HEALTH NEWS BLOG

12th January 2021

Covid crisis: Doctors say 'stop private work'
Senior London doctors have written to their hospital trust leaders to say that it's morally unacceptable that elective work continues in private hospitals while the NHS hospitals face ‘unthinkable’ pressures from coronavirus. They could have said that it's morally unthinkable to use money to gain preferential health treatment under any circumstance.

KONP response to the introduction of Integrated Care into the NHS
NHS England conducted a now closed survey into opinion on the introduction of Accountable ..no sorry... Integrated Care into the NHS. KONP says that the NHSE "...uses the rhetoric of collaboration and putting patients at the centre while in reality embedding privatisation and financial priorities at the heart of the NHS'.

Test and Trace needs 'radical overhaul' to prevent more Covid surges
The government’s £22 billion private system, wrongly rerferred to as NHS Test and Trace, is under increasing strain as it attempts to contact nearly triple the number of infected people. There is concern among healthcare professionals about the use of outsourced call centre staff, often employed on minimum wage by telesales firms contracted by Serco.

Hospitals: 'We are now in disaster mode'
The most dramatic illustration of the NHS’s potential to fall over is illustrated by managers at the Royal London hospital. “We are no longer providing high-standard critical care, because we cannot.". Even NHS England admitted on 6th January 'London will be overwhelmed by covid in a fortnight'.

NHS England issues order to dilute ICU staff ratio
In November, all trusts in England were told they could dilute staffing ratios in critical care from the standard one nurse to one patient ratio, to one nurse to two patients. Now all trusts in the Midland region have been told to “dilute nursing ratios beyond the current ask of 1:2” to achieve the significant increase in capacity.

Hancock challenged over late lockdown
"'Cases went up by 57 per cent in just one week,' said Hunt. 'Did we have to wait until Monday or could we not have taken that decision on Thursday or Friday of the previous week?'

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4th January 2021

Hospital staff say what fighting Covid is really like
Quotes: "We have the oxygen to give everybody, but we don’t have the delivery system"...."It’s got very bad, very quickly… we went from 130 Covid patients to 500, ”Corridors are wards and we are talking about whether we use ambulances as cubicles".

NHS staff are facing 'burnout'
The BMA said "Four in ten doctors’ mental health has deteriorated during the pandemic, with many exhausted from working flat out without taking adequate leave for over 10 months.”

Nightingale hospital don't have the staff
Doctors have warned there is 'no staff for them to run as they were originally intended'. Dr Nick Scriven, ex-president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: 'Where do we find the specialist staff? Surely Johnson knew there's over 40,000 nurse vacancies in England?

Telegraph 'Nightingales will not have enough nurses to help overwhelmed hospitals'
Nighingales will not have enough nurses to ride to the rescue of overwhelmed hospitals. Could it be that there's a shortage of nurses caused by the Tories abolishing bursaries for nurse training in  2015 - the new grant just isn't anywhere as good.

Test and Trace inefficiencies render it useless at inhibiting the spread of Covid 19
Test and Trace is not an NHS system, it's privately run by Serco and it's cost over £40 billion, is one of the most expensive public schemes ever undertaken. Leading epidemiologists say that inefficiencies in the system would render it useless at inhibiting the spread of Covid 19.

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28th December 2020

Entire health service will have to remain on highest alert at least until April
NHS England: "With Covid-19 inpatient numbers rising everywhere ... you should continue to plan on the basis that we will remain in a level four incident for at least the rest of this financial year".

10 ways the Government has failed us over Covid
Even when other countries such as New Zealand and South Korea showed us how to do it, the UK government repeatedly failed. Ministers have shown themselves unwilling or incapable of learning from mistakes. Here are Keep Our NHS Public's 10 ways we've been failed by the government over the Covid crisis.

It's time the government took responsibility for its failure
From the doomed app, the catastrophic failure of a privatised test and trace system to control the virus, to the cronyism and corruption - throwing billions of pounds at private contractors with no experience except links to the Conservative party, the government's handling of ther pandemic has been a disaster.

Firm given £800 million of Covid contracts without tender
Uniserve, an Essex-based transport firm that last reported annual sales of £243 million, says it will make tens of millions of pounds profit from £779 million of contracts to supply the government with PPE and logistics services during the coronavirus crisis.

Health Service Journal: The government must not be allowed to rewrite history on its failure
"Let us lay to rest the assertion that the government acted quickly to stave off the threat from the new coronavirus variant" says the HSJ. Senior NHS executives attending the daily national incident response board had known, discussed and expressed concern about the trend since at least the start of December.

NHSE extends its control over all commissioning
NHS England’s control over CCGs has been extended to enable it to commission healthcare from private providers during the ongoing covid pandemic. Spire Healthcare, along with other private providers, is contracted to provide elective hospital care. If we had employed sufficient nurses and therefore had more beds, couldn't the NHS have done this cheaper?

The sacrifice of health and care workers
Watch this short video on the stress and suffering of NHS and care workers. Claps don't pay the bills - give all NHS workers a 15% pay rise.

Liverpool mass testing missed 60% of Covid cases
Much-heralded as it was, the mass coronavirus testing pilot failed to detect 60 per cent of all positive cases. Now health bosses in the city are scrambling to tell thousands not to treat negative result as green light for ignoring restrictions.

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19th December 2020

"Build Back Fairier" How inequality intensified Covid mortality
If you only listen to the first 20 minutes it's worth it to appreciate why the poor have suffered most. "Unless we understand the interaction of the biological and the social determinants Covid-19 ww won't be able to recover from it". Pre-existing inequality led to record UK Covid death rate.

HSJ and BMJ: Stop households mixing at Christmas
With a sharp rise in Covid infections - 1 in 95 - the prestigious Health Service Journal and the British Medical Journal jointly issued a statement - " Rather than lifting restrictions over Christmas, the UK should follow the more cautious examples of Germany, Italy and the Netherlands". But we now know it was to no avail.

Waste, Negligence and Cronyism: Inside Britain’s Pandemic Spending
A New York Times piece that includes good graphics on the government contracts scandal. In choosing speed over due diligence ... ministers squandered millions on "unsuitable" items.

Head of Conservative party’s general election campaign given contract
Fleetwood Strategy, founded by Isaac Levido the pollster who headed the Conservative party’s general election campaign, was given a contract without tender. The contract was for “research into government communications for Covid-19 updates".

Covid chaos: how the UK handled the coronavirus crisis
A beautifully presented graphic by the Guardian that is well-worth a run down demonstrates the disaster that was and probably still is at the heart of the Johnson administration.

Cummings got a £40K payrise while at No 10
Hard to believe but well, no surprise really. His pay went up from £95,000 in 2019 to £140,000 this year.

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14th December 2020

NHSE director: government has a duty for public enquiry
NHS England’s director for Mental Health, Claire Murdoch, said the government has a duty to the NHS and care staff who put themselves "on the line" to set up a public enquiry into the UK's response to the Covid pandemic, .

ICS secretive reorganisation steams ahead
Integrated Care Systems (ICS) will limit health spending by policing cash limits and force trusts or commissioners to carry through cuts, closures and reconfigurations. What's really needed is the reintegration of England’s health services into a unified publicly owned, controlled and provided fully National Health Service.

Test and Trace staff inexperienced and poorly trained
Serco, the outsourcing firm, is being paid up to £400 million for its work on test and trace, but it has subcontracted a bulk of contact tracing to 21 other companies.

Test and Trace call staff worked just 1% of time
A damning National Audit Office report reveals that billions has been spent on outsourced providers without proper scrutiny, and yet it reaches  less than 60% of close contacts.

More billions for private hospitals
Large private hospital providers are in advanced talks with NHS England over a new three-month outsourcing contract, even though much of capacity of previous private hospital contracts was under used.

Shropshire Defend our NHS on the maternity care tragedy
We see headline news on health care tragedies without understanding the real story behind them. Here's the local campaigners excellent account on the Shropshire maternity scandal. Within the Trust there was ... "no effective oversight of what was actually happening in a maternity service."

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9th December 2020

NHS has lost 5,600 beds in last year
England’s acute hospitals have lost over 5,600 front line beds – an overall reduction of more than one in twenty – in the 12 months to September this year, according to the most recent NHS figures.

Government ignores please for extra 2nd wave Covid funds
Sunak said the NHS would get “whatever it needs”, but NHS requests for hundreds of millions of pounds of government funding to help deal with covid pressures have gone unanswered.

The rise of the "chumocracy"
Here's the Guardian's audio piece of how lucrative Covid-related government contracts were awarded have raising serious questions about cronyism.

Doctors Association calls for enquiry into PPE medic deaths
126 health and care workers died of Covid between April and October. The Doctors Association UK, a union that represents frontline medics, has escalated its threat of judicial review against the government.

Trusts to review disciplinary procedures after nurse death
NHS England has written to trust leaders to request review of disciplinary procedures following the suicide of a nurse.

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2nd December 2020

Hancock asked to explain contract given to his neighbour
Alex Bourne, who used to run a pub in Hancock’s village, and had no previous experience in medical supplies was given a £30 million contract to supply vials for Covid testing. Bourne's company Hinpack, up to this point made disposable catering items and had no experience in the highly regulated medical products sector.

Lawyers win right to challenge contracts for MPs mates
The Good Law project has been granted permission to bring judicial review proceedings against the lucrative public Covid contracts given to long-time associates of Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings.

Sign here 'No more contracts for MPs mates'
Do you object to millions of our taxes being given to friends and neighbours of MPs without proper competitive tendering procedures? If so then sign here. The National Audit Office issued a critical report into the government's handing out of Covid contracts.

Two-thirds of private hospital beds bought by NHS unused
The cost of the government cosying up to the private health market, in truth due to underfunding the NHS since 2010, has cost us £400 million a month. It is now revealed that two-thirds of the private sector capacity that was block-purchased by the NHS, went unused over the summer.

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30th November 2020

Accoutable Care (aka Integrated Care) to be legalised in 2021
Currently Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) are not legally constituted - CCGs, created by the 2012 H&SC Act - have to offer them legitimacy. Now head of NHSE Simon Stevens, formerly executive vice president of United Health Group, a US transnational, is recommending that ICSs are legalised in 2021, despite the absence of any robust evidence, and in the absence of meaningful public involvement and consultation.

Gig worker insecurity is welcomed into the NHS
Defined by expressions such as "to ensure the NHS has the agility and flexibility to maintain and improve performance" and "there has been a shift toward a more flexible workforce model, with more organisations utilising a mix of agency/bank staff, freelancers and independent contractors" a trust CEO welcomes Deliveroo style employment insecurity.

Neighbour of Hancock gets test contract
An acquaintance and former neighbour of Matt Hancock is supplying the government with tens of millions of vials for NHS Covid-19 tests despite having had no previous experience of producing medical supplies.

Inadequate stockpiles of PPE
The government spent £10 billion extra in inflated prices for pandemic-battling personal protective equipment (PPE) due to an "inadequate" stockpile. When the impact of the pandemic was realised the price of PPE increased dramatically and that alone has cost the taxpayer around £10 billion.

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23rd November 2020

More on Johnson's secret NHS taskforce
In addition to the blog of 20th November, below, Caroline Molloy's article in Open Democracy reveals that the task force’s civil service policy lead is Adrian Masters, formerly of McKinsey, who played a key role in shaping the last major piece of NHS legislation, the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.

Test and Trace still far from effective
The organisation that represents NHS trusts, NHS Providers, says fewer close contacts were identified compared to last week and the proportion reached remains far too low.

Lawyer challenges Johnson's chumocracy
Kate Bingham, a venture capitalist with no public health experience, heads up the vaccine task force is married to a Conservative minister. Dido Harding, also no public health experience leads the Test and Trace system, is the wife of a Conservative MP. Mike Coupe, is head of COVID-19 testing, and has, you guessed it, no public health experience. The Good Law Project is to legally challenge their appointments.

Union campaign for NHS workers pay rise
With the usual fanfare Johnson announced an NHS pay rise in August this year - except it didn't include the workers he clapped outside number 10 for - nurses. Now the GMB union has started a petition, please sign it.

Effect of Biden win on UK/US trade deal
Keep Our NHS Public gives its assessment of how Biden's win will influence the trade deal, specifically increased drug prices, Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), lowering of standards relevant to public health, and trading of digital data.

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20th November 2020

Johnson sets up secret NHS taskforce
Spurred by a desire to take direct control of the NHS and therefore counter the intention of the 2012 H&SC Act, Johnson has set up a taskforce. It is chaired by Munira Mirza, head of Johnson's policy unit with four senior civil servants based at the Treasury, and none of whom are from the Department of Health.

Businessman paid £21 million in PPE contract
Here's just one example of Johnson's methods of offering government contracts without proper procedure. Others have political ties - almost 500 suppliers with links to politicians or senior officials.

Damning report into Johnson's PPE procurement
The National Audit Office has released a damning report into Government procurement practices. It failed to manage conflicts of interest, dished out public money to deeply unsuitable companies, and has improperly shied away from proper scrutiny.

The poor twice as likely to die
The Independent Sage committee has reported that the most deprived neighbourhoods in England have a COVID-19 mortality rate more than twice that of the most affluent. Equally people in the lowest paid occupations are twice as likely as professionals and business leaders to die from COVID-19.

Nurse forced to leave despite serving in pandemic
Arun Panabaka is a senior nursing assistant for the NHS who came to the UK on a family visa in 2019. When the pandemic struck, he was one of the thousands of migrant workers who served the nation on the COVID-19 frontline. Arun’s visa expired in October, he was forced to move back to India, leaving the NHS even more short-staffed.

Frontline NHS staff still denied PPE
NHS workers delivering treatments where the risk of transmitting coronavirus is high are still being denied personal protective equipment, according to unions and professional bodies.

