Tag Archives: NHS

Hancock Gets Skewered

I think many of us know that Matt Hancock, who’s inherited Jeremy *unt’s NHS lapel badge isn’t particularly bright and this clip from Good Morning Britain shows us that, and even when someone makes a fool of him as Susanna Reid’s done here, he’s too dumb to realise it.

John Trickett does a far better job at dealing with questions than Hancock. Shooting fish in a barrel was never easier.

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Telegraph Comment of the Week (#1)

Some of the comments on Telegraph blogs are totally nuts and most are racist or sexist. Many who comment on Telegraph blogs are singularly obsessed (which may indicate an untreated disorder) and others can’t focus on the blog on which they’re commenting.

Here’s this week’s Telegraph comment of the week, which was found on this blog.

Racist NHS comment

Here, “barbican” blames his aunt’s MRSA on “African” doctors. Nowhere Towers is only surprised that this commenter didn’t say “witch-doctor”.


Filed under Media, Racism, Sexism, Telegraph Comment of the Week, Tory press

Save Our Hospitals!


Yesterday, I went on the march and rally to save hospitals in West London. For those of you living outside of West London, Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Central Westminster and Ealing Hospitals, are to have their Accident and Emergency departments closed under the government’s plans to destroy streamline the NHS.  All emergency treatment will then be provided by Northwick Park, West Middlesex and Chelsea and Westminster hospitals. For those of us who live in Hammersmith and Fulham or Ealing, these A&E units are too far away and anyone needing emergency care could find themselves dying en route to one of these hospitals.

In the last few months, I’ve used Charing Cross A&E department: once for a badly burned hand and last week, for chest pains…. which turned out to be a muscular-skeletal problem. If that A&E department were to close, I would have to spend an hour getting from my home to the nearest hospital.

Here in Hammersmith and Fulham, the ruling Tory group supported the resident’s campaign and cross-party opposition to the closures. As was reported on this blog and Stephen Cowan’s blog, the Tories later back-peddled and signed off the government’s proposed closure of Charing Cross and Hammersmith Hospitals.

Cllr Cowan says,

It turned out that there has been a considerable amount of disquiet amongst local Conservatives about attacking their own government’s policy of hospital cuts. Many had never wanted to join the residents-led campaign in the first place. When the government offered them a cop out they took it and figured they could use council funds to blanket the Borough with propaganda spinning what they had done.

They have so far spent over £20,000.00 of tax payers’ money telling residents that they have “Saved Charing Cross Hospital.” Nobody who has studied the facts or heard their explanations believes that’s true. In fact, in the panic of trying to explain themselves last week, one Conservative councillor admitted nothing had been finalised and nothing yet agreed – underlining how the Conservatives have undermined their negotiating position.

Hammersmith & Fulham Tories have shot themselves in the foot over this issue and have exposed themselves as hypocrites.

The Hammersmith and Fulham side of the march started at Acton Park. I took my bike with me since it is quicker to get to the park by cycling than to take the 266 bus. I arrived in time to hear Andy Slaughter speak.

Ealing-20130427-00019 There are at least 300 people assembled here. The march starts and we walk down Uxbridge Road towards Acton. I’ve put my bike in the lowest gear and I’m riding very, very slowly at the sort of speed that is alien to London’s legion of bad cyclists. One of the march stewards even compliments me on my control skills. Loads of motorists beep their horns in solidarity as they pass us on the other side of the road.

We arrive at Ealing Common. There’s a funfair.  It’s not a great day for fun fairs. The chilly, damp weather has done its best to dampen our spirits but it hasn’t succeeded. We’re here to let our voices be heard. There are more people here than at the dismal Rally Against Debt a couple of years ago. And you know what? You never see anyone from UKIP or any other so-called libertarians at these rallies and do you know why? They don’t care.

I look towards north-westwards and I can see a the Ealing contingent making its way towards us, there must be around 1,000 of them. I can see the banners of the local Labour, Green and Socialist Party branches. The Socialist Workers Party, Left Unity and even the Workers Revolutionary Party are here too. There’s even someone selling the WRP’s paper, Newsline. I haven’t seen that for awhile.

Bob Marley’s song Get Up, Stand Up is blaring from the speakers. It’s an inspired choice. “Get up, stand up. Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up. Don’t give up the fight”!

This woman’s placard (below) says it all.


