Health News Blog
Edited by Ken Kirk
19th April 2023
"GPs aren't just exhausted, we are broken"
Read this anonymous piece from a person forced by overwork and stress to give up being a GP. "We are making personal, financial, emotional and health sacrifices to keep services running for our patients and we cannot continue. We aren’t just exhausted. We are broken. And we are leaving."
Trump donor's firm to run NHS data
The NHS is using a US surveillance tech company owned by a billionaire Trump donor. "Good medical care requires people to tell their doctors things they may not even tell their loved ones. But NHS England has given Palantir the green light to suck in their information without asking the public." Say 'No to Palantir'.
Private hospitals get £500m, but fewer got seen
The government handed almost half a billion pounds to private healthcare companies to fix the NHS backlog last year, yet is still struggling to treat any more patients than it was. The number of patients being treated overall has not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels.
Private hospitals demand bigger profit margin
Private hospitals will turn away from NHS work unless the health service increases the rates it pays, some of the country’s largest independent providers have told NHS England. Well let's hope the government redirect this funding into hiring desperately needed nurses and doctors.
12th April 2023
Why doctors are striking
A junior doctor says: "I’m striking because in emergency medicine, things have become so unsafe it is not tenable to continue." This is the result of years of Tory underfunding, not Covid.
NHSE: British bid for data platform rejected
NHS England has rejected the British bid to run the federated data platform (FDR), and has therefore signalled its intention to give the contract to Palantir, a company that has spent most of its history helping the powerful abuse the powerless. Examples are the CIA’s dirty wars in Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Police’s racist predictive policing scheme, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s brutal operations at the US-Mexico border. Say 'No to Palantir' here.
PFI firm left hospital unsafe
A PFI contractor left a hospital in an unsafe condition for nine months after a fire which required patients to be evacuated. The Whittington Health Trust was left responsible for the maintenance and costs of refurbishments, and the trust has been pursuing the firm for these costs.
NHS 111 abandoning millions of calls
Patients contacting NHS 111 in England are having to wait so long for medical help that they are abandoning millions of calls, with 3.6 million ditched in the past 12 month.
30th March 2023
Bonanza for agencies supplying NHS staff
In 2021 the total cost of agency supplied staff was £3 billion, up 20%. One single shift for a freelance doctor at one hospital cost £5,200. Why then are the numbers of medical student places capped? Why was the student nurse training bursary abolished?
NHS's need of massive injection of staff
The NHS needs a massive injection of homegrown doctors, nurses, GPs and dentists to avert a recruitment crisis. A long-awaited workforce plan says it's already operating with 154,000 fewer full-time staff than it needs, and that number could balloon to 571,000 staff by 2036.
Why use management consultants?
Here's a short Radio 4 programme critically examining this. A professor in management says the acronym FEEL describes the reason. F for facilitate, E expert, E for extra (where you don't have enough people) and L for legitimate. Such is the hyped-up capability of "consultants" I'm persuaded it's the L. Research only confirms our scepticism.
ICSs: "corporate control of our healthcare"
"...those assisting in the rollout of this deadly system. including MPs, may not even know they are growing the private healthcare industry."
Collapsed PFI firm sues NHS trust
The private finance initiative agreement between Whittington Facilities Ltd and Whittington Health Trust ended in August 2020 after the former went into administration. They claim the trust’s decision to withhold service payments following a fire in January 2018 caused the company to enter administration. Should litigation like this be involved in providing a national health service?
24th March 2023
Nurses seek no confidence vote over pay deal
Nursing staff are attempting to trigger a vote of no confidence in their union, it requires 1000 signatures. They would receive a one-off bonus and a rise of 5% in 2023/24. The rate of inflation is currently 10.4%.
"The offer does not boost pay significantly"
Normal pay increases are consolidated, which means they carry forward into succeeding years and apply to the pensions paid out at retirement. By contrast, “bonus payments” do not carry forward and do not contribute to pension. Failure to resolve the pay crisis will do nothing to retain staff or end the staff shortages.
Pay offer: "no new money...out of exisiting budgets"
Tory minister says: "...I am confident that we can find it, either within the NHS budget or wider government spending". So more NHS underfunding is on its way.
Tax break for the wealthy
There are fairer and better ways to deal with that problem than simply handing over a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money to fund a tax cut for the wealthiest 1%, 84% of whom aren’t doctors. The £4 billion tax giveaway will benefit the wealthiest people by dramatically increasing how much they can stash away in pensions while enjoying the full tax benefits.
Six billion unwanted masks, gloves and aprons
"‘Something has gone wrong" claims a Government procurement veteran. "Something has gone horribly wrong". "When supplies arrived staff found stickers covering expired use-by dates. One box of gowns was opened to reveal an infestation of insects. Treasury minutes show that, of the 37.9 billion pieces of PPE – aprons, gloves, visors, masks, gowns, goggles and the like – that were acquired at a cost of £13.1 billion.
We are the least likely to see a GP
An international study finds that people in the UK are the least likely to get an appointment with a GP.