Top Tories and NHS privatisation – in their own words
Of course, if Mr Philip is ever unlucky enough to be diagnosed with cancer, he will be happy to wait for treatment, won’t he!
Scraping the barrel …
“Cancer patients “do not “really care” about longer waiting times for treatment because survival rates are on the rise, a Conservative candidate has claimed.
Chris Philp provoked gasps of astonishment when he also claimed that missed waiting targets – the figures are the worst on record – are because of the success in persuading people to come forward.
“The reason why waiting times for diagnosis are going up is because we are encouraging more people to get themselves screened, which is actually a good thing,” said the aide to the justice secretary.
He then added: “The outcomes, cancer survival rates, which is what people really care about – am I going to survive this terrible illness – they’re going up.”
Mr Philp also claimed the Conservatives were able to promise billions more for the NHS because “the economy is strong” – on the day it was revealed there was no economic growth for three months in a row. …”
So, we are now truly in the realm of survival of the fittest of the unfit – a kind of euthanasia.
“Doctors’ report finds 5,449 deaths since 2016 followed delayed admission to A&E.”
“An adviser to the health secretary, Matt Hancock [pictured here today at the hosputal in question]
has been involved in a confrontation with protesters outside a Leeds hospital during a Conservative general election campaign visit.
Conservative sources claimed on Monday afternoon that the adviser had been hit by one of the protesters. But a video that quickly emerged appeared to show the adviser walking into a protester’s arm.
West Yorkshire Police later said they were “unaware of any reports” of an incident involving election campaigners at the hospital. …”
A VOTE FOR ANYONE OTHER THAN CLAIRE WRIGHT IS A VOTE FOR CONSERVATIVES
“Boris Johnson abruptly shut down a press conference after being asked if he had spoken to Donald Trump about ruling the NHS out of a future US/UK trade deal.
Asked by the Independent if he had made it “crystal clear” to Donald Trump that “neither the NHS or pharmaceuticals” should be part of future trade negotiations, the PM threw a bit of a huff and said he wouldn’t answer any more questions.
It comes after the Mirror revealed plans from predatory US health firms who believe the British market will be easier to crack after Brexit .
Mr Johnson seemed to be trying to strike a different tone from Trump – who just minutes earlier cancelled his post conference press conference.
But the PM’s open approach changed when he was quizzed about the row around NHS drug prices.
A visibly riled Mr Johnson brought questions to a juddering halt.
He began blustering:”I think everybody by now has rumbled all this for the nonsense that it is.
“I think I might wind up this press conference now because I think we’re starting to scrape the barrel.” “
“Health Secretary Matt Hancock looked panicked as Sky’s Adam Boulton put him on the spot in what quickly became a car-crash interview this morning.
Hancock tried to blame the EU for the NHS being ‘on the table’ in trade talks with the US – then admitted that the Tories were only ‘partially successful’ in preventing it.
But under the pressure of yesterday’s revelations by Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn of the Tories’ NHS negotiations with Trump’s advisers, Hancock soon shot himself in the foot with a rattled insistence that if the US insisted that the NHS had to be part of a trade deal, the UK would ‘walk away’.
But when Boulton pointed out that would mean not having a trade deal, Hancock tried to insist that there will be one – and when Boulton challenged him to make his mind up, he started spinning like a self-contradictory top.
Donald Trump, of course, has stated unequivocally that the NHS ‘and a lot more than that’ would have to be on the table for the US to agree any deal.
The Tories’ negotiation papers have made clear not only that the US continues to insist that access to the NHS and a new patent deal that would push up drug prices are central to any deal from the US viewpoint – but also that the talks to include them are at a very advanced stage.”
Video: panicked Hancock – “we were PARTIALLY successful” keeping NHS off table in car-crash interview
Privatising the SERVICES of the NHS allows Tories to say that it remains “free at the point of use”. What is actually happening is that we are paying through the nose when we use the service by allowing those private companies to cream off profits for their directors and shareholders, moving excess profits to tax havens. This makes the service much more expensive to run but keeps rich investors very happy.
And it is the same with privatised social care – though here the same rich investors push up the direct costs to the service users.
