Posts Tagged ‘Hospitals’

The Tories and Blairites Cannot Be Trusted to Defend the NHS from Trump

June 11, 2019

Last week the orange generalissimo managed to cause massive offence and outrage on his state visit here. And it wasn’t just for merely being present, although that was certainly a major factor in the protests his visit provoked. No, Trump and his spokesman were touting for a trade deal with Britain after Brexit. And he demanded that ‘everything should be on the table’, including healthcare.

Which means the NHS.

MPs from all sides of the House immediately swung into action to condemn the Fascist cheeto’s demands that the NHS should be opened up to private American healthcare companies. There were a string of high profile Tory MPs, including former health secretary Andrew Lansley, loudly denouncing Trump’s demand, and stating that they weren’t going to include the NHS as part of the Brexit deal and were going to defend this most precious of British institutions. Lansley in particular was scathing about Trump’s opposition to the way the NHS controlled drug prices. He was afraid that if Trump has his way, this would be discarded to allow predatory American pharmaceutical companies to charge excessive and unaffordable prices for needed drugs.

He’s absolutely right.

One of the current scandals with the American private, insurance-driven healthcare system is that the drug companies can and do charge whatever they like for their products, which means that these are often beyond the ability of ordinary Americans to afford. I’ve blogged on here about a piece from The Young Turks about how Americans are hoarding drugs or buying those intended for animals from vets because they can’t afford them. And the worst example of a drug company actually raising prices is the case of Martin Shkreli. When he took over one company, he raised the price of an anti-AIDS drug to well over $300 a pill. He said he only wanted rich Americans to be able to use it, not poor Indians. He was rightly massively vilified for his gross racism and profiteering, but continued to defend himself, as he really couldn’t see that he had done anything wrong.

But while it’s heartening to see all these politicians stand up to defend the health service, I don’t believe them. With one exception, of course: Jeremy Corbyn. The Tories and the Blairites simply can’t be trusted to defend the NHS because they haven’t done it up to now. Indeed, they’ve done the exact opposite, all the while denying it.

Remember how Maggie Thatcher loudly declared that the NHS was ‘safe with us’, and she would keep her wretched claws off it. She even put it in her memoirs, denouncing the claims of the Labour party that she was planning to privatise the health service as lies. But she herself was lying. Cabinet minutes released a couple of years ago showed that she very much wanted to privatise the NHS. She was only stopped because of a massive cabinet revolt and the fact that her Personal Private Secretary, Patrick Jenkin, had visited the US and had seen personally what a travesty American private healthcare was.

So she satisfied herself with cutting its budget and trying to encourage Brits to take out private health insurance instead. She was aiming for about 11 per cent of the British population to take out such insurance.

She was followed by John Major, whose health secretary Peter Lilley was, I believe, one of the others who attacked Trump’s demand for a slice of NHS action. But Lilley was responsible for the Private Finance Initiative, under which private firms were to be allowed to bid for NHS contracts and building and running hospitals in partnership with the government. It was deliberately introduced with the intention of opening up the health service to private healthcare companies. And Lilley was advised in his health policies by John Lo Casio of the American private health insurance fraudster, Unum.

Well, the government changed with Labour’s 1997 electoral victory, but the Thatcherite privatisation of the NHS remained on course. Blair was an unashamed Thatcherite, and she had reciprocated his feelings by calling him and New Labour her greatest achievement. Blair also took over Lo Casio and Unum as his advisers on health policy, and continued the stealth privatisation of the NHS. The Community Care Groups of GPs he set up to contract in healthcare services were given the power to purchase it from the private sector and to raise funding privately themselves. The health centres and polyclinics he set up were to be run by private healthcare firms, like Circle Health, BUPA and Beardie Branson’s Virgin Health. NHS contracts, including out of hours services in many regions were privatised and the contracts awarded to private healthcare firms.

And yes, American healthcare firms were among them. Private Eye reported how Blair was surrounded by American public sector contractors, all lobbying for their share of British state business. Like the private American prison company, Wackenhut. And this included private healthcare companies. Blair was particularly impressed by the private American healthcare provider, Keyserpermanente, which he thought provided better value for money than the traditional NHS structure. It doesn’t, but that was ignored, and the American company provided the model for his NHS reforms. His health secretary, Alan Milburn, wanted the NHS to become nothing but a kitemark for services provided by private companies.

