“Plan to hire thousands of foreign nurses for NHS is axed”

Owl sats: this one change means that all NHS plans (and even those for privatised health services) cannot work.

“A controversial target of hiring 5,000 foreign nurses a year for at least 15 years has been cut from a flagship plan to deal with the NHS’s staffing crisis, the Observer understands.

The move will frustrate health chiefs, who are desperate for a clear strategy to reduce NHS staffing pressures, which are expected to worsen.

There are also mounting concerns that new post-Brexit immigration rules could end up making the situation even worse unless the NHS is handed special treatment. The government’s long-awaited plan to tackle shortages included the ambition of recruiting 5,000 nurses a year until 2024 to help relieve short-term pressure. However, it is understood that while the latest version talks about the need for a significant increase in nurses from overseas, the specific figure has been removed.

Senior medics have complained about the government’s failure to solve the health service staffing shortage. Many point to the decision by George Osborne, as chancellor, to stop paying nursing students’ tuition fees and maintenance grants as a key factor in the nursing crisis.

Including the target for overseas would be politically difficult as the government remains committed to a big reduction in net migration. The plan is being drawn up by senior NHS executives led by Baroness Harding, the Conservative peer who chairs the regulator NHS Improvement.

Health experts are still unclear about how new post-Brexit immigration rules will affect the NHS. Proposals released last year that migrants would have to earn at least £30,000 a year would have barred more than 40% of migrant nurses joining the NHS in 2017-18, according to the Nuffield Trust thinktank.

It found that 72% of nurses, 70% of scientific, therapeutic and technical staff and 36% of ambulance staff earn less than the required £35,800 threshold for indefinite leave to remain. It said that while occupations with shortages are exempt from the thresholds, such exemptions are temporary.

Its analysis of the new rules warns: “The NHS is in a state of chronic staff shortage due to poor planning and insufficient training numbers over many years. There are 100,000 vacant posts in English trusts alone, although many will be filled by agency workers. The problem is concentrated in nursing and general practice.”

Mark Dayan, policy analyst at the Nuffield Trust thinktank, said: “Even if you take all the actions that we could identify in terms of boosting nurses in training, preventing them from leaving at the same rate, the nursing gap is not going to shrink at all in the next five years without international recruitment.

“We calculated that international recruitment of 5,000 nurses a year would be what it would take to halve the nursing gap, not even eliminate it, by 2023-24. If that doesn’t happen, the sort of shortages we have now will continue. That’s a patient safety issue and the ability of the NHS to move forward and get out of this crisis situation.”

Ditching the figure will place even more pressure on the need to train up British nurses. Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “While it’s beneficial in the short-term, reliance on overseas nurses to plug gaps in England is clearly unsustainable.”

NHS Improvement said: “NHS Improvement and the Department of Health and Social Care are finalising the interim [workforce] plan which should be published shortly.”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jun/02/foreign-nurses-target-cut-from-nhs-staffing-plan?

“Austerity to blame for 130,000 ‘preventable’ UK deaths – report”

“More than 130,000 deaths in the UK since 2012 could have been prevented if improvements in public health policy had not stalled as a direct result of austerity cuts, according to a hard-hitting analysis to be published this week.

The study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) thinktank finds that, after two decades in which preventable diseases were reduced as a result of spending on better education and prevention, there has been a seven-year “perfect storm” in which state provision has been pared back because of budget cuts, while harmful behaviours among people of all ages have increased.

Had progress been maintained at pre-2013 rates, around 131,000 lives could have been saved, the IPPR concludes. Despite promises made during the NHS’s 100th birthday celebrations last year to prioritise prevention, the UK is now only halfway up a table of OECD countries on its record for tackling preventable diseases.

The report is concerned with preventable diseases or disorders such as heart disease, lung cancer or liver problems, which can be caused by unhealthy lifestyles and habits, formed often at a young age. It finds evidence of disturbing reductions in physical activity in schools and chronic underfunding of health visitors.

The lead researcher and author, Dean Hochlaf, said: “We have seen progress in reducing preventable disease flatline since 2012. At the same time, local authorities have seen significant cuts to their public health budgets, which has severely impacted the capacity of preventative services.

“Social conditions for many have failed to improve since the economic crisis, creating a perfect storm that encourages harmful health behaviours. This health challenge will only continue to worsen.”

The IPPR calls for a “radical new prevention strategy” involving a renewed and increased commitment to the state’s role in preventing disease.

“No longer can we place the burden of responsibility exclusively upon the individual, while turning a blind eye to a social environment which makes healthy lifestyles difficult to achieve. This means investing in public health and ensuring the government takes a greater responsibility to create a healthy environment.”

