equivalent of two entire hospitals, according to data provided by hospital trusts across England. To quote the Kings Fund 'UK currently has fewer acute beds relative to its population than almost any other comparable health system'.

Half of GPs have had an urgent cancer referral blocked
GPs are also being denied direct access to key diagnostic tests for cancer. A poll found that 46% of the 507 GPs who responded said they had had a referral either bounced back or downgraded; of these, almost a quarter said the patient later turned out to have cancer.

Why a separate NHS tax is wrong
Caroline Lucas takes the cross party proposal to have a new NHS tax to task. She asserts that it fails to remedy the failure of NHS privatisation, in fact it is likely to lead to more privatisation and fragmentation of what was once unified and collaborating health service. If we need more taxation revenue, and clearly we do, then it should be both by the collection of all taxes that are due especially from tax dodging super rich and corporations, and by raising income and dividend taxation on the wealthy.

Capita - 'business as usual' despite financial losses
Primary care support services were outsourced to Capita in 2015; thus the handling among other things of the transfer of patient records, GP registration to practice, GP pension payments, was privatised from a directly employed NHS department to a  private concern. There has been a running crisis over the past three years about Capita's failures, and now Capita has announced a £531 million loss and a rights issue to raise more capital, but its spokesman said there's nothing to worry about, so it clearly will continue to provide a hopeless service!


9th April 2018

The cost of ignoring NHS underfunding
A former CEO of a number of NHS trusts writes on the government policy of ignoring the price of multiple medical failures while healthcare demand is increasing. As facilities and staff are stretched further and further, continuing to provide a service but an ever more inadequate one, they eventually reach a point where there is no more slack and the NHS will simply run out of capacity.

£39 to get an on-line GP consultation
A Kent hospital is to permit its patients access to a private commercial on-line GP service. Sheppey Community Hospital has become the first NHS hospital to provide the MedicSpot virtual GP service. A London GP said "online private services are exploiting the crisis to make a profit. The way to address the crisis is to fund the NHS adequately, to the same levels as comparable countries.'

Sharp increase in number of elderly dying from falls
The increase in deaths resulting from falling has outstripped the overall rise in numbers of elderely patients. 'Austerity, the defunding of health and social care, and reduction in services is certainly a possible factor' said the president of the British Geriatric Society.

Eh ...Hunt gets an award for 'patient safety'
Yes, I couldn't believe it either, but it's true. Despite overseeing the biggest crisis in the history of the National Health Service, Jeremy Hunt was awarded a Humanitarian Award for his global leadership on patient safety at the World Patient Safety Summit.

Trainee GP faces deportation
A doctor who has lived in the UK for a decade faces deportation just five months before completing his GP training. He was 18 days late in applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain. The BMA said the decision to press for his deportation because of a delay in his visa process 'beggars belief'  He has created an online petition that you can support here.


5th April 2018

Thousands of ambulance delays due to A&E waits
NHS England declare only those ambulance waits of over 30 minutes. Waits of 15 to 30 minutes amount to almost 600,000 more ambulances delays in A&E handovers than those officially announced in its official statistics.

The significance of technology in increasing the NHS budget
We are constantly reminded that it's population longevity and the complexity of older people's healthcare that accounts for the need to increase the NHS budget by at least 3 - 4%, thus showing why the government's less than one percent increase has created the NHS crisis. This Kings fund article, see page 1 Introduction, reveals that the rising cost of technology accounts for a 2% rise in the annual NHS budget increase.


2nd April 2018

BMA: The winter crisis is now all-year round
The doctor's union is warning that the crisis in the NHS is now not restricted to merely winter; it will now continue all year round. The BMA’s health policy team forecast a number of scenarios, in the the worst-case the health service will suffer a repeat of scenes experienced during winter 2016.

McKinsey paid £630K in 2015, and now £500K of our NHS funding
Two years ago the US management consultants were paid £630,000 to advise NHS Improvement on its 'culture, values and operating model'. Can you imagine a more valuable use of NHS the budget? ... thought you could. Now NHS Improvement is to pay McKinsey for an 'organisational development programme'. This is on top of KPMG being paid £1 million for 'organisational design'.

How much bureaucracy does the NHS need?
You may recall Lansley proclaiming that his Health and Social Care Act would cut bureaucracy. Now, on top of the creation of NHS England (6000 staff), NHS Improvement (1200 staff), all the legal and financial overheads surrounding marketing NHS contracts and lately of sustainablility and transformation planning, comes seven regional planning teams.

The Five Year Forward View is 'no longer fit for purpose'
An article by a private health consultant in the Health Service Journal suggests that, after all of the covert organisational change wrought by NHS England to implement it, the FYFV 'no longer holds water'; also the Treasury views the NHS is 'an unattractive investment'. The article continues 'health and care services need a new vision which can excite politicians and reassure the Treasury'. It could start by cutting all the bureaucracy identified in the article above.


29th March 2018

GP protest against GP At Hand cherry-picking patients
A premises for the on-line GP At Hand service was picketed by GPs. It is accused of creaming-off young patients, and of not making it clear that patients who use its service are resigning their registration with their existing surgery. GP at Hand provides a GP service via a smart phone. For a profit-driven organisation like GP At Hand attracting the young is good for business, whereas those patients with complex needs are not permitted to access this service.

Collapse of OOH service likely with end of NHS England support
NHS England has provided a winter indemnity scheme for out-of-hours GP services. This financial support ceases from 3rd April. BMA leaders say pressure on the NHS and high out-of-hours indemnity costs will not end with winter. Unless the scheme is extended the available out-of-hours workforce will drop sharply.

Tory government and their vague promises about NHS funding
Theresa May has promised more funding, but hasn't stated an exact figure, but at least she gets the headline. How much additional funding do we need? Well if we contributed somewhere near the likes of France, Germany and The Netherlands it would help, but currently we spend less on healthcare than most of them. As for her promises, try reading this.


26th March 2018

May refuses to help man with £54K cancer bill
Theresa May has declined to intervene in the case of the patient who has been resident in the UK for 44 years, who has cancer and who is being denied care unless he pays £54000. Owing to his immigration status Albert Thompson does not qualify for free NHS care under new government rules. It is thought that there might be thousands of similar cases like this.

Millionaire Hunt sets up a buy-to-let business
Firstly our health minster made a staggering £14.5million last year after he sold his education firm Hotcourses, and now millionaire Hunt has come under the spotlight for starting a buy to let property business.

The value of the traditional GP service
Most GP surgeries provide extra services without receiving any payment for them. It demonstrates that the partnership model is the embodiment of the founding principles of the NHS. Do GP surgeries run by Virgin Care offer extra services for nothing ... think you know the answer.


22nd March 2018

Wigan NHS workers vote to strike over sub-co transfer
Plans to transfer workers at 3 Lancashire hospitals to a private company wholly owned by the NHS hospital trust have been dealt a blow. They fear that the purpose of the transfer is to weaken their terms and conditions of work, threatening their wages, sick pay, holiday entitlement and pensions. In a ballot they voted to reject the plans and ask the union for a strike ballot by 93% in a 79% turn-out.

The crisis of primary care support outsourced to Capita continues
To add to the list of failed processing by Capita, see 1st February and 25th January below, the BMA has demanded details of the proportion of GPs whose pension records are up to date, and the value of unallocated payments. The BMA had previously slammed the adminstration by Capita of misdirected clinical letters as 'confusion, chaos and failure'.

GP At Hand might push the CCG into bankruptcy
GP at Hand provides a GP service via a smart phone. For a profit-driven organisation like GP At Hand attracting the young is good for business, whereas those patients with complex needs are not permitted to access this service, they remain with their traditional GPs provided by the CCG. This creaming off of the young and generally healthy patients depletes revenue to the local CCG.

Allyson Pollock's response to changes to regulations for ACOs
With her usual forensic analytical style Professor Allyson Pollock disects the government's thinly-veiled attempt to destroy our comprehensive health service. She demonstrates that to completely reorganise our NHS on an Accountable Care basis requires more than merely amendments to regulations. It should be supported by primary legislation, with consultation and democratic oversight.


19th March 2018

NHS staff say patient safety is now at greater risk
A surevy reveals that the vast majority of NHS workers confirm they are deeply concerned about staff shortages. 80% of the nurses, doctors and managers who responded were concerned that there's not enough staff on duty to give patients safe and high-quality care. More than half of those said no action was taken, despite their unease being voiced.

What a mean little country Britain has become
The case of Albert Thompson, who has lived in the UK for 44 years and yet is denied free NHS treatment for his cancer, makes the writer rethink her impression of Britain.

Surge in deaths - is it linked to the crisis in the NHS?
An extra 10,375 people have died in the first seven weeks of this year; it's likely that life expectancy will reverse for the first time since the Second World War. Why? Could it be due to the politics of austerity? The report's author professor Danny Dorling says austerity is the most likely cause of the slowing of life expectancy rises.


13th March 2018

"Denying care to immigrants is inhumane"
A man who has lived in the UK for 44 years is being denied NHS care owing to his immigration status. Kitty Worthing says this is appalling. He is suffering from prostate cancer and will get treatment only if he pays £54000. His mother was an NHS nurse.

Contact your MP about A&E crisis
Here's your chance to help defend our NHS. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine is asking us to write to your MP to request support for its vision - amongst other things over 2000 more consultants and 5000 more hospital beds.

Man dies at A&E due to overcrowding
A leaked email from the hospital's medical director reveals that he considers the the death of a patient at his A&E was due to 'dangerous overcrowding of the department'. The man first attended the A&E in the afternoon, was seen in 90 minutes but was waiting to see a senior consultant. He died at 1am the following morning.

GPs demand rethink over Home Office data sharing
NHS Digital is allowing the Home Office access to patient records for 'immigration control' purposes. The chair of the Royal College of GPs has written to NHS Digital expressing her concern about the undermining of public confidence in confidentiality that this creates.


8th March 2018

CCG pulls out of a regional commissioning arrangement
The idea that just one commissioning organisation represents a group of CCGs has suffered a set back. The single  commissioner arrangement for Kent and Medway could now include only six of the eight CCGs originally planned after Thanet pulled out and South Kent Coast GPs asked for more detail on local autonomy.

Back door privatisation: rise of the spin-off companies
Cash-strapped hospital trusts are announcing plans to develop private companies to employ non-clinical staff. There are two ways money can be saved: a private company working for the NHS is covered by different tax rules and can claim back any VAT it is charged from the Government, and by changing the pay and conditions of staff.

Do we need lessons from US consultants?
If you want to read managerial bullshit dressed up as valuable advice then take a look at this. Our NHS doesn't need proper funding, our NHS staff don't need a payrise,  no, we must have leadership improvement and instruction from expensive US executives.

Bawa-Garba and the threat of an NHS blame culture
The chair of the Royal College of GPs fears that the case of junior doctor Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba might contribute to the development of a blame culture in the NHS. This doctor was struck off after the GMC won a High Court case  overturning a medical tribunal's decision to suspend her for 12 months. Dr Bawa-Garba had earlier been convicted of manslaughter after the death of a six-year-old boy.

Care bnb revisited?
Just when you thought the idea of people's spare rooms being substituted for proper acute hospital care had been mocked out of possibility so the idea is reinvented. Are they genuinely thinking that this could possibly be part of high-quality healthcare service?


2nd March 2018

ACSs being surreptiously set up
Without parliamentary scrutiny and sufficient public consultation agreements are being put in place to initiate Accountable Care Systems. ACSs will be given a large budget to deliver health and social care for its population; if it isn't sufficient to offer a comprehensive health and social care service then the ACS has to restrict the services and ration care, deficits such as those hospitals that are currently accruing - due to inadequate funding, will not be allowed. The key purpose of ACSs is to control the NHS spend; this is likely to be at the expense of providing a comprehensive range of services. Equally the size of the ACS contract will be an attractive proposition for a private firm, so privatisation is a real possibility.

Assets as well as staff transferred to private companies
Many deficit-ridden hospital trusts, desperate to find ways to save money, are setting up private companies and, without consultation, transferring not only their employees but also hospital trust assets e.g. land and buildings. Our NHS is being asset stripped - you may ask, as I do, how can this happen without public consultation? Equally the goodwill of employees counts for nothing.

Government rejects calls to cease using NHS data for immigration
The use of health records, especially addresses, by the Home Office for the purposes of immigration control has been criticised as a breach of medical ethics. Ministers have rejected a call from MPs to immediately suspend the disclosure of confidential NHS patient data.


26th February 2018

Immigration agency asks GP to deliver deportation notice
A Liverpool GP has been asked to deliver a deportation notice to a mentally ill patient. The GP rejected the request that came from the UK Visas and Immigration agency. The House of Commons health select committee recently criticised the arrangement that allows the Home Office to use addresses collected in patient records for 'immigration chasing purposes'.

Ambulance hand-over waits are worse than ever
The waiting time between ambulances arriving at A&Es and handing over patients to A&E staff for last week are the worst than any recorded in 2018. Over 13000 patients waited more than half an hour to be handed over to hospital staff in the week to 18 February, while nearly 3000 waited more than an hour.