And this continued under David Cameron and Tweezer. Despite the loud shouts by Lansley and Jeremy Hunt that they ‘treasure’ the NHS, both of them preferred private healthcare and previously stated that they wanted the NHS effectively abolished and the lines blurred between state and private provision. There’s also a solid block of Tory politicians that would like the NHS sold off completely. Like the Devon Tory MEP, Daniel Hannan, dubbed by Guy Debord’s Cat ‘the Lyin’ King’ because of his gross mendacity. The majority of NHS contracts are being awarded to private healthcare firms, rather than kept in-house, and they have been angling to win the contracts for whole regions. Which brings the complete privatisation of the NHS even closer.

Andrew Lansley’s convoluted Health and Social Care Act of 2012 also enabled its privatisation by removing the obligation of the health secretary to provide healthcare to everyone in the UK, which had been a statutory requirement since the founding of the NHS in 1948. The Tories have also consistently voted to introduce charges for certain NHS services. Mike over at Vox Political has frequently given the voting record of some of the worst Tories, who have not only done this, but also supported other attacks on the poor like cutting welfare services, raising tuition fees and supporting the bedroom tax.

And I don’t trust the Lib Dems either. They went into coalition with the Tories and did absolutely nothing as their partners in government continued to attack the welfare state and the NHS. Indeed some of them, like the former MP for Taunton Dean, strongly supported it.

I have to say that I think that the outrage from the Tories at Trump’s demands is largely hypocritical. They’d very much like to make a deal with Trump, that includes the NHS along with other essential services that should only be run by the state. But, as with the cabinet revolt against Thatcher, they’re afraid that if they agree, they will be voted out in a devastating landslide, possibly never to get back into power.

The only person, who can be trusted to defend the NHS and keep it safe from Trump and the other privatisers, is Jeremy Corbyn.

Don’t trust the Tories. They still want to and  are privatising the NHS. Nor the Lib Dems or ‘Centrist’ Labour, who are exactly the same. The only real hope of defending and reviving the NHS is with Corbyn and the victory of a genuine, socialist Labour party at the next election. 

The Young Turks on How American Arms Manufacturers are Profiting from Airstrikes in Syria

January 2, 2016

I’ve blogged today a couple of items on the way the banks, the arms industry and governments are pushing for war in the name of profits, and the immense profits and influence of the global arms trade. Here’s a related video from The Young Turks on the vast profits being made by the arms contractors from air strikes in Iraq and Syria.

Presented by the Turk’s anchor, Cenk Uyghur, the piece gives the following statistic.

The journalist Cliff Judy estimated that each bomb dropped cost $1.6 million. He also estimated that the monthly cost of the war was between $200-300 million. So far – and this piece was released a year ago – American defence contractors – the people manufacturing the weapons, not the Depart of Defense itself, had got $139 billion in contracts.

The waste involved is massive. Between $31 and $60 billion has been wasted by defence contractors in Afghanistan. Uyghur describes a process of massive overcharging, and a cynically blasé attitude to the profits of war, with money brought along in crates which the contractors didn’t even bother to count.

Uyghur makes the excellent point that this is money that could be better spent on peaceful works, building up the local infrastructure back in America, building schools, hospitals, repairing the roads and so on.

The main firm to benefit from the war financially is Lockheed Martin. Other arms manufacturers are also doing extremely well. $105 billion in contracts have been given to the leading five arms manufacturers. And to show you how cynical it all is, Uyghur quotes Jack Ablin, one of the executives of the BMO Private Bank dealing in US investment. Ablin describes the use of weapons and arms systems in preference to boots on the ground as ‘an opportunity’. And as their profits go up, so do these companies share prices.

Uyghur describes the politicians, who are also profiting from this, as whores. Well, that’s what they are, only he’s made the point elsewhere that ordinary prostitutes by and large don’t do anything to harm anyone else. These politicians take money from the defence contractors, and in return they give them contracts. And the same contractors give jobs afterwards to the politicians and generals.

This shows you the truth of the old saying: War is good for business. And business is good.