One of the leading campaigners from Ealing, Dr Onkar Sahota, who is also an AM for the Greater London Authority, has the task of being MC for the afternoon. Ealing, unlike Hammersmith and Fulham, is a Labour-controlled council and has resisted the government’s plans. Sahota tells us that many people from neighbouring boroughs of Hillingdon, Harrow and Brent are here making their voices heard.  Indeed, this is a good turn-out. I can see Ealing’s MP Stephen Pound waiting in the wings, when he does come up to the mike, he comes across as something of a showman (he used to be a boxer). The crowd loves it.

Pound is followed by Tory MP, Angie Bray, who is greeted with a mix of boos and applause. She leaves to the same mix of boos and applause. A woman standing next to me complains and tells those who are heckling Bray to shut up. They’re not listening to her remonstrations and she walks off in a huff.

One speaker from the GMB union reminds us that the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt authored a book in which he calls for the NHS  to be denationalised, but erroneously attributes the words “60 year old mistake” to him. These were, in fact, the words of Lyin’ King when he appeared on Fox News five years ago to lambast the NHS and argue for his coveted small state. Nonetheless the sentiment is the same. In spite of his warm words and vacant expression, Hunt does not like the NHS and like many of his fellow Tories, he wants to cut it to pieces and sell-off the profitable parts to his vulture capitalist friends. Andy Slaughter reminds the rally that under the council’s proposals, 60% of Charing Cross Hospital site will be sold off to private developers. The Tories, despite what they’ve said about ‘saving’ the hospital, have done nothing of the sort.

Dr Thomas Sissons, writing in The Independent in February says,

Hammersmith and Fulham council is the only council out of 11 in London affected by the hospital closures to have supported them, and this is a damning reflection of their interest in what those they govern think. They are stitching up their own constituents, metaphorically but certainly not literally, so that they can play nice with central government. Their decision to release these plans before the official date may have given us some unwitting help though by allowing us some time to organise. What we need to do now is campaign against this ham-fisted reorganisation.

A Lib Dem councillor comes on to speak and at that point, I decide to leave. The Lib Dems have done much to support this Conservative-led government in achieving its ambitions, none of which appeared in their manifesto and for which they have no mandate. A man next to me says, “I don’t want to listen to the Lib Dem, they helped the Tories to do this”. I agree with him, get on my bike and ride home.

The next Save our Hospitals event is a rally at Jubilee Gardens (where I once lamented the passing of the GLC) on 18 May at 1200. If you care about hospital provision in London, you’ll be there. I know I will.

You can find out more about the campaign here.

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Filed under Conservative Party, Cuts, Government & politics, NHS, Public spending

The Doctors’ Strike

Some called it a strike, others called it industrial action, whatever it was, it was a sign that something wasn’t right. The last time doctors took industrial action was in 1975.

Yesterday’s strike was greeted with the usual round of media booing and hissing. Wednesday I received a couple of tweets from Kathryn Stanczyszyn of LBC Radio. The first asked if I knew anyone who’d had a routine operation or an appointment cancelled and the second said “the BMA say it’s not a strike”. I didn’t know anyone, so I couldn’t help.  I sent a final reply, “Like I say, if GPs are taking industrial action, then something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. I wasn’t expecting a reply and I didn’t get one.

I support any industrial action. People have the right to withdraw their labour and that includes doctors. This government hasn’t been able to label the British Medical Association (BMA) as ‘trots’ but they have trotted out the usual spiel about the strike being “wrong” and “pointless” (Lansley’s word not mine). Industrial action is never pointless and most certainly isn’t wrong.

The front page of today’s Evening Standard (which came with an “EXCLUSIVE WORK BY DAMIEN HURST FOR OUR READERS”) screams, “PATIENT FURY WITH STRIKING DOCTORS” adding “But four out of five London GPs refuse to join pension protest”.  The article continues on page 4 where we are greeted with a quote from non-striking GP, Dr. Aseem Malhotra, “Other people are facing hardship, this is an own goal for the BMA”, he opines.  Pravda couldn’t have done a better job. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that this paper was owned by a Russian oligarch. It is, you say? Well, there’s a surprise!

MPs even suggested ministers should now look at further cuts to medics’s “gold plated” pensions, which are far higher than those for millions of workers in the public and private sectors.