Judge blocks privatising children's services to Virgin
Lancashire County Council's attempts to outsource children's health services to Virgin has been temporarily blocked by a High Court judge because of the “considerable cost and disruption” it would cause the NHS and patients. The case was brought by two Lancashire NHS trusts against the council saying it failed to apply rules governing the award of public contracts and that it will cost them more than £2m and result in 160 staff losing their jobs.

GPs college says 'scrap referral management'
A report by the Royal College of GPs says there should be no new referral management centres and existing ones should remain only if they can prove they are cost effective and do not put patients at risk.


21st February 2018

GPs say patients have been harmed by winter crisis
A quarter of GPs in a poll have said they were aware of at least one specific case in which a patient at their practice had come to harm because NHS services were overstretched this winter. Six GPs said patients had died soon after delays in care or inappropriate early discharge. The impact of social care cuts in Brighton has resulted in a teacher with terminal cancer dying on a hospital trolley.

NHS England suspends the 4 hour A&E target
NHS England's response to the failure of virtually all hospital trusts to meet the target that it set, is not to increase resourcing but to cancel the target. It's so reassuring that our NHS in in the hands of those who know exactly what they're doing - destroying a once prized National Health Service.

Houses on land sold by NHS not affordable for nurses
Under ther Naylor Report, essentially a report that asset strips the NHS of so-called land 'no longer fit for purpose' it was suggested that the land might be used to houses nurses. It turns out that just one in ten of the homes built on sold-off NHS land will be for genuinely affordable social rent.

Labour's response to royal commission: 'We don't need a talking shop'
The government has said it will set up a Royal Commission into the crisis of funding our NHS and social care. Sarah Wollaston, Tory chair of the Health Select Committee said it will take too long. Labour has said the NHS and social care needs “a government with the political will” to end their punishing funding squeeze.

Backdoor privatisation - private companies set up by our NHS
Such are the priorities of those in charge of our NHS, and also of the financial straits of the trusts they're running, that they threaten terms and conditions - long-term protection of pay and pensions for those transferring to new companies is weak, plus new staff will be employed on less favourable contracts with no access to the NHS Pension Scheme.


15th February 2018

19 trusts have forcibly moved non-clinical staff to private companies
...and another 16 plan to do so - such are the motives of the sort of people who "run" our NHS. When the transfer happens, the workers are no longer NHS employees, they become employed on new terms and conditions. The one benefit they're guaranteed to lose is their NHS pension; they'll be offered another (likely to be a money purchase otherwise known as a defined contribution scheme) that providers poorer returns, and is cheaper for the employer. It's "two fingers" to the loyalty of workers.

Move to block GP At Hand creaming off young patients
GP at Hand provides a GP service via a smart phone. For a profit-driven organisation like GP At Hand attracting the young is good for business, those with complex needs are not permitted to access this service who remain with  traditional face-to-face GPs. GP at Hand are bidding to secure space at four NHS-owned premises across north and east London, but it's being blocked.

More than 700 GP partners lost in 2017
GP partners are more likely to be asked for by patients who are regular attenders at their surgeries and who have complex needs, especially those with mental health issues. Locum doctors are avoided, and get to see those with simple primary care requirements, especially those in a hurry. So the loss of partners, as opposed to locum or salaried doctors is a concern - partners tend to be established, trusted and experienced doctors, the bedrock of NHS care.


12th February 2018

Hundreds of staff 'forcibly moved' to a private company
Yeovil hospital trust moved hundreds of staff without any consultation, breaching licensing requirements in the NHS Constitution, says Unison. 350 porters, cleaners and catering staff were transferred into “Simply Serve” on Thursday (1 February 2018) without any consultation. Clearly it's a move to water down staff terms and conditions, with zero regard for staff morale.

Now NHS England withdraws 'experts' from Capita
The on-going crisis at Capita, the firm that patient records adminstration was outsourced to in 2015, and has since repeatedly failed (see 25th January below) has taken another turn. So-called 'experts' from NHS England, embedded there to help with the on-going problems, have been withdrawn. So despite additional support here's another failed NHS privatisation.

End of 'revolving door' for failed managers
A report found Liverpool Community Health Trust 'dysfunctional' and that patients suffered 'significant harm'. Now it's revealed that the NHS Trust Development Authority clearly assisted in relocating that trusts's  failed former chief executive Bernie Cuthel at a different trust. A health minister says he will seek to end the revolving door of relocating failed managers.


8th February 2018

May refuses to rule out excluding NHS from US trade deal
Teresa May was asked at parliamentary questions if she would exclude the NHS from any trade deal with the US. She declined. So under a Conservative government US health corporations will be allowed to buy up our health services.

Winter crisis: hospitals almost full for fourth week
In England's hospitals 95% of beds were full on average in the week to 4 February - well above the 85% bed occupancy target that trusts aim for to lower the risk of crisis in the event of a rapid influx of patients. Numbers of patients facing 60-minute delays in transfer from an ambulance to A&E rose to 2,318.


5th February 2018

KONP's briefings on STP & Accountable Care
The chair of the Commons Health Select committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston, asked Keep Our NHS Public to make a submission on STP and Accountable Care. The resulting papers are very readable. The submission on STP exposes the lack of evidence-base and the paper on Accountable Care pulls back the "integrated care" disguise to expose the budgetary strangulation that awaits our NHS.

NHS still cancelling surgery despite NHS England's instructions
To attempt to present the winter crisis as being over, NHS England told hospitals to resume scheduling elective operations. But the shortage of intensive care beds is causing operations to be cancelled. We have fewer hospital beds that any comparable European country.

More nurses to avoid another Mid Staffs
The Royal College of Nursing has said the government's claims to increase the number of trained nurses just don't stack up. The impact of the government's mean policy of removing nurse training bursary has seen a fall in training applications.

That's what we need, a rebrand!
NHS England, true to its neo-liberal habits, has rebranded Accountable Care Systems, they're to be called Integrated Care Systems, So there we are, keep changing the names Simon, it all sounds far to technical for us to understand, so we'll leave it to you.


1st February 2018

No government plans if Capita goes under
The cabinet office could not confirm whether it had any contingency plans if debt-ridden Capita, that has a number of NHS contracts, ceases trading. As with Carillion, it will be the taxpayer, you and me, who will pay while shareholders and senior managers have their pay protected.

NHS Digital told to stop sharing our NHS records
NHS Digital has been giving the Home Office addresses of patients for immigration tracing purposes. Sarah Wollaston, the chair of the Commons Select Committee. has written to NHS Digital requesting that it withdraws from the memorandum of understanding stating there was inadequate consultation and and little regard for ethical considerations.

NHS executive benefits from STP planning
Campaigners have revealed that a former NHS executive Dame Ruth Carnall is a partner in the consultancy that has received £6 million for work on the Kent and Medway Sustainability & Transformation Plan (STP).

Commons motion on regulatory changes for ACOs
Despite it being a fundamental change in the way our NHS is run, from one driven by patient demand to one limited by financial allocation, Health Secretary Hunt is trying to introduce the running of the NHS through Accountable Care Organisations merely by amendments to regulations. This Early Day Motion requests parliamentary time for debate on this.

NHS England gives up on management consultancy
NHS Improvement has abandoned plans to employ US management consultants in favour of an in-house solution. It now wants its own team to offer trusts support that have fallen furthest behind their financial plans in 2017-18.



29th January 2018

NHS England concedes a consultation on ACOs
NHS England have concede that there must be a national public consultation on ACOs, and that no ACO contract will be signed until the conclusion of the consultation. This is a significant concession but not in itself a victory, Hunt has refused to delay the amenments to regulations that permit the setting up of ACOs. See Hunt giving evidence about ACOs to the Health Select Committee on 25th January 2018, and the correspondence between Hunt and the Select Committe chairman, Sarah Wollaston, here.

Regional campaigning you may not be aware of
Defend Dorset NHS is seeking a Judicial Review of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group's (CCG) plans to downgrade Poole A&E, close Poole Maternity, close Acute Hospital Beds, and close Community Hospital beds in 5 of 13 Dorset locations. Also, here are photos of Save Southend NHS's rally held on Saturday 27th January.

Government failing both patients and nurses
Such is the workload heaped on nurses by government policy that it's driving nurses to despair and mental breakdown. National Insatitute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) and nursing unions recommend no more than 8 patients per nurse, yet 40% of NHS nurses reported they are working with ratios higher than this. Most nurses have 10 patients who you have to help wash, give their medications three times a day, and do a minimum of three sets of observations throughout the day.

Corbyn - underfunded NHS  facing 'death by a 1000 cuts'
Labour leader hit out at the government "...over rising pressure on the NHS, warning that the health service 'needs money, needs support and needs it now'." This winter 100,000 patients have been forced to wait more than half an hour in the back of an ambulance, but still the prime minister refuses to give the NHS the money it needs,


25th January 2018

East London GP "Join the fight for our NHS"
Doctor Jackie Appleby appeals to everybody to demonstrate on 3rd February in a protest to defend the NHS organised by Health Campaigns Together and the People's Assembly. The winter crisis is entirely of the government’s making and they must be held to account.

NHS England fiddling A&E statistics
NHS England has been asked to explain why data for walk-in centres has been included A&E statistics. Such data should be included in a hospital's data if it is directly responsible for the running of the walk-in centre - most are privately run. The UK Statistics Authority has told NHS England to explain changes to the recording of A&E data.

BMA to Stevens "resolve the Capita crisis"
The crisis-hit contract for primary care services outsourced to Capita, see 19th October below, is another privatisation catastrophe. The BMA has told Simon Stevens he must solve the problem following a survey that reveals 88% of practices had patient records waiting for collection, while 93% were awaiting the delivery of patient records.

Doctors blocked from being appointed by Home Office rules
Doctors from abroad given senior posts in UK hospitals are being blocked by Home Office immigration rules. At least 20 doctors have been prevented from taking up posts owing to Home Office rules about salary levels. One consultant said "It's lunatic".

Unprecedented level of unfilled nursing posts
Official figures detailing vacancy rates for a range of health professionals show that the number of unfilled advertised nursing and midwifery posts in England reached 34,260 in the three months to September – the highest level since records began.

Parliamentary concern about NHS subsidiary companies
An early day motion has been submitted about the setting up of subsidiary companies by NHS trusts with the intention of cutting staff costs by giving hospital workers poorer working conditions. The trusts then transfer existing staff to the new company, initially on existing Agenda for Change terms, but new staff are given poorer conditions of work - fewer holidays, longer hours of work, poorer sick pay.


22nd January 2018

Winter crisis (6) - Many hospitals full at beginning of January
The latest hospital data discloses the developing winter crisis - 95% of all hospital beds were full in the first week of January. One in seven of the 137 hospital trusts covered by weekly updates from NHS England averaged 99% or higher bed occupancy throughout the first week of January, and there were 78 cases in which a hospital reported being full for a day.

Winter crisis (7) - down to government policy
Keep our NHS Public provides a review of the news of surrounding the NHS for 2017. It details the winter crisis in early 2017, the march in defence of the NHS and campaigns against privatisation and so-called accountable care.

Cancer care is 'unsustainable' at Oxford hospital
Shortage of trained nurses at Churchill Hospital in Oxford is putting the welfare of cancer patients at risk, according to a leaked document. This will result in delays and rationing of care such as the provision of life-extending chemotherapy.

Virgin Care gets £8 million profit, pays no corporation tax
Despite getting contracts for £200 million from the NHS and making £8 million profit, Virgin Care pays not one penny in corporation tax.


8th January 2018

Poorer T&Cs in NHS subsidiary company
Airedale NHS trust has set up a subsidiary company with the intention of transferring all hospital support staff - porters, cleaners and catering staff - to it. All new employees would be offered poorer terms and conditions of employment. This article exposes the trust's real motives, to cut costs, the likely result will be poverty wages, lower holiday entitlement and weaker pension scheme for new employees.

Winter crisis (4) - underfunded NHS under huge pressure
A very cold spell of weather and a flu epidemic are conspiring to push the NHS over the edge - soon hospital's are going to say, that's it ...we can't take any more. The government has tried to manage the pressures by cancelling plasnned operations but the breaking poiont is just around the corner.

Winter crisis (5) - New data shows dire state of our health service
High ambulance waits, huge numbers of emergency calls and record bed occupancy rates show the appalling state that the government has allowed our NHS to fall into.


4th January 2018

Hospitals ordered to cancel all operations in January
All England's hospitals have been ordered to cancel all elective hospital work for January to free up beds for emergency cases expected this winter.

Winter crisis (3) - A&E doctor sorry for 'third world conditions'
An A&E consultant has apologised for the overcrowded conditions in his A&E department. A&E departments that had been running at capacity prior to the winter are now struggling with the usual increase in patients.

New report shows the extent of NHS staffing crisis
Nearly three quarters of all medical specialties had unfilled training posts in 2016; dozens of specialties face recruitment shortfalls year on year; the number of applications to UK medical schools has decreased for the third year in a row and by more than 13 per cent since 2013;Applications to the first year of doctors’ training following medical school are decreasing, with 2016 having the lowest number of applicants in recent years; applications to specialty training are in decline.