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26th October 2020

NHS has 2000 fewer beds for the winter crisis
The NHS director of elective and emergency care said there will be "2,000 beds less (sic) open this winter”. The president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine said the fall was “extremely alarming".

'Operation Moonshot' quietly abandoned
The Government has quietly agreed that 'Operation Moonshot’ will be absorbed into the existing Test and Trace programme. They have also abandoned plans to spend £100 billion, a figure first revealed in the Government’s own leaked documents, on the project.

National lockdown needed but not sufficient
The Independent SAGE group has issued a clear 6 week plan that recommends a national 'circuit breaker'. But this on its own isn't enough; we must have an effective Find, Test, Trace, Isolate, Support (FTTIS) system.

Johnson's Test and Trace system has failed
Even the Daily Mail runs a piece on the government's disastrous Test and Trace system that in not an NHS T&T system; it's private and has cost billions. Now Johnson advertises now a new chief at a £2000 salary per day.

NHS short of £1 billion for Covid and winter crisis
Rishi Sunak said he would give the NHS “whatever resources it needs” to cope with the pandemic - really? In fact the NHS has been given in excess of £1billion less than it needs to tackle the second wave of Covid-19, deal with the coming winter and restart routine operations.

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19th October 2020

Contracts worth £10,000 million spent on Test and Trace
...and still it's failing. Read the Independent SAGE report: "With this budget the government could have provided £1 million to every UK general practice and £10 million to every top tier-local health authority." Such inexcusable waste of public money.

SERCO profits surge after T&T contract
Serco, one of the companies behind the failing Test and Trace system, announced profits of £160 million.

Brexit and its implications for the NHS
The implications for the UK are: loss of access to EU data sharing platforms, loss of access to EU clinical trials, new border arrangements could cause delays in release of supplies, new immigration system will affect international recruitment for the health and care services and the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) could cease to apply.

Another dodgy private contract
PestFix had materially no assets, no experience in supplying PPE for use in a medical setting and has admitted supplying faulty facemasks. Yet the government had awarded a further five PPE contracts to PestFix for £313.7m for facemasks, gloves, and gowns.

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16th October 2020

Government ignores SAGE advice to impose lockdown
Three weeks ago the SAGE committee of experts urged ministers to move urgently or face a “very large epidemic with catastrophic consequences” unless they took immediate action by imposing a two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown.

Family of NHS consultant stricken by Covid face removal from UK
The 'hostile environment' continues despite government assurances. Having treated many Covid patients Dr Basem Enany, a cardiologist from Egypt, is critically ill with Covid himself; now his work visa expires soon.

Government wants £10 billion Covid deal with private hospitals
To cope with coronavirus over winter the government are outsourcing significant amounts of routine activity to independent hospitals. A lack of capacity due to years of underfunding now requires billions spent when a pandemic arrives.

Safety breaches at Lighthouse laboratory
An enquiry has uncovered concerns about a lack of social distancing, poor protective clothing, and unsafe handling of samples by staff under pressure to process as many tests as possible at Milton Keynes. Workers at the Lighthouse Laboratory in Milton Keynes have alleged that newly recruited workers receive insufficient training.

What's gone wrong with Test and Trace?
The government’s SAGE scientific advisers have concluded NHS test and trace is not working. Too few people are getting tested, results are coming back too slowly and not enough people are sticking to the instructions to isolate.

£6250 a day for a Test & Trace management consultant
Over the last four months the US firm Global Consulting Group has charged £10 million of our money to deal with UK test and trace system.

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12th October 2020

Law project suing over Covid private contracts
More than £11 billion worth of contracts have been handed out to private companies, some of them with political connections but no experience in delivering medical supplies. What has that money been spent on? Who has it been spent with? The Good Law Project is suing the government. 

Sign this petition to scrap Serco and put local public health in charge
Campaigning group WeOwnIt, slogan "Public services for people not profit" has an online petition to take the Test and Trace contract away from Serco and put local authority public health teams in charge. Please sign it and pass on to others.

Rees-Mogg dodges scrutiny of Serco and T&T contracts
Watch the parliamentary video of Rees-Mogg one word answer when invited to grant a debate on the waste of public funds on Serco's Test and Trace system.

IT cuts in Public Health England & old Excel spreadsheets
Public Health England had been using an old Excel spreadsheet with insufficient capacity to receive the current flood of data arriving at PHE from NHS Test and Trace. IT manager conducted an unpopular reorganisation,  “a hatchet job” as one insider put it, with the loss of skilled and experienced staff through redundancy or redeployment. Despite the best efforts of Unite reps, the cuts went ahead.

Information Commissioner tells government to publish Cygnus
The Information Commissioner’s Office has ordered the Department of Health and Social Care to hand over the report into Exercise Cygnus, or explain its decision for refusing, by 23 October. Cygnus, a simulation exercise in 2016, assessed the UK’s ability to cope with an influenza pandemic.

Migrants fearful to get healthcare
A report demonstrates that migrants are not coming forward for healthcare because of the Government’s Hostile Environment, including during the coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus ‘exemption’ from charging and immigration checks is not working, people are still being asked to show their passports for coronavirus treatment.

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3rd October 2020

A test on Johnson's 'world-beating' Test & Trace system
If it wasn’t so important this would be very amusing, but it’s our money that Johnson is doling out, and people are dying due to his incompetence.

Would you renew Serco's contract?
With the government in denial about the failures of its privatised Covid-19 contact tracing system, it's just days before ministers must decide whether to renew their contracts with outsourcing giants Serco and Sitel for a second time.

Impact of Covid on NHS: thousands of extra deaths
When lockdown started on 23rd March many hospitals stopped performing cancer surgery despite the NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens guaranteeing that such care would continue. Was the government thinking of its own reputation in closing down non-Covid services?

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1st October 2020

Crazy privatisation project by Peterborough hospital bosses
Hinchingbrooke hospital's catering department has long-serving staff who have driven up the standards to win awards for locally sourced and freshly prepared food despite budget cuts. The North West Anglia Fundation Trust want to privatise the award-winning department and spend 46% MORE per meal to replace nutritious meals with mass-produced lukewarm cook-chill mush.

Ex-Sainsbury boss to become chief of failing T&T system
What the government's Test and Trace system needs is a grocer to run it, that's what Hancock has come up with. Mike Coupe will replace Baroness Harding.

6400 cancer patients waiting for treatment
Almost 6,400 patients referred to cancer services have been left waiting for more than three months for a response.

Reasons why we should fear a US trade deal
The NHS, as a single payer healthcare system, holds one of the world’s most valuable stores of data, estimated to be worth around £10 billion per annum. Big Tech like Amazon, notorious for tax evasion, want to ban governments from demanding that data is stored in its country of origin: instead it wants an unfettered right to collect, transfer, store, process, sell and otherwise exploit data in any country they choose.

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25th September 2020

Covid-19 and private provides' wind-fall
Here's a list of private contracts handed out without normal tendering processes: DHL, Unipart and Movianto to procure, manage logistics of and store PPE; Deloitte to manage the drive-in testing centres and super-labs; Serco to run the contact tracing programme; Palantir and Faculty A.I. to build the COVID-19 datastore and Capita to onboard returning health workers in England.

Again hospitals to discharge Covid patients into care homes
As part of preparations for a second wave, hospitals are again getting ready to discharge patients into care homes; some are likely to be infected with Covid-19.

Lack of testing forces GPs and nurses off work
The Royal College of GPs have written to Dido Harding to say patient care will suffer because family doctors and nurses are having to isolate at home for too long owing to delays in getting a test.

Right-wing groups and herd immunity
Pseudoscience is being spread by lobby groups, described by one professor of microbiology as little more than a thinly veiled return to a herd immunity strategy.

Scientists should resign if they disagree with Covid strategy
Has there been instances of senior doctors, nurses or scientific advisors with roles in government departments or arm’s length bodies overseeing healthcare resigning on a point of principle? Surely the government’s competence, conduct and communications throughout the pandemic response has surely given them much cause for concern?

Hospitals must pay for staff and patients tests
The government has warned hospitals against setting up their own coronavirus testing for staff and patients, despite the shortage of test capacity. If they do the costs would have to come from their own budgets.

KONP conference on Social Care and 7 demands
Keep Our NHS Public is hosting a Zoom conference on the Social Care crisis and how it should be reformed as a national service. There are seven key demands, the first of which is that it is publicly provided and publicly accountable.

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19th September 2020

'World-beating' testing system can't cope
What has testing tsar Dido Harding been doing all summer to prepare for an utterly inevitable increase in demand? Coronavirus cases spiked again to 3,991 amid rising alarm that the UK is about to be hit with a second wave.

Johnson's testing system is run by Deloitte
The government's Testing system isn't run by the NHS, and it's a failure. Sign a petition that insists that a partnership between local authorities and public health, primary care and NHS labs is needed to ensure its success.

Hospitals warned to expect a second wave
Hospitals are told to clear beds for a coronavirus spike in two weeks. This article is behind a paywall but you can read the headline and get the information.

Headteachers: 'Schools will grind to a halt' unless testing improves
Teachers are having to take time off because they were unable to find any test slots available for days or were offered tests at sites more than 100 miles away. When they do get a test, it can take days for results to come through.

Can a 'moonshot' succeed when we can't run a simple T&T system?
Headline-grabbing schemes based on pie-in-the-sky science, contracted out to profit-seeking companies, and funded by vast amounts of taxpayers’ money risk diverting us from the direct challenges of keeping a persistent and damaging pandemic under control.

Why excess covid infections in care homes: market driven policies
The explanation lies in the decision by successive governments from the 1990s to rely on international private finance (private equity, hedge funds and Real Estate Investment Trusts) rather than public borrowing as the major source of new investment in the UK’s care infrastructure.

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14th September 2020

Parents: "Test and Trace is a shambles"
Exasperated parents in England have complained of a test-and-trace system still in “shambles”, with some struggling to book appointments for their children who have developed symptoms since returning to school. Labour leader says private Test and Trace system the government has set up with Serco and Sitel is "on the verge of collapse".

Replace Test & Trace with a localised publicly-run system
Former chief scientific Sir David King says the NHS Test and Trace is "simply not fit for purpose" and is in favour of localised systems. The private system run by Serco and Sitel managed to reach fewer than half of potential virus contacts and performance is worsening.

Fewer than 20% asked to self-isolate do so
Fewer than 20% of people in England fully self-isolate when asked to do so according to documents released from the government’s scientific advisory group for emergencies.

Firms with no relevant experience awarded huge contracts
The UK government has spent £2.5 billion on services related to pandemic, often with companies with no relevant experience of supplying medical equipment. Contracts were awarded without transparency or competition.

NHS trusts unable to cope with winter flu plus Covid
If the NHS in England experienced April levels of Covid-19 pressure on top of normal winter pressures, 107 of 132 trusts (81%) would have fewer beds than were available to them last winter, with 46 trusts exceeding capacity by 10% or more.

Social care "not fit for purpose"
The Covid-19 pandemic is showing us just how essential social care workers are to the fabric of our society. Like too many of the country’s key workers, this mostly female and disproportionately migrant care workforce is undervalued, underpaid and often exploited. Seven in ten care workers earn less than £10 an hour.

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7th September 2020

Fears that UK has lost control as Covid cases soar
Nearly three thousand new cases of Covid were reported yesterday, a rise of 50%. The rise came amid concerns that testing centres were struggling to cope with demand.

Axing PHE in a pandemic is crazy
It's extraordinary that the government has chosen this moment to disband Public Health England; extraordinary because public health employees will no longer be concentrating solely on their jobs but wondering whether they will have a job and because the merger will be with Test and Trace, hardly a howling success. Don't call it NHS Test and Trace, it's really a contract with Serco and Serco’s sub-contractors, Sitel.

Warning over axing Public Health England
Health organisations have written to Johnson outlining their fears about the controversial axing of PHE, which prompted claims it was an attempt by ministers to deflect attention from their own failings over the coronavirus crisis.

Call 111 before going to A&E?!
Under a scheme being trialled in Cornwall, patients in need of care for a serious but non-life threatening condition will be able to book an appointment at their nearest A&E. But don't we need a doctor's opinion to determine what is a non-life threatening condition?

Doctors planning to leave the NHS over handling of pandemic
1,758 doctors responded to a Doctors Across the UK online survey asking “Has the pandemic and the government’s treatment of frontline doctors during the pandemic impacted your decision to stay or leave the NHS?" The most common reason for planning to quit was the lack of a pay rise.

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31st August 2020

Care homes still denied tests despite Hancock pledge
The health secretary said on 8 June that every care home in England would receive regular testing for the virus. However care bosses have accused the government of failing to deliver its promise of regular Covid-19 testing for staff and residents of all care homes.

New problems hit T&T system
An internet problem has caused delays in contacting nearly 2,000 people infected with coronavirus. The proportion of home tests kits failing to produce a result in that week rose sharply, from 4% to 15% of the total, equating to more than 18,000 tests.

Poll shows low opinion of UK response to pandemic
Of 14 countries the UK has the lowest proportion of its people who think the government have handled the Coronavirus pandemic well. Only 46% of the British population believe their country has done a good job, By contrast, 71% of people in Sweden think their country has done a good job, Germany, 94% in Australia and 95% in Denmark.

Covid used as cover to downgrade healthcare
Despite falling numbers of covid patients in hospitals a number of key services will not be reinstated. Long term ambitions to reduce A&E departments were implemented to handle the pandemic and not reinstated now that Covid patient numbers have fallen.

Care home deaths kept secret to protect commercial interests
The death tolls from Covid-19 at individual care homes are being kept secret by regulators in part to protect providers’ commercial interests before a possible second coronavirus surge. While data on Covid deaths at individual hospital trusts is published, information about fatalities at individual care homes isn't.