Adam Hills and Wossy Tell the Rich to Pay their Tax

February 14, 2015

Mike over at Vox Political has just put up a short piece about Adam Hill’s exhortation on last night’s The Last Leg for the rich to pay their tax. He was supported in this Jonathan Ross, showing his usual bizarre taste in clothing, as well as Josh Widdecombe, David Mitchell and Alex Brooker. He also has the clip of that section of the show. Naturally, this follows the revelations that not only were HSBC helping people to avoid paying tax, the government also knew all about it. What is interesting is when Wossy and the others talk about how they don’t try to avoid paying tax, because it supports the very infrastructure they use – schools, roads, hospitals and so on.

Mike’s piece is A message for rich tax-avoiders from The Last Leg, and it’s at Go over there and have a good laugh. If you can stand the sight of Wossy’s jacket.

Possible Medical Murder at Liverpool Hospital

February 16, 2014

I received this comment on my post about the Coalition’s secret courts by Eijnar:

‘Inmates at a Soviet Gulag Many bloggers, including myself, have raised the issue of the Coalition’s increasing intolerance, …’

On Wednesday,5-2-2014 at 16.50 my 93 year old father-in-law died right in front of me. He was murdered by a hospital doctor who had administered a “muscle relaxant” 15 minutes earlier supposedly to aid in the fitting of a feeding tube. However the doctor didn’t wait for the drug to take effect and fitted the tube within a minute of the drug being injected. He admitted during the fitting of the tube that the drug would not take effect for 15-20 minutes and could not have “kicked in” yet so clearly the drug was never intended to “help” with the fitting of the tube!

I have since learnt that “muscle relaxants” are used to paralyse the chest muscles and prevent them from expanding thus starving you of oxygen and killing you. The NHS thus use the same technique as the American Correctional Department does for Death by Lethal Injection.

I reported this to the police and they took a few “notes” but no official statement, no crime number was issued and a full forensic autopsy was not performed so they can avoid finding any evidence!

When he was first admitted to A&E with a head injury and concussion the duty doctor REFUSED to give him a brain scan and insisted the injury was only superficial. It took 3 hours for them to relent and THEN when they confirmed that he had internal bleeding and swelling of the brain they REFUSED to do ANYTHING to reduce the pressure or the bleeding!!!

Despite being very seriously injured, and them finally having the evidence to prove it, he was NOT sent to Intensive Care nor to the Head Injury Unit. He was instead sent to the VASCULAR UNIT which largely contained people having elective treatment for leg veins and who were mostly self caring!

He was labeled as Do Not Resuscitate and we were told he was in his last few hours. They offered to move him to a hospice, the one thing they didn’t do was try and TREAT HIM!

Ten days AFTER being told he was in his “last few hours” he was not only now confirmed to have suffered a stroke AND a heart attack a week AFTER being admitted but was STILL getting stronger every day! The man they said was “in his last few hours” had to be prevented from getting out of bed to go to the toilet on his own and was talking and sharing a joke!

After 14 days he was keen to have a shave and felt his chin with great care afterwards to check the result, so he wasn’t a drooling vegetable in need of a quiet death!

The initial refusal to give him a brain scan and also to refuse to take the word of his own family that he was concussed and not normally confused is clear evidence of the hospital operating a system of TRIAGE whereby they ration care and deny it to the elderly so as to speed them on their way to the morgue.

Ask yourself if he had been a man in his 20’s would they have refused to give him a scan, would they make him wait 3 hours when standard medical practice stresses the vital importance of EARLY intervention and “The Golden Hour” is the one immediately after the injury occurs?

So how do I know that he was murdered, well the fitting of the feeding tube was supposedly urgent as he had not been fed anything in 14 days. After it was fitted it could not be used until an x-ray confirmed it was correctly fitted. So WHY did they not simply perform the x-ray at once using the mobile machine we had seen used many times over the previous 14 days? They calmly announced that they would send him down later in the evening, why the delay when the fitting of the tube was so urgent that they didn’t even wait for the drug to take effect?

This took place in the Liverpool Royal Hospital and it was this very hospital that pioneered the Liverpool Care Pathway, now supposedly abolished, yet the very people who invented it AND operated it for many years, are STILL there and they have the same beliefs and ethos they have always had! The LCP was an official method of “managing death” which to the layman is no different from murder.