On cuts to physical education in school, it says: “PE has been reduced in schools across England, with a 5% reduction at key stage 3 and a 21% reduction across key stage 4 reported between 2011 and 2017. This is despite the noted benefits of physical education – not simply on physical development, but also through promoting healthier lifestyles and helping to enhance people’s cognitive and social skills.”

The report adds: “Funding for physical education – supposedly coming from the sugar tax revenues – was reduced in 2017 from £415m to £100m, to part fund an increase in the core school budget. The lost funding should be replenished, potentially funded by an expansion of the sugar levy to other drinks and confectionery with high sugar content.”

Five compulsory health visits should be made to every child during their early life, with an additional visit six months before a child starts nursery school, the IPPR says. “These should be carried out by a trained professional. Health visitors should be provided with additional training to collect vital information on key health indicators and be prepared to offer support and guidance to encourage breastfeeding based on clinical evidence and ensuring that parents are vaccinating their children.”

Researchers found the system of health visits creaking under the strain.

“An estimated two in five (44%) of health visitors reported caseloads in excess of 400 children, well above the recommended level of 250 per visitor needed to deliver a safe service.” The report recommends another 5,100 training places for health visitors.

In a statement, the Local Government Association said the government urgently needed to reverse the £700m reduction in public health funding since 2015 and plug a £3.6bn gap in funding for adult social care by 2025.”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/01/perfect-storm-austerity-behind-130000-deaths-uk-ippr-report?

Cranbrook to get massively BIGGER – first planning test for no-overall-control council

The first test of The Independent Group on large-scale development. It got to make up the EDDC Cabinet and its Leader, Ben Ingham, has appointed several current and former Tories to positions of influence.

What will each group’s stand be on large-scale development? And what happens if the smaller parties have different views to that of the Independent Group and Tories if they agree? Interesting.

There are a few worrying words in this press release – potential, proposed, outlines, capable of, vision, could, opportunities. Lots of leeway for developet mund-changing at a later date.

And missing words: affordable and social housing.

Plus our local NHS Trust wants more than £1.3 million before it considers the proposal sustainable for health needs.

“Plans for 930 new homes as part of the western expansion of Cranbrook have been revealed.

The proposals for the Bluehayes site would also see a primary school, sport and recreational facilities, community uses, green infrastructure, as well as a mixed use area of shops, food and drink and professional services built.

The Bluehayes site, which lies between the existing Cranbrook development and Broadclyst Station, is one of four proposed expansion areas of Cranbrook.

A new link road that would run from the Cranbrook railway station to London Road and to Broadclyst Station, through the middle of the Bluehayes site, is also proposed in the scheme handed in recently to East Devon District Council planners.

And the plans also reveal that a footbridge over the London Road that would connect the Bluehayes site with the proposed Treasbeare site, south of the road, could be built.

The Cranbrook Plan was backed by East Devon District Council’s Strategic Planning Committee in February which outlines the land where a further 4,170 new homes will be built.

It allocates 40 hectares of land at the Bluehayes Expansion Area for around 960 new dwellings, land capable of accommodating a community building, formal open space recreational land, a 420 pupil place primary school, formal play space with facilities for children and youth and allotments totalling an area of 0.55 hectare of land

Details with a planning statement submitted with the planning application says: “The submission of the new outline application for the Western Expansion of Cranbrook and the change of use of agricultural land to the north of Cranny Brook to SANG land, is consistent with the planning policy and the longstanding policy to deliver new homes to meet the needs of the area.

“The submission of the application for the Western Expansion area and their progression delivers certainty required in the long term delivery of growth and of the delivery of the vision for Cranbrook.

“The proposals have been designed to be residential led with the potential for the delivery of a new primary school and formal outdoor sports pitches to provide complementary community and social infrastructure to meet the needs of new residents.

“The application demonstrates provision of the necessary infrastructure to include internal roads, public transport provision, formal and informal open space uses to support itself and to mitigate any impacts of development on existing communities and wider infrastructure.

“Cranbrook and its Western Expansion have been fully justified in the context of local planning policy and in the context of the growth agenda and the national and local need for housing.

“The proposals will result in substantial and demonstrable benefits in terms of meeting the need for new homes in a sustainable manner, fostering economic development and further underpinning the sustainability of Cranbrook.

“The proposals will also help deliver the vision for Cranbrook and underpin the planning and delivery of infrastructure and the town centre.”

A 1.14 hectare site for a one-form entry primary school could come forward as part of the plans. The primary school will be built in either the Bluehayes or the Treasbeare allocation, depending on which is constructed first.

Details with the scheme also outline that a new link road from the Cranbrook station to London Road and to Broadclyst Station will be built.

There will be a new frontage to London Road which will comprise a mixed use area, providing opportunities for a range of residential, retail and small scale employment uses, and in future, a crossing over London Road to the southern expansion area may be accommodated.

