Archives for posts with tag: National Health Service

aneurin_bevana

Whilst the right wing media still has daily fits over the rise of Labour and Jeremy Corbyn, the Conservatives fall ever further into the abyss where they rightly belong.

At 66 years of age I remember the post war era, of moving from an ageing prefab to a brand new 3 bedroom house with a garden front and back, of visits to the doctor when needed and the dentist as a matter of course for regular check ups and treatment. I vividly recall a life saving operation as a child in London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, writ large because of the agony I was in and of being cared for at home afterwards by a district nurse. In the new, post war, world I grew up in we learnt to take such care for granted, available to us even though we were dirt poor.

So it is with some authority that I can say that what Jeremy Corbyn is offering us is not new, it has been done before in a time of immense upheaval in this country which had suffered what today in Britain is unimaginable destruction, save in the memories of those older than I am, and bravely survived.

In those days Britain had to draw on skills from across the world to realise the vision of a National Health Service and to run Transport for London. Without that influx of immigrant Labour the dreams would never have become reality and the NHS would have collapsed. Then, as now, immigration was a thorny issue, Britain has never shied away from hypocrisy and bigotry to serve its own ends.

Age provides a longer memory and a longer perspective, so imagine my rage when Theresa May was told by nursing staff on the election special of BBC Question Time, “My wage slips from 2009 reflect exactly what I’m earning today. How can that be fair, in the light of the job that we do?” and another telling her, ‘the 1 per cent cap on annual public sector pay rises had meant a real-terms decrease in his salary of 14 per cent since 2010, adding: “So don’t tell us we’re getting a pay rise”,’ to which Theresa May responded, “there isn’t a magic money tree that we can shake that suddenly provides for everything that people want.”

First and foremost my fury was directed at the sheer arrogance and patronising contempt of Theresa May with which she insulted the intelligence of not just nurses but the entire nation, on prime time television, and then the fact that what May had said was an ideologically driven bare faced lie. There is more than enough money to do whatever her party wants to do, including MPs pay rises. Cut price, tax payer funded, sell offs to vulture privateers of national assets and public services across the board, tax breaks for the rich and for corporations, vanity infrastructure projects like High Speed Rail, with its tidal wave of unnecessary destruction on our tiny island nation which has no need of any such thing.

What Jeremy Corbyn is experiencing from the Conservatives and the right wing media is something about which, were he alive, Aneurin Bevan could share a tale or two about the bloody Tories of his time which led him to declare in bitterness and rage, in 1948 at a Manchester rally:

“… no amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party that inflicted those bitter experiences on me. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin. They condemned millions of first-class people to semi-starvation. Now the Tories are pouring out money in propaganda of all sorts and are hoping by this organised sustained mass suggestion to eradicate from our minds all memory of what we went through. But, I warn you young men and women, do not listen to what they are saying now. Do not listen to the seductions of Lord Woolton. He is a very good salesman. If you are selling shoddy stuff you have to be a good salesman. But I warn you they have not changed, or if they have they are slightly worse than they were.”

If Jeremy Corbyn had said the same at Glastonbury, Manchester, Liverpool, Gateshead or London, not a word of it would have been out of place other than ‘Lord Woolton’ who could be replaced by any Tory propagandist of our time.

It is a hatred that burns inside me today at the suffering and destruction the Tories have inflicted upon us.

The united voices of people chorusing, “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn,” is more than a cry of sentiment from the ignorant masses, it is a cry of protest that we’ve had enough of Tories lies and destruction. It is a cry of hope, aspiration and yearning the like of which has never been seen in Britain before.

Millions of people have had enough of Tory eugenics (what else can I call it?) which have cost tens of thousands of lives and “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” means ‘enough is enough’. The Conservatives do not serve the nation, they serve the interests of a tiny few, those interests of polarised wealth and greed, betraying the hopes and dreams of millions who just want to get on in reasonable prosperity and comfort, with the right to a roof over our heads and a decent meal on the table.

At 66 years old I do not aspire, nor ever have, to becoming a millionaire, what use would that be to me? I would like to end my days in peace, with enough to survive and thrive on and for any rainy days which inevitably fall, to attend my local hospital for vital treatments in the knowledge that such health care will outlast me for the future. That is no great ask, it is a modest demand and expectation.

Do not tell me it can’t be done. It has been done before and it can be done again. All it requires is the people’s will to make it so, to drive the Tories and austerity off the awaiting cliff and rebuild a better Britain for the many, not just the grasping few.