Now they’re laying it on with a trowel. Notice how these hacks casually drop in “public sector”. This is the same public sector that the Evil Bastard has been attacking since the Con-Dems took power.  To give their article a veneer of ‘balance’ they provide the views of a doctor who “didn’t vote for industrial action” and one who did. The doctor who didn’t is… yes, you guessed it, the same doc who was quoted earlier. Yeah, that’s objectivity.

The BMA’s chairman, Dr. Hamish Meldrum, gets a single sentence in which to offer a defence, compared to the smirking, smarmy Lansley, who gets three paragraphs, his case made for him by the trio of hacks who wrote the article.

The strike is over but the backlash from the right-wing press will continue. For them a strike is always wrong and the government line should never be questioned. And that’s the problem: the media never asks why. Instead they try to find vox pops that support their predetermined position and thus create the impression that there is a consensus against industrial action.

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Filed under BMA strike 2012, Journalism, Media, propaganda, Tory press, Yellow journalism

Nxtgen – Andrew Lansley Rap

Great stuff from Loughborough’s Nxtgen. This may be over a year old but it’s still relevant.


Filed under Conservative Party, Cuts, Government & politics, Music

50,000 NHS jobs at risk

False Economy reports that over 50,000 NHS jobs are at risk from government cuts, thereby undermining their argument that the Health Service is ‘safe’ in their hands. This is exactly the sort of thing Hannan and his chums have been looking forward to: the wholesale destruction of the NHS.

Original Conservative Party election poster

False Economy, which formally launches today, can reveal that more than 50,000 NHS staff posts are set for the axe, destroying government claims that the NHS is in safe hands.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said in April 2010 of possible NHS job cuts under Labour: “They will cut the number of nurses, the number of doctors and the number of hospital beds. It does not get more frontline than that.”

David Cameron then famously claimed before the election that he would “cut the deficit, not the NHS”.
You can read the rest here.


Filed under Big Society, Cuts, Government & politics, NHS, Public spending

NHS ‘reforms’ = Goodbye NHS

Some Tories have always hated the National Health Service. Their reasons for hating it vary from their adherence to neoliberalism to the fact that they have never used the NHS and only view it from afar.

Two years ago, Daniel Hannan appeared on Fox News to attack the NHS (which is referred to as “socialized medicine”). Today he returns to this theme. The title of his blog is “Whom do we trust on the NHS: elected ministers or trade unions”? Do you really want to know the answer? Let’s put it this way, it isn’t the ministers.

American righties love him. He speaks in a posh English accent and is articulate. But being articulate means nothing if your logic is flawed and the information you disseminate is incomplete, faulty or plain false. Most Americans know only what they’re told about the NHS and when Hannan pops up on some Fox News programme attacking and spreading misinformation about it, it is the only message in town. To date and to my knowledge, no one has appeared on US television to defend the NHS from Hannan’s bunkum.

Dan forgets that the unions are involved in the day to day running of the NHS. Whereas ministers – especially free-market Tory ministers – have an ideological agenda and do not work day-to-day in the hospitals and clinics. But then Dan is no fan of trade unions. In his world, unions would not exist and everything that hasn’t been subjected to marketization would be marketized.

Who do I trust on the NHS? I would certainly trust the unions over ministers. and I won’t take Hannan’s words seriously. I doubt that he’s ever used the NHS.

Here, Dan plays his time-for-change card

We are conflicted in our attitude to the NHS. We moan about it, but are reluctant to contemplate alternatives. We criticise its failings, but refuse to infer anything from them.

Let’s remind ourselves what he said about the NHS

Here he is on Glenn “I cry on cue” Beck repeating the same lies. Beck practically has his tongue up Hannan’s arse.

Note the way Beck laughingly claims that any health care reforms are “unconstitutional”.

Here he is again (he’s a notorious self-publicist) on Reason TV talking about the NHS, Enoch Powell and The Plan (which I will be critiquing in the coming weeks).

The NHS would work much better if ministers didn’t interfere in it and vain self-publicists like Hannan didn’t go around spreading untruths about it.

Yesterday the British Medical Association (is this what Hannan means by “unions”?) voiced their opposition to the proposed changes calling them “dangerous”.

What’s in store? More unnecessary competition, further marketization and the all important ‘customer choice’. What next? Organ banks where you can deposit or withdraw organs?

UPDATE: 2127

Added final paragraph.

UPDATE: 26/11/11 @ 1715

I haven’t had time to fully critique The Plan because I’ve been too busy with my research.

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Filed under Big Society, Government & politics, NHS