One of the favoured methods is to fit a drip which set at too rapid a rate and thus floods the lungs.You gasp for breath and risk heart attack or stroke and thus a “natural death”, another possibility is that you might get Pneumonia and die from that, once again a “natural death”. In this case it has been put down as the original injury, you know, the “superficial” one that was trivial!

I know how he was murdered, I know how I could prove it, but he is not going to get a FORENSIC AUTOPSY so the system can remain safe as without that the REAL cause of death will simply not be found because nobody wants to even look for it.

Our family is Working Class, we have no contacts and no wealth to fund fighting this so nothing will be done. This is the same government that closed down REMPLOY and has smashed the benefit system. They will carry on screwing the poor for every penny they can until the poor eventually die out or fight back.

I don’t know how you will respond to reading about my family’s experiences but I have made myself a vow, if I am ever diagnosed with a terminal illness I will not waste the freedom such knowledge gives. I will engage in my own form of “TRIAGE” and bring a new meaning to the “Liverpool Care Pathway”!

Henry Lang.
Born April 10th 1920.
Murdered February 5th 2014

This is extremely disturbing. I am very sorry for your loss, Eijnar. I am, however, just an ordinary layman with absolutely no knowledge of medicine. Does anyone have any suggestions on how this can be properly investigated?

Private Eye on Private Equity’s Firms Mismanagement of Hinchingbrooke NHS Hospital

July 24, 2013

I found this article in the 22nd December-10 January 2013 issue of Private Eye. It reports and comments on the appalling mismanagement of Hinchingbrooke hospital in Cambridge. This was the first NHS hospital to be given to the private healthcare company, Circle Health, to run.

Circle Squared

The abrupt decision of the once irrepressible Ali Parsa to step down as chief executive of Circle Health has ben followed by an abrupt change of management style at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, the first NHS hospital to be run by a private company.

A film crew from Channel 4’s Cutting Edge programme who turned up recently at the Cambridgeshire hospital, expecting to continue work on a documentary Parsa had initiated, were abruptly escorted from the premises and told not to return.

Could the change in management style have anything to do with the fact that things had already been going seriously adrift at Hinchingbrooke, which Circle Holdings plc took over in February in a ten-year, £1bn deal?

Despite Parsa’a boasts about making huge savinigs, the hospital is already running a deficit of more than £4m, with no prospect of delivering profit for Circle’s private equity and hedge fund shareholders. If the Hinchingbrooke deficit hits £5m, the contract allows Circle to cut its losses and walk away.

Interim chief Steve Melton is no doubt exploring whether Circle can benefit from the PFI meltdown at Peterborough hospital, 24 miles up the A1. Hopes of any rescue for Peterborough City Hospital depend on it getting extra patients (and therefore funds) through its doors.

Circle has always been keen to close Hinchingbrooke’s small but costly A&E unit and would no doubt be happy for Peterborough to take over those urgent and complex cases, so that it could run the hospital more like one of its boutique private hospitals in Bath and Reading. But these services area also key to its financial viability’.

More proof, if any were needed, that private equity firms cannot and should not run NHS hospitals.

From 2008: Private Eye on Bupa’s Reluctance to Apologise and the Explain the Death of One Woman’s Mother

July 23, 2013

Five years ago Private Eye carried this story about Bupa’s attempts to silence Dee Sedgwick and its reluctance to provide an apology and explanation for the death of her mother from the treatment she received at Highfield, one of its care homes in Halesworth in Suffolk.


A Sorry Tale

News that Bupa chief executive Val Gooding is stepping down and leaving Britain’s largest private healthcare provider “in rude health” has angered one former client who has battled with the company for years over the death of her mother.

Three years ago the Eye reported how Bupa threatened legal action to halt Dee Sedgwick’s efforts to extract an apology and explanation for the company’s neglectful treatment of her mother, Joan Gaddes, in one of its care homes.

Mrs Gaddes, aged 82, had died in hospital in September 2002, a month after being admitted from Highfield, a residential home in Halesworth, Suffolk, suffering dehydration and weight loss. Pressure sores on her back and heels had become gangrenous.

In the weeks and days leading up to Mrs Gaddes’ admission to hospital, her daughter had expressed concerns about her failing health and loss of eight and about the company’s failure to do anything meaningful to reduce summer heatwave temperatures within the home. She had even asked for her mother to be placed on a drip because she appeared so dehydrated, only to be told it wasn’t necessary.