“NHS spending on care provided by private companies has jumped by £700m to £3.1bn with non-NHS firms winning almost 70 per cent of tendered contracts in England last year.
Private care providers were awarded 267 out of a total of 386 contracts made available in 2016-17, including the seven highest value opportunities, worth £2.4bn. …”
Owl says: A vote for anyone other than Claire Wright in East Devon is a vote for Conservatives.
“Speaking on the Today programme, Mr Raab says the Conservatives have been “absolutely clear there is going to be no privatisation of the NHS” in trade talks with the US and there will be “no dilution of our protection of consumers”.
He is asked about a pamplet he co-wrote called “After the Coalition”, which says that two-thirds of hospitals could be run by private companies or not-for-profits.
Mr Raab says that is a “ludicrous assertion”, calling it a “snippet from pamphlet written a long time ago” and adding that he has “never advocated privatisation”.”
Seems like his “communications” specialist Adviser Jupp (the Tory parachuted into East Devon) needs to go back to that Wimbledon flat to give his boss some help … assuming they both have jobs to go back to shortly.
“The Institute for Fiscal Studies is deeply unimpressed at what it deemed a “lack of significant policy action” in the Conservative Party manifesto.
The Tory social care crisis for Britain’s elderly and infirm that Johnson had promised to fix when he became PM did not even get a mention in the manifesto. Johnson had previously claimed that he had a plan ready to sort it out.
The IFS concluded that the manifesto plans meant people expecting relief for Britain’s public services after a decade of austerity would instead see “cuts to their day-to-day budgets of the last decade baked in.”
Economic researchers at the independent think tank calculated that the National Insurance threshold rise to £9,500 that Boris Johnson appeared to have lied or been mistaken about will actually only save most in paid work “less than £2 a week” and highlighted the “notable omission” for any plan to deal with the crisis in social care funding.
Nigel Edwards, chief executive at the Nuffield Trust, an independent health think tank, said he was “bitterly disappointed” to see “unnecessary delay” in tackling the issue of social care.
IFS director Paul Johnson said: “If a single Budget had contained all these tax and spending proposals, we would have been calling it modest.
“As a blueprint for five years in government, the lack of significant policy action is remarkable.”
Main manifesto pledges quickly debunked
Speaking at a launch event in Telford, Boris Johnson reaffirmed his commitment to take the UK out of the EU by the end of January, so they could “forge a new Britain”. “We will get Brexit done and we will end the acrimony and the chaos,” he said.
As well as a flagship promise of 50,000 more nurses for the NHS in England despite Brexit “chaos”, the manifesto included a U-turn restoring maintenance grants for student nurses previously scrapped by the Tories.
Tory sources later acknowledged that about 30,000 of the additional nurses would come from measures to retain existing staff rather than new recruits, and the main Tory manifesto pledge was debunked among other claims by a fact checking service within hours of the launch. Labour called the Tory figures “deceitful.”
Chief executive Will Moy said the Conservative Party could “do more to meet the standards we expect” after investigating its pledges on paving the way for 50,000 new nurses and limiting day-to-day spending increases to only £3 billion, despite promising a litany of public services investment.
The fact checkers also slammed Johnson’s use the the slogan “get Brexit done”, a phrase that appears 22 times in the manifesto including on the cover, when a deal with the European Union could take “years to negotiate”.
“The Brexit process will not be completed by January,” despite what Johnson keeps repeating said the independent organisation.
‘Older people face a triple whammy’
“After a decade of the Conservatives cutting our NHS, police and schools, all Boris Johnson is offering is more of the same: more cuts, more failure, and years more of Brexit uncertainty,” Jeremy Corbyn responded.
He added: “Boris Johnson can’t be trusted. Older people face a triple whammy as he has failed to protect free TV licences for over 75s, refused to grant justice to women unfairly affected by the increase in the state pension age, and not offered a plan or extra money to fix the social care crisis.”
The lacklustre manifesto may be down to Conservative complacency after recent polls. The latest polling released on Sunday, created by Datapraxis using YouGov polling and voter interviews, suggested the Tories were on course to secure their largest Commons majority since 1987 – a majority of almost 50 MPs.