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24th August 2020

Test & Trace and the myth of private sector efficiency
Allyson Pollock, professor of public health at Newcastle University, takes aim at the government's centralised, privatised Test and Trace system managed by outsourcing giant Serco and call centre company Sitel, showing it is an example in a litany of failure in NHS privatisation.

Serco and Sitel's Test and Trace system misses 46% of Covid contacts
The government’s 'world beating' test-and-trace system has failed to reach nearly half of potentially exposed people in areas with the highest Covid infection rates in England.

MPs to sue UK government for withholding details of Covid PPE contracts
A cross-party group of MPs has signed a letter accusing ministers of breaching transparency rules and demanding the immediate disclosure of the contracts, which are valued at more than £5 billion.

More NHS privatisation
A procurement notice issued on behalf of the London's Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation Trust has been published "to assist efforts to reduce NHS waiting list pressures that have increased as a result of covid-19".

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20th August 2020

PHE scrapped: a scapegoat for the government's failings
There is something of an irony that the government resists calls for an immediate inquiry into the mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic and that implying it's already identified the source of failure - Public Health England.

PHE scrapped: "Protection" to return to NHS?
There are two basic elements to the work of Public Health England, prevention and protection. Whereas Hancock proposes that protection will be handled by a new National Institute for Health Protection, will prevention return as an NHS responsibility, as it was before the awful Lansley 2012 Act?

Will England's coronavirus crisis get worse this winter?
David McCoy is a professor of global public health and director of the Centre for Public Health at Queen Mary University of London. Here he writes his recommendations to the Johnson government - "avoid imposing draconian measures, the government must support people to behave responsibly and safely – not just give orders from above".

£10 billion of your NHS budget spent at private hospitals
Nearly 50,000 people, including cancer patients, are now waiting more than a year for elective treatment due in the first instance to a 40,000 nurse shortage and the pandemic. Instead of addressing the staff crisis the government spends our money at private hospitals.

United Voices victory over outsourcing NHS staff
This is so worth watching, trade union United Voices of the World's campaign to end outsourcing with Sodexo at Imperial and win back NHS employment. Inspiring!

Despite T&T fiasco Serco and Sitel to get more public money
Six thousand workers from the coronavirus contact tracing scheme are to be axed when the current NHS Test and Trace contracts expire, but Serco and Sitel will continue to work on the project and get public funding for it.

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28th July 2020

Sinister move to take control of all government data
The UK Cabinet Office is to take control of government data from the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport. Faculty, a company that worked on Vote Leave, who's director was Dominic Cummings, has been awarded at least seven government contracts worth almost £1m in the space of 18 months, including the NHS COVID-19 data store project.

Waiting list for serious cases to double
Waiting lists for extremely serious brain and spine surgery conditions could double by the end of the year. Neurosurgery and neurology waiting lists are at their highest in decades.

Lack of hospital beds hampers backlog
Research by the Nuffield Trust found that the UK is near the bottom of the league table for health resources – staff, equipment and buildings – compared to a list of comparable countries. Staff shortages in particular will lead to patients facing long delays for care.

No post-Covid-19 pay rise for GPs, junior doctors or nurses
6.5% increase over three years is no reward for having put their lives on the line during the Covid crisis.

Private mental health provider investigated
St Andrew’s Healthcare, which provides inpatient care for people with learning disabilities and mental health needs, is being investigated by the Charity Commission over a report by the CQC that found the provider had a two year back log of quality concerns it had not addressed.

Private GP company hands back contract
South London-based company DMC Healthcare was last week stripped of contracts to run five GP surgeries in Medway. Serious failings were found in an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CCQ).

Government testing policy under the spotlight
Chair of the Health Select Committee Jeremy Hunt clashed with chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty. Laboratory tests are handled by three mega ‘Lighthouse’ laboratories. Local data is slow to reach local public health providers, as was seen in Leicester.

Test and trace failing to contact thousands
The government’s "world-beating" test-and-trace system is failing to contact thousands of people in areas with the highest infection rates in England. Local leaders and directors of public health are demanding more control over the tracing operation.

3500 GP retirements in 5 years
Almost 3,500 GPs took early retirement in the five years from 2014/15 to 2018/19 according to official data that show a sharp rise in doctors retiring early over the past decade.

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22nd July 2020

Chief nurse was dropped because she didn't back Cummings
England’s chief nurse has confirmed she was dropped from the Downing Street daily coronavirus briefing after refusing to back Dominic Cummings. So much for backing NHS staff whistle-blowers.

'Slap in the face' for nurses
Nurses and care workers who gave their all working on the coronavirus frontline say they feel as if they’ve been ‘slapped around the face’ after the government gave almost one million public sector workers pay rises, but not them.

Test and Trace not fit for purpose, so in comes McKinsey
The test and trace system is not fit for purpose, the result of the government having ignored local public health services, opting instead for a complicated and centralised system. But is the answer to pay US consultancy McKinsey to find a new senior management, or does it need local expertise to handle the sensitive nature of contact tracing?

Test and Trace didn't conform to data protection
The government's entire test and trace programme has been operating unlawfully since its launch on 28th May 2020, says the Open Rights Group.

A&E's to require “call before you walk” appointments
We don't have enough GPs so patients call on A&E departments for primary care. The government response is an appointment system at your local A&E.

Lansley attacks Johnson for Covid response failings
He says "It was central government that was in charge of the decisions on lockdown, on PPE procurement and on testing......The lesson of the pandemic response in England is not that there is a lack of central control but too much of it."

Hospitals in urgent need of more scanners and staff to deal with backlog
Trusts around the country - Leeds, London, Wiltshire - report how 10 years of underfunding have left them in need of scanners and trained staff. The Royal College of Radiologists described the equipment shortage and backlog as a “perfect storm”.

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17th July 2020

Integrated Care law put off
Legislation to provide ICS's (Integrated Care Systems, i.e. the government's name for US-style Accountable Care) won't be given parliamentary time this year, put of until 2021. At present only CCG's have a legal status and must lend their authority to the new ICS in their region.

NHS pay rates won by hospital security staff
Unison members employed as security staff at Tameside Hospital by french firm Engie were planning a 48 hour walk out on Monday 13th July, but last minute negotiations brought significant changes to proposals from management.

Does Test and Trace need McKinsey?
Should the government's Test and Trace privatised system remain as a directly controlled DHSC agency, be given greater operational independence or be merged into another DHSC arms-length body, such as Public Health England. Or should it be completely redesigned as a publicly-provided operation run by local public health professionals?

Will the public sector take back control of Test and Trace?
The testing programme will need to quadruple its capacity towards a mammoth one million possible presentations a day before winter. But current Test and Trace governance is centralised and incoherent. Would local government provide a more effective service?

If there's a call for an insurance-based US health system, remember this..
The coronavirus pandemic stripped an estimated 5.4 million Americans of their health insurance between February and May. 

Keep the NHS out of US/UK trade deal
Keep Our NHS Public states its position on the US/UK trade deal being negotiated right now. It insists Donald Trump must come nowhere near our NHS! Here's how you can help keep Trump's hands off the NHS.

Covid-19 should increase our commitment to publicly provided healthcare
A BMJ article that concludes "A recent Health Foundation and Ipsos MORI analysis has already shown a shift in public attitudes, towards wanting more government and NHS responsibility for our health and public health".

Don't work for 14 days before going to hospital
Under rules laid down by NHS England, all patients must strictly self-isolate and not attend work for fourteen days before attending hospital. The rules around social isolation pre-surgery disproportionately affect people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

Government handling of the pandemic
"Britain’s public health sector, a cash-strapped, eroded, but functioning network comprising the National Health Service, general-practice clinics, and local authority health officials, has been repeatedly sidelined in favor of outsourced alternatives".

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14th July 2020

80 consultants slam move to ICP contract
Consultants at the Dudley Group Foundation Trust have written to Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England over its plans to award a £360m integrated care contract to a new NHS trust. They say move is costly and unnecessary and request a review of the risks and benefits of the ICP model.

MPs lead the first enquiry into Covid pandemic
An all-party parliamentary group have started to hear from relatives of victims of Covid-19. The chair said "From the neglect of care homes to the lack of an effective testing regime, each day brings more evidence of mistakes in the handling of this pandemic, and there is every indication we will see a second spike this winter".

Rescue Plan for NHS launched
Keep Our NHS Public has published its 2020 Rescue Plan for the NHS. The main points are, rebuild and properly fund the NHS, proper pay and respect for all NHS and care staff, end outsourcing, end racism in the NHS and all migrant charges, NHS out of all trade deals, public health back in public hands, go further - radical reform of social care.

Support NHS campaigners in Swanage
Please sign this petition by campaigners in Swanage. The CCG is moving the A&E further away and now they're removing their Paramedic Car, provided when the cottage hospital was closed.

England faces the longest waits ever for surgery
Far fewer people are having surgery or cancer treatment because Covid-19 has disrupted NHS services so dramatically, and those who do are facing the longest waits on record.

The Tory election nurse recruitment pledge in doubt
The Johnson promise to recruit 50,000 more NHS nurses is in doubt after the number coming from the EU fell again and coronavirus prevented thousands of arrivals from the rest of the world.

Renationalise care homes
In the 1980s responsibility for care homes was passed from the NHS to local authorities. But few are still council-run, 85% of the UK’s 22,000 care homes are owned by private companies after the Thatcher push to privatise them. Now in response to the effects of the pandemic campaigners are urging public ownership of the care service.

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9th July 2020

76 per cent want the NHS reinstated as a fully public service
A poll by Survation found 83 per cent said it should be nationalised and run in the public sector. After decades of cuts, privatisation and outsourcing, responding to health emergencies has become harder and harder. Huge chunks of our health service has been handed over to private companies, and it’s been a disaster both before and during the crisis.

No strategy for PPE in a second wave
The House of Commons public accounts committee said the government should provide a plan of how it will stock the NHS and care sector with gowns, masks, eye protection and gloves. The government does not have a clear strategy to acquire and distribute the equipment.

Test and Trace system is not fit for purpose
The government's test and trace system is a centrally led contact tracing system that uses commercial call centres relying heavily on private companies. Why has the government created an ad hoc parallel system when a straightforward, if weakened, public system already existed? Meanwhile another private firm will be brought in to shore up the creaking privatised system.

The Greatest Wealth - a celebration of the NHS
Here's a video of this theatrical monologue written by Booker Prize winning Bernardine Evaristo; its premiere will be performed by Olivier Award-winner Sharon D Clarke at The Old Vic.

Migrant NHS staff still paying NHS surcharge
Health staff are saying they are still being charged the fee that non-EU workers must pay to access healthcare and that they have not been offered refunds. Johnson had said the fee would be dropped on 21st May after significant political pressure.

NHS to get "whatever it needs"?
NHS bosses say the government has broken its pledge to give the health service “whatever it needs” after it refused to provide a £10 billion injection needed to prevent the NHS being crippled by a second wave of the coronavirus.

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3rd July 2020

Join the on-line rally for 72nd anniversary of our NHS
During the coronavirus crisis NHS and social care workers have worked without proper resources and PPE, within an already failing system, many have sacrificed their lives. This weekend Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th July, Keep Our NHS Public, Health Campaigns Together, The People’s Assembly Against Austerity and We Own It, There are nationwide local events and a national online rally on Sunday 5th July at 3:30pm to say, 'Our NHS deserves better'.

A choral tribute to health workers who died of coronavirus
A new song by the London Symphony Chorus, Never to Forget, was recorded remotely and pays tribute to the first 122 health and care workers to have lost their lives fighting the coronavirus.

Charging migrants for NHS services needs to stop
An outreach organisation, Doctors of the World, had been providing care to rough sleepers in the City of London for six months. It supports more than 2,000 individuals a year at its mobile clinic and walk-in centre in Stratford, east London.

Unions call on government for ‘early’ NHS pay rise
14 trade unions representing nurses, cleaners, healthcare assistants, physiotherapists, and other NHS employees have written to both the chancellor and the prime minister calling for pay negotiations to start soon, to give the workforce a chance of an early pay rise.

The assault on the NHS: de-funding, outsourcing and marketisation
Dr Bob Gill "writes we have endured four decades of neoliberal policies supported, enacted but not explained by politicians: the NHS must be re-nationalised and excluded from a US-UK trade deal which would lock-in privatisation."

Mass expansion of rehab beds for Covid planned
NHS leaders are currently working on plans to expand NHS capacity with the aim of allowing the service to deal with a potential second peak, without relying on shutting down as many normal NHS services as it did in March.

A Care-Led Recovery from Coronavirus
A report by the Women's Budget Group offers the case for investment in care as a better post-pandemic economic stimulus than construction. Investing in care is economically sound not only because it generates employment but also because it helps create a healthier, better educated and more productive population.

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29th June 2020

Coronavirus
Lifting lockdown: Ministers ignored police advice
Police and crime commissioners advised the government that the decision to reopen pubs on 4th July could lead to increased violence and that coastal resorts could be overrun.

SAGE: 'Improve test and trace system before schools reopen'
The scientific committee that advises the government says increasing school attendance and relaxing other physical distancing measures without a test-and-trace system that reaches 80% of contacts within 48 hours risks a new surge in cases of Covid-19.

'To beat Covid we need public health back in public hands'
Here KONP's John Puntis writes "There is no prospect of return to normality soon, therefore we will have to live with a background level of new infections and deaths. There has been a major problem with testing and retrieval of results. Yet still local authority public health services have been marginalised despite their expertise in contact tracing."

Call for contact tracing system run by local public health teams
Professor David McCoy writes about the need for a contact tracing system which is local and staffed and run by public health departments rather than a series of private contracts.