Accountable Care Organisations explained
US-style Accountable Care Organisation (ACOs) that are being introduced throughout England will buy all health services for a defined population. They will a) be given the money for your care and will pay out only for certain treatments, b) may be handed over to actual insurance companies and other private firms, c) be able to decide what care is free and what they can charge patients for, d) be subject to commercial rules and will hide behind the veil of 'corporate confidentiality', e) are not recognised in any Act of Parliament and as such have no legal basis.


1st January 2018

Winter crisis (1): thousands of operations cancelled
The faceless bureaucrats of NHS England have issued a directive to all hospital trusts to cancel tens of thousands of elective medical procedures in the hope of freeing up some of the inadequate number of beds we have left after Tory cuts, to try to stem the coming winter crisis. But even this unprecented piece of central diktat seems unlikely to avoid the disaster, which is due quite simply, to government underfunding.

Winter crisis (2): A&Es in chaos
The anticipated flu epidemic starts and A&Es are already running out of space. Ambulance services say they're under heavy pressure and some patients have had to wait 12 hours.

Another private NHS contract
It appears that by offering the contract to a private organisation the hospital gets additional funding from the government - note the reference to the Department of Health’s independent trust financing facility. Despite all their claims that they're not privatising the NHS, the Tory government is instrumental in doing just this. An NHS England senior doctor says ACOs are not a means of NHS privatisation .... believable?

Branson has scooped £1000 million of our NHS funding
As the article here in the Guardian states, the awarding in 2017 of a total for contracts worth £1 billion pounds casts doubt on Tory claims that they are not privatising our NHS.

Huge increase in long ambulance waits
More than 58000 waited 30 minutes, more than 12000 waited more than one hour to be admitted to their hospital. A leading doctor says it's desperate times for overcrowded hospitals. This should not be allowed to continue, is the NHS safe in Tory hands?


21st December 2017

Privatised company's £650K debt unlikely to be repaid
Sussex NHS paid £650,000 to cover the salaries of drivers employed by a privatised patient transport company, employees were formally NHS ambulance drivers. The contract, previously with the South East ambulance service was awarded to private outfit Coperforma, but was stripped of the contract leaving the NHS to pick up the bill.

GP at hand service is cherry-picking
GP At Hand provides a consultation via a smartphone. It's run by a West London practice to which you must register, and de-register from your existing practice. Certain groups cannot register, for example, those with complex medical conditions, older frail people, those with learning difficulties, those with complex mental health issues. Analysis shows that it's attracted young patients, of the 6,897 new patients that joined the service, 89.6% were aged between 20 and 45 years old.

NHS medical workforce has reached 'crunch point'
A GMC report states that the number of doctors has failed to meet demand, in particular the need to ensure the supply of more GPs. GPs are leaving the profession owing to workload pressures, leaving fewer to cover the increasing primary care demand.

A&E consultant asks for help to tell his story
Dr Rob Galloway says A&E departments are 'in melt down', there are often no ward beds for the patients to be transferred to, and a breaking point will soon be reached. The fault he identifies clearly lies with the government, ministers can afford to use private healthcare and would be happy to see the demise of the NHS.

Actor accuses Hunt over mental health service crisis
Actor Ralf Little accuses Jeremy Hunt of misleading the public about the state of mental health services, disputing Hunt's claims that there's been the biggest rise in mental health services in Europe.


18th December 2017

A&Es are turning patients away
There are many reasons why A&E departments around the country are turning patients away. It is likely to be for one or both of a) no available beds on wards for A&E patients to be transferred to b) a shortage of A&E staff and, despite best efforts, the department overrun already with patients waiting for treatment. Either way, it's because there exists an increasing demand for healthcare, especially from older infirm patients combined with an NHS budget that doesn't increase in line with escalating healthcare need.

How campaigners are fighting proposal for an ACS
Activists in Yorkshire have brought the idea of introducing an Accountable Care System (ACS) for their local services to the attention of their local authority's Health Overview and Scrutiny committee (HOSC). Accountable Care organisations will be given funding to spend on a population's health. Hospitals can't have deficits, they must limit services to fit what they're given - it's the end of an NHS based upon patient need.

Rise in patient deaths while still in ambulances
What the reason for a sharp rise in ambulance patient deaths I leave to you, but the fact remains that from 2012 until 2016 the numbers of ambulance deaths has doubled.


14th December 2017

NHS bosses back resigning chief of Kings
The organisation that represents NHS hospital CEOs, the NHS Confederation, has supported the claims of the chairman of Kings College Hospital Trust who resigned over the government's derisory NHS funding increase. Here, he explains his reasons, citing the government's refusal to face up to the crisis engulfing the NHS.

East London NHS 'teetering on the brink' of collapse
60 staff in - GPs, consultants and practice managers - have written to Jeremy Hunt and Simon Stevens expressing their dismay at the small increase that Tower Hamlets CCG will receive. The miniscule increase fails to recognise the deprivation and population turnover; the entire NHS service is maintained only by the goodwill of staff.

NHS faces acute staffing shortage
The NHS has an acute staff shortage; low pay and high work load are deterring medical staff from applying. Currently there is a shortage of 42000 nurses, despite the government's pledge to increase GPs their numbers have fallen by 1% in the last 5 years, 1 in 3 paramedic jobs are vacant.


11th December 2017

NHS hospital boss resigns in protest over underfunding
The chairman of Kings College Hospital trust has resigned citing underfunding and the inexorable rising demand for hospital services. Bob Kerslake, former head of the civil service, took control of Kings in April 2015 and also added  responsibility for the Princess Royal Hospital in Bromley. During this time the trust has reduced its reliance on agency staff saving £80 million.

Hawking adds his name to judicial review: will you?
Professor Stephen Hawkin adds his name to those seeking a judicial review. The government is trying to introduce Accountable Care Organisations with only amendments to regulations rather a separate act of parliament which would allow proper parliamentary scrutiny. By using this link you can contribute to the funding of the judicial review.

Labour shadow health sec demand NHS transparency
John Ashworth, Labour's shadow health secretary demands transparency over government plans for the NHS, starting with Accountable Care. Labour has tabled an Early Day motion in the Commons demanding parliamentary time to properly scrutinise the changes for Accountable Care.

Two thirds of GPs will struggle
A survey of GPs reveals that most are saying that their surgeries will struggle to cope this winter. Rising demand for their time, falling numbers of GPs and pay reductions that makes primary care unattractive to the newly-qualified all contribute to the pressures faced by surgeries.


4th December 2017

Evidence to Commons Select Committee on STP - 19th January deadline
Here's the link for you to state your objections to Sustainabliity and Transformation Plans - to say that there's been no consultation over their introduction and no evidence that they work. Indeed, there's no evidence that integrating health and social care actually results in an overall saving in funding.

More than 700 fewer trainee nurses since bursaries scrapped
After the bursary to support nurses in training was scrapped, greater than 700 fewer nurses started training in 2017. There are 36000 unfilled nursing vacancies in the NHS.

Personal experience of healthcare: NHS and US
A US jounalist recalls his experience receiving NHS care. He tells, having read stories in the US of overworked NHS doctors and nurses, that his experience was totally different. He received nothing but the best from doctors and nurses, and his greatest surprise was not being asked for insurance as is the first procedure in any US hospital.


1st December  2017

Branson wins £82 million from the NHS
Billionaire Richard Branson sued NHS England and Surrey County Council because he got upset about losing a contract for community health services. Now thanks to his greed, £82 million has been taken from our NHS that would have paid for more community care.

Hunt orders NHS trusts to stick to waiting time limits
Owing to NHS underfunding as healthcare demand continues to increase, it will be near impossible for targets like those for waits at A&E and 'seeing a consultant' to be met. Despite this, Jeremy Hunt likes to wave a big stick; he has told NHS bosses they must do the impossible and adhere to time limits.

Half of GPs are over 55 years old
The crisis in primary care is further illustrated by a survey that finds that in some areas of England close to a half of GPs are over 55, showing the time bomb the profession faces. This shows the near impossibility the government faces in its promise to recruit 5000 GPs in 3 years time.

Government bungling of patient data
The Department of Health set up a company called Shared Business Services (SBS) to process patient data; this service was later ptivatised to Capita. A huge backlog of patient data was discovered in 2016; it transpires that it still hasn't been processed.


27th November 2017

Angry Hammond retracts on a bigger NHS fund increase
Undisclosed sources reported that the Chancellor was so angry with the head of NHS England's speech that he went back on his intention to replenish NHS funding to a greater degree in his budget. Do you think that a Tory minister would be so petulant that he allows his temper to control the funding of our health services?

Senior conservatives criticise NHS budget award
Two former health secretaries and the chair of the health select committee voice their concerns about the miserly increase in NHS funding announced in the budget. They bemoan the absence of long-term solutions to the funding of the NHS and social care.

NHS budget increase: might be a funding drop
The House of Commons Scrutiny Committee says that when the NHS funds are adjusted for population increase, the yearly increase in health spending per person is lower.

Inexperienced doctors left in charge of A&Es
The General Medical Council warns of the risks of inexperienced doctors being left in charge of A&E units. Understaffing at A&Es makes this risk unavoidable, young doctors are sometimes asked to act above their clinical experience.


23rd November 2017

ACOs need proper scrutiny before implementation
A doctor questions whether Accountable Care Orgnisations, a US import that takes on responsibility for the care of a defined population and will be a further privatisation of our NHS, should be introduced without careful public and professional consultation. Based on US experience there is little evidence that they improve healthcare.

Hunt accused of astonishing failure over fall in GP numbers
The number of full-time GPs has fallen by 1300 since 2015. Jeremy Hunt has presided over a workforce crisis in general practice; Labour accused him of an 'astonishing failure'. A GP at a conference challenged him to ask why should his claims be believed?

Drug company overcharged NHS by £100 million
Drug company Concordia increased the price of a thyroid cancer drug by 6000% in 10 years. The Competitions and Marketing Authority could impose a fine on the company, we await to see if they will.

NHS Engand pays GPs to 'sell' the their primary care plan
Senior GPs are being paid to 'sell' the GP Forward View to other doctors in their practices, it has emerged. Other GPs have described this funding as 'propaganda'.


20th November 2017

MPs call for a debate on the future of the NHS
A cross party group of 90 MPs are urging the prime minister to allow a debate on the future of the NHS. If the primary focus of this debate is that we increase the NHS budget to the average for European countries, then this move honours the principles of the NHS, that it remains a comprehensive and free service. We should reject all ideas that the NHS is too expensive and its services should be limited - the NHS by international comparison is not expensive.

Patient died after 85 minute ambulance wait
Patient in Dorset dies owing to the long wait for an ambulance. 20 year old woman died of a ruptured spleen after the under-pressure control room downgraded the call.

Risk of european GPs quitting after brexit
GPs from the EU could leave the UK as a result of Brexit, a survey by the BMA suggests. Almost half of the EU  doctors in the survey are considering leaving. This contrasts with Jeremy Hunt's 'confidence' that EU workers will be allowed to remain, but it's the conditions attached to their stay that may be the deciding factor.

Hunt must consult on ACOs - but will he?
Allyson Pollock states that introducing US-style Accountable Care Organisations to run our NHS is such a contentious issue that it should be done through proper parliamentary procedure - inviting public and professional consultation - not by underhand amendments to regulations that he's proposing. There is little evidence, even in the US, that ACOs provide improvements in healthcare. The lack of appropriate consultation before ACOs are introduced is echoed by Sue Richards here.


13th November 2017

Even Simon Stevens is saying it now
The author of the Five Year Forward View (aka the Americanisation of the NHS) and head of NHS England has added his voice to the clamour demanding that the NHS receives a substantial increas in funding.

NHS needs £24 billion more than government plans
To avoid yet more rationing of services and even longer waiting times than we are currently experiencing the NHS needs £24 billion more than is planned by May's government, says 3 reputable expert groups. Annual rises in the NHS budget have been limited to 1% since 2010.

A&E long waits increase massively since 2010
Yet another statistic to add yet more proof that the NHS needs a large injection of funding.

Are ACOs legal?
Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs) are being planned for the NHS. They involve a provider or an alliance of providers that collaborate to meet the needs of a defined population that takes responsibility for a budget to deliver a range of services to that population.  But they are being introduced with no legislative approval or oversight, so are they legal? Two groups are legally challenging their imposition.

Care home operator forced into debt by owners
One of UK’s biggest care home operators running 300 homes was made to borrow £220 million from a subsidiary of the private equity owners at 15% compound over 10 years. It is said to be “drowning in debt”.

Tories turn their back on the NHS market
The theory of the internal market in the NHS has it that there are purchasers of healthcare on the one hand (CCGs) and providers (trusts) on the other, and that providers e.g. hospitals, private health companies, compete to provide services. But the Tory 2017 manifesto appears to indicate it no longer supports the idea of competition within the NHS, not to be confused with the idea of privatising the NHS which is the aim of STPs, see ACOs above.


6th November 2017

Ambulance services: patients waiting an hour double
For the past two years the number of patients waiting an hour or more for transfer from an ambulance to an A&E ward has doubled.

Drug companies think only of their profits
Multinational drug corporations are planning to sue the NHS because its permitting cheaper drugs to be prescibed that might prevent blindness, a move that could save millions.