This would mean if Boris Johnson met the public services spending promises in his manifesto the UK would still be looking at a decade of cuts “baked into” our services, according to the IFS analysis.
Boris Johnson’s broken promise to fix Tory social care crisis
Paul Johnson of the IFS’ initial reaction to the Tory manifesto was scathing: “If the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos were notable for the scale of their ambitions the Conservative one is not. If a single Budget had contained all these tax and spending proposals we would have been calling it modest. As a blueprint for five years in government the lack of significant policy action is remarkable.
“In part that is because the chancellor announced some big spending rises back In September. Other than for health and schools, though, that was a one-off increase. Taken at face value today’s manifesto suggests that for most services, in terms of day-to-day spending, that’s it. Health and school spending will continue to rise. Give or take pennies, other public services, and working age benefits, will see the cuts to their day-to-day budgets of the last decade baked in.”
“One notable omission is any plan for social care. In his first speech as prime minister Boris Johnson promised to ‘fix the crisis in social care once and for all’. After two decades of dither by both parties in government it seems we are no further forward.
“On the tax side the rise in the National Insurance threshold was well trailed. The ambition for it to get to £12,500 may remain, but only the initial rise to £9,500 has been costed and firmly promised. Most in paid work would benefit, but by less than £2 a week. Another £6 billion would need to be found to get to £12,500 by the end of the parliament. Given the pressures on the spending side that is not surprising.”
“Perhaps the biggest, and least welcome, announcement is the ‘triple tax lock’: no increases in rates of income tax, NICs or VAT. That’s a constraint the chancellor may come to regret. It is also part of a fundamentally damaging narrative – that we can have the public services we want, with more money for health and pensions and schools – without paying for them. We can’t.”
School cuts barely reversed
The Conservative manifesto confirmed previous commitments in England to increase school spend in England by £7.1 billion by 2022–23. However, that would leave spend per pupil in real terms after a decade of austerity at the same level as 13 years ago, the IFS explained.
In contrast the IFS found the Labour commitment of a £7.5 billion real terms increase by 2022–23 a 14.6% rise in spending per pupil.
Unlike Labour and the Liberal Democrats the Conservative manifesto refused to extend free, pre-school childcare.
IFS researchers warned that the Conservative manifesto pledges left “little scope for spending increases beyond next year outside of those planned for health and schools.”
In a dire warning the IFS added: “even in 2023–24 day-to-day spending on public services outside of health would still be almost 15 per cent lower in real terms that it was at the start of the 2010s.”
IFS warn austerity ‘baked in’ a Tory manifesto with ‘notable’ lack of social care funding
“Failure to recruit enough nurses has left the NHS dependent on less-skilled support staff to plug workforce gaps, analysis by a charity has found.
The Health Foundation claimed there has been a “hollowing out” of the NHS workforce and said the country needs to recruit at least 5,000 international nurses a year until 2023-24 to prevent shortages impacting on patient care.
Although there was the biggest annual increase in overall workforce for a decade between March 2018 and March 2019, this “masks an ongoing shift” in the mix of clinical staff employed by the NHS, the charity said.
While there was 4,500 more nurses recruited in the year – an increase of 1.5% – there was a 2.6% increase in support staff doctors, nurses and midwives (6,500 more), according to the analysis.
Nursing vacancies also reached record levels at 44,000 in the first quarter of 2019 while NHS output – including the number of operations, consultations and diagnostic procedures – grew by 23% between 2010-11 and 2016-17.
“The figures suggest that in some cases, clinical support staff are effectively filling in the gaps left by the widespread shortages of nurses, raising questions of quality and safety,” the report added.
The Health Foundation also said figures show that in response to a “severe drop off” in the supply of EU nurses since 2016, the UK has ramped up its recruitment of nurses from non-EU countries over the last year.
Since the Brexit referendum nurses recruited from EU countries has fallen by 85% – from 6,382 in 2016-17 to 968 in 2018-19.
The charity noted there had still been recruitment from outside the EU in 2018-19 – including 1,791 nurses from India and 3,118 from the Philippines.