Angry that the care home and managers did not appear to be taking her complaints seriously Mrs Sedgwicfk had written to Bupa’s senior executives, including Val Gooding, at their homes, setting out her grievances. Bupa’s initial response was a hand delivered letter from City law firm Roseblatts, threatening legal action for harassment of staff who said they felt “threatened”. Undeterred, Mrs Sedgwick decided she too would deliver her letters by hand as well as by fax. “Quite frankly I would have liked them to take me to court to get a public airing of my complaints. But they were never going to do that,” she told the Eye.

Instead Bupa finally agreed to fund legal representation for the family and have a round table meeting with Paul Newton of Bupa’s legal department and Matthew Flinton, head of care services. Val Gooding was said to be on the end of a phone should it prove necessary.

The result? A three-page detailed letter of regret and apology, a damning indictment of the home’s care of Mrs Gaddes and a final vindication of Mrs Sedgwick’s prolonged fax and letter campaign to Bupa’s chiefs.

Bupa admitted not properly monitoring changes in her eight and health; not properly assessing her nutritional needs and fluid intake; and not taking proper care to ensure she did not develop pressure sores. “Had your mother’s weight loss and fluid intake requirements been properly assessed and monitored, it may have led to your mother’s health having been more closely monitored by the NHS. We apologise for this failure.”

It also went on to apologise for not carrying out an assessment before she entered Highfield, which Mrs Sedgwick maintained was not suited to caring for Mrs Gaddes, who had mild to moderate dementia; for losing her belongings including her false teeth; for not taking adequate steps to ameliorate the heatwave conditions at the home; for “unsatisfactory” administration of her medication; and for initially failing to provide key documents to those carrying out the independent inspections because they were “missing”.

“We also regret and apologise for the length of time, which it has taken to provide you and your family with appropriate resolution in respect of your concerns,” said the letter. It had taken five years.

Unfortunately Mrs Sedgwick’s battle is not quite over. The Commission for Social Care Inspection has completed no fewer than six versions of its report into Mrs Gaddes’ care, which Mrs Sedgwick says has failed to get to grips with what went wrong at Highfield – not least because the CSCI dismissed some of her complaints that have now been admitted by Bupa.’

Another example of horrific malpractice by one of the private firms hoping to take business from the dismantled NHS. Bupa’s refusal to respond to Mrs Sedgwick’s letters to them on the grounds that this was ‘harassment’ also sounds terribly familiar. Oh yes, it’s the reason the DWP under Ian Duncan Lies is not answering queries about the number of disabled people, who have committed suicide due to their assessment by Atos. It seems to be another trick the Conservatives have picked up from their friends in the private sector.

From Private Eye: the Private Patients’ Forum, funded by Private Health Care

July 23, 2013

This is another story from Private Eye on the conflict of interest and malpractice of private healthcare companies, which fund the Private Patients’ Forum. This claims to present the best private hospitals and medical practices. It is supported, amongst others, by HCA International, which is under investigation in the US for performing unnecessary operations.

‘Private Healthcare

In Dependence Day

London’s Portland and Wellington hospitals are among the best known – and most expensive – private medical facilities in the UK.

Embarrassingly, they and four others in the capital are owned by the largest for-profit operator in the United States, Tennessee-based HCA International, which is under investigation by federal authorities for performing unnecessary heart procedures at its American hospitals. The US justice department said it would review billing and medical records at 95 HCA hospitals, more than half the company’s total count.

One way for-profit hospitals and doctors can make money is by carrying out unnecessary treatments and surgery. Last year Bupa accused some of Britain’s top surgeons of performing knee arthoscopies (which earn them £600 a time) without medical justification.

There is of course no suggestion that the Portland, the Wellington or HCA’s other outfits in the UK (it is now also providing private treatment in three NHS foundation hospitals, University College London, Queen’s in Essex and The Christie in Manchester) would do something so scandalous. And if any hospital or doctor did operate without good reason or put in excessive bills, the recently established consumer website Private Patients’ Fourm (PPF) would surely be the first to raise the alarm.

“We are committed to helping you to be treated fairly when you decide to use private medical care, ” it claims, presenting itself as a veritable Which? of private medicine, with details of “your rights as a patient and information on how to complain”, as well as attacks on insurers over claims settlements, in particular Bupa.