GP crisis not solved by privatisation
Such is the pressure that GPs are under, due mainly to increasing work load, that some are considering leaving the NHS, presumably a move that only those in affluent areas could consider. The Royal College of GPs warns that such a move is not the answer.

Surgeries run by private firms give poorer service
Increasingly health companies like Virgin Care and Care UK are running GP surgeries. Research by the Royal Society for Medicine shows that the patients' scores for those surgeries running under APMS (Alternative Provider Medical Services), in other words private companies and not the traditional partnership model of primary care which is GMS (General Medical Services), receive lower patient satisfaction ratings.

Confused about new models of care?
So am I, and I'm not reassured after reading this account of what NHS England is planning for our NHS, something that campaigners have described as the Americanisation of the NHS. Why do we copy ideas from the most expensive yet inefficient health systems in the world?

The latest developments to the Capita disaster
Demands for an enquiry are the latest event in the crisis surrounding the privatisation of primary care services to Capita, see 19th October below, that prompted the closing of a number of adminstrative centres around the country. Hundreds of doctors are out of pocket due to delays in Capita's processing.


2nd November 2017

Stevens criticises Hunt over pay
Hunt plans to permit NHS pay increases only by savings elsewhere in the NHS. Simon Stevens says Hunt has a duty to fund pay increases. We all know that so called 'productivity improvements' translate as staff cuts.

Plan to transfer NHS staff to subsidiary firm
Three trusts are planning to transfer staff to a subsidiary company and so take workers off the NHS terms and conditions and to drive down wages. Cleaners, porters and ancilliary staff would lose rights to NHS pensions, holiday and sick pay in what is clearly a move to save costs. Let's clear out people like this who run our NHS and replace them with decent leaders!

GPs refuse to collect data on immigration status
Some GPs are ignoring new laws to collect information on whether they are normally resident in the UK on the grounds that it could deny care to vulnerable patients.

GP workforce crisis continues
GP morale is at its lowest, the number of doctors employed by the NHS is falling, this despite plans to offer GPs a £20K incentive to work is areas with the greatest need. On top of this changes to pension rules mean that those over 50 are more likely to leave the profession. The Health Foundation report also highlights the increase in the number of managers employed by the NHS.


30th October 2017

New NHS fees for overseas patients
In trying to obscure the real reason for the crisis in our NHS, that it is underfunded, the government has obliged hospitals to charge for the healthcare that overseas visitors receive. This means that hospital staff will be burderned by having to ask all patients for their residence status, surely not just those with a foreign accent, informing then how much the treatment costs and of withholding treatment when unaffordable. Health professionals have accused the government of deliberate cruelty.

BMA: one million more to wait more than 4 hours
The doctors union has warned that without additional resourcing those patients waiting in A&E for more than 4 hours will, by 2019/20, increase by one million.

No end in sight for GP crisis
Jeremy Hunt certainly has his work cut out. In a speech in 2015 he promised there would be 5000 more GPs by 2020. In fact there are now 350 fewer.


26th October 2017

NHS patients to be placed in spare rooms
It's come to this, such is the shortage of beds in our deliberately underfunded NHS, that authorities in Essex are considering a plan to place patients recovering fromn surgery in people's houses. What further proof do we need that the NHS is in crisis?

Kings Fund's analysis of London's STPs
This report is packed with evidence that STPs are simply a means to cut spending, they spell the end of our health service as a comprehensive national service.

Report highlights the failings of private hospitals
The Centre for Public Interest and Public Interest has published a report, based on an extensive review of CQC inspection reports from 177 private hospitals in England. It provides evidence which identifies the characteristics of the private hospital business model that make it susceptible to exploitation by ill-meaning or incompetent surgeons, as in the Ian Paterson case.


23rd October 2017

Fear of a return to 1999 for waiting times
Hospital chiefs are concerned about the increasing NHS waiting times; they fear that patients are being let down. In contrast a government minister insists that NHS has enough money. I leave you to chose who you believe, hospital chief executives or a Tory politician.

From today hospitals must check patients immigration status
In direct contradiction to the NHS founding principles those without lawful UK residence will have to pay for hospital care. There's no conclusive evidence that the additional administrative expense is worth it, to say nothing of the stupidity of denying some patients proper healthcare. Anyway, I doubt whether health workers are going to implement this mean pernicious law.

Next Labour government must reinstate a public NHS
Professor Allyson Pollock analyses the detail of legislation required for a Labour administration to re-establish a proper publicly-run, accountable and comprehensive National Health Service.


19th October 2017

Another Capita privatisation disaster
How many privatised NHS service crises will it take before it's publically-acknowledged by mainstream media that privatising NHS services doesn't work? Yes it's Capita again, see 15th October below. A further 12000 items of unprocessed patient data have now been identified. Primary care support services were outsourced to Capita in 2015.

Brexit disguises the disaster unfolding in our NHS
Polly Toynbee explains that such is the dominance of Brexit to our news media that other serious issues go unnoticed, primary amongst them being the coming collapse of our health services. Another massive crisis that gets only limited coverage, is the indebtedness of a high proportion of the population, owing to low wages and high rents.


15th October 2017

NHS 5-Year Forward View – the end of the NHS
Read this chilling account of Simon Stevens' Five Year Forward View. It pulls no puches about the down-grading and rationing of healthcare that is the government's policy on the NHS.

GP to Hunt "Why should we believe you?"
Jeremy Hunt was forced to defend his record in office, as a GP in the audience at the RCGP conference told him "it [GP workload] has gotten worse on your watch, as we told you it would,’ she added. ‘I ask why should we believe what you are saying today when you weren’t listening then?’

Capita involvement raises concern
GP leaders have raised concerns over the involvement of outsourcing firm Capita in the development of an accountable care organisation (ACO). An ACO is a body that manages the agreements with health providing organisations to offer all health and social care for a given population. Nottinghamshire sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) has employed Capita to provide support for a £2.7m contract. This follows  constant complaints of Capita's privatised primary care support services.

Patients could be barred from A&E without a GP referral
NHS England is considering pilots to stop walk-in patients attending A&E departments, requiring them to be referred by a GP or NHS 111. It is an attempt to reduce demand that is threatening to engulf secondary care and emergency care services this winter. Of course they could always fund the NHS to the level of most developed countries.


12th October 2017

Winter crisis: Operations could be cancelled for months
Thousands of operations could be cancelled for months this winter, leading medics have warned, as the NHS prepares to announce plans to cope with mounting pressures. The Society for Acute Medicine raised fears that services could be “overwhelmed” by a bad flu season, accusing the Government of doing little more than “crossing fingers” that a crisis can be averted.

Scepticiism over Hunt's promise to lift paycap
The health secretary has announced that the cap on NHS staff pay is to finally be scrapped – but has not said if the government will give the health service extra funding to cover the cost of whatever rise is finally agreed.

One of the reason for increasing demand for healthcare
Record survival rates for heart attacks and strokes are heaping pressures on Accident & Emergency departments, a major study has found. The research, published as watchdogs warned that the NHS is “straining at the seams”, found that emergency admissions are being fuelled by increasing numbers surviving deadly conditions.


9th October 2017

The coming winter crisis for the NHS
The signs are on the wall as the NHS careers towards winter, desperation can be seen across the country. Since the summer, at least six hospital trusts and two ambulance services have been dealing with allegations of bullying. Two chief executives have been forced out for failing to hit the A&E target.

Exhaustion causes GPs fear for patient safety
“Shattered” GPs are lying awake at night worrying they may have harmed their patients by making mistakes caused by tiredness and overwork, the leader of the profession has revealed. Family doctors are losing sleep because they are so anxious that they have put patients’ safety at risk by missing a symptom or not keeping their medication up to date, said Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard. Read about this GP's workload.

Chanting NHS managers? Like finding your nan's sex toys
An article by a Surrey GP satirizes the news that NHS England executives insisted at a meeting of Trust managers they chant 'we can do it'. He continues "Just imagine if doctors applied the same methods. Chest pain? Forget the cath lab, let’s sit down and give your myocardium a stirring pep talk instead."

Hunt ridiculed for claiming the Tories set up the NHS
Jeremy Hunt has been ridiculed after making the “laughable” claim that the creation of the NHS was down to Tory support, despite the Conservatives voting against its passage over a dozen times in Parliament. He told delegates at the Tory conference in Manchester that the creation of Britain’s health service was down to a Conservative minister.


5th October 2017

One billion pound bill for urgent NHS hospital repairs
Hospitals are at growing risk of “catastrophic failure” because the bill for urgent repairs for problems that threaten staff and patient safety has soared to almost £1bn, an NHS report reveals. The statistics, compiled by NHS Digital, show that in England hospital buildings, operating theatres and scanners used to diagnose diseases are increasingly showing their age. The money needed to address the backlog has more than doubled from £458m in 2014-15 to last year’s £947.1m.

Another private patient transport company fails
A private ambulance service that has contracts with the NHS and other private health organisations faces closure after going into administration. Private Ambulance Service has been serving hospitals such as Watford General, St Albans hospital and Bedford hospital. The company’s collapse comes as data shows the NHS is spending almost £80 million a year hiring private ambulances £80m a year hiring private ambulances to answer 999 calls and take patients to hospital for appointments. In Sussex last year the private patient transport firm Coperforma was stripped of its contract owing to a string of failings.

Close surgery lists: a 'final recourse' to the crisis in primary care
The BMA has written to health secretary Jeremy Hunt warning that GPs would be willing to close their lists en masse unless the Government tackles the ’urgent challenges which have led us to this position’. GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey told the health secretary that the BMA is ‘deeply concerned’ that practices are reaching the point ’where closing their lists seems the only viable way to ensure patient safety’.


29th September 2017

NHS bosses forced to chant 'we can do this'
In their search for the most advanced managerial techniques to boost NHS efficiency, at a meeting NHS England has forced hospital bosses to chant “we can do this” in an effort to improve their accident and emergency performance in advance of what is predicted to be a tough winter for A&Es. Simon's clearly using what he learnt at United Health to full effect.

Labour calls for £500 million emergency finding
John Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, told the Labour party conference in Brighton that NHS patients suffered their worst winter on record in Theresa May’s first year as prime minister. He called for the government to commit a £500m “winter bailout fund” for the NHS over the coming months, citing party analysis suggesting 10,000 people a day will wait at least four hours for A&E treatment this winter.

PFI review could save NHS millions
Ex-BMA chief says John McDonnell’s pledge to review private finance initiative (PFI) contracts is a sensible idea that could save the NHS billions of pounds and is worthy of a proper review. The pledge, he said, is a step in the right direction to reform a deeply flawed, unpopular programme.


25th September 2017

Slashing the NHS budget: the real reason for STP
Under the government plans called the 'capped expenditure programme' 13 areas are being forced to cut even harder than that demanded by Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP), which itself is a total of £22 billion by four years time. Some areas will lose vital health services, and South Gloucestershire is one. Cancer diagnostics, neurological rehabilitation and children’s continuing care policy for those with complex needs arising from disability, accident or illness, are listed for proposed savings by the South Gloucestershire CCG.

Government's empty promises on mental health
The Government has been accused of “empty promises” over boosting mental health provision. Cash-strapped Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England said they will reduce the proportion of their budgets spent on offering mental health support in 2017/18, despite previous commitments from Jeremy Hunt that spending would increase.

Labour will bring PFI contracts 'in house'
Without spelling out exactly how or explaining the financing details, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour would bring PFI contracts, and the workers they employ, back under the control of the state. Lots of the government's PFI contracts are for hospital builds, others are for roads and schools.


18th September 2017

Hospitals will struggle to cope with a serious flu outbreak
Full hospitals mean the NHS is facing “a winter of woe”, leading doctors have warned, after official figures showed the service struggling to cope with the growing demand for care. A total of 181,692 bed days were lost in hospitals in England in July to “delayed transfers of care”, when patients are fit to leave but cannot be safely discharged.

Why is there is shortage of GPs?
Yet again the earnings of GPs working as partners or in salaried roles earned showed a 'statistically significant' drop, The figure for median income for partners and salaried GPs combined fell further - dropping 1.9%. The figures also highlight the collapse in real-terms GP income over the past decade. In cash terms, GPs earned on average 23.4% below the level it was at in real terms ten years ago.

Report shows NHS is leaking huge sums to private companies over PFI
The NHS is "leaking" money to private companies in contracts to build and run hospitals, a report says. Under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), companies provide money for new hospitals and then charge annual fees. The Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI) publication, based on 107 PFI contracts in England, said such companies had made pre-tax profits of £831m in the past six years.

Just 2 doctors to look after 436 patients
Two junior doctors at a UK hospital were left to look after 436 patients during just one night shift, it is claimed in a shocking new report. Another medic was allegedly so busy they didn't have a single break over an entire weekend with only "a couple of biscuits" to keep them going. The true pressures on junior doctors at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth have been revealed in the report, with serious safety concerns being raised.


13th September 2017

Spire Health pays £27 million compensation due to disgraced surgeon
Around 750 private patients treated by disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson will receive compensation from a new £37 million fund. Spire Healthcare, which runs private hospitals across the UK, will contribute £27.2 million to the fund, which is intended to halt legal proceedings by patients.