But the Royal and Devon Exeter NHS Foundation Trust have requested a contribution of £1,332,313 from the developers, cash which will be used directly to provide additional health care services to meet patient demand.

Commenting on the application, they say: “Without the contribution being paid, the development would not be acceptable in planning terms as the consequence would be inadequate health services available to support it.”

Having considered the cost projections, the Trust say that they will require the full figure to ensure the required level of service provision is delivered in a timely manner.

They add: “Failure to access this additional funding will put significant additional pressure on the current service capacity, leading to increase delays for patients and dissatisfaction with NHS services.

“The contribution will ensure that Health services are maintained for current and future generations and that way make the development sustainable.”

The Bluehayes expansion is one of four proposed expansion areas for Cranbrook, which development also proposed for Treasbeare and Grange, south of the existing town, and Cobdens, to the east of the town.

A reserved matters application has also been submitted for 80 homes, for which outline planning permission has already been granted, for land north-east of the Cranbrook Education Campus.

East Devon District Council planners will determine the fate of the applications at a later date.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/cranbrook-getting-bigger-930-new-2923726

“Campaign to keep Brighton General Hospital land public”

“CAMPAIGNERS fighting to keep Brighton General Hospital land in public ownership are calling for more people to get involved.

About 100 people heard NHS campaigners, councillors and two MPs at a public meeting speak about the using the site for low-cost social housing.

Plans to redevelop the former Victorian workhouse at the top of Elm Grove are under discussion.

A new community health hub is proposed for the current ambulance station site, with a GP surgery and pharmacy, along with existing services for mental health, podiatry and early parenting. Health chiefs have said the cost of the project could be funded by selling the rest of the site for housing.

When Brighton and Hove City Council’s health and wellbeing board was given a briefing in November last year, one suggestion was the site be used to build homes for health workers.

An online petition, calling for meaningful public consultation about the future of the site, as well as asking for community beds and homes for social rent has more than 1,300 signatures.

Green councillor David Gibson said the site was a public asset in a city with “horrendous” housing problems. He added the Greens and Labour councillors and activists from the Brighton Housing Coalition, Sussex Defend The NHS and the Save Whitehawk Hill group had come together to shift the agenda to social housing.

Cllr Gibson said: “Privatisation and inequality have gone together. This country has become one of the most unequal countries in the developed world.

“You get better outcomes if you narrow inequality. If you want to narrow inequality, you need public provision, public support and public services which are decent.”

He said the council’s chief executive Geoff Raw would be meeting the board of the Brighton General landowner, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, to discuss options.

The campaign is pushing for the site to be taken into council ownership.

Carolyn Pickering, of Sussex Defend The NHS, reminded the audience the NHS freed people from the fear of choosing which child to spend their savings on if one became ill. She said: “The land is still part of the NHS. The NHS belongs to us and the land belongs to us so they should not be allowed to sell it.”

Council leader Nancy Platts said: “We will be inviting all interested parties into meetings about the Brighton General site and this includes the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust as well as those campaigning about the future use of the site.”

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/17673627.campaign-to-keep-brighton-general-hospital-land-public/

Swire’s choice for PM : wants all schools and NHS run by private companies for profit

Should one be judged by the company one keeps?

“Tory leadership hopeful Dominic Raab has been described as more rightwing than Margaret Thatcher over his proposal to let state schools be run by profit-making companies

Raab, who is second favourite in the race to be the next prime minister, made the case for privately run state schools in 2013 and again in 2014, saying the government should open up the education system for companies to make money.

The idea is one of a number of rightwing proposals put forward by Raab in pamphlets over the years. The former Brexit secretary has also suggested encouraging more private companies into the NHS by giving them tax breaks or paying them premiums, and scrapping the 45% top rate of income tax, instead having a basic rate at 15% and a higher rate at 35%.

Asked whether Rabb still endorsed the idea of letting companies run state schools, his spokesman did not rule out the proposal, saying: “Dominic has set out his priorities to fight for a fairer Britain – a fairer deal for workers by cutting taxes for those on low and middle incomes, a fairer society by boosting apprenticeships and getting a fairer deal from Brussels.”

In his 2013 paper Capitalism for the Little Guy, Raab suggested the government should “lift the bar on profit-making companies running academies and free schools”, subject to a minimum of 50% of profits being reinvested into the school. At present academies and free schools cannot be run for profit.

Raab wrote that opening up schools to profit-making companies could help to raise capital investment for education at a time when funding from central government was under pressure, arguing that such a move would help raise standards.

He acknowledged there was an “understandable sensitivity of introducing the profit motive into schooling”, suggesting that as well as the 50% profit limit on, dividends should only be paid