The site is free to use – so how does it get funding? Not from appeals or subscriptions or advertising or click-throughs but, according to the site, from “a range of interest groups in the private healthcare industry”. However, it add, “no influence or control over the Private Patients’ Forum will be gained by making a contribution to our running costs. This is a key condition – quite simply, PPF is robustly independent and will remain so.”

Foremost among the backers is, er, HCA International, which has offered “generous financial support2, and the Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations (FIPO), a company limited by guarantee. And who funds FIPO? The accounts for HCA International Ltd, the company’s UK arm, show that in 2010 FIPO was the top recipient of its “charitable” donations at £110,000, well over half the federation’s total expenditure of £182,210 – though FIPO is not, in fact, registered with the Charity Commission.

Meanwhile FIPO’s latest accounts show that more than a fifth of that spending – £42,958 – went to the Private Patient’s Forum. So the money goes from the owners of Wellington via a private doctors’ federation to a consumer website that complains about the meanness of the insurers who pay many patients’ hospital bills.

The current US department of justice probe into whether heart operations were really needed isn’t HCA’s first spot of bother with officialdom. In June 2003, the department revealed that: “HCA Inc has agreed to pay the United States $631m in civil penalties and damages arising from false claims the government alleged it submitted to Medicate and other federal health programmes.”

By then HCA had already coughed up another $1bn after pleading guilty to “substantial criminal conduct”. As the department said: “Health care providers and professionals hold a public trust and when that trust is violated by fraud and abuse of programme funds, and by the payment of kickbacks to the physicians on whom patients and the programmes rely for uncompromised medical judgement, healthcare for Americans suffers”.

Clearly it couldn’t happen here. For, unlike those poor Americans, British patients have the benefit of a “robustly independent” watchdog, sponsored by HCA, to champion their rights!’

Remember, these are the private healthcare companies campaigning for the dismantlement of the NHS so they can grab some of its business.

Another Private Eye Story: Poor Care at London Bridge Private Hospital

July 22, 2013

This is another piece from Private Eye, detailing the poor care and reluctance to correct mistakes at the private London Bridge hospital, run by the giant American healthcare firm, HCA International.

‘Private Hospitals

Bloody Disgrace

Don’t expect too much joy complaining about sub-standard care at the major private hospitals run in the UK by US healthcare giant HCA International (and performing increasing amounts of NHS work). One Eye reader’s stay at the company’s London Bridge Hospital exposed her to appalling care followed by a total failure to dal with the mistakes.

Soon after the hysterectomy the patient, herself a former nurse, suffered serious bleeding which, she believes, was caused by rough handling by HCA nurses.

While an expert brought in by the industry-funded Independent Sector Complaints Adjudication Service (ISCAS) concluded that this was unlikely, he did find that, while in severe distress, her nurse left her “without a call buzzer or oxygen and no means of summoning assistance”. HCA “had been unable to identify this nurse and suggested she was from an agency”. This was “a most unsatisfactory response and means that the hospital cannot take steps to ensure that other patients do not experience similar problems”.

Worse was to come, however, as the patient’s safety and dignity were repeatedly compromised. Her “vital signs” were not recorded despite her serious condition, the expert concluding that it was “certainly unwise to have totally discontinued any monitoring at this time”. Dressing procedures were then performed while an engineer was working (and removing tiles) in the patient’s room. “The sister”, found the ISCAS, “refused requests from nurses for you to move rooms.” There was also “a lack of professionalism amongst the nursing staff in the way assumptions were made about your condition (believing you had cancer) and communicated with you, causing you further anxiety”.

The aftermath, alas, is just as alarming. The patient first complained about her nursing care the day after her discharge, giving HCA every chance to act; but the issues were not investigated at all. “This is a serious allegation that has not been addressed by the London Bridge Hospital or HCA International,” concluded the adjudicator. The patient’s subsequent formal complaint was then hampered by obfuscation on HCA’s part, the adjudicator agreeing that medical records including the consultant’s notes had been withheld, while many others mysteriously, er, went missing. Despite the many failings the ISCAS eventually identified, HCA’s grandly-titled Group Director of Clinical Performance & Governance, Rosemary Hittinger, “responded that she could not find ‘that the standard of nursing care fell beneath the reasonable standard expected of the nursing profession’.”