GP industrial action - majority of practices vote for list closure
Practices have voted in favour of co-ordinated list closure action in an indicative ballot by the BMA. GP leaders called on the government to take urgent action to address the crisis in the service after practices voted in favour of action. Practices were asked to say whether they would be prepared collectively to temporarily suspend new patient registrations and/or apply to their commissioner for a formal list closure, as a form of industrial action.

American-style health company to run NHS services in West Midlands
One of the untried and untested plans to be introduced under STP is multispecialty community provider. Under an MCP, GPs practices come together in networks or federations and collaborate with other health and social care professionals to provide more integrated services outside of hospitals. The Dudley MCP will be a private company and the GP practices involved want a controlling share in its ownership.


28th August 2017

NHS England is hiding its planned cuts
The crowdfunded campaign group 38 Degrees submitted freedom of information requests to the government, NHS leaders as well as trusts and clinical commissioning groups in the 13 areas affected but all except two refused to release details of planned changes. Leaked proposals from three of the areas have already revealed plans including downgrading or closing A&Es and extending waiting times for operations.

Stephen Hawking on Tories destruction of the NHS
Stephen Hawking demonstrates his critique of Tory policy on the NHS, especially STP, in his article which continues the war of words he is having with Jeremy Hunt. Hunt can't let it go, he has to have the last, if ineffective, word. Here's a satirical view on the spat between them.

NHS waiting times worst since 2007
The number of NHS patients waiting for treatment has hit its highest level in a decade, health bosses have warned, after the latest figures for NHS England showed the service continues to miss its waiting times targets. The NHS in England last met its target for A&E waiting times two years ago.

The conspiracy to destroy the NHS
Dr Youssef El-Gingihy takes a blogger to task that the conspiracy to destroy the NHS is not 'fake news'; he asserts  there exists a hidden agenda to destroy the partnership model of GP working and to sell GPs off as salaried slaves to super-partnerships.


21st August 2017

Private hospitals get tax breaks, NHS ones gets tax hikes
Private hospitals are enjoying a £52m tax break on their business rates bill through their charitable status while NHS hospitals are facing crippling hikes. The tax perk will save private hospitals in England and Wales £51.9m in business rates over the next five years, whereas changes to the business rates system that came into effect in April mean that NHS hospitals in England and Wales will see their annual rates soar by 21 per cent over the next five years.

Massive private bid for NHS property - PFI by another name?
Primary Health Properties, Octopus Healthcare and Assura (aka Virgin) say they are ready to offer £3.3bn upfront capital funding in response to recommendations set out in Sir Robert’s review of NHS estates. They say the money could fund up to 750 new primary care centres, which would cost the NHS up to £200m a year in new rental charges.

Stephen Hawkin blames Tory politicians for damaging the NHS
Stephen Hawkin has accused ministers of damaging the NHS, blaming the Conservatives in a passionate and sustained attack for slashing funding, weakening the health service though privatisation, demoralising staff by curbing pay and cutting social care support. Of course Hunt denies it. The argument is about the so-called 'weekend effect'; the evidence is here.

New Birmingham integrated primary and community care contract
Dudley CCG has revealed its preferred bidder for the £5bn 15-year new care model contract; a consortium of four NHS trusts and 38 local GP practices. The contract will combine primary and community-based physical health for adults and children, some outpatient services, primary medical services, local enhanced services, mental health services, public health, learning disabilities services, urgent care centres and GP out-of-hours care. Adult social care services will also be phased in. Has it been piloted, is it privatisation by another name, is it government washing its hands of responsibility for healthcare?

CCG cooperation to go-ahead despite GP 'no confidence'
Six CCGs will share the same accountable officer, the primary role in delivering heralthcare care in their areas. So once again untested and unwelcome reforms are pushed ahead despite professional misgivings. The readers' comments at the end are worth a read.


14th August 2017

ACS - a backdoor privatisation?
Accountable Care Systems are a US-style health organisation with little evidence that they work or without any pilot to prove their effectiveness. But what they definitely will do is to limit health spending. A budget is handed over to an area and that's it, no deficits are allowed. Few outside the service understand them, sceptics doubt they will work, and some even see them as a Trojan horse for the ultimate privatisation of the NHS.

Even in summer hospitals are missing targets
Normally A&Es make their targets after the winter rush, but no longer. NHS leaders have warned the health service is at breaking point, as official data showed A&E waiting time targets for England have been missed every month for two years.

Ambulance call-outs for mental health soar by 23%
Mental health services have been cut and the consequence is that ambulance service call-outs and hospital admissions increase.


28th July 2017

Demand for enquiry into privatisation of NHS recruiter
Labour is demanding an inquiry into the privatisation of a government-owned NHS recruitment firm that saves hospitals £70m a year. NHS Professionals helps the health service in England tackle its staffing crisis by arranging for doctors and nurses on its books to cover potentially harmful gaps in rotas.

NHS accused of secrecy over £500 million cuts
Doctors’ leaders have accused NHS bosses of shrouding controversial plans for £500m of cuts to services across England in “totally unacceptable secrecy”. Patients deserve to know how hospitals being told to “think the unthinkable” as part of the savings drive will affect their access to healthcare, the British Medical Association (BMA) said. The local bodies which hold the NHS budget in England in 13 areas were told to make an extra £500m of savings by the end of March 2018 over and above those already planned.

Current GP model being ground down by government
Income for general practice is falling in real terms year-on-year, while the costs of running a practice are spiralling out of control. GPs have to pay for medical indemnity insurance which is rising by as much as 25% per year, they are now forced to undergo annual appraisal and five-yearly relicensing and are expected to undertake 50 hours of educational activity per year, in addition to undertaking patient satisfaction surveys and audits. Surgeries have to pay thousands of pounds to undergo regular inspections by the Care Quality Commission. "The aim of these measures can only be to grind down the current model of general practice until it fails and large private providers can be brought in."


24th July 2017

Double the number of A&E consultants for safe care
Hospitals are being urged to urgently more than double the number of consultants on duty in A&E units in order to ensure that patients receive safe care. The increase is needed to help the NHS avoid the winter crisis that occurred last winter and to stop A&E doctors quitting due to burnout, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) claims. Or is the government content with an NHS in crisis?

One in ten GP practices closed or merged since April 2013
Almost one in 10 GP practices have closed, merged or been taken over since the implementation of the Health and Social Care Act and NHS England became operational in April 2013, with small, underfunded practices hit hardest.

U turn saves Southend A&E department
The Save Southend A&E campaign group has fought plans to turn Basildon A&E into a specialist emergency centre while downgrading Southend and Broomfield A&Es to take less serious cases.

NHS prescription of homeopathic remedies ends
Homeopathic remedies will no longer be available on prescription on the NHS according to newly-announced plans. The move comes as part of the NHS England’s drive to save more than £190m a year through a new set of national guidelines, which are now open for public consultation.

Labour's approach to child care
Against a background of cuts to child health and education services, and with a suitable scepticism of opposition promises, here's Labour's shadow health secretary's speech to Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.


17th July 2017

Surrey and Sussex NHS plans to deny vital heart surgery
Patients at risk of a heart attack could be denied vital tests and potentially life-saving operations under NHS plans to make £55m of budget cuts in Surrey and Sussex. NHS organisations in Surrey and Sussex are considering restricting the number of patients who have an angiogram or an angioplasty – the insertion of stents to tackle blocked arteries – despite the evidence that both procedures reduce the risk of patients dying.

£85 million cuts in public health is a 'national scandal'
Analysis by the King's Fund, based on data from the Department of Communities and Local Government, shows that spending on public health will be more than 5% lower in 2017/18 than it was in 2013/14. The £85m reduction in spending comes on top of cuts worth £200m made to public health in 2015/16. Funding for sexual health services has dropped 10% over the last four years.

Government plans to remove the right of opt out from data sharing
Under plans to simplify patients' rights to opt out of sharing data held in medical records, the government has set out proposals to scrap the 'type 1 opt-out' - which currently allows patients to insist that no identifiable data should be shared outside their GP practice for purposes beyond their direct care. It is to be replaced by a new opt out, but not where there is a mandatory legal requirement, an overriding public interest or other exceptional cases.

NHS still number 1 despite Tory underfunding
The UK health service was praised for its safety, affordability and efficiency, but fared less well on outcomes such as preventing early death and cancer survival. The research by the Commonwealth Fund, a US think tank, looked at countries across the world, including the US, Canada, Australia, France and Germany. The US came bottom.


13th July 2017

STP's financial straight jacket will ration NHS services
Accountable Care Systems (ACS) *...should be working towards a single financial control total this year but the change would “inevitably be bumpy in terms of its impact..." In other words expect massive cuts in services because the government is cutting the NHS budget, and deficits will not be allowed under new NHS England rules.

BMA balloting GPs for industrial action
Practices have been sent details of an indicative vote asking whether they are prepared to participate in a collective closure of practice lists in response to the failure of NHS England’s GP Forward View to deliver resources to sustain the service.

£85 million cuts to public health services
Funding for public health services including smoking cessation, sexual health and alcohol and drug clinics will be slashed by £85 million in 2017/18, analysis has revealed. Stop smoking services will be cut by £16 million by councils across England, a 15% reduction year on year, according to the report from the King's Fund.

Doctors 'seriously concerned' about government data sharing plans
The BMA said that the DH plans to relaunch its NHS data-sharing scheme were of 'serious concern', because patients will not be able to opt out of having their data sent from their GP practice to NHS Digital.


10th July 2017

More poor service from Capita
Dozens of GPs are meeting a debt collection agency in a last-ditch bid to claim standard NHS payments owed to them by the primary care support service run by private provider Capita. Primary care support that handles patient record transfers and some GP payments was privatised to Capita in 2015. There has been an ongoing series of revelations about the poor service Capita provides.

Why the GP shortage...salaries have dropped by 22% in decade
Doctors’ salaries have declined by 22% in the decade between 2005 and 2015, according to new Government research. This comes one month after Jeremy Hunt accepted a recommendation for doctors to get a 1% pay rise in 2017/18.

Why leaving nursing... morale is at its lowest
More nurses are leaving than joining for the first time on record. One nurse tells us why. 'Morale is the worst I have experienced in my 30-plus year career to date' says one.

Hospital broke law by giving patient data to Google
A highly anticipated ruling found that the Royal Free London NHS Trust broke the law when it gifted 1.6m patient-identifiable records to Google's Deep Mind, in November 2015. The information Commissioner said "The price of innovation didn’t need to be the erosion of legally ensured fundamental privacy rights.”



23rd June 2017

Leaked document shows 'devastating cuts' to London NHS
Patients will be denied treatment, waiting times for operations will lengthen and A&E and maternity units may be shut under secret NHS plans to impose unprecedented cuts to health spending in London. Doctors in five London boroughs will have to spend less on drugs, fewer patients will be referred to hospital and support for people with severe health needs will be cut as part of the plan.

Number of GP practices drops by 650 in 4 years
The number of GP practices in England has dropped by more than 650 in the four years since NHS England was founded, while average list sizes have risen by around 900 patients, official data suggest.

BMA to debate whether NHS crisis was 'deliberately created'
The BMA is set to debate whether the crisis in the NHS has been created deliberately by the government to justify a transformation and privatisation agenda. Well look no further than Tory policy chief Oliver Letwin who wrote about running down public services to justify privatisation.


19th June 2017

STP plans to sell of Charing Cross hospital
Almost all of Charing Cross hospital is to be sold and its services diverted to already stretched facilities around the capital under plans for NHS "modernisation". The plan is to axe 10 major services at Charing Cross, the remaining services would be a series of outpatient and GP clinics, X-ray and CT scans, a pharmacy and an urgent care centre for “minor injuries and illnesses”. Around 300 acute beds will be lost. North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “We are still committed to taking forward changes as agreed by the secretary of state in 2013."

GP opponent replies to Hunt's accusation of lying
Dr Louise Irvine, a British Medical Association Council member, has penned an open letter to Hunt, who was reappointed by Theresa May to Secretary of State for Health. The letter concisely refutes Jeremy Hunt, laying bare the dangerous erosion of our health system under his tenure.

Tory MP blames GPs for lack of GPs
Junior health minister Jackie Doyle-Price, MP for Thurrock, says on her website that there a lack of GPs in her Thurrock constituency "...because GP practices aren’t delivering enough to meet local demand." Whereas the chair of the GPs committee at the BMA said "...general practice remained 'billions of pounds' short of the funding required to tackle soaring pressure on GPs".

200 GPs to staff A&Es, but where from?
Hospitals could hire more than 200 GPs to work in A&E departments in the next 12 months under plans to put primary care doctors 'on the front door' at every emergency department in the country. There's a national shortage of GPs so where will they come from?


15th June 2017

Government plans fire sale of NHS land and property
The government is poised to agree several major deals with private firms to unlock capital funds worth £5.7bn by selling NHS land and property. In response to the Naylor report six regional public/private partnerships will be created under the plan to dispose of what the government claims are "assets that are no longer required or not fit for purpose."