KOG. 25 June 2017

http://www.historyandpolicy.org/policy-papers/papers/immigration-and-the-national-health-service-putting-history-to-the-forefron

https://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/assets/downloads/Generations.pdf

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-nurse-magic-money-tree-bbcqt-question-time-pay-rise-eight-years-election-latest-a7770576.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/10249815/High-speed-rail-scheme-cost-to-double-to-80bn-economists-warn.html

https://www.sochealth.co.uk/national-health-service/the-sma-and-the-foundation-of-the-national-health-service-dr-leslie-hilliard-1980/aneurin-bevan-and-the-foundation-of-the-nhs/bevans-speech-to-the-manchester-labour-rally-4-july-1948/

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/social-care-scandal-tory-cuts-9836261

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01_august_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,509

Monday 01 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

It took about 200,000 years from the birth of humanity to make the NHS and a mere 68 years to dismantle it. It was Britain’s finest achievement yet Jeremy Hunt is close to finishing it off for good and It’s a fair guess that he’ll also bring in an insurance system at some point.

Tories opposed the NHS from day one, a national health service paid for by the people, free at the point of use and admired the world over.

It transformed the lives of the poor and, of course, the poor will suffer the most once it’s gone.

It is an unforgivable step backwards, undertaken with cunning and deception. At the very least the nation should have been consulted and a referendum held, but you know that the nation would not have tolerated it for a moment if it had been honestly declared.

It is the people’s NHS, we’ve paid for it and no government should have the right to steal it away from us.

The NHS has been deliberately under funded to destabilise it, as Diane Abbott wrote in Left Futures, “The Public Accounts Committee said in May (2016) that the NHS is nationally short of 50,000 front line staff and the Government is driving through £22billion in cuts by 2020, which has pushed hospitals and A&E departments to the brink of failure.”

It is nothing more than a confidence trick, parcelling out the nations money to corporations for profit. It is more than shameful, it amounts to robbery by stealth. The Guardian reported in 2015 that patients were already being denied care through treatments being rationed. Jeremy Hunt will never suffer from lack of health care and yet he is forcing his will on those who will certainly suffer from his actions and indeed already are and being driven into acute distress. The degree of Hunt’s dishonesty is appalling, putting lives at risk for profit.

Our understaffed underfunded NHS is the result of government ideology

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/dec/08/nhs-rationing-denying-patients-care-cash-crisis-survery-doctors

09_july_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,488

Saturday 09 July 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

What the EU referendum and the Chilcot report have brought into the spotlight is something that has been glaringly obvious for a very long time, we can no longer afford or tolerate the lack, indeed the absence, of government accountability.

Aside from banking and the financial markets, witness the 2008 financial crisis and post Brexit behaviour, no other form of employment enjoys such complete protection from being held accountable for policies and decisions which affect vast numbers of people at such great personal cost.

No one should be above the law and given that we are, in reality, not all equal before the law, the current situation needs turning on its head. Currently, those with the least have the least protection in law, whilst those with the most have the most protection.

There is no justice as long as a 23-year-old can be jailed for six months for stealing £3.50 worth of water bottles from a supermarket during the 2011 riots whilst not a single banker has been prosecuted for the financial crisis.

You made an election pledge in 2010 that there would be no more top down reorganisations of the NHS, yet the The Health and Social Care Act 2012 ‘Abolished the Secretary of State for Health’s ‘duty to provide’ a national health service throughout England’. That act of social vandalism effectively spelled the end of the NHS which has been stealthily and deceitfully pursued ever since.

Currently, Britain is a rudderless ship, you have washed your hands of Britain following the vote to leave the EU and the three most prominent Brexiteers, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage, have all walked away following their campaigns of deceit. I also note that Priti Patel has crawled under a stone and is keeping damned quiet. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, has mocked their behaviour and accused them of abandoning ship, as he put it, “I would have thought that they would have had a plan. Instead of developing a plan they are leaving the boat.” Not forgetting that you had no plan for such an eventuality either.