A similar trend occurred with doctor recruitment, where there was a fall of 1.6% between March 2018 and March 2019 of permanently employed GPs. The Health Foundation added: “It now appears impossible that the government’s original target of recruiting 5,000 additional GPs by 2020 will be met”.
Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation, said: “Nursing shortages continue to deepen and are inevitably impacting on the front line.
“Services are being forced to make do with shortfalls of increasingly pressurised nurses and rely on less-skilled support staff to pick up the slack.
She added: “Two obvious solutions to the nurse staffing crisis would be to train more nurses in this country and retain more existing staff. But the UK is struggling to grow the numbers starting nursing degrees, and while there must also be action to address this – for example, by giving nurse students the cost-of-living support they need – it will take time to have a significant impact on the numbers of nurses.”
Charlesworth noted that clinical support staff played an important role but added there appeared to be an unplanned increased recruitment of such staff to fill nursing staff shortages.
The Conservatives have promised 50,000 more nurses if they win the election next month, although 19,000 of those will be retained rather than newly recruited.”
“Boris Johnson has promised an extra 50,000 NHS nurses by 2025. Part of the package is a return to providing bursaries for nursing students, to support them while they gain vital professional qualifications. This might seem like a welcome proposal, until you realise the entire policy is built on sand, propped up with deception and lies, and amounts to an insult to the brilliant and hardworking staff of the NHS.
Bursaries were axed at the insistence of the Tories in 2016, despite clear warnings from health unions, professional associations, and nurses themselves that this would be detrimental to the recruitment and retention of nurses.
Figures released by UCAS show that the number of people applying to study nursing in England has fallen by more than 13,000 since the bursary was scrapped. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) points out that the numbers of mature students applying has also fallen by 41%. They say there are about 40,000 nursing vacancies in England. The prime minister’s pledge to reinstate the bursary is welcome, but merely rights a wrong, and does nothing to plug a three-year gap in recruitment.
Then there is the prime minister’s flagship Brexit plan. The uncertainty and threat of economic chaos has already meant the NHS has lost 5,000 nurses from other EU nations. There has been a huge fall in the numbers of nurses from other EU countries coming to the UK to work for the NHS. This is hardly a surprise given the toxic political culture and sense that they are unwelcome.”
“Breakdown of that Tory 50k new nurses pledge. Party sources say 14k from students, 12.5k from overseas 5k from new nurse apprenticeships. But bulk of increase will come from better ‘retention’ of existing staff (better childcare/management support)…..So 31,500 “new” nurses then and a pipe-dream about retaining staff who are growing more unhappy in their roles each day due to the 40,000 nurse vacancies that can’t currently be filled. This man really has a problem with the truth…….”
Could it be the transient nature of renters in the town? Or no effort to sign people up? Or its poor location?
Whoever heard these days of doctors complaining they don’t have enough patients!
“Cranbrook residents are hoping to find out more about the future of its GP surgery which is at threat of closure due to low patient numbers, staffing problems and financial problems.
Access Health Care (AHC), which runs Cranbrook Medical Centre in Younghayes Road, has revealed it will not be extending its contract which is due to expire on March 31, 2020.
It is not known what will happen to the centre after that time, but Devon’s Clinical Commissioning Group has assured it is working on potential solutions.
AHC, which operates five Plymouth GP surgeries, as well as Cranbrook Medical Centre and Exeter’s Clock Tower Surgery for the homeless and vulnerably housed, has stated the following reasons for not renewing the contract.
Currently only around 3,500 of the 6,500 residents at Cranbrook are registered
AHC cannot recruit the necessary GPs and nurses to provide the service required
The location of the surgery
A lack of government funding per patient to run an effective GP service” …
“Hospitals are so short of doctors and nurses that patients’ safety and quality of care are under threat, senior NHS leaders have warned in a dramatic intervention in the general election campaign
Nine out of 10 hospital bosses in England fear understaffing across the service has become so severe that patients’ health could be damaged. In addition, almost six in 10 (58%) believe this winter will be the toughest yet for the service.
The views expressed by senior NHS figures on Tuesday will heighten the anxiety in Conservative ranks that the health service’s growing problems risk derailing the party’s campaign in an election members hoped would be dominated by Brexit.