GP leaders urge Hunt to rethink spending plans
GP leaders have called on Jeremy Hunt to radically review the government's NHS spending plans after he was re-appointed as health secretary following last week's general election. By 2022/23 Tories health spending plans fall as a share of GDP to 7.0% compared with 7.3% today and 6.9% on current spending plans; one of the lowest GDP percentages in Europe.

Commissioners raise concerns about private OOH provider
Private out-of-hours provider Integrated Care 24 has defended its record after West Kent CCG raised concerns over its shift fill rates and missing compliance data at its A&E GP services. It said fill rates for IC24’s A&E GP services at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells. It found that Maidstone had seen 15% unfilled by a GP, while Tunbridge Wells 18% unfilled.


12th June 2017

Even more NHS cuts, but will they go ahead now?
This article in the Health News Journal was published before the election but isn't it reasonable to assume that NHS leaders thought a Conservative majority was guaranteed? The controversial measures were being discussed privately by national NHS England and NHS Improvement officials, with senior local NHS leaders, as part of the new “capped expenditure process", otherwise known as STP.

Tories are planning a fire sale of NHS assets
Theresa May has vowed to implement the Naylor proposals, which advise the government to sell off NHS assets in order to bring the health service in line with budget plans. It could potentially mean £5.7bn worth of NHS assets are sold off. But again, has the election halted these plans?

Now even the two week cancer target is missed
Growing numbers of hospitals are forcing cancer patients to wait longer than they should for vital NHS treatment, official figures show. In April the NHS failed to meet three key targets that set out the maximum length of time patients should wait before receiving treatment.

NHA gets 11.5% swing against Hunt
The National Health Action party candidate came in second place with 20% of the vote, taking more than 12,000 votes in the South West Surrey election on Thursday. The vote saw a massive 11.5% swing to the doctor-led NHA party which opposes NHS cuts and privatisation.


8th June 2017

Thousands of children's operations cancelled each year
Thousands of operations on children are being cancelled each year, often because NHS hospitals do not have enough beds, staff or equipment. The real number of cancellations is likely to be much higher as the figures obtained under freedom of information laws cover barely half of England’s 153 acute hospital trusts.

Privatisation means NHS is now simply a logo
Professor Alex Scott-Samuel explains how the destruction of the publicly-provided NHS was made law in the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Although this act enables complete NHS privatisation, its widespread failure, for example here, and unpopularity mean that it remains partially implemented.

Tory plans to sell off NHS property
The Naylor Review recommends selling around £2billion of NHS land to build 26,000 homes. This could hit £5billion if extended to "high-value" sites in London. This could equal 5 million square metres of NHS estate - more than three times the size of London's Hyde Park. Ideas in the report include selling part of car parks and making the other part multi-storey.


5th June 2017

Party election manifestos compared
With the general election manifestos published, here's a useful summary of what the three main parties in England are promising for health.

Public concern about NHS hits a 15 year high
Polling by Ipsos Mori found that 61% of people in Britain consider the NHS to be among the biggest issues facing the country, up 13% from last month. The finding suggests public concern about the NHS is at its highest level since then-chancellor Gordon Brown announced a £40bn NHS investment plan in 2002.

Cancer patient dies due to bed shortage
A cancer patient died after he was denied an urgently needed transfer to another hospital because no bed was available, a coroner has said. Michael Brennan was diagnosed with lung cancer at Whittington hospital, north London, and given a plan to be treated at another hospital if his condition deteriorated overnight. But when the 80-year-old needed emergency surgery, Westmoreland Street hospital in central London was unable to find him a bed.

Private sector profiting as NHS crumbles
Conservative austerity programme will continue, despite lengthening waiting lists, greater rationing and mounting concern over how the NHS will get through the winter. Major healthcare companies are seeing profits more than double, uniformly citing the pressures on the NHS as the driver for increased activity. Private hospitals are capitalising on the underfunding of the NHS by expanding their services, focusing on areas subject to rationing such as cataract treatment and hernia repair.


29th May 2017

May accused of failing to tackle the NHS crisis
Teresa May has been accused of failing to tackle the growing crisis in the NHS and social care, with a “smoke and mirrors” manifesto that has left future funding in doubt. Experts and campaign groups turned their fire on the Prime Minister as her promise to “get to grips with the great challenges of our time” if she returns to Downing Street drew scorn.

Nurses vote to take strike action
Nurses have voted overwhelmingly to pursue a ballot for UK-wide strike action this summer in protest at below inflation pay rises. Nearly four out of five members (78%) of the Royal College of Nursing who took part in the consultative vote backed a walkout, while 91% favoured industrial action short of a strike.

NHS trusts overspend by £770 million, NHS clearly underfunded
The £770m overspend has emerged from analysis of the trusts’ own official figures showing their financial performance in 2016-17. This has sparked a fresh debate about whether the government is giving the NHS enough money to do its job properly. Ther figures have been “flattered” by trusts receiving £1.8bn of bailout funding during 2016-17 and so the true deficit was around £2.5bn.

A third of NHS children's mental health services face cuts or closure
A third of children’s mental health workers say their service is facing cuts or closure, a new survey has revealed. Research carried out by four major medical organisations highlighted the “extremely concerning” state of mental health services for children and young people.


15th May 2017

Hunt ignored warnings of cyber attacks on NHS
Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary was accused of ignoring "extensive warning signs" before an unprecedented cyber attack which plunged the NHS into chaos. The Government ended its annual £5.5 million deal with Microsoft to provide ongoing security support for Windows XP in May 2015, unless individual trusts - already struggling with budgets - were prepared to pay extra for an extended support deal.

Do you know anything about ther NHS?
Here's a brilliant visual essay about the NHS. If you want to know for instance, why the NHS is in crisis, here's the reason. If you want to know how many contracts for the NHS have gone to private companies then it's here.

BMA hit out at public health funding cuts
Politicians have been 'slow and weak' on tackling obesity, smoking and binge drinking, the BMA has warned as it hit out at funding cuts that will strip £400m from public health by 2020/21.

Children's social care services 'at breaking point"
Spending on children’s services has fallen by 9% since 2010 as numbers of children in need have risen by 5%. Councils have warned that social care services for vulnerable children are approaching breaking point in the face of funding shortfalls estimated to reach £2bn by the end of the decade.

General practice unable to support STP
Urgent investment in general practice to reverse 'damage done by years of underinvestment' is crucial to lay the ground for sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) being rolled out across England, primary care experts have warned.


10th May 2017

GP Louise Irving set to challenge Hunt
GP campaigner Dr Louise Irvine has been backed by members of four political parties to run for election against health secretary Jeremy Hunt in the general election. She came fourth in 2015 in his South-West Surrey constituency and will again challenge him on the government’s record on the NHS.

Think you know about the NHS?
Here's a brilliant film that summarises the facts on funding of the NHS, especially since 2010. Please pass on the link to anybody who doesn't know - and there's a lot - how underfunded the NHS is and is going to be increasingly over the next few years.

Don't believe the hype about ACOs
As part of government plans for the NHS Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs) springing up across England could put the NHS at risk, writes London GP Dr Brian Fisher. He saya 'ACOs don't seem to be accountable to patients and they don’t seem to offer better care.' ACOs also could open the door for privatisation. Large groups are more appealing than lots of small organisations.

Hospital waiting lists will rise above 5 million
The number of people in England forced to wait more than 18 weeks for a non-urgent operation could more than double as a result of the NHS’s decision to relax the obligation on hospitals to treat 92% of them in that time, a leaked document has revealed.


4th May 2017

Labour promises to halt STPs
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said his first job in government would be to launch an independent review of every single STP and to halt service closures.

Want to put a poster in your window?
Try Health Campaigns Together site. The poster doesn't specify exactly who to vote for, just advises who not to vote for.

NHS England chief GP: new care models are 'vanity project'
GP and NHS England London clinical director of emergency care Dr Tom Coffey said he was ‘not a fan’ of new care models and that vanguards or multispecialty community provider (MCP) schemes made him ‘lose the will’. He said 'Politicians love a legacy.. so they come to power and say, what can I do, what can I change?'

Care home residents charged even after they die
Care homes are charging families for weeks after the death of an elderly relative in some instances, prompting a string of complaints to the competition watchdog that is investigating the sector.

BMA: NHS must not be marginalised in election
The NHS crisis must not be marginalised by Brexit in the June general election called by prime minister Theresa May, BMA leaders have warned. Meanwhile, there surely were astonished MPs to hear Teresa May say she is proud of the government's record on the NHS ... think I know what she's really meaning.


17th April 2017

Worst ever wait time for A&Es
You won't be surprised to hear that this winter was the worst ever for A&Es not meeting their 4 hour wait target. Figures from the health service showed a near five-fold increase in the number of A&E patients suffering admission delays over the past five years.

Biggest NHS sell-off exhibition
If anyone is in any doubt as to the sheer scale of the privatisation of our NHS, look no further than the Health+Care Conference announced for June. The objective of the expo conference is to accelerate 'Transformation' of the NHS by introducing delegates to hundreds of private healthcare sector companies along with other STP leads. Speakers include Labour's shadow health secretary John Ashworth MP and Libdem Norman Lamb MP.

Manchester GPs agree to form an MCP
All 90 practices in the city, through their federation, are seeking partners for a joint bid for a ten-year contract. What is an MCP? It's a multispeciality community provider and it's likely to include not only the health services usually provided by your GP but also extra services that normally are provided on a community and even hospital basis. It's another way for the government to control, and limit, health funding but not take the responsibility for our health services. Can't you just hear Jeremy saying now about another care scandal "I provide all this money but they fall down on the job. I'll set up an enquiry" can't you?


13th April 2017

'Enormous crisis' as numbers of GPs are planning to quit
GP leaders have warned of an 'enormous crisis' after 40% of GPs in south west England said they would quit in the next five years. Researchers from Exeter University also found that 70% of GPs in the region intend to reduce their patient contact time. More than half of GPs surveyed reported low morale, with this group particularly likely to say they intend leaving the profession.

Number waiting longer than 18 weeks set to double
The number of patients waiting longer than 18 weeks for surgery is set to double in the next three years, the health service has been warned. The new analysis, based on official NHS figures suggests the total number waiting for operations will reach almost 5 million in 2020 - an increase of almost 2 million since 2015.

NHS charging protest: check point at DoH office
Campaigners from Docsnotcops blocked the entrance to the Department of Health with a makeshift immigration checkpoint, manned by NHS patients and staff protesting plans to introduce upfront charging for care throughout the NHS.

Large private GP providers favoured over traditional GP contracts
Only temporary contracts, known as Alternative Provider Medical Services (APMS) have been awarded in new GP practice procurements in London since the new Health and Social Care Act was introduced in 2013, These contracts favour large private providers are time limited and patients face disruption when they end, often because the company refuse to bid for renewal.

UK needs immigration to keep NHS running
Immigration is particularly important to keep Britain’s health service and its wholesale and retail, public administration and hospitality trades going, with more than 1.5 million migrants working in these sectors, according to the Office of National Statistics.


10th April 2017

Passport checks "an abandonment of principle"
Healthcare providers are being asked to implement racist government policies and compromise our professional values. NHS trusts would be legally obliged to check patients’ eligibility for NHS services upfront, and to demand payment before providing care. The reality is that these policies represent yet another instance of the government attempting to blame migrants for the devastating impact of their austerity agenda.

Isn't the answer to insist that they're on the permanent pay roll?
Locum doctors have been accused of running an “organised campaign” to hold the NHS to ransom after dozens demanded pay boosts of up to 50 per cent. NHS watchdogs said medics employed via agencies are refusing to work at the last minute, leaving dangerous gaps in medical cover, as pressures on hospitals mount.

Mad theories used to obscure real objective - cost cutting
NHS plans for every GP practice in England to join a hub of up to 50,000 patients are based partially on evidence which relied on a theory extrapolated from the size of groups of apes and monkeys. The real reason for this policy and the rest of STP is cutting the cost of healthcare. But we are not big spenders on health, most western countries spend more.

If general practice fails, the NHS fails
The crisis in general practice is unprecedented. Yet the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, fails to understand the seriousness of the situation facing GPs. One in 20 surgeries has disappeared since 2010. It's almost as if Hunt wants a primary care crisis so he can enforce his policy of superhubs.


6th April 2017

Virgin Media didn't get the contract so it starts legal proceedings
Virgin Care Services Limited issued court proceedings in the High Court against NHS England, Surrey County Council and the county’s six clinical commissioning groups one month after commissioners awarded the three year contract for children’s community services to Surrey Healthy Children and Families Services Limited Liability Partnership.
Making the NHS services into a market is great isn't it?

New NHS property company ready to asset strip our NHS estates
Sorry - that should read the "new organisation will ... provide a single strengthened source of strategic estates planning expertise for the NHS". To be able to build 26K new homes on NHS land means losing a lot of NHS premises, like hospitals, clinics and GP surgeries “deemed” redundant.

House of Lords: "more people will die" due to cuts in public health
A reports by the House of Lords has described the £531 million cuts to public health budgets in England during this parliament were not only "shortsighted but also counterproductive". The Lords committee was “totally unconvinced” by Jeremy Hunt’s insistence that reducing the budget would not necessarily impede progress on public health.