George Orwell’s Animal Farm could have been written for Britain today – ‘all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others’. It was no accidental flight of writers fancy that this was said by a bunch of greedy self serving pigs.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/aug/15/riots-magistrates-sentencing

http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-camerons-broken-promises/20429

The Health and Social Care Act 2012

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/mar/02/doctors-bemoan-nhs-privatisation-by-stealth

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/14/priti-patel-struggles-to-explain-how-uk-would-spend-cash-not-sent-to-eu

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/eu-chief-juncker-slams-resigning-brexiteers/news-story/ba7a67decaa7daabe53eedaad4f277fd

18_october_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,234

Sunday 18 October 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

The Guardian reports that Dr Johann Malawana has called upon you to support junior doctors in their battle with Jeremy Hunt who plans to extend their hours and reduce their pay.

Asked if you were completely happy with Hunt’s tactics in the dispute, a spokeswoman for your office replied: “It goes without saying that the prime minister agrees with the secretary of state.”

This makes me think of the chief cow of a herd ushered into an abattoir asking to see the manager to ask for a stay of execution. That will happen exactly at the point when hell freezes over and not a moment before. Of course it is laudable so to do, but the fact is that the manager is as keen to shoot the bolt into the cows brain as the minion tasked with doing it. No stay of execution is going to come from the party that is hell bent on undermining and destroying the National Health Service and turning it into a privatised health business.

You have also made it clear that you favour the idea of private health and welfare insurance, although you made it clear this is not government policy at this stage it’s a one way street favouring a US style system which a study in 2011 found was amongst the least efficient and effective systems in the world.

The same study found that the NHS saved more lives for each pound spent as a proportion of national wealth than any other country apart from Ireland over 25 years.

Iain Duncan Smith thinks such a system is a way for people to take individual responsibility for their affairs, which is odd because we already do in paying personal taxes to maintain our National Health Service. I very much doubt that we’ll see a reduction in taxation if such a system is introduced which means we’ll be paying twice for health care which with increasing privatisation of the NHS will mean a reduced service. As Kailash Chand put it in the Guardian, ‘The idea that competition breeds excellence and market forces drive efficiency is a myth. There is not an iota of evidence that the costs go down and efficiency improves when private companies deliver NHS care. Costs increase and services may well get worse’. How can they not? Companies are in business to make a profit and the interests of the company will always eclipse the interests and welfare of clients, the public.

It is the job of government to look after the welfare of the nation as a whole, why on earth are we paying a fortune for a government that betrays our interests to market greed? As a number of comments of social media have said, your governments policies are the exact reverse of anything you say they are. Believing a word you say, as the Tory voting woman had found out the hard way when she spoke out this week on Question Time, is a recipe for disaster.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/oct/16/junior-doctors-leader-cameron-step-in-polarising-jeremy-hunt

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2011/aug/07/nhs-among-most-efficient-health-services

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jul/13/david-cameron-open-to-workers-saving-up-fund-own-sick-pay

http://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2014/aug/06/privatisation-ripping-nhs-from-our-hands

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/16/tax-credits-question-time-labour-conservative

06_august_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,170

Thursday 06 August 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

The left has finally reawakened after many years of hunkering in the darkness of post Thatcher Britain. As she herself put it, ‘Socialism represents an enduring temptation. No one should underestimate Labour’s potential appeal’. No, they really shouldn’t. Nor should anyone ever underestimate the brutality of the right (as Thatcher so ably demonstrated) to put labour down and by that I mean not just the party which arose to represent labour on February 27, 1900, but the battle to hold workers down and exploit them for profit.

Keeping labour down, to firmly know its place, is as normal as our world renowned love of a good ‘cuppa’, it abides with all the enduring power of religious dogma reinforced constantly by the relentless tabloid ravings of the Mail, Sun and Express with their rabid attacks at the merest hint of Union action to better the lot of workers. So successful is this dogma that workers attack workers if one faction gets uppity enough to demand a better deal. ‘Why should ‘they’ hold the nation to ransom and get a better deal than us?’ they cry with never a thought for the irony of holding others down to their own mean ambitions to stay on the bottom.

Businesses and corporations walk off with billions in profit and it is accepted without question that they have the right to pay their workforce less than is required to eke out even the meanest existence without tax payer help. Osborne introduced a new minimum wage of £7.20 an hour from next April but renamed it a ‘living wage’ and a grateful workforce doffed its docile cap and said, ‘Thankee kindly good master’ in ever such ‘umble gratitude. Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation, trumpeted, ‘We are delighted that the announcement made in the Budget this lunchtime will see over 2.5 million workers receive a much needed pay rise. This is a massive victory for Citizens UK and those communities, workers and business leaders who have campaigned for a Living Wage since 2001’. It was a masterpiece of deception by gorgeous George as he basked in smug self satisfied glory to the lunatic capering of Iain Duncan Smith shouting, ‘Fantastic!’. Of course what George gives with one hand he takes away with the other, cutting tax credits which support businesses paying poverty wages, but its workers who pay the price, as always.