Other News
Staffing our NHS and Windrush
The historical importance of staff from the Commonwealth is analysed in this article that also illustrates how NHS workers were spared racist definitions.

Jeremy Hunt calls to scrap waiting time target
Hunt says the Royal College of Surgeons reveals there will be huge waiting lists for surgery that could take five years to clear, and health service capacity will be limited by the new requirements for social distancing and PPE, so new targets are needed.

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25th June 2020

Coronavirus
Government's mania for privatised services
Why hasn't the goverment involved GPs in Covid testing? The only explanation is that their neo-liberal fixation limits perception of possibilities. Here's an GP Online piece titled "Primary care 'obvious blind spot' in NHS Test and Trace programme".

Treasury blocks Hancock's private hospital contract
Hancock wants the Treasury to fund an extension of a contract whereby scores of private hospitals are paid about £400m a month to perform NHS work. It's common sense to fund the NHS properly, employ more staff, and do the work in-house, but not with Tory ideological obsessions.

Government not following the legal system for communicable diseases
This video of a Hackney meeting discusses the pandemic. Its long but worth following particularly, at 44 minutes, Allyson Pollock taking the government to task for not following the legal system for communicable diseases.

NHS restoration delayed waiting for cash
Despite government assurances the NHS would get “whatever it needs” leaders of NHS trusts, wanting to proceed with restoring health services, say they're not getting promised funding.

Real risk of second wave
The presidents of the Royal College of Physicians, Surgeons, GPs and Nursing and the chair of the British Medical Association warn of a very real risk of a second wave of Covid-19. They identify areas needing attention - parliamentary scrutiny, procurement of goods and services, better public health coordination and the disproportionate burden on black, Asian, and minority ethnic individuals.

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19th June 2020

Coronavirus
Another U-turn: T&T app abandoned
After spending three months the government has abandoned a centralised coronavirus contact-tracing app. The Iphone operating system deactivates apps when not being used; Bluetooth is uable to wake them up. £4.8m of taxpayers money was spent on it.

Why didn't we get Test and Trace right?
A professor of global public health takes the government to task for its insistence on a remote centralised system. Contact tracing involves divulging sensitive personal information about other people to someone they trust. Local professional public health teams are best placed for this work.

Student nurses irate when contracts cut short
Student nurses who joined the NHS frontline months before their training ended have seen their paid placement schemes terminated early, leaving them with no income.

Britain still in 'intensive care'
Whereas swift responses from countries such as South Korea and New Zealand have enabled them to recover quickly, the UK has been hobbled by decade of austerity had eroded public-sector infrastructure, leaving healthcare, social care and local authorities understaffed and under-equipped.

Judicial review over Dominic Cummings fiasco
A judicial review is being sought over the failure of the director of public prosecutions to investigate Dominic Cummings for alleged breaches of the coronavirus lockdown rules.

Other News
Betrayal over NHS migrant surcharge
On 21st May Johnson announced that health and care workers would no longer be forced to pay the immigration health surcharge. The Doctors’ Association UK said "we are deeply concerned that no progress has been made towards actually scrapping the charges ...a crass betrayal of thousands of migrant healthcare staff". But charges for other migrants continue.

Government hypocrisy behind "People Plan"
After a decade of NHS underfunding when pay has fallen by over 12% the shame-faced deceit of Tory governments produces a NHS People Plan with headings like 'Making the NHS the best place to work' and 'Prioritise urgent action on nursing shortages'.

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15th June 2020

Coronavirus
UK’s response: “slow, complacent and flat-footed”
The Lancet, a peer-reviewed general medical journal, has a withering attack of the government's handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. Further it accuses SAGE, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies committee, of being "the public relations wing of a government that had failed its people”.

Chief Nursing Officer dropped from daily briefing over Dominic Cummings
England's most senior nurse was dropped when due to appear at a Downing Street briefing after refusing to publicly back Dominic Cummings. Ruth May was due to appear alongside Matt Hancock on June 1st, but senior NHS sources allege she was "immediately dropped" from the line-up after expressing her views on his notorious 260 mile journey.

PPE supply was based on ‘just in time’ procurement
A report by the National Audit Office reveals that the government plan to distribute personal protective equipment was undermined because officials failed to stockpile gowns and visors despite warnings to do so. It also confirmed that 25,000 hospital patients were discharged to care homes at the height of the pandemic before testing became routine.

Is Test and Trace the next government shambles?
The Conservatives’ strategy for the pandemic can be summarirised as outsource and centralise. England’s contact-tracing system is hampered by the government’s reluctance to involve local authorities and regional public health expertise.

Other News
NHS staff still paying surcharge
On 21 May Johnson said that the £400 annual fee paid by non-EU migrants to use the NHS should be removed for health and care workers, but a poll for the Doctors Association UK shows that 158 NHS workers reported they are still being asked to pay for the immigration health surcharge.

Scotland passes Act to take over care homes?
The Act gives the Scottish Ministers and local authorities the right to take over and run care home businesses. Haven't the failings of the current arrangement for social care taught us that it's time to nationalise Social Care?

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12th June 2020

Coronavirus
Lockdown one week earlier would have saved 20,000 lives
Professor Neil Ferguson told the House of Commons science committee that the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK could have been halved if the government had introduced the lockdown a week earlier.

Nightingale hospitals cost more than £200 million
The seven temporary hospitals, set up to help the NHS respond to the covid-19 pandemic, cost more than £200 million. Only two of them are known to have treated patients; the London Nightingale treated 54 patients in total.

Independent SAGE: Test and Trace system not fit for purpose
The Independent SAGE committee, set up by former UK government chief scientific advisor Sir David King to offer independent scientific advice, says "...at least 80% of all close contacts of those with Covid‐19 ... must remain isolated for 14 days so that they are unable to pass on infection to others. This is clearly not happening".

Asylum seekers and refugees excluded from online test and trace system
Disadvantaged groups may be excluded from the government’s online coronavirus test and trace system because it requires a credit reference database check to decide whether to deliver a home test.

Other News
NHS campaigner Dr Ron Singer dies
Ron, an East London GP, is remembered as 'passionate, principled and loyal', and an 'uncompromising defender of the NHS as Nye Bevan intended. He confronted then health secretary Andrew Lansley over his Health and Social Care Bill saying 'I am a doctor of 30 years Mr Lansley, explain to me how this is going to make patients better'.

Primary Care Networks are collapsing
Primary Care Networks, where grouped GP surgeries receive extra funding to take on additional services and new roles like advanced nurse practicioner, are folding in Lincolnshire, Kent and Buckinghamshire.

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8th June 2020

Coronavirus
Johnson told to dump rhetoric and plan for new Covid wave
Scientists fear that the virus remains too prevalent to ease the lockdown further and that it should be relaxed only when a comprehensive test and trace system has been proved to work.

Migrants are not coming forward for healthcare
Migrants are not coming forward for healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic owing to the government’s hostile environment. The coronavirus ‘exemption’ from charging and immigration checks is not working, people are still being asked to show their passports for coronavirus treatment.

BAME leaders demand a race equality strategy
Why? Because black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people are 4.2  times more likely to die from Covid-19, 6 out of 10 Covid-19 care worker deaths have been BAME, more than 50%  of bus drivers’ Covid-19 deaths have been  BAME and of the first 20 doctors who died from Covid-19, 90% were BAME.

More than half coronavirus-related deaths from care homes
Based on data from the Office for National Statistics, a study estimates the deaths of those who list a care home as their primary residence. The death toll by the end of June from Covid-19 infections and other excess deaths is “likely to approach 59,000 of which about 34,000 (57%) are care home residents”.

Doctor quits NHS over Cummings refusal to resign
Dr Dominic Pimenta said "Haven’t seen my parents since January. Frankly, Cummings spits in the face of all our efforts. If he doesn’t resign, I will.”

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5th June 2020

Coronavirus
Contact tracing system not fully operating until September
Scientists have said lockdown measures should not be eased until the test-and-trace service is up and running, but we now learn that it won't be fully operational until September.

Government censored BAME covid-risk review
An earlier draft of the review included responses from organisations and individuals who supplied evidence to the review. Many of these suggested that discrimination and poorer life chances were playing a part in the increased risk of covid-19.

Government misleads over test statistics
The UK Statistics Authority accused the government for mixing up tests carried out with testing kits sent out by post. The head of UKSA said "The aim seems to be to show the largest possible number of tests, even at the expense of understanding".

Ferguson: 'Covid sustained by spilling out of care homes'
Prof Neil Ferguson said he was shocked at how poorly care homes had been protected from the virus. Infected staff are carrying the virus out of the workplace, this explains why the R value, the average number of people infected by a case, remained only marginally below one. 

'Why I quit working for test and tract system'
Johnson's 'world-beating' test and trace system comes in for severe criticism. 'People were having problems accessing the system ...training was basic ...many people were writing, “Did anyone do anything yesterday?” “Do we just wait?” “What are we waiting for?”

A decade of cuts and privatisation
A litany of cuts to public health has lead to this chaos. Fifty public health labs that existed two decades ago have been merged with hospital labs or “consolidated” by successive governments to make so-called efficiency savings.

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31st May 2020

Coronavirus
Trust in government damaged by Cummings saga
Senior UK academics and health administrators warn that public faith in the government's handling of the pandemic has been badly damaged by the actions of Dominic Cummings including his failure to stand down or resign.

Track and Trace abandoned due to lack of capacity
Documents from the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies show UK's disastrous decision to abandon testing for coronavirus occurred because health systems could only cope with five cases a week.

Releasing lockdown: Government ignored scientists
Retailers including fashion, homeware and toy shops have been given permission to open from 15th June but papers released by the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) showed that scientists advised ministers that shops could push the R number above 1.

Contact tracing: Serco given £90 million contract
Serco, which sponsored an event at last year’s Conservative Party conference, has been awarded a contract to provide emergency contact centre services for vulnerable people who are self-isolating. MPs have demanded that the government explain why Serco has been given another major contract.

Government rejected radical lockdown of England's care homes
Public Health England proposed a radical lockdown of care homes but its suggestion was not included in a subsequent action plan on infection control announced by Matt Hancock.

Hackney set up its own 'track and trace'
Hackney council has won their campaign for a local approach to testing and tracing the coronavirus (COVID-19), after warning the Government to avoid the current ‘shambolic, partially outsourced and centrally-run testing regime’.

Keep the lockdown in place
Keep Our NHS Public identifies the incoherent government messaging and why the lockdown should not be relaxed.

Testing: why involve a credit agency?
When you apply on line for a Covid test your information is shared with a credit agency. In order to confirm their identity you have to share your information with TransUnion, the smallest of the three largest credit agencies, along with Experian and Equifax. Why? The Department of Health and Social Care refused to answer questions.

Other News
Number of working GPs falls again
The fully-qualified GP workforce in England fell by 2.5%, losing 712 full-time equivalent (FTE) doctors, in the year to March 2020, data from NHS Digital shows. You might remember in September 2015 Jeremy Hunt made his now infamous pledge to recruit an additional 5,000 GPs by 2020/21. And in 2019, there was an election promise of 6000 more GPs!

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26th May 2020

Coronavirus
UK on course for the highest health worker death toll
Why did health workers in Italy and the UK pay such a higher price than in Spain and France? The poor performance of the UK versus the rest of the world belies the Government’s assertion that it has looked after health workers and protected them.

Brent council had no care home deaths - How?
The Labour-held borough spent £1.5m on PPE in February and ensured elderly patients discharged from hospital were quarantined for 14 days in a separate care facility.

Government briefings: 'confusing and contradictory'
"The government stipulated five tests for the easing of lockdown, but while only one of these has been met we now have the Prime Minister telling us it is time to get back to work." Keep Our NHS Public's assessment of the Johnson government handling of the pandemic.

Government allows private providers to start work
NHS trusts have been told to explain to NHS England how they might best use private providers to restart day-to-day NHS elective work.

Other News
Calls to scrap NHS charges for all migrants
Our NHS is paid out of general taxes and migrants pay their share in the same way we all do. Why should they pay twice? Migrants disproportionately work in care sttings and public services, they are not well-paid. A number of organisations, GMB, Medact, Unison, Migrant Voice, call for the abolition of charges for all migrants. Here is Patients Not Passorts report on the issue of migrant charging.

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22nd May 2020

Coronavirus
Public health directors fear ‘shambles’ over contact tracing
The government claims it has employed 21,000 contact tracers, recruited as call handlers by Serco. There has been criticism of the training they get to perform their contact tracing work. Directors of public health fear another government disaster.

Is racial discrimination a factor in BAME deaths?
In a survey of UK's BAME healthcare community 50 per cent of respondents felt discriminatory behaviour has played a role in the high death toll with one in five claiming they have experienced it personally. "Systemic discrimination" on the frontline of the coronavirus outbreak may be a factor in the disproportionate number of their colleagues dying.

The PPE disaster explained
A report jointly prepared by campaigning group Weownit and the University of Grteenwich not only defines the increasing role of the private sector in the NHS, but also explains the shambles that is the government's attempts to provide Personal Protective Equipment for NHS and care workers.

Other News
Why not drop NHS charge for all migrants?
So Johnson has dropped the NHS charge for migrant NHS workers. An enduring myth is that the NHS is paid for through National Insurance - this isn't true. National Insurance was introduced in 1911, to pay for state pension and unemployment pay. The NHS, started in 1948, is paid for out of general taxation. We all, migrants included pay our taxes, apart from Phillip Green and Branson that is. So why not drop the NHS charge for all migrants? Right now, they pay twice.

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20th May 2020

Coronavirus
Doubt over when app will be ready
Hancock said the tracing app will be rolled out mid May, but now it emerged that a mobile tracking app will not be ready until June. It was also revealed that track-and-trace stopped in March due to lack of capacity.