David Owen says Labour should commit to the "repeal the NHS Act"
Former health secretary now Lord Owen says Labour should commit to repealing the Health and Social Care Act 2012.


3rd April 2017

NHS 'waves the white flag' at 18 week target
Patients will face longer delays for operations after NHS Emngland decided to shelve one of its most important waiting time targets as part of its ambitious survival plan, which will also result in hundreds of thousands of people being denied surgery. The Royal College of Surgeons said the government are 'waving the white flag' on the 18 week target.

Money for mental health goes to pay off deficits
Ministers have been accused of breaking their promises on mental health after £800m earmarked to improve services was diverted to shore up hospitals’ finances.

All STPs to become ACSs
All health and social care organisations that drew up plans to overhaul care in England will eventually become accountable care systems, according to new plans released by NHS England. Why can't they explain our health services in plain english? .... they are our services that we pay for in taxation.

Paramedics take 'tens of thousands' days off with stress
Paramedics are taking tens of thousands of days a year off sick with stress, as growing numbers of 999 calls add to the pressure on NHS ambulance services. The number of days being lost to paramedics having time off work because they are struggling with stress, anxiety or other mental health conditions is rising, official figures show.


30th March 2017

STP jargon...or are they Sticky Toffee Puddings?
The BBC online health correspondent rarely uses plain language himself, particularly to emphasise the most obvious facts about STPs - that they're really a ploy to cut the NHS budget and to privatise it. However, at least he highlights that the language they use is unintelligible, parhaps deliberately so.

STP - The staffing timebomb
The NHS may soon be forced to rely on ‘nursing on the cheap’ as vacancies of qualified staff mount and trainees on cheaper and quicker courses are hired, the Royal College of Nursing has warned. Because the government wants to cut the NHS budget, they're trialling the use of ‘nursing associates’ being brought into the NHS in support roles for fully qualified nurses. The number of trainees applying to be nurses has fallen by 23 per cent this year after the Government controversially axed a bursary scheme to support students through education.

Extra budget NHS cash spent buying private healthcare
Half of the £2bn of extra cash allocated in George Osborne’s pre-2015 election autumn statement on buying care from private and other non-NHS providers, a Health Foundation analysis has shown.

GP workforce falls by record number
The GP workforce fell 445 over the three months to 31 December 2016 - a record 1.3% drop. Further to this, the independent DDRB (Doctors and Dentists Review Body) says "it is unclear how general practice services can be delivered five to 10 years from now given the growing workforce crisis facing the profession." We must all emphasise that the NHS crisis is of the government's making - the NHS is underfunded.


27th March 2017

Hang on, isn't he the health minister?
Jeremy Hunt attends the memorial service to a baby who died of sepsis to apologise. Will he also express his reget for his government's underfunding of the NHS that continues to reduce patient safety and will result in further tragedies?

Struggling NHS trusts charged higher interest
By proportion of GDP, the UK is one of Europe's low spenders on healthcare. Since 2010 increases in the NHS budget have fallen off a cliff, down from 6% to leass than 1% annually. As a result of ever increasing demand for healthcare trusts have to borrow from the government. Now, despite being responsible for NHS deficits, the government has increased the interest rate on these loans. Loans normally carry interest rates of 1.5 or 3.5 per cent but Brighton and East Sussex, along with other trusts in financial special measures are paying 6%.

GPs reject superhubs
Four out of five GPs believe the government's vision of primary care migrating from the current system to 1,500 'superhubs' would undermine general practice. A total of 80% of 522 GPs who responded in a survey said they believed shifting services into these larger units serving around 40,000 patients would undermine general practice.


22nd March 2017

13 Councils announce their opposition to their STP plans
13 Councils’ have responded negatively to their Sustainability and Transformation Plans – which Defend our NHS campaigners have variously dubbed Switch to Private, Slash Trash and Privatise, and Secret Theft Plans. Check on their responses here.

Health trusts say waiitng times will soar again
Longer waiting lists for operations and delays at accident and emergency departments in England loom under the present financial constraints, said NHS Providers, a trade association that represents acute, ambulance, community and mental health services.

Privatised NHS GP records: huge backlog of patient data
More than 200 high priority clinical documents are still awaiting further clinical assessment after more than 700,000 items of patient data were found undelivered in a warehouse last year. They were supposed to have been delivered to GP practices by former primary care support services provider NHS Shared Business Services (SBS), a joint venture company owned by the DH and IT systems firm Sopra Steria. Payments to GP practices to assess the information, which includes test results, have now exceeded £2.4m.

Not enough GPs for A&E triage: but Jeremy got the headline
Former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston, Tory chair of the Commons Select Committee, warned ministers the GP workforce would not stretch to cover the plans to have GPs at A&Es as announced by chancellor Philip Hammond in his spring budget. See below, 13th March.


13th March 2017

A stick to beat GPs with...
GP leaders have warned against using practice waiting times data to measure practice performance after NHS England's chief executive set out plans to publish data that will be collected later this year. NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said the health service would begin collecting data on 'availability of GP appointments for routine conditions'.

Surgery rationing rules must be axed, but...
“Arbitrary” rationing measures restricting NHS surgery to those in most pain must be lifted, health officials have ruled. NHS England has warned clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to stop denying hip and knee operations to patients using criteria which only allow surgery to those in the worst discomfort. NHS England clearly pretend that the need for rationing is nothing to do with them.

Another headline-catching idea that's unworkable
Simon Stevens told MPs at an evidence session on GP access with the House of Commons public accounts committee (PAC) that NHS England would set a requirement for all hospitals with an A&E department to have 'comprehensive front-door screening with GPs by next Christmas'. This prompted warnings from GPs that an already overstretched GP workforce would struggle to cope.


9th March 2017

Poll finds public thinks NHS is getting worse
Growing numbers of Britons think the NHS is getting worse and fear for its future, a survey has found. Ipsos Mori polling last month found that 57% of people believe that the NHS’s ability to deliver the care and services it provides worsened over the last six months, up from 52% in January.

Privatised primary care support service is a disaster
2 doctors have to wait 6 months for Capita to perform a simple administrative precedure, so that they could practice in England. They were finally placed on the performers list in the last two weeks after months of frustration with the registration procedure. which is part of the support services contract awarded to Capita by NHS England.

Over half of NHS staff work unpaid overtime
The latest NHS Staff Survey reveal that staff report being satisfied with the opportunities to work flexibly, but 59% are, on average, working additional unpaid hours each week. Overall, the proportion of staff working additional hours is 72%, indicating that not enough has been done to alleviate workloads.

ID checks will cost more than they save
From April the government is demanding ID checks before giving treatment. The cost of so called 'health tourism' is 300m a year, just 0.03% of the overall NHS budget. ID checks are likely to cost more money than they save, just like the fit-to-work assessments. People may be to afraid to seek care, be unable to pay; this puts lives at risk. This policy will encourage the perception that immigration is the reason for our social ills, rather than the government's austerity policies.


6th March 2017

Video of Saturday's the 250K march for the NHS
A march for a properly funded publically-owned NHS took place in London on 4th March. Organised by Health Campaigns Together it was campaigners response to the cuts and privatisation that are a central plank of the government's STP programme.

So that's the reason it was hushed up...
The loss of more than 700,000 items of patient data was kept quiet by the government to protect GP practices from being inundated with inquiries, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has told MPs. It's wonderful having such a caring Secretary of State for Health isn't it?

Hundreds of GP practices facing funding cuts
Nearly 800 GP practices faced average losses worth more than £50,000 per year under the national PMS contract review, with around 200 at risk of being unable to manage losses safely for patients. There are 3 contract types for primary care - GMS, PMS and APMS. PMS (Personal Medical Services) are local contracts between NHS England and the practice. The GMS (General Medical Services) contract is nationally agreed, see the BMA site for details.

A very anodyne explanantion of STP by the BBC
With only scant mention of the massive cuts and privatisation that the NHS will suffer under STP changes the BBC's health correspondent Hugh Pym does indeed pull his punches in describing what's in store for us. What he does emphasise is that it's the end of the purchaser/provider split, some also see it as a recognition of the failure of the Health and Social Care Act.

Video of explaining 4 failed NHS privatisations..
Here's a video of four disastrous privatisations, Nottingham hospital cleaning to Carillion, the collapse of the proposed West Sussex Muscular-Skeletal services to BUPA, the appalling Peterborough community services fiasco, and the once-trumpeted take over of Hinchingbrooke Hospital by Circle who withdrew from it in 2015.

Why is this children's heart unit facing closure?
The Royal Brompton hospital’s heart centre is among the best in the country, so why is it earmarked for closure? Ther is an argument that small, specialist hospitals are outdated, but the fear is that under the cloak of rationalisation  the NHS is being scaled down, fragmented and privatised.

The contradictions of government's NHS policy
The only way to plan to achieve the £22 billion cuts that STPs will impose must include cutting the number of hospital beds; there's no other way. But now Stevens says that STP planning must not include bed reduction...the lunatics are definitely in charge.


2nd March 2017

Need the low-down on STP?
If you find the so-called Sustainablility and Transformation Plans confusing and want a simple guide to explain the underlying drive behind Conservatives motives, then this Youtube video is for you; because the two main under-reported fundamentals of STP under the shelter of integrating health and social care, are to cut NHS budget and to privatise the lot.

NAO report on integration disappointing
The National Audit Office (NAO) scrutinises public spending for Parliament. Here's a recent NAO report on Health and Social Care Integration, itself a commendable policy, provided it's resourced properly. This the government proposes to achieve via the Better Care Fund. Unfortunately all government initiatives seem to have as an aim cost cutting - isn't improving public service a good enough aim? The NAO has found no compelling evidence to show that integration in England leads to sustainable financial savings or reduced acute hospital activity.

Why did so many older people die in 2015?
Research by Professors Martin McKee and Danny Dorling reported in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine  investigated rises in mortality rates in 2015. Their disturbing conclusion is that some people may be dying from the underfunding of health and social services.

Critical assessment of STPs
STPs are put under the microscope by senior lecturer John Lister in report A Critical Assessment. He finds that the plans rest on implausible assumptions and lack credible implementation measures. Given that the scale of the planned reduction in hospital services implies rationing and risks the collapse of some services, Lister remains unconvinced by "the wishful thinking and positive vision" of the STPs.

STPs dodgy legal status and lack of accountability
Professor Chris Newdick writes about the Problems of Legal Status and Accountability with STPs teams - the envisaged interagency groupings who will implement the meat of the STPs. Newdick explains the pitfalls of the fudges that come with promising to “do more, with less” - just when we need to be clearer than ever about rights and duties in the NHS. He concludes that, "We need a new National Health Service Act to stabilise the NHS".


27th February 2017

Another privatisation disaster: NHS data lost
Thousands of patients are feared to have been harmed after the private company NHS Shared Business Services lost more than half a million pieces of confidential medical correspondence, including test results and treatment plans. Yet again when private firms are brought in with the aim of cost-cutting a crisis results.

STPs 'not credible' without more community care
The Kings Fund says that STPs 'present an opportunity to move care closer to home and moderate demand for hospital services'. But it warns that plans to cut numbers of hospital beds are not credible 'unless investment is first made in services in the community', and that the ongoing NHS crisis could 'divert attention from work to transform care'.

..But is good care in the community cheaper than hospitals?
STPs are predicated on the idea of moving hospital care into the community, on the assumption that care in the community is cheaper. But is it? The only evidence I can find suggests that only a limited range of hospital cases can be moved into the 'community'; and what does 'into the community' mean - is it into people's homes or into care or nursing homes? To echo the Kings Fund as above, where's the planning to expand community care to accommodate this transfer? I've heard it say that good community care can uncover patients that should be in hospital and aren't.


23rd February 2017

NHS crisis continues: fifth of hospitals now on high alert
A fifth of hospital trusts in England have reported a high-level alert - warning of extreme pressure affecting patient care - on 50% of days in 2017 to date or more. The crisis is at its most acute across the South of England NHS region, with the area's 36 hospital trusts reporting a level three or four alert on an average of 17 out of 30 days.

Homeless GP service, rated outstanding, privatised
A GP service for homeless patients in Leeds, awarded an outstanding CQC rating just two months ago, has been handed to a new provider after a tendering process offering a reduced budget. Another excellent NHS service sacrificed on the altar of shameful meanness. No matter how good a public service is, it’s replaced by some sub-standard privatised incompetence.

Risk averse NHS 111 sends more patients to A&E
The NHS 111 telephone advice service is sending growing numbers of people to A&E or calling an ambulance because its staff are too risk-averse when dealing with illness. The 42 regional NHS 111 services are run by NHS ambulance trusts, groups of GPs and private firms such as Care UK, which has recently won more contracts. It uses far fewer nurses and many more call handlers than NHS did, then called NHS Direct, until then health secretary Andrew Lansley scrapped it.

Thousands of doctors may quit after Brexit
About two in five doctors who qualified in the European Economic Area are considering leaving the UK in light of the referendum result, research by the British Medical Association reveals. BMA chairman said "These are the people who staff our hospitals and GP surgeries, look after vulnerable patients in the community, and conduct vital medical research to help save lives."