The rise and rise of Jeremy Corbyn, to the utter dismay and horror of everyone on the right, including those within his own party, has seen the arousing of the sleeping giant, those whose hearts yearn for social justice, decent housing and fair rents, equality for women, an end to the execrable bedroom tax, a tax funded National Health Service, an end to the insane privatisation of the state, bringing back rail and energy to public ownership, an end to austerity, protection at work, abolishing student fees and much more besides. Socialism has returned asserting its ‘enduring temptation’ for a better world, putting people before profits. It is your party that is dragging us backwards to a post Victorian nightmare, the real left is going forwards.

Arise the sleeping giant and throw off the chains that have bound you.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/14/george-osborne-living-wage-death-social-care

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/george-osbornes-living-wage-is-not-actually-a-living-wage-says-living-wage-foundation-10375897.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/budget-2015-watch-smug-iain-6027521

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/08/owen-jones-right-are-mocking-jeremy-corbyn-because-secretly-they-fear-him

http://www.jeremyforlabour.com/standing_to_deliver

01_august_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,165

Saturday 01 August 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

This is a letter that has come out of an email conversation with a friend who posited, “What if ‘making work pay’ isn’t another lie coming out of Cameron’s, Osborne’s and IDS’s mouths, but might actually be the truth only not in the way it has been interpreted? What if when Cameron, Osborne and IDS spout ‘making work pay’ they don’t mean that work pays for the worker? Everyone assumes that it is the workers who will receive that ‘pay’. What if what they really mean – and what has been shown time and again to be what is really happening – is that ‘work pays the employers’? That is what ‘workfare’ is all about, isn’t it, subsidies for businesses no matter whether workers are paid or not?”

I can’t think why I’ve not written about this before, I thought I had and it has certainly taken up a good deal of my thinking time. I think my friend is exactly right. Just as you can say ‘Britain is for hard working people’ in a country where you want full employment. A country of hard working people for businesses, to drive profits up. A National Health Service ‘free at the point of use’ which you can still say even if it is paid for through private insurance schemes the same as in the USA, which is what you want.

‘Hard working people’ , in various forms, is now something of a mantra for those resenting people on benefits, people adopt it for themselves as you intended, but that isn’t what you Tories mean and I am sure you revel in your clever mouthed deceit.

When Andy Burnham launched his Labour leadership campaign he talked about ‘aspiration’ as about ‘giving every single person the dream of a better life, about helping all of our businesses, small and large, to get on and grow’. Every single person can have a dream, but it’s businesses that get help to get on and grow. As the saying goes, ‘If wishes were fishes we’d all be throwing nets’. New Labour giving every single person the dream of a better life is (meaninglessly) clever as far as it goes, but Burnham can’t out-Tory a Tory, who can speak a literal truth which relies on human vanity to adopt and thus people fool themselves.

Robert Tressell’s ‘The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists’ is entirely about the philanthropy of working people who vote for their own enslavement to the profit hungry Tories. ‘Don’t vote Labour’, the Tories cry, ‘Those socialists will price you out of your jobs. If they demand higher wages, we’ll all go to the wall. We’re all in this together my lads.’ It’s not an empty threat, you’d sack the entire labour force and shut the business down if you had to (which Thatcher did), then open a new one offering lower wages and it’s all those bloody socialists fault, killing businesses. Oh yes, the Tories are for hard working people alright, making work pay, all the way to the corporate comfort off shore tax havens.

17_july_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,150

Friday 17 July 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

On 7 June 2011 you said the following: “But let me also be clear, no: we will not be selling off the NHS, we will not be moving towards an insurance scheme, we will not introduce an American-style private system.

In this country, we have this most wonderful, precious institution and idea.

That whenever you’re ill, however rich you are, you can walk into a hospital or surgery and get treated for free. No questions asked. No cash asked.

I will never put that at risk.”