Chaos over tracer training
New contact tracers have been told to rely on a two-page script and a list of frequently asked questions. One man said he had spent three days getting paid but receiving very little information or training.

MPs: halt to mass testing 'unacceptable'
The science and technology committee’s investigation into the early handling of the pandemic calls for Public Health England to explain the scientific reasoning behind abandoning mass testing.

BMJ: too little, too late, too flawed
In a scathing account of the government's response to the Coronavirus pandemic the British Medical Journal reveals that only Italy on 519 deaths per million has a higher death rate than UK on 505. Germany is 94, South Korea just 5.

The truth behind the care homes tragedy
An account of the recent history of care homes revealing that prior to Thatcher in 1980 two thirds of residential homes for older people were run by local authorities and staff in local authority homes were unionised, fought for decent pay and conditions and received appropriate training.

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19th May 2020

Coronavirus
'Huge price' paid by care home residents
Under instruction from NHS England, hospitals removed older patients from hospital beds as quickly as possible, in anticipation of a surge in Covid patients. Care home residents have paid a huge price.

PPE: hospital has to make its own
A Wolverhampton hospital has turned its library into a mini-factory and has called on facial reconstruction specialists to make visors.

Coronavirus Act downgrades social care
The Coronavirus Act has effectively downgraded Councils’ statutory duties to provide adults’ social care. 'It's a national shame that the very group we were supposed to be protecting are the most exposed'.

Calls for an enquiry into BAME deaths
Sadiq Khan has joined hundreds of signatories, including Doreen Lawrence and author Malorie Blackman, in a letter to the prime minister calling for a comprehensive investigation into race and health inequalities in Britain

Other News
Hostile Environment: Army vet faces £27K bill
A Commonwealth-born veteran, who served for more than a decade in the British army including tours of Afghanistan and Iraq, has been told he must pay more than £27,000 for NHS hospital bills.

"Do not join pay demonstration" nurses told
'We saved Boris now give us a payrise' is a slogan being used in a NHS pay demo, but NHS staff have been warned not to join in. Mustn't expose the reality of government policy on nurse's pay.

'Rank hypocrisy' of government
It is rank hypocrisy from the government towards EU nationals, over 180,000 in England and Wales alone, who are currently working in our NHS and in the care sector, for ministers to stand and clap for them on a Thursday night, and then tell them that they are not welcome in the UK on a Monday.” Home secretary Priti Patel also announced a review of NHS charges for overseas health workers just 3 weeks ago, then said they stay.

Civil liberties campaign questions role of US data firm in NHS
NHSX and NHS England Improvement have engaged Palantir alongside Microsoft, Google and London-based artificial intelligence (AI) firm Faculty to help research Covid 19. Check out the 10 questions that campaigning groups have put to US data analysts Palantir.

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15th May 2020

Coronavirus
Chaos at UK's privately run PPE stockpile
True to its capacity for NHS calamities, the Conservative government gave the contract for PPE distribution to a subsidiary of a US healthcare corporation Owens and Minor. Delivery drivers report that the running of it was beset by “chaos” at its warehouse that may have resulted in delays in deploying vital supplies.

Health workers who died from Covid-19
Check out this list of NHS and care worker victims. What strikes you is that so many of them are ethnically black or Asian, and by no means towards the end of their working lives.

UK criticised around the world for Coronavirus handling
The worst death rate in Europe, backtracking on herd immumity, confusion and internal divisions - these are some of the expressions used to describe the chaos that is UK's handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Piers Morgan rant at Tory MP
You almost feel sorry for MP Andrew Bridgen as he takes him apart with a rant on the hopeless Tory handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Ministers warned two years ago about the risks in care homes
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, which represents directors of adult social services in England, was asked to report on improving government planning for a flu pandemic, but it said: “We are not aware of whether government departments picked up on any of the recommendations set out."

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11th May 2020

Coronavirus
Poll: only US judged to have handled it worse
Most people interviewed think that the UK has performed worse than Italy, Spain and France in the Covid-19 crisis, only Trump's handling of it is regarded as worse.

 NHS app: Government in talks with Apple over possible change
Negotiations have taken place with Apple over its contact tracing app as its Isle of Wight trial is beset by problems, raising fears a back-up version may be needed.

PPE chaos: care homes and GPs buy their own
GP practices and care homes are being left with no choice but to buy PPE at heavily inflated prices from profiteering businesses purchasing in bulk from suppliers.

Appalling crisis in our care homes
Coronavirus is tearing through our nursing home population. A professor of public health describes the twists and turns that is the government's Coronanvirus policy.

Private call centres will run new contact tracing system
Despite the fact that our public health service, possibly supported by environmental officers, is trained to trace those individuals who have been in contact with a Covid infected patient, the government has contracted Serco to run call centres for contact tracing.

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8th May 2020

Coronavirus
Privatisation under the cover of Covid
Ministers have used special powers to bypass normal tendering and award a string of contracts to private companies and management consultants without open competition. Procurement of such items as PPE, CT scanners, mobile X-ray machines and ultrasounds will now be handled by central government. Having eviscerated existing NHS publicly-run services private parallel structures are being put in their place.

The world on UK's coronavirus response: 'Complacent and calamitous'
As British death toll becomes the worst in Europe, criticism of the UK approach is being voiced around the globe.

Over 20,000 Coronavirus carriers arrived in UK before lockdown
It's estimated that at least 20,000 arrivals would have infected some 50,000 more people based upon the WHO assessment of average transmission rate at start of March.

Hancock told to apologise to Labour's Rosena Allin-Khan
Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth called on the Health Secretary to apologise after he said he didn't like MP Allin-Khan's 'tone' following her asking a perfectly reasonable question about PPE for the NHS frontline. She is an A&E doctor.

Expert tells government 'don't use me to justify UK's death toll'
Prof David Spiegelhalter said in a newspaper article that comparing the number of deaths from Covid-19 between countries was difficult because of the different methodologies used by governments to measure deaths. Both the chief medical officer and Johnson have quoted him.

Turkey's late PPE not up to standard
Every one of the 400,000 protective gowns that eventually arrived has been impounded after being found not to conform to UK standards.

Other news
3 reasons why a US trade deal would be dangerous
Here's a 42 second video by Global Justice Now stating why we all should oppose a trade deal with the US. Number 1 'It would weaken public services like the NHS and drive up drug prices'.

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4th May 2020

Coronavirus
100K test target: total drops to 80000
Friday Matt Hancock announced that the government’s target of 100,000 tests per day by the end of April had been achieved, then on the following day it drops by 40 thousand, and some of the posted tests that were included not only were results not returned but some didn't have a return envelope included in the despatch.

PPE: Nearly half of England's doctors forced to find their own
The British Medical Association said that while PPE supplies have improved nearly a half of England’s doctors have sourced their own personal protective equipment

Scrap NHS surcharge for migrant healthcare workers
In 2015 a surcharge was introduced by the Conservative government on immigrant workers for use of the NHS. It was part of “hostile environment” legislation meant to discourage illegal migration. The cost of the surcharge has risen three times in four years. Overseas NHS staff have expressed anger at its rising cost, set to increase to £625 per year.

Cygnus warned UK was ‘critically’ underprepared for a deadly pandemic 
The report of Exercise Cygnus stated personal protective equipment, ventilators and testing, three key areas where ministers have faced repeated criticism, barely featured or were not part of the exercise.

Parents, grandparents, boxers, singers
Before they were residents, the care home victims were our factory workers, teachers, engineers and administrative workers. Some were singers, some were boxers and some were parents and grandparents.

Bevan: "Private charity is no substitute for organised justice"
Concerned about the longer-term implications of the Diana-fication of the NHS? Then this article sums it up " ..the more prosaic ...truth is that the parlous state of the NHS is entirely attributable to a government which has spent the last decade running it into a state of deliberate neglect."

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1st May 2020

Coronavirus
Government changed rules on test counting to get 100K
You would think that only completed tests, i.e. those test that have provided the patient with a result, would be counted. Not any longer, the government has changed the rules on test counting; now tests which are sent to people are counted before the recipient has provided and returned their sample to a laboratory.

Deprived areas have twice the death rate
The Office for National Statistics revealed that the rate for deaths from coronavirus in the most deprived areas of England and Wales are more than double those in more affluent areas.

NHS staff deaths: new study
The most striking conclusion from the details is that BME and migrant workers are hugely over-represented among those who have died of Covid-19. BME health workers make up i) 63% of NHS workers who have died (but only 20% of the overall NHS workforce) ii) 71% of nurses and midwives who have died (while, again, only 20% of those in work), and iii) 95% of medical staff who have died (and 44% of medical staff overall)

BAME death rate twice that of white population
An analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies shows that the death rate among British black Africans and British Pakistanis from coronavirus is more than 2.5 times that of the white population.

Sacked carers consider legal action
Compassion in Care, a charity that runs a helpline for whistleblowers, announced that five carers who were sacked after raising concerns about understaffing and personal protective equipment shortages at homes are considering taking legal action.

Government minister taken to task over PPE failings
You, like me, may not be a fan of Piers Morgan, but here's his interview with a government minister about PPE failings and Exercise Cygnus. Funny that the government chose not to put up Hancock or Johnson himself for it! 

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28th April 2020

Coronavirus
PPE: Hancock refuses to apologise to victim's son
The son of a GP who died of Covid-19 asked health secretary Matt Hancock for an apology for the inadequacy of his father's personal protective equipment while working with patients, but Hancock has refused to apologise. The government failed to buy crucial protective equipment despite the recommendations of a leaked 2019 Cabinet Office briefing that advised the advanced purchase of essential kit to cope with an epidemic.

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27th April 2020

Coronavirus
NHS doctor challenges Hancock to publish Cygnus report
Solicitors Leigh Day is representing Dr Moosa Qureshi who has written to Matt Hancock asking him to publish the report of the Cygnus exercise that in 2016 investigated our ability to respond to a flu pandemic. If it's not published by 4pm today then they will seek an urgent Judicial Review, challenging that refusal and seeking publication. Please contribute to Crowd Funding page for the legal costs.

UK deaths more than double official figure
A Financial Times analysis, based upon the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, reveals that the real UK death toll is 41000.

Local public health teams need to take back control
An revealing article by Allyson Pollock and Peter Roderick insists that contact tracing and testing, case finding, isolation and quarantine is the way forward in tackling the pandemic. It also reveals the effects of cuts to public health funding,  laboratories and community control teams.

Lack of PPE: ministers were warned a year ago
The government was warned of the effects of a pandemic and was told to plan to manage a surge in deaths. In a report signed by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance it warned of the effects of a highly transmissible virus.

Doctor who died pleaded for adequate PPE
Dr Peter Tun who died of Covid-19 had pleaded in vain for his hospital to provide protective equipment in the days before he caught the virus. His son, Michael, said: “When a doctor of 40 years’ experience has had to literally beg for surgical masks, and it is denied, something has gone seriously wrong.”

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22nd April 2020

Coronavirus
PPE stockpile storage sold to private company
The management and the distribution of a PPE stockpile has been outsourced to a private company, Movianto. It in turn was sold just two weeks ago for £107 million. Then followed a scandal so typical of commercial involvement in the NHS, profit first, service an afterthought.

Firms offering their help with PPE ignored by government
The government has missed opportunities to secure at least 16m face masks for NHS staff in the past four weeks. A senior civil servant said that its decision to opt out of a joint EU scheme was politically motivated.

Government's row with editor of Lancet
The editor of The Lancet has accused Number 10 of 'deliberately rewriting history in its ongoing COVID-19 disinformation campaign'. Dr Richard Horton attacked the Government for trying to defend its lack of action while the coronavirus spiralled out of control.

Government desperately fights against Sunday Times article
The Sunday Times article "38 days when Britain sleepwalked into disaster" has been furiously rebutted by Downing Street aids.

Migrants dying of coronavirus because they’re too afraid to seek help
Undocumented migrants are dying from Covid-19 because they are too afraid to seek help. One man died in his home on 8th April after suffering from a fever and a cough for two weeks.

Call to cancel student nurses debt
More than 15,000 second and third-year nursing and midwifery degree students have opted in to fight the pandemic, helping make up for the 40,000 shortfall in nurses in the NHS. More than 80 MPs have signed a letter calling on the health secretary to cancel the debt of students stepping in to fight the virus.

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20th April 2020

Coronavirus
Unions call for fallen key workers, 11am on 28th April
Unison, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives have asked politicians, employers, people at work and the millions of people in lockdown at home to join the tribute at 11am on 28 April.

PPE shortage row escalates
Hospital leaders have exprssed their alarm that shortages of equipment will soon have disastrous effects on the frontline, with representatives of intensive care staff warning that the critical shortage of PPE could lead to some people refusing to continue working there.

Six points of failure
The Johnson government is facing scrutiny of its actions in several areas over its preparations for and response to coronavirus - the high UK death rate, the absence of mass testing, the PPE scandal, confusion around ventilators, hospital capacity and political leadership.

UK planned for herd immunity, Asia for testing and tracing
Documents reveal the different approaches planned for by Britain and Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia.

Undocumented migrants are dying afraid to seek help
Sixty cross-party MPs have written to the health secretary calling for the immediate suspension of charging for migrants and all data-sharing for immigration checks. Currently the NHS is forced to share migrants' data with the Home Office for it to check for illegal residency.

BMA: Failure to record ethnicity of Covid-19 victims a 'scandal'
Black, Asian and Multi-ethnic workers represent 44% of the NHS workforce, but they accounted for 68% of the 57 NHS staff known to have died with the virus. Every one of the 14 doctors reported to have died so far is from an ethnic minority. BMA chair Dr Nagpaul said the government should immediately instruct all hospitals to record the ethnicity of patients.