In short, HCA – currently under investigation by US authorities for performing unnecessary operations (see Eye 1321)-first couldn’t be trusted to care for its patient, and then wouldn’t accept that it had failed to do so, or seek to learn from the episode.

Little good did ISCAS findings do for the patient, however. The toothless body was limited to recommending a payment of “£1,000 from HCA International, as a gesture of goodwill.”. This is hardly likely to force the company behind 23 British hospitals and medical centres, including the Wellington and the Portland, and in receipt of UK taxpayers’ money, to mend its ways.’

So, another glimpse of the future of healthcare under the Conservatives.

Sparaszczukster on Impending Chaos at Privately Run Hospitals

July 22, 2013

Sparaszczukster has a piece over at his site criticising the poor regulation of private hospitals, and his personal experience of the disruption and poor service created in them by the massive influx of NHS patients. It begins

This is a story of my recent experience of how a private hospital is coping with a sudden influx of NHS patients, due to the recent changes to healthcare in England. The personal account comes towards the end so please bear with me…

We’re all too nauseatingly familiar by now with Jeremy Hunt’s ‘NHS is a disaster’ discourse with its characterisation of the whole service as one on the edge of collapse. According to this story A&E departments are in chaos, GP’s are lazy, hospitals are dirty, inefficient and badly managed. Waiting rooms are overflowing with people having to wait ages to be seen and nursing staff are dismissive of their needs. And the food’s terrible.

In contrast to this picture of medical Armageddon he paints a picture of private hospitals as clean, comfortable, well maintained places where patients are treated efficiently and with extraordinary care and attention; medical care is exemplary and they don’t have to wait around for ages to be seen. Oh, and the food is top quality.

images (2) On 1st April this year, as we know, new regulations came into effect as a result of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Under this new regulatory regime NHS foundation trusts must comply with the terms of the provider licence. The licence replaces the terms of authorisation under which trusts were previously granted foundation trust status. The Act gives Monitor concurrent powers with the Office of Fair Trading to apply competition law in the health care sector in England and the terms of the new licences require health care providers to abide by a number of stringent regulations that are designed to ensure they don’t engage in ‘anti-competitive’ behaviour.

It’s at:

From the Skwawkbox: National media: Keogh says 13k NHS deaths! Keogh: er, no I don’t

July 16, 2013

There’s currently a lot of media coverage about the claim by the medical director of the NHS, Sir Bruce Keogh, that over 13,000 people have died in 14 NHS hospitals. The Telegraph led with this story yesterday. There is an excellent critique of it and the extremely flawed statistical system on which the claim is founded, over at the Skwawkbox. It begins

‘Please share widely, as this is huge and needs to become well-known before the report is published tomorrow.

As I wrote yesterday, the national media is running massive headlines claiming that a report by Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the NHS, will state that 13,000 people died ‘needlessly’ in the 14 NHS hospitals currently under special investigation for supposed high mortality rates.

Image (of the Daily Telegraph’s page showing hospital)

As I pointed out, the death claims are completely unfounded and based on the misuse and misrepresentation of a deeply-flawed statistical system, and would still be completely unfounded even if the system were not deeply flawed. For more details of why, read here.

Well, it turns out that the report’s author, Sir Bruce Edward Keogh, KBE, FRCS, FRCP himself, also disagrees with the headlines about his own report….’

The full piece can be read here:

The Skwawkbox takes the line that this is another piece of Tory propaganda designed to soften the public up for the privatisation of the NHS. I strongly agree with his diagnosis. The Spectator has run a number of pieces arguing that American private health provision is far better than the current care in the NHS. I can also remember being told that one of the columnists in the Daily Mail, known for their attacks on the NHS, was married to a Tory advocate of privatisation. Roy Porter, the historian of medicine, in his book Blood and Guts also describes how the American doctors ran a propaganda campaign in the 1920 to prevent nationalisation over there. Private Eye published a report a little while ago showing how the Private Finance Initiative was the result of Tory plans for private firms to gain access to the NHS. The privatisation envisaged by the Tory health service reforms, and this piece in the Telegraph now going national, is part of that process and the falsified news spun to support it. The Skwawkbox has done an excellent job in tackling this.