20th February 2017

Is it that the government doesn't give a damn?
The NHS is at “breaking point” with a decline in the number of hospital beds leading to delays and cancelled operations, the British Medical Association (BMA) has warned. Analysis by the BMA found the number of overnight beds in English hospitals fell by a fifth between 2006-07 and 2015-16.

Patient would have survived if hospital bed was available
A woman died from a brain haemorrhage after at least three hospitals refused to admit her for surgery because they had no intensive care beds. In a case that brings the deepening NHS bed crisis into sharp relief, a coroner said it was likely that she would have survived if she had been given immediate surgery to stem the bleeding.

Award-winning alcohol treatment service scrapped
Despite saving the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds, NHS commissioners in Cambridgeshire have said they will no longer fund the innovative Gainsborough Foundation alcohol treatment service. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG said that it could no longer afford to support the community recovery and detox service because it is not a statutory requirement.

Reversed in 2011, now mortality has increased in 2015 ...Why?
A report by the Royal Society of Medicine found that in 2015 we then saw one of the largest increases in deaths in the post-war period. The report suggests that there is a strong case for arguing that more staff and funding for both health and social care are required urgently to prevent further avoidable mortality.

BMA: "STP plans are unworkable"
NHS leaders do not have 'anything like' the money needed to implement sustainability and transformation plans as soaring hospital deficits swallow billions of pounds in capital funding, a BMA analysis warns. They could have added that you can't offer a comprehensive healthcare system by cutting £22 billion from the annual budget.


13th February 2017

Private hospital rated outstanding while under investigation over death
The family of a man whose death was blamed on negligence at a private London hospital have said they are “horrified” by the decision of health watchdog CQC to rate the clinic “outstanding”, even as a coroner’s investigation into its conduct and the actions of some of its nursing staff is ongoing.

GPs allowing fee-paying patients to jump the queue
Family doctors in Bournemouth have set up the first private GP service at which people who pay up to £145 a time will be seen faster and get longer appointments than their NHS patients. NHS England considered it 'questionable', but whether it will take action to stop it isn't yet clear.

Inadequate social care is wasting surgeons time
Clare Marx, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, and Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, blamed cuts in social care for delays to operations caused by a shortage of beds. “Because of bed shortages, staff including surgeons are now sometimes left kicking their heels, waiting for beds to become available so they can operate."

Two-thirds of young hospital doctors 'under stress'
Almost two out of three young hospital doctors say their physical or mental health is being damaged because pressures on the NHS are putting them under intolerable strain. Many are so relentlessly busy that they go through entire shifts without eating or drinking, while others suffer stress, burnout, exhaustion and sleeping problems.


6th February 2017

Why do they order an enquiry?
The answer is under-funding of social care. But an NHS trust has launched a formal inquiry after an 89-year-old woman who was medically fit to leave hospital was trapped on a ward for six months, costing the NHS more than £80,000.

Underfunding causes Kent to halt non-urgent surgery
West Kent CCG has run so short of money that it has banned patients in its area from having non-urgent surgery for up to 102 days in an unprecedented move that doctors have condemned as unfair and damaging.

Medics highlight Trump's threat
A group of doctors sign a letter that condemns Theresa May's apparent embracing of the new president's actions, in particular the threat to our NHS of predatory US health corporations. They accuse her of appearing happy to accelerate the fragmentation and sale of NHS services to US markets.

Private ambulances increasingly used for 999 calls
Since 2010/11 the ambulance service has been finding £75million a year in efficiency savings. Ambulance services are increasingly calling in private firms to respond to 999 calls in the latest sign that  NHS care providers are struggling to cope with the sharply rising number of patients who need urgent medical attention. And yet we're constantly told the economy is doing so well!

Seeing the same GP reduces hospital admissions for older patients
A BMJ study has found that patients who saw 'the same general practitioner a greater proportion of the time experienced fewer admissions'. Continuity of care among elderly patients reduced hospital admissions for ambulatory care sensitive conditions - those that could be managed in primary care - such as asthma, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia.


2nd February 2017

Consultancies get £2.3 million to write STPs
Private firms have been paid a ‘shocking’ £2.3m to draw up controversial plans which will cut health and social care spending by more than £1bn in a part of London. According to health leaders drawing up the North Central London STP (sustainability and transformation plan), six-figure sums were paid to eight different companies, including accountants Deloitte and management consultants McKinsey, for services stretching from ‘administrative support’ and ‘financial modelling’ to ‘communications support’.

RCGP: Many STPs must be rejected
A significant number of sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) should be rejected for failing to address general practice sustainability and workforce issues, the Royal College of GPs has said. STPs (aka Slash, Trash and Privatise) drawn up by local NHS organisations and councils, were in some areas planning for a reduction in GP numbers or zero growth in the workforce.

Nursing recruitment slumps after bursaries abolished
Applications by students in England to nursing and midwifery courses at British universities have fallen by 23% after the government abolished NHS bursaries, figures show. Nursing leaders said the sudden slump revealed by the latest university application data was inevitable given that student nurses now faced paying annual tuition fees of more than £9,000.

GPs have to beg for hospital appointments for their patients
GPs sometimes have to plead with hospitals to get a referral for a patient. Scrutiny by NHS clinical commissioning groups is causing exasperating holdups. Here a hospital CEO who has 'turned around' three hospital says if 'she [May] carries on with her current denial – and inaction – the NHS will soon cease to be able to cope'.

NHS entitlement scheme scheme could deter patients
A pilot scheme in which patients are asked to show two forms of identification before receiving NHS treatment could compromise access to care. The public accounts committee urged caution before officials extend the scheme, saying it could lead to entitled patients staying away from hospital.


30th January 2017

Hospitals 'dangerously full' in winter crisis
Hospitals were dangerously full during the recent onset of the winter crisis and breached an edict from NHS bosses to keep one in seven beds free, new analysis by the King’s Fund thinktank reveals. England’s 153 acute hospital trusts were told by NHS Improvement, the health service regulator, on 9 December to run at no more than 85% bed occupancy between 19 December and 16 January.

NHS intensive care 'at its limits' due to staff shortages
The NHS’s network of intensive care units is “at its limits” because they are overwhelmed by staff shortages and the sheer number of patients needing life-or-death care, senior doctors are warning in an unprecedented intervention.

Record number of cancelled urgent operations
Hospitals cancelled a record number of urgent operations last year as bed shortages left them struggling to cope with the growing number of patients needing surgery, NHS figures show.

Reaction to PM saying 'there's no crisis in the NHS'
Leaders of the BMA and the Health Financial Management Association and former health minister Norman Lamb take Theresa May to task for her denial of the crisis in the NHS.


27th January 2017

Over 100 complaints about Capita's take over of primary care services
In 2015 Capita was given the contract to run primary care services - administering payments to GPs and handling patient transfer records. There's been a catalogue of failures after the privatisation of centralised back office functions including patient record transfer delays and late payments for trainee reimbursements.

Routine GP referrals now blocked
GPs continued to face blocks on routine referrals as the number of NHS hospitals declaring the highest possible level of alert more than quadrupled in the second week of 2017, official data show.

What if the patient can't pay?
Patients could face paying their family doctors for out-of-hours appointments and minor procedures that fall outside the surgery’s contracted NHS work, under new plans being proposed by some GP leaders.

Weekend access is not key to improve NHS just needs to be funded adequately! A report by Nottingham University Business School's centre for health innovation, leadership and learning found that patients wanted quick ideally same-day access to GP appointments, but that they did not express a strong preference for seven-day services.


23rd January 2017

Doctors - NHS 'will fail' this winter without extra cash
Hospital doctors have warned Theresa May that the NHS “will fail” this winter and patient care will suffer unless she provides an emergency cash injection. The leaders of 33,000 doctors from 30 medical specialties urged the prime minister to recognise that hospitals are “paralysed by spiralling demand” and warned of an exodus of personnel quitting the already understaffed NHS. It's likely this plea will fall on deaf ears, why? It seems the Tories are happy to see the NHS collapse.

Another reason why there's a shortage of GPs
Newly-qualified doctors are not moving into GP work in the numbers required. GP income has fallen for 7 years in a row and now GP practices have been denied a share of £218m of potential funding after NHS bosses withheld the largest ever share of quality premium funding from CCGs for the last financial year.

All hospitals leave nurse shifts with unfilled vacancies
Almost every hospital in England has fewer nurses on duty than each believes are needed to guarantee safe patient care, research shows. Analysis of official data by the Health Service Journal (HSJ) found that 96% of NHS hospital trusts in England had fewer nurses covering day shifts in October than they had planned and 85% did not have the desired number working at night.

PM wrong about GP opening hours
Almost nine in 10 GP practices in England provide appointments outside of core opening hours, according to official data that undermine Downing Street claims that GPs are adding to pressure on hospitals by failing to provide the 'access that patients need'.

Rally in Brighton to defnd NHS against STPs
Hundreds of people have attended a march and rally in Brighton to demand more money for an NHS "in crisis". The Brighton protest, organised by a coalition of groups, ended with a rally outside the railway station. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the city, which has a hospital in special measures, was at the forefront of a crisis caused by underfunding.

Last community dental service in London shuts
NHS leaders has been accused of letting down patients in pain by shutting London’s last community-based A&E-style service for people needing emergency dental treatment. The British Dental Association "it’s absurd that NHS111 operators are asking patients to do ring-rounds [of dental surgeries looking for a free slot at short notice]."


18th January 2017

OBR: NHS needs £88 billion massive funding boost
The NHS budget will need to increase by £88bn over the next 50 years, meaning governments could have to raise taxes or cut spending in other areas to fund it, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has said. Or make extra effort to collect all taxes that are evaded.

Theresa May's 'wilful ignorance of NHS crisis'
Doctors' leaders have accused the government of 'wilfully ignoring' the crisis in the NHS after the prime minister again dismissed claims of a 'humanitarian crisis' in the service.

STP consultation in Cornwall 'absolute shambles'
An NHS consultation meeting on its Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) descended into shambolic chaos in Penzance, Cornwall. The meeting showed that NHS executives are underestimating the strength of feeling in local communities. Around 400 people attended the meeting on Tuesday 10 January. The organisers did not predict so many would show as it was standing room only. Here's a video of the meeting.

NHS cannot carry on as it's funded
Here's a realistic assessment from the chair of a London NHS foundation trust, Lord Bob Kerslake. "Increasing demand and continuing advances in healthcare mean that it needs additional funding year on year of around 4% above inflation. Whenever it has not had this for any sustained period of time, it has run into trouble.". Underv the Coalition and now the Tories it's been getting less than one percent increase - to talk of 'protecting' the NHS is very wide of the mark.

Is it right that GPs are asked not to make hospital referrals?
This is what is happening, so the danger is that this pressure results in a serious medical condition not getting proper treatment.

Commons watchdog slams government's 7 day access plans
The government has failed to consider fully the consequences and cost-effectiveness of plans to roll out seven-day GP services across England by 2020, according to a damning report by the National Audit Office.

One of the reasons why you have trouble getting a GP appointment
GP practices have been denied a share of £218m of potential funding after NHS bosses withheld the largest ever share of quality premium funding from CCGs for the last financial year.


2nd January 2017

Government underfunding = hospitals' toughest winter
As if you didn't know, England's NHS is underfunded; that is, despite a small increase in overall NHS budget, it isn't anywhere near that required to meet increasing demand for healthcare. Now, figures released by NHS Digital - I've never heard of them either - show that record numbers of patients are leaving A&E units without being treated. A further point lest you believe the stories that we can't afford a National Health Service, the NHS costs less than that of most other developed countries.

Father dies and scheme to relieve pressure on A&Es suspended
A scheme to reduce pressure on an Accident and Emergency unit has been suspended following the death of a "devoted" father denied casualty treatment just six days after it launched. The trial was one of dozens being set up on health officials’ orders amid a growing crisis over hospital overcrowding. Alternatively, the government could a) fund the NHS adequately (see above), and b) initiate a comprehensive public health programme to improve diets, increase rates of exercise and reduce smoking prevalence, so that demand for healthcare reduces in the long term. Instead, the government cuts public health budgets.

Number of urgent operations cancelled hits record high
The number of NHS patients in England who had urgent operations cancelled hit record numbers in November, soaring to almost double the level a year ago, according to government data.

NHS rationing:Needless suffering of hip and knee patients
Hundreds of thousands of elderly people are needlessly suffering in pain while they wait for hip operations because care is being rationed by the NHS, leading doctors have warned.

Shortage of paramedics
Ambulance services are facing serious shortages of paramedics just as 999 calls hit new peaks and hospitals gear up for a potential winter crisis, new official NHS figures reveal. The 10 regional ambulance services in England are short of 873 paramedics, data shows, and some are recruiting paramedics from Poland, Finland and Australia to plug gaps in winter services.

"NHS should shift focus to home-based care"
The NHS needs to spend more money looking after people in their own homes rather than in hospital, the chief nursing officer for England has warned. Jane Cummings of NHS England said too much cash was being pumped into caring for patients in “old and expensive” hospitals, rather in a more efficient domiciliary setting. But is there conclusive evidence that home-based care is cheaper? "The majority of the published evidence fails to contain robust cost information on infrastructure, planning and start-up costs."