There isn't an exit strategy
Policy-making in the Johnson government is so controlled by him, or Cummings that, in the PM's absence, ministers when asked about the exit strategy for leaving lockdown, are unable to offer a response.

Other News
Yet more NHS privatisation
Despite Hancock's infamous claim that there'd be 'no privatisation on his watch' the sell-off continues. Here's yet another NHS contract offered up to private interests.

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15th April 2020

Coronavirus
A chronology of governmental failure
From the exercise to test UK's response to a pandemic (Operation Cygnus), through to the present with the UK having a 10,000 death count, this account records its litany of failure.

PPE: hospitals abandon full test
Vital checks to see if their personal protective equipment (PPE) fits properly are being abandoned. Hospitals are running so short of FFP3 facemasks that they are no longer insisting staff have a “fit-test” before they start wearing one when treating infected patients. PPE gowns are now in short supply.

Government criticised over PPE and tests as death toll exceeds 10,000
Britain risks having the highest death toll from coronavirus in Europe as the total number of fatalities from the disease in UK hospitals rose above 10,000.

Public health expert, mocked on Question Time, was right
On Question Time on 12th March a former regional public health director from Liverpool warned that the lack of testing and preparation was complacent. He was derided in the press the following day; now events are proving him right.

Other News
Calls to scrap fees for foreign NHS staff
Johnson is proposing to increase the health surcharge payable by non-EU staff for the third time in four years. A £625 fee is payable for each member of a family for doctors and nurses from non-EU countries. So NHS staff members from Philippines or India who come to Britain with a spouse and two children will have to pay the government £2,500 a year for the privilege of working in the NHS.

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13th April 2020

Coronavirus
COVID report from Citizens TV
Chaired by Paul Mason, this discussion reveals not only how the UK government has gone wrong in its handling of the pandemic, but provides some interesting statistics e.g. the China death rate is 1 per million population; the UK death rate now 100 per million and rising.

NHS bosses say the 100K testing target is impossible
Covid-19 testing cannot reach required levels without significant help from private and academic labs, Matt Hancock is warned. The public health laboratory service, a network of local and regional laboratories, was established as part of the NHS. Many of these laboratories have been shut down.

Doctors and nurses are being gagged
Healthcare professionals are being silenced and threatened with disciplinary action for speaking out about their work during the coronavirus outbreak. Many NHS staff are increasingly concerned that their ability to share stories about their work is being restricted by a clampdown on speaking out publicly.

PPE crisis: nurses have to wear bin bags
Three NHS nurses who were forced to wear bin bags due to a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) have all tested positive for coronavirus. The doctor who pleaded for more hospital PPE has died of Covid-19.

PPE crisis: Expect more medic deaths
The son of the doctor who died of Covid-19 says a lack of PPE will lead to more deaths of frontline workers.

BMA: 'Investigate why so many BAME doctors are dying'
The head of the British Medical Association has called on the government to investigate why black, Asian and minority ethnic people are more likely to die from coronavirus

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8th April 2020

Coronavirus
Ten ways the government has made the pandemic worse
Keep Our NHJS Public identifies ten ways the government has made the pandemic worse, from ignoring the warnings, the underfunded NHS was at breaking point anyway, slow at organising testing, and 7 other reasons.

NHS workers gagged from speaking out
Dr Rinesh Parmar, chairman of the Doctors Association said it had received a number of concerns from doctors. 'We are seeing draconian measures used to gag doctors and nurses on the frontline, he said.

Why didn't government use local experts?
Environmental health workers in local government have wide experience in contact tracing, a process used to prevent infections spreading and routinely carried out in outbreaks such as of norovirus, salmonella or legionnaires’ disease.

Give foreign born NHS staff indefinite leave to remain
Foreign nationals working in the NHS should be given indefinite leave to remain in the UK in honour of their contribution. So say 60 MPs who have written to the home secretary, Priti Patel, urging her to say that “those who have put their lives at risk for our country are welcome to live in it”.

Was the NHS ready for a pandemic?
In 2013 the Centre for Health and Public Interest (CHPI) produced a report on the NHS in England, newly reorganised by the Health and Social Care Act 2012. It concluded that there were a confusing multitude of parallel structures; NHS England, Public Health England, local government and, on the front line, an increasing number of private providers.

The NHS is not drained by migrants, but sustained by them
Amged el-Hawran, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) consultant in Derby, who died of Covid-19 was one of six boys whose Sudanese parents settled in the UK in 1975. He was not the first doctor of Sudanese origin to die, the first was Dr Adil El Tayar, an organ transplant specialist who volunteered in an A&E department in the Midlands to help fight the virus. Two of the four children he left behind are also NHS doctors.

Doctors lacking PPE 'bullied' into treating Covid-19 patients
Doctors are being “bullied and shamed” into treating patients with Covid-19 despite not having the masks, gowns and eyewear they need to protect themselves from the virus. Others are being told to hold their breath to avoid getting infected because of persistent shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) .

Other News
Writing off NHS debt is a charade
Richard Murphy, professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University London, writing on his tax blog says "First, the NHS had no debt at all. It was owed from NHS agencies, owned by the government to the government itself. That's not debt, that's just book-keeping. Second, that book-keeping was created to ...reinforce the internal market reforms created by Andrew Lansley in 2012, which were the undoubted intended precursor for NHS privatisation."

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6th April 2020

Coronavirus
PPE: lives of NHS staff are at risk
Dr Jessica Potter, a respiratory specialist registrar working in London, writes of healthworkers on the front line not having access to the level of PPE prescribed by the government. GPs are going out to DIY stores to buy their own masks and goggles. Cleaners are being told they do not need masks despite working in high-risk areas.

Why is the UK government ignoring WHO’s advice?
Allyson Pollock, professor of public health, explains that case finding, contact tracing and testing, and strict quarantine are the classic tools in public health to control infectious diseases, as advised by the World Health Organisation. Why isn't our government following its advice?

We must have a public inquiry into Covid-19 response
The former head of the civil service, Bob Kerslake, says an inquiry to learn the lessons of our response to the epidemic is inevitable. He warned Downing Street against appointing people with election skills and political messaging over those with the skills for the task in hand.

Other News
The Tories call 'Protect the NHS' is hypocrisy
To hear Tory ministers citing the importance and wonder of the NHS is so infuriating isn't it. The rank hypocrisy of a government that has spent 10 years doing the exact opposite, neglecting the NHS at best and pillaging it at worst, while quietly selling off parts of it. In 2017 Johnson voted against scrapping the 1% pay-rise cap for NHS nurses and in 2015 voted in favour of abolishing nurses training bursary.

Didn't believe 'Tories hate the NHS' below, then read this..
In Other News for 3rd April below there's an article on how really, Tories hate the NHS. Here's another that reveals what they really think. It's by a former editor and now columnist of the Telegraph, Charles Moore.

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3rd April 2020

Coronavirus
The systematic failures in the Government's pandemic strategy laid bare
Government officials wrongly believed a new strain of influenza would be the next outbreak to strike the UK. There were no plans made for community testing, said professor Graham Medley, chairman of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group.

Other news
Really, the Tories hate the NHS
"The NHS doesn’t need reform, it just needs to be sold-off" or "Publicly-funded care workers aren’t essential, if people are getting old they should have worked hard when they were younger. Why should taxes pay for their laziness?" These are the sort of comments that Shahmir Sanni, who worked for the Brexit campaign and Conservative lobby groups, has heard.

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2nd April 2020

Coronavirus
How the Johnson government got testing so wrong
It comes to something when even Conservative papers headline a criticism of the Johnson government. Here's the Telegraph (bear in mind there's a paywall) and now even the Daily Mail. Shortages of chemicals and swabs have surfaced as critical problems. But, over the past 20 years, the number of laboratories and testing facilities has shrunk. Even if we did have enough kits, the UK would no longer have the capacity, equipment or biomedical scientists to match the testing capacity of its European neighbours.

GPs threatened from speaking out about PPE shortages
GPs report being told by CCGs not to give interviews to the press, and to avoid posting comments on social media about PPE concerns. See also this article. Yet our health secretary has said "We stand with whistleblowers. Making someone choose between the job they love and speaking the truth to keep patients safe is an injustice I am determined to end.”

Contact tracing requires an end to Hostile Environment
Here's a letter to ther BMJ. "To fight this epidemic and protect everyone’s health, all barriers to accessing NHS treatment – including charges and reporting of debt to the Home Office - should be suspended immediately."

What exactly is the government's strategy for Covod-19?
This CHPI article takes an indepth analysis of the government's strategy. First we need a decentralised and regionalised approach to COVID-19 control with explicit regional leadership and area-based plans. Second, the government has not prioritised testing, individual case detection and contact tracing as a control measure.

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31st March 2020

Coronavirus
"NHS England board should resign in their entirety"
The Lancet editorial. 28th March, 'February should have been used to expand coronavirus testing capacity, ensure the distribution of WHO-approved PPE, and establish training programmes and guidelines to protect NHS staff. They didn’t take any of those actions.'

Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response 2016
In October 2016 the UK government ran a national pandemic flu exercise. It was codenamed Exercise Cygnus. The report of its findings was not made publicly available, the public will now pay with their lives for deliberate government inaction and total disregard towards their primary function – to protect us all. Even the Telegraph has reported it.

ICU limited to those 'reasonably certain' to survive
A spokesperson at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust revealed on Sunday that fewer and fewer marginal patients are being selected for ventilator treatment; it's now limited to those "reasonably certain" to survive.

PPE: advice rejected by DofH
The Department of Health rejected the advice of the respiratory virus threat advisory group (Nervtag) about providing NHS staff with certain protective equipment during an influenza pandemic because stockpiling it would be too expensive.

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26th March 2020

Coronavirus
Patient who was told 'not a priority' dies
A 36 year old mother of 3 children dies a day after paramedics were called to her home in South London. Paramedics said "the hospital won’t take her, she is not a priority".

Government pressing ahead with hospital closures
Orsett Hospital, Shipley Hospital, Poole A&E as well as specialist departments and Walk-in centres will close in the next 12 to 18 months, the period that exactly matches that of the Coronavirus epidemic. This closure programme is on top of the 17,000 beds that have been lost since 2010.

London’s critical care units are four days from full capacity
NHS’ national director for mental health Claire Murdoch said on 24th March that London will run out of ICU beds in four days if urgent action is not taken.

Lack of PPE: GPs feel betrayed
In a survey of GPs 85% are not satisfied with the quality of PPE provided citing concerns that paper masks, ‘flimsy’ plastic aprons and gloves and a lack of eye protection have left them unequipped to treat patients. The BMA chairman said "doctors will die without proper PPE".

The view inside a London A&E
Staff searching for face masks so they could start their shifts, the emergency department inundated with sick patients, and otherwise healthy young people, in their 30s and 40s, fighting for their lives, because of Covid-19. 

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23rd March 2020

Coronavirus
Doctors prepare to make grim decisions
NHS hospitals are in urgent need of ventilators and are approaching full capacity because of the Covid-19 outbreak, which will force doctors to make tough decisions about which patients to treat, the British Medical Association has warned.

NHS staff feel like 'cannon fodder' over lack of coronavirus protection
A spokesman for the Doctors Association saud: "“We have had doctors tell us they feel like lambs to the slaughter, that they feel like cannon fodder. GPs tell us that they feel absolutely abandoned."

PPE problems 'completely resolved' ...really?
The deputy chief medical officer has said that the problems around protective equipment have been ’completely resolved', but the majority of GPs didn’t have an adequate supply of protective equipment.

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20th March 2020

Coronavirus
London paramedics issued one mask between two
Paramedics attending people who could be infected with the coronavirus were told only one person in each team of two could wear a face mask, with the other instructed to stand two metres away from the patient. An NHS consultant said "we only have two days' worth of protective equipment – there is a feeling of dread and impending doom".

NHS consultant's assessment of epidemic handling
"They are abandoning the basic principles for dealing with an epidemic, which are to test whenever possible, trace contacts and contain. Almost all individual physicians I know feel that what they are doing is wrong."

"Everyone is scared to speak up"
An A&E doctor has urged other frontline healthcare workers to speak up about the risks they are facing from lack of adequate protective equipment and the government’s decision to not test even symptomatic NHS workers.

NHS under severe strain even before Coronavirus
In January there were 4,123 adult critical care beds open and 3,423 occupied, giving an occupancy rate of 83.0%. This raises some extremely worrying questions about the ability of the NHS to cope with this pandemic. Since 2010 the NHS has lost a total of 17,000 beds under Conservative-led governments.

Private firms hike cost of testing kits
Summerfield Healthcare is selling home delivery Covid-19 testing kits for £249; a few days ago it charged £149. It cited "increased demand and supplier costs". Qured, a company which offers face-to-face private GP appointments within two hours, is selling testing kits for £295.

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18th March 2020

Coronavirus
Why the government change of direction? Read this...
" ...new data shows an entirely different picture. Rather than sitting above a flattened curve, the line representing NHS capacity hardly moves above the x axis." The NHS has around 4,000 critical care beds; the new modelling states it might need 30,000. Government underfunding of the NHS has left our health service with far fewer ICU beds than any almost any other European country.

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16th March 2020

Coronavirus
'Overwhelmed' service will run out of oxygen, medication and beds
A web seminar by the Association of Anaesthetists stated that there was not enough equipment or staff available to fight the crisis. Hospitals will run out of crucial drugs in less than 24 hours.

'That's not going to delay epidemic, it'll escalate it'
Professor of Global Health Anthony Costello attacks government policy saying stopping population testing is crazy, you must find, test and treat as many cases as possible to break the chains of transmission. Another professor, of  epidemiology at Harvard, thought UK's ‘herd immunity’ coronavirus plan was satire when he heard of it.

