No price on democratic rights

May 22, 2017

A letter to the Swindon Advertiser

What exactly does InSwindon think it is? The town centre’s political police? They don’t appear to even know what is on their own website. Under the page ‘for Business’ it refers to charges for leaflet distribution under two pieces of legislation, the 1990 Environmental Protection Act and the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. However, it states quite clearly that “The legislation does not apply to the distribution of free literature

  • By or on behalf of a charity…

  • Where the distribution is for political purposes

  • Where the distribution is for the purpose of a religion or belief.”

Material distributed by a campaigning organisation such as Keep Our NHS Public certainly qualifies as “distribution for political purposes”. So why is InSwindon harassing this organisation? Read the rest of this entry »


Statistics of the health crisis

January 15, 2017

The word crisis is often over-used, but the NHS is facing a genuine crisis in which its component parts are struggling with the amount of work they face and the financial and human resources which they have at their disposal. A House of Commons Briefing Paper, NHS Indicators: England January 2017, shows the scale of the crisis engulfing the NHS.

  1. Amalgamating health and social care services has long been spoken of as an objective, in the light of the so-called ‘bed-blocking’ phenomenon; largely elderly people deemed fit enough to leave hospital but who cannot be accommodated with support in their home or a care-home. Yet this objective is impossible in a situation where both the NHS and care services are under-funded. The connection and feedback with the social care crisis is reflected in the 26% increase in delayed transfers of patients from hospitals from November 2015 to November 2016. Delay because of the inability to provide care at home or in a nursing home increased by 47%. In the twelve months to November 2016 there were 2.12 million ‘delayed days’ when patients who should have been released were still in a hospital bed. This was 22% higher than in the 12 months to November 2015. Over this period, delays where the NHS was at least partially responsible rose by 15%, and those where social care organisations were at least partially responsible rose by 35%. In October 2016 there was a daily average of 3,692 delays attributable to the NHS, 2,249 to social care, and 515 to both.

    (To read on download a PDF here nhsindicatorsarticle )


The Great Western Hospital and the “beds crisis”

December 23, 2016

You didn’t need a premonition in 1999 (“We warned this would happen says pensioner over beds crisis at GWH”, Swindon Advertiser) to know that the new hospital would be short of beds. Swindon TUC helped set up an NHS Defence Campaign which cut through the propaganda of the Trust management to show that the new hospital would only have 483 in-patient beds, as compared to 703 in the various hospitals at their disposal before GWH was built. (See an article I wrote in the Swindon Advertiser evening-advertiser-article )

The new hospital was opened in December 2002, and within one month it was in difficulties. The Advertiser on the 6th January 2003 declared “No room at the hospital”. The Trust wrote to GPs pleading with them not to admit emergency patients in the light of the “untenable” bed situation at the hospital. “Unfortunately every trolley, bed and bed space is in use currently. It is extremely difficult to find spaces to examine patients.” Read the rest of this entry »


So Milliband wants “the right kind of competition” in the NHS?

April 5, 2011

The government has announced a ‘pause’ in its NHS plans and a consultation. Whilst this is an indication of the pressure it is under, it’s is a manouevre designed to ease through the Bill in its essentials. How does the Labour Party sit in relation to this situation? Today Ed Milliband delivered a ‘keynote speech’ which supposedly clarifies the Party’s position. (Judge for yourself here http://www.labour.org.uk/the-future-of-the-nhs—ed-miliband )

Read the rest of this entry »


A critical decision for health workers – and health campaigners

December 23, 2010

Will the health unions accept or reject the pay freeze and ‘no compulsory redundancy’ proposal? What will be the consequences of their decision?

Download a PDF here

The demand of the NHS management for health workers to accept a 2 year freeze of wages and incremental increases (under the ‘Agenda for Change’ agreement) is a crude attempt at moral blackmail, attempting to put the responsibility for job losses on NHS staff. In reality it is the New Labour government which programmed cuts of up to £20 billion over four years, and the coalition government which decided to implement these “efficiency savings” who are responsible for job and service cuts.

Read the rest of this entry »


Great Western Hospital – a new retail experience?

November 1, 2010

I recently attended the first meeting of the Board of the Great Western Foundation Trust hospital open to the public. I’ll be writing about the GWH and the NHS in more detail later, but here I’ll jut deal with one item which was discussed: “Retail Opportunities”. This exemplifies the new regime of the “health market” and independent Foundation Trusts, which force these organisation to operate more and more like commercial businesses, with their eye on ‘generating a surplus’ (a polite expression for profit).

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Great Western Hospital Trust Members Annual Meeting

September 10, 2010

The Annual Meeting of the Members of the Great Western Hospital Trust took place on Wednesday this week. The meeting received presentations from the Chair of Governors Bruce Laurie, Chief Executive Lyn Hill-Tout and Director of Finance Maria Moore. In the Annual Report of the Trust the Chief Executive says:

After a long period of increased investment in the NHS it is clear that the next few years will require us to work even harder to continue to deliver safe, high quality services within the money available and to innovate and change services so that quality and patient experience improves, whilst costs are reduced. This will mean that the Trust will need to engage with staff and other stakeholders to ensure that we deliver increased productivity, improve efficiency and deliver savings.”

Read the rest of this entry »


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