It seems that age is catching up with members of the other house as they appear to be a little hard of hearing. Lord David Prior, the newly ennobled “Under Secretary of State for NHS Productivity” has called for an inquiry into future funding of the NHS which will include private insurance schemes. Labour peer, Lord Desai, apparently suggested an “Oyster card” scheme with fees deducted whenever a patient uses healthcare, and patients should receive a “bill” at the end of the year, saying this would “help make it clear to people that a free National Health Service is not a costless one.” I am grateful to the noble Lord for insulting my intelligence, does he really think I assumed that our NHS was magicked out of a bag of oofle dust by Sooty? What are we like eh? Us human dregs, can’t cook, wash, talk proper and think money grows on trees and that health care is a magic freebie. Perhaps his Lordship doesn’t understand ‘free at the point of use’, do explain it to him and that our NHS is world renowned as the best (keep it that way!).

But wait, not so fast. Gorgeous George himself is ‘considering’ personal welfare accounts, to extend “personal responsibility” in the welfare system, run by private-sector providers such as insurers and fund managers. Privatised Social Security because we’re all irresponsible layabouts? You Tory Toffs must wonder how us dirt poor, unwashed plebs, ever made it out of the primordial soup or even why we bothered because we’re all as thick as shit anyway.

You know, it’s one thing to create an ‘economic catastrophe’ in order to rid the nation of all state provision and publicly owned assets, but really, must you insult, smear, demonise, slander and demean us at every turn? As Kitty Jones puts it rather well, ‘Tory rhetoric is designed to have us believe there would be no poor if the welfare state didn’t somehow “create” them’. And don’t we just love to suck the tit of state dry as we abuse and neglect our children, roll another fat one and down a can of Tennent’s!

Whatever our failings, real or imagined, it has to be said that I have never met a poor person who can lie, cheat and steal like a Tory!

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/speech-on-the-nhs–2

https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/richard-grimes/government-moves-to-consider-nhs-user-charges

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/17/nhs-health

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/08/poor-cannot-cook-peer-eats-words

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/nov/04/schools-admit-children-age-two-three-ofsted-chief

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/workers-could-be-forced-to-pay-5-a-week-to-get-benefits-9794571.html

https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/the-welfare-state-from-hung-drawn-and-quartered-to-tory-privatisation/

11_february_2015

A letter a day to number 10. No 997

Wednesday 11 February 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

How astonishing! The National Health Service (NHS) has had to put aside £26.1 billion, almost a quarter of the annual health budget, to cover legal claims involving medical negligence. The Litigation Authority has revealed that 11,945 lawsuits were filed against the British healthcare service over 2013-2014, compared with 6,562 in 2009-10. That is nearly a 100% rise with the NHS suffering the longest period of funding restrictions in its 66-year history, ‘resulting in the layoff of over 7,000 NHS clinical staff members, including doctors and nurses’.

This, I hasten to add, is on your watch with the NHS first under Andrew (NHS bill train wreck) Lansley and now Jeremy (de-nationalise the NHS) Hunt. You might just as well have sent in a wrecking crew. Oh, you did!

And what are Hunts plans to deal with this unmitigated, unholy, mess? He is expected to present new plans to fine hospitals up to £100,000 which are dishonest about their medical mistakes. I am not sure why hospitals would do such a thing other than because of the acute pressure they are under precisely because of Lansley and Hunt. Perhaps they feared yet more punitive action if the extent of their troubles were made known, after all, you Tories do love a good cover up.

Fining hospitals that are already cut to the bone makes perfect Tory sense I suppose, further destabilising the NHS and paving the way for yet more siphoning of public funds into private hands and, of course, the many MPs with financial interests in health care.

As ever, the people who should be held accountable, fined and sanctioned are you and your government. It is not a case of whether we can afford the NHS, the real issue is that we and our NHS cannot afford you. You are driving us and our national services into the ground and then blaming and penalising us when we make a mess when we hit the dirt. Never in the history of this nation has so much been owed to so many by so few and future generations will surely wonder how so few could steal so much from so many.

http://presstv.com/Detail/2015/02/10/396948/NHS-marks-26bn-for-negligence-claims

http://www.greenbenchesuk.com/2012/09/jeremy-hunt-co-authored-book-in-2009.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/nhs/if-andrew-lansley-was-a-doctor-he-would-be-facing-disciplinary-action-for-his-impact-on-patient-care-9801764.html

http://www.unitetheunion.org/news/71-coalition-mps-who-voted-for-nhs-sell-off-linked-to-health-firms/