NHS renting private hospital beds at £2.8 milliom per day
Eight thousand private hospital beds will be used to relieve pressure on the NHS as it battles the coronavirus crisis. But what we'll need is Intensive Care beds, private hospitals don't have them. UK has one of the lowest number of Intensive Care beds in Europe.

Other News
Privatised cleaning staff strike over unpaid wages
About 30 workers at University Hospital Lewisham stopped working in response to not being paid properly for the second time in a row, leaving many of them without enough money to pay their rent or to buy food.

Nothing to do with me guv!
The head of NHS England said that the reason why GPs Continuity of Care has worsened over the past few years is because GPs are choosing to work part time. So Simon, isn't it because GPs workload has increased so dramatically due entirely to your doing that they are forced to work part-time?

Primary care networks near to collapse?
New draft requirements for primary care networks have left many practices questioning their participation in the scheme. NHS England demands on GPs at a time of already huge workload make many surgeries doubtful about sigining up.

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9th March 2020

ICU doctor: 'The NHS isn't ready for coronavirus crisis'
The challenge from Covid-19 to ICU services in the UK is enormous and pressing. Compared with other European countries the UK ranked 24th of 31 for numbers of Intensive Care (ICU) beds per head of population. Meanwhile three quarters of GPs back suspending routine appointments during an epidemic.

A&E doctors are being persuaded to ditch the 4 hour target
Both Royal College of Emergency Medicine and NHS Providers are likely to back a review of emergency care plans, which will propose new measures to replace the existing four-hour standard.

Don’t be fooled by government’s pledge to keep NHS out of US trade deal
The NHS could be excluded if trade negotiators agreed to use an approach known as positive listing for services, only named services would be included in a trade deal. However leaked trade papers showed that the US is demanding a negative listing system which works the opposite way, all services are on the table unless specifically exempted.

Excellent exposé of the role of McKinsey in destruction of England’s NHS
McKinsey helped Margaret Thatcher privatise state industries and advised John Major on his disastrous rail privatisation and its staff wrote key sections of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act that abolished the Government's fundamental duty to provide healthcare. Although it's a piece about MP Helen Whately, read how McKinsey continues to destroy the NHS.

Private hospitals fail its patients
The cases of consultants Ian Paterson and now Michael Walsh show that, unlike NHS trusts, private hospitals are not responsible for care failings - it's the individual consultants who are. Consultants bring in the work and are rewarded well, just seven private hospital firms have paid consultants £1.5 million for the business they bring.

MPs ask for suspension of NHS charges on migrants
There's a growing body of evidence that migrant women are deterred from seeking essential maternity care due to the NHS being required to share its data with the Home Office for immigration purposes. An Early Day Motion calls for such charges to be suspended, in fact less than 40% of charges are collected.

Will Big Tech save the NHS – or eat it alive?
Here's an article that examines the possible implications of technological innovations in the NHS, not just Babylon's 'GP at Hand'. but including the use robots replacing your doctor. There are a great many cheerleaders extolling the benefits [of advanced technology], but all too few counselling sober reflection on the downsides.

Comparison of US and UK health systems
Yet another comparison of the two systems, but the video is well presented and up-to-date with references to US/UK trade deal.

A synopsis of Medact's work
It's worth perusing the Medact website to gain an understanding of its work, not just for its excellent campaign against charging migrant women for maternity care, but also Fossil Free Health, Doctors Aganist Diesel and The Arms Trade.

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2nd March 2020

Life expectancy has stalled due to 10 years of austerity
Life expectancy has stalled for the first time in more than 100 years and even reversed for the most deprived women in society. The gap in health inequalities is yawning even wider than it did a decade ago, in large part due to the impact of cuts linked to the government’s austerity policies.

A&E waits: Sickest NHS patients 'face hours on trolleys'
Nearly a quarter of patients admitted on to wards during December and January in England faced delays of more than four hours before a bed could be found. Corridor nursing has become the norm in A&Es.

739 women denied free NHS maternity care by London NHS trust
All three hospitals run by Barts NHS Trust has charged 456 overseas women at Newham Hospital, 120 women at Whipps Cross Hospital in Waltham Forest  and 163 women at the Royal London Hospital in Tower Hamlets. NHS Improvement has gone to the expense of providing a computer system to identify patients who can be charged.

GP workforce down by 277 in a year
The latest NHS Digital data on GP workforce show that fully-qualified, full-time equivalent GP numbers fell by 277 in a year.

Campaigners lose battle to keep Kent stroke service
Save Our NHS in Kent in its judicial review submission argued that the CCGs’ decision failed to take into account health inequalities in Thanet. Campaigners are considering whether to appeal.

Confusion about Tory promise on nurse retention
A leaked email reveals that the planning to retain 18500 nurses as promised in the Conservative election manifesto is unclear. The delivery plan does not provide confidence to ministers to...deliver the improvements [in retention of staff].

Risk to unlawful release of NHS patient data
Patients can opt out of their confidential patient information being used for research and planning. However many health trusts and GP practices have not yet confirmed that they have eliminated the data in their records that should not be shared.

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25th February 2020

Scans of 1800 patients reviewed after private contract suspended
Bestcare Diagnostics held an “any qualified provider” contract for non-obstetric ultrasound scans with Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group from April 2017. Now 1800 patients have had to be reviewed over concerns about the quality and safety of work. The company is now in liquidation.

Is Johnson "increase" in NHS funding as generous as it's made out?
Look at the annual increase in NHS funding over recent years. The Blair/Brown years averaged 6% increase; from then on increases have been meagre. Kings Fund: "A credible plan to increase the workforce is also urgently needed.... patients will unfortunately continue to wait longer to receive the care that they need."

Staff shortages are a disaster waiting to happen
GMB union members at a Brighton hospital say staff shortages at a hospital are a “disaster waiting to happen”. Regional organiser Gary Palmer claimed incorrect information had been displayed on patients’ beds and patients were not getting meals on time because of pressures on staff.

Hospital ‘bed blocking’ numbers hit highest level since 2017
Delays in discharging patients owing to insufficient care placements has returned to record levels. December 2019 saw 15% higher than the same month a year earlier. The combined figures for the last quarter of 2019 were the highest in two years.

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19th February 2020

Record number of A&E 'trolley waits' in January
Patients waiting on trolleys in English A&E reached a record number last month. There were 100,578 patients waiting for more than four hours, of whom 2,846 were delayed for more than 12 hours from decision to admit to admission.

Private contractor failed to send 28,563 confidential letters in IT bungle
The NHS has launched a patient safety inquiry after a private contractor Cerner failed to send more than 28,000 pieces of confidential medical correspondence from Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals for north London patients to their GPs.

The scandal of autistic children locked away
The underfunding of the NHS and of local authority children's services has created a scandal that shames us all, writes John Harris in the Guardian.

Dementia sufferers dumped in hospitals after day centre closures
Dementia sufferers are ending up dumped in A&Es owing to the closures of day centres for patients. 32 of the services, designed to alleviate pressure on carers, have closed in three years, including 20 in the last year alone.

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12th February 2020

NHS trusts are 'financially unstable'
The function of the National Audit Office (NAO) is to "scrutinise public spending for Parliament". In a report it says that parts of the NHS are “seriously financially unstable” and trusts are building up levels of debt they are unlikely to ever repay. Since 2010 NHS funding has increased by an average of 1.5%, whereas just to meet demand it requires 3-4% annual increase,  (see paragraph "What happened next").

Do you pay your taxes? Virgin Care doesn't
"Virgin continues to play a parasitic role in the NHS, fragmenting services and poaching NHS-trained staff and undermining nearby NHS trusts" says Dr. John Lister, senior lecturer in health journalism. By claiming that it "borrows money from a holding company [repayments are] corporation tax-deductible". The holding company is based in a tax haven.

Johnson to sieze control of the NHS
Johnson is planning to use new health legislation to impose ministerial control over the NHS. Conservative ministers are likely to use new powers to extend private-sector involvement in the NHS.

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4th February 2020

Hunt chairing health committee 'conflict of interest'
Jess Phillips says 'how Jeremy Hunt, newly elected health and social care select committee chair, can properly scrutinise the government on health policy and practice when much of it will have been his doing.”

GP: Why I resigned as PCN clinical director
Primary Care Networks are the government's current dodgy policy for GPs; it's their way of avoiding the disturbing shortage of GPs, a situation of their own making. PCNs tempt them with a little more funding as long as they take on more services. Here a doctor explains why he has resigned as PCN clinical director.

NHS England promises to rethink PCNs
NHS England has promised to consider 'what can realistically be delivered' by primary care networks (PCNs) after large numbers of GPs submitted feedback on draft network DES specifications in a public consultation on the new GP contract.

Ex US ambassador: 'Trump will insist UK pays more for drugs'
Kim Darroch, who resigned from his post as UK ambassador in Washington, says that Trump will ensure that the UK pays more for US drugs as part of any UK/US trade deal.

Hospital strikers victory over outsourcing
Strike action by NHS cleaners, caterers and porters has won a huge victory against out-sourcing at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London. Following a 3-month campaign of industrial action organised by members of the United Voices of the World trade union (UVW), the Trust agreed to bring 1000 outsourced workers in-house.

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27th January 2020

A&E medics: there's no evidence for replacing 4 hour A&E target
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has contradicted Matt Hancock’s suggestion that the four-hour target should be replaced, saying there was no evidence yet of a viable replacement.

Hancock backs plans to downgrade Dorset A&E
After a valiant fight by local campaigners to save their A&E, Hancock has refused to support their case that closing Poole A&E, Maternity and Paediatric services will create unnecessary risks to patients.

Millions spent on sending patients to private hospitals
Without a shred of evidence that outsourcing patients to private hospitals is cost-efficient, the inappropriatedly named NHS Improvement has spent £22 million this winter to outsource elective and diagnostic work to the private sector.

GPs 'carry the can' for mental health crisis
With NHS mental health services at breaking point and soaring patient demand, it's GPs that are left to deal with a service that has been cut to the bone. A report of mental health clinicians shows that 44% of respondents said they felt demoralised and the same proportion reported that their workload was unmanageable.

Americans dying, unable to afford healthcare
Walwart employee lost her job, with it her healthcare insurance; and she couldn't find another job. Three months later she was dead after avoiding going to see a doctor for flu-like symptoms.

Patients wait in ambulances due to A&E crisis
Record numbers of patients are being forced to stay with ambulance crews for an hour or more this winter because overwhelmed A&E units are too busy to admit them.

GPs to withdraw from PCNs
Government plans to link surgeries into networks suffer a setback after doctors group advises them to refuse to sign up to network plans.

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6th January 2020

Tories' Long Term Plan for our NHS
Now that we have the prospect of 5 years of Conservative rule here's what they plan for our NHS, and why you should reject it. Gone is the principle of national comprehensive healthcare to be replaced by separate delivery systems, with the prospect of being run by private companies.

Further NHS privatisation planned
Yes they say that the NHS won't be privatised but that's exactly what's happening. Private firms are being invited to bid for chunks of our health service in complete contrast to Boris Johnson’s repeated election campaign denials. Cardiology, gynaecology, paediatrics and oncology are among the services being offered to private companies.

The state of general practice in 2020
If you wonder why it's so difficult to see a GP, here are 9 charts that show the state of our primary care in 2020. The number of GP partners, those GPs who take the responsibility of running your local surgery, has dramatically dropped in the last 4 years, such is the work load increase. To cope with increased workload GPs have reduced their working hours, further limiting our access to appointments.

GPs recommend go private for child mental health referral
43% of UK family doctors said they told parents whose children were struggling with anxiety, depression, self-harm or eating disorders to seek treatment privately if they could afford it. Once inflation is accounted for, mental health trusts received £105 million less than in 2011–12.

Call to stop NHS surcharge for overseas doctors and nurses
In 2015 the government introduced a surcharge for foreign health workers coming to the UK; they are required to pay £464 for themselves and each family member, on top of the £464 cost of a visa. The charges are about to go up to £625 a year per person. The King’s Fund fears the move will exacerbate NHS staff shortages.

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28th December 2019

NHS rationing
The NHS has always had a list of medical procedures that are not permitted under the NHS, for example, alternative and complementary therapies. In recent years this list has expanded with procedures that were formerly permitted under the NHS. The website Rationwatch has complied a list of procedures that you would expect to be standard NHS procedures, hernias, hip replacements, but are now excluded or are allowed only in exceptional circumstances.

The scandal in mental health care
A shortage of beds for mental health patients, leaving them waiting in emergency departments for more than 12 hours, is a national scandal. So says Sir Hugh Taylor, chair of Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital foundation trusts, previously Department of Health permanent secretary. The lack of inpatient mental health beds was driving up the number of 12-hour A&E breaches.

Queens speech promises only scratch the surface of NHS crisis
The NHS faces a dire staffing crisis, with a nursing shortage of 40,000 in England and a decline in the number of GPs per person for the first time in 50 years. The UK has the second lowest number of doctors in leading European nations relative to its population. The cost for the backlog of building repairs alone has now reached more than £6 billion. The plans outlined in the Queen’s speech alone won’t solve these massive problems.

2000 doctors warn: 'NHS is on its knees'
A letter, sent by the Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) and signed by over 2,000 doctors, including 654 GPs and 312 GP trainees, highlights the devastating impact that 'years of underfunding' have had on the NHS. Doctors are ‘working themselves into the ground’ to keep services afloat, it adds, warning that the haemorrhaging of frontline staff cannot continue.

Norwich hospital told to use 'least unsafe' option
A major NHS hospital has been so overwhelmed that it told senior doctors to make “the least unsafe decision” when treating patients. It had no spare beds, a full accident and emergency department, 35 patients waiting on trolleys to be admitted, and had declared a major internal incident.