The Labour party is seeking to capitalise on public dissatisfaction over delays in accessing treatment and the increasingly visible gaps in staffing.
In a further sign of Tory concern, ministers have agreed an extraordinary deal for the NHS to pay doctors’ pension tax bills this year, which could cost hundreds of millions of pounds.
The scheme is aimed at halting the sharp recent increase in doctors working fewer shifts in order to avoid being hit with unexpected tax bills of up to £100,000. The trend has forced hospitals to cancel thousands of operating lists and outpatient clinics, while further delaying patients’ access to care and exacerbating staff shortages.
Ministers hope doctors in England – the only country the incentive will apply in – will see it as a green light to resume extra shifts before winter pressures ramp up on the NHS, without having to worry that they will be heavily penalised months later.
However, the deal immediately triggered claims that it has been agreed between ministers and NHS England in defiance of “purdah” rules that stipulate that governments must not undertake changes of policy during an election campaign.
It is being presented as an “operational decision” by NHS England, but was signed off – and some believe instigated – by the Treasury, Cabinet Office and the Department of Health and Social Care.
A senior medical source involved in brokering the unprecedented “stopgap” policy suggested it came about because ministers were “desperate” to avoid fewer shifts by doctors compounding hospitals’ struggles this winter.
The source said: “They have so massively breached purdah regulations it’s unbelievable. This isn’t an operational matter. This is policy. It’s outrageous, because purdah rules say that you can’t announce a change of policy during an election.”
The 131 chief executives, chairs and directors of NHS trusts in England expressed their serious concern about the deteriorating state of the service in a survey conducted by the NHS Confederation.
The findings came days after the latest official figures showed that hospitals’ performance against key waiting times for A&E care, cancer treatment and planned operations had fallen to its worst ever level. However, many service chiefs told the confederation that delays will get even longer when the cold weather creates extra demand for care.
“There is real concern among NHS leaders as winter approaches and this year looks particularly challenging,” said Niall Dickson, the chief executive of the confederation, which represents most NHS bodies, including hospital trusts, in England.
“Health leaders are deeply concerned about its ability to cope with demand, despite frontline staff treating more patients than ever.
“There is the very real prospect of gaps in clinical shifts and patients not receiving the quality of care they need because NHS trusts do not have the staff they need.”
“Despite doing everything within their power, 90% of health leaders we surveyed said that understaffing was putting patients at risk.
“We have 100,000 clinical vacancies [in England] and the prospect of ever-rising demand unless we face up to the scale of the challenge,” added Dickson.
Last week’s figures showed that one in four people who attend a hospital-based A&E are waiting more than four hours to be dealt with, record numbers are having to wait on a trolley while they are found a bed and seven of the eight clinically vital cancer treatment targets are being missed.
Dickson added that, even if the next government provided more money to tackle widespread staff shortages, it would take time to reduce the high vacancy rates that are common in many hospitals. The NHS is short of about 43,000 nurses and almost 10,000 doctors as well as paramedics and other health professionals.
He warned political parties not to raise voters’ expectations unreasonably in the run-up to polling on 12 December about how quickly the NHS can get back on track.
“More investment is needed but even with that this is a system that will take time to turn around and the electorate must not be fed with overpromises over the coming weeks,” he said.
The King’s Fund voiced concern at the results of the research. “Amidst the political rhetoric of the general election campaign, these findings underline the stark reality facing patients across the country who are struggling to access NHS services,” said Sally Warren, the thinktank’s director of policy.
“Workforce shortages are already having a direct impact on the quality of people’s care, with national patient surveys repeatedly highlighting difficulties for patients accessing NHS services and performance against key waiting time targets at their worst in over a decade.
“These NHS leaders are correct – without urgent action patient safety will be at risk.”
The confederation’s survey of 131 hospital bosses also found that:
76% say staff shortages are the NHS’s most pressing problem.
83% say the dispute over senior doctors’ pensions is making understaffing even worse.
69% say doctors deciding to work fewer hours is damaging patient care.
98% say the deepening crisis in social care is leading to more older people needing hospital care.”