Tories' charging regime is “putting lives of mothers and children at risk”
Tory measures to stop so-called health tourism on the NHS have been linked to the deaths of three pregnant women in a major report that was delayed until after the election. The women all died after delays in seeking help because they mistakenly believed that they would have to pay for care under the government’s strict charging regime.

The government's public health policy explained
The government has declared its intention to make England smoke free, but in contradiction to this ambition, it's cancelled an anti-smoking campaign following a 24% cut to the public health marketing budget.

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19th December 2019

Performance figures show NHS is 'on its knees'
Targets that are missed by the biggest ever margins show "an NHS on its knees and it is no wonder that most leaders predict that this winter will be the worst on record,” said Niall Dickson, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation.

Another distressing hospital incident
Yet another demonstration of Tory austerity towards the NHS. A sick baby spent 11 hours waiting for a bed. The fact that it was the same hospital where an ill boy was forced to sleep on the floor is a reflection on lack of funding, not on hospital staff trying to cope in difficult circumstances.

Thousands of patients die waiting for beds
Almost 5,500 patients have died over the past three years because they have spent so long on a trolley in A&E waiting for a bed in overcrowded hospitals, a study by leading NHS doctors has found.

9000 more GPs to deliver safe care
There are currently more than 2,100 patients per full-time fully-qualified GP, 31% more than than a 1,600 per patient figure cited in BMA guidance on safe working. To achieve safe care analysis of official NHS data by the TUC shows that general practice is currently operating with 9,325 GPs below the number it needs. Nearly three quarters of GPs say waiting times for appointments at their surgeries have increased over the past year.

NHS for sale to US?
Leaked documents clearly show that the NHS is not safe from US profit-seeking. No one seriously thinks that the US is going to buy the entire NHS. But what is being planned is more complex and no less alarming.

Patients leave Virgin Care surgery en masse
GP practices in Essex run by private provider Virgin Care have lost more than 1,600 patients in the past year. Of four practices run by Virgin across Mid Essex CCG and Southend CCG, just one saw its list size increase in the year to November 2019.

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9th December 2019

Johnson forced to apologise after boy treated on hospital floor
Boris Johnson has apologised after it was revealed that a four-year-old boy with suspected pneumonia had to sleep on a hospital floor. Sarah Williment covered her son, Jack, with coats to keep him warm as he waited for a bed at Leeds General Infirmary.

Ocasio-Cortez: "please cherish, protect, & continue investing in your NHS"
The congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “To our friends in the UK: please cherish, protect, & continue investing in your healthcare system! Once Big Pharma & special interests get their hands on it, it could take generations to regain. Millions of people in the US are fighting to have a system half as good as the NHS.”

KONP website 'NHS Cuts'
If you'd like to know of NHS cuts - but how could you not? - in your area, just add your postcode in a new Keep Our NHS Public website called NHS Cuts.

Amazon given free access to NHS data
The government claims that its contract that gives Amazon Alexa free access to NHS data, but not patient data, would reduce pressure on “our hard-working GPs and pharmacists”. Freedom of information requests showed the contract will also allow the company access to information on symptoms, causes and definitions of conditions.

Woman denied NHS cancer care is now dying
An elderly woman suffering from two forms of cancer had vital NHS treatment delayed for months because she couldn’t afford a £150,000 upfront 'hostile environment' charge. Her local MP is Matt Hancock.

Letter from NHS experts demands end to marketisation of services
A Guardian letter from the likes of Melvyn Bragg , Ken Loach and Joan Bakewell as well as our own Dr Louise Irvine and Professor Allyson Pollock states the NHS crisis isn’t just about lack of adequate funding. Over the last 30 years the NHS has been structurally dismantled under successive governments.

Only one in 20 GP trainees plan to work full time
A survey shows that the proportion GP trainees planning to work full time 10 years after qualifying is just 5%. Last year our health secretary Matt Hancock claimed that a thousand GPs had joined the NHS in three months, a claim he was forced to withdraw.

Tories turned down pleas to train more nurses
Universities warned the government for years that they needed to train more nurses to avert a staffing crisis. Prof David Green, vice-chancellor of Worcester University, a leading provider of nursing degrees, says the current staffing crisis was “entirely avoidable”.

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2nd December 2019

Tories GP recuitment pledge fails by over 90%
You'll remember Jeremy Hunt's promise to recruit 5000 GPs, but you may not know how many the goverment has recruited - just 370. The Tories missed their own target by 4630. In fact the fully qualified GP workforce fell by 339 over the past year.

The NHS is already being sold off
Although the possibility of selling the NHS, contract by contract, to the US is a live election issue, in fact the NHS IS being sold off now; private companies have been given £15 billion's worth of contracts since 2015.

More NHS treatments cut: scans and blood tests
Every goverment policy on the NHS has as its primary aim of saving funding. Here's another example, 34 diagnostic tests and treatments will be removed from NHS, unless deemed medically essential.

Nursing crisis plugged by less qualified staff
The NHS is relying on less qualified staff to plug workforce gaps because of a huge shortage of nurses, according to a new report from the Health Foundation. Support staff, such as healthcare assistants and nursing associates, have been used to shore up staffing numbers.

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25th November 2019

NHS staffing crisis: bosses speak out
Nine out of 10 hospital bosses in England fear understaffing across the service has become so severe that patients’ health could be damaged. So concerned that consultants won't work extra shifts owing to a pension tax issue, that the government have offered to pay them extra from NHS funds.

PFI officially scrapped
The Private finance Initiative (PFI) has been abandoned. Recent plans were conceived under "Project Phoenix" as a way of raising private capital in a public-private partnership for government infrastructure projects.

Doctor speaks out on train about crisis in the NHS
Courageous doctor makes a speech on a busy commuter train about the chronic under-funding and the staffing crisis in the NHS.

"So you're voting Conservative?" - medics video on the crisis in NHS
Medical staff contest Johnson's NHS promises in a video that shows doctors and nurses rebutting his claims incuding the "We'll build 40 new hospitals" promise.

Additional funding to avoid election emarrassment
Extra funding is being offered to help open more beds, outsource operations to avoid embarrassing publicity before the election amid serious concerns about the NHS’ ability to cope with a surge in demand.

Scrap "immoral fees" for NHS care say medical associations
The Conservative party announced it was going to increase the surcharge from £400 to £625 a year for all non-EU migrant workers and their families. The charge for NHS care for foreign staff who help save British lives is £625 a year.

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18th November 2019

Labour's £26 billion boost for the NHS
This will include a) scrapping prescription charges in England, a move that would bring it in line with the rest of the UK b) creating a £2bn 'strategic mental health infrastructure fund', abolishing out-of-area placements c) creating a £1bn fund to restore the training bursary for nurses and recruit 24,000 extra nurses d) give £1.5bn to fund an increase in MRI and CT scanning equipment.

NHS staff gagged in election campaign
NHS workers have been told not to get involved in any political debates on social media during the campaign and are banned from appearing in uniform. Doctors, nurses and paramedics have said instructions from their employers are oppressive and an attempt to stop them highlighting the fragile state of the NHS.

Privatisation is already killing our NHS
Keep Our NHS Public says it isn't that there's a threat of NHS privatisation, it’s already being privatised with billions of pounds of contracts sold off every year. Another Tory government could be its final straw.

GPs 'face unsustainable pressure'
The General Medical Council, a public body that 'works to protect patient safety and support medical education and practice across the UK' says that heavy workload is leading to GP burnout and has increased the risk of GPs making mistakes. GPs are working under intense and unsustainable pressure that has eroded their relationship with patients and standards of care.

Why are we copying US style healthcare?
The government is introducing Integrated Care Systems, similar to US Accountable Care. Keep Our NHS Public says ICSs will increase the potential scope of NHS privatisation and incentivise rationing of services and denial of care. Here's a an account of the inadequacy of health provision in the US.

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12th November 2019

A junior doctor talks about the crisis in the NHS
She speaks so fluently and knowledgeably.

Report reveals £millions leaks from care home fees
A report by the Centre for Health and Public Interest reveals that hundreds of millions of pounds a year leak out of the care home industry in the form of rental payments to offshore landlords, profit, management fees and rental payments again to offshore companies.

An account of the privatisation of the NHS
Here's a Guardian discussion of private company involvement in the NHS. It highlights that although there are a number of big issues in the NHS, the number one is the staffing crisis.

GPs say children are being denied mental health care
A survey for the charity YoungMinds has found that three in four family doctors do not believe under-18s they refer to child and adolescent mental health services will end up being treated. Cuts to mental health trusts have left the service threadbare. Growing numbers of troubled children are having appointments with NHS mental health services cancelled, says mental health charity Mind.

Disastrous NHS Act: How did your MP vote?
The Act that accelerated the privatisation of our health service that has been roundly attacked by doctors, nurses and patients is the Health and Social Care Act 2012. It was introduced by the Tories with full assistance of the Libdems in the Coalition government. Find out whether your MP voted for it or against here.

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4th November 2019

No 'sunlit uplands' from Tory NHS promises
Chris Hopson, the head of the organisation representing NHS trusts has called for parties to avoid “cheap political slogans” during the general election campaign. The NHS funding increases promised by the Conservatives would do no more than maintain current provision, rather than take the NHS to “sunlit uplands”.

Labour will remove 'all traces of privatisation'
John McDonnell committed Labour to eradicating all traces of privatisation from the NHS and warned the public not to trust Donald Trump’s assurance that the NHS will not form part of post-Brexit trade deal.

Johnson acts on NHS crisis for his election campaign
Johnson is holding regular meetings with the head of NHS England as evidence mounts of lengthening delays in treatment caused by shortages of doctors and nurses. The BMA published a critical statement saying it should not take a general election to prompt the government to act, it said the NHS was now in a “perpetual state of crisis”.

The state of our mental health services
An inquiry into the often long-term detention of young people with learning disabilities or autism has revealed that legislation must be overhauled to stop the “horrific” and inappropriate detention of young people with autism or learning disabilities. The budget for mental health services has been cut mercilessly, despite government claims.

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30th October 2019

Johnson Brexit worse than May's for NHS
The Johnson deal is likely to be risky for the NHS. The continuity of medical supplies could be impacted by trade friction and the shorter transition period attached to it means the UK has less time to broker a new trade deal with Europe.

GP recruitment and workload crisis
The vast majority of GPs are regularly working long hours, struggling to recruit and have too little time with patients. 68% of GPs involved in recruiting found it difficult to hire GPs. with 65% indicating they struggled to employ practice nurses. Half of GPs feel unable to cope with their workload, twice the level across all doctors, according to a GMC report.

Why the contaminated blood scandal?
In 1975 the UK government owned company was created to provide to reliable blood plasma supply. In 2013 Hunt sold it to the US private equity firm Bain Capital. Lord Owen, who created the service said it was "hard to conceive of a worse outcome". Bain then sold it on to a Chinese company in 2016 for £820m. 

BMA: 5 tests for Integrated Care Systems
The British Medical Association have published 5 tests that must be met if they are to be successful. Among them are "ensure the pay and conditions of all NHS staff are fully protected", "Be given proper funding", and "Be operated by NHS bodies, free from competition and privatisation". But will they will be met by the next government?

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21st October 2019

Hostile environment continues: NHS doctor banned from returning
A Moorfields eye specialist has been stranded overseas and unable to resume his career in the NHS after the Home Office banned him from entering Britain over a visa mix-up.

Charity takes legal action over NHS migrant charging
Maternity Action says destitute migrant women who struggle to afford food and accommodation are receiving bills of £7,000 or more. Its research shows women are avoiding essential medical care in an attempt to save money and has launched a legal challenge against the policy of charging vulnerable migrant women. Care to contribute to legal costs? .. then go here.

Stop CCG mergers
Keep Our NHS Public has started a petition aganist the merging of clinical commissioning groups, local NHS bodies that buy our health services from GPs, hospitals and community trusts. The government wants to merge them to plan for accountable care, the US system that will control NHS funding with rationing services and probably privatisation.

A campaign to reinstate a proper mental health service
Health Campaign Together held a conference to discuss the launching of a campaign for an adequate mental health service. Cuts to NHS mental health have left the service woefully inadequate, even the funding into homicides caused by mental health patients has been cut.

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16th October 2019

40 new hospitals? ...
The Johnson announcement unravels as closer inspection reveals it's just reconfiguring 6. The government has committed funding to upgrade six hospitals by 2025. Up to 38 other hospitals have received money to plan for building work between 2025 and 2030, but not to actually begin any work.

Mental health crisis: shortage of psychatrists
Unfilled consultant psychiatrist posts across the UK have doubled in six years, according to a new survey by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, with children's mental health and eating disorder services particularly affected.

BMA: There's a doctors' mental health crisis
If you're wondering why your GP is now working only part time, and perhaps no longer is a partner in your surgery, then here's the reason. A BMA survey found that doctors are being forced to work harder and longer to compensate and plug the gaps, sometimes leading to symptoms of exhaustion and burnout. Primary care has been expected to take on more and more work as hospitals push patients out faster and social care and community nursing services have been eroded. An under pressure GP in London has taken his own life owing to heavy workload and financial pressure.

GP funding doesn't meet patient need
Persistent underfunding of general practice has left practices struggling to address the growing needs of their patients and improve services. Persistent underfunding of general practice has left practices struggling to address the growing needs of their patients and improve services.

Hostile environment and the NHS
A psychiatrist may leave the UK because his Indian mother has been refused entry. Dr Nishchint Warikoo, the lead psychiatrist for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in Hampshire, said he and his family were being “forced to leave” the UK in order to stay together.

Brexit: NHS could lose thousands of staff
Under a proposed Australian points based immigration system for the UK after Brexit, there are 29,000 non-EU staff who are not on the shortage occupation list and earn less than £30,000, which is the salary currently required to receive a tier 2 visa, the category of visa for skilled overseas workers wanting to work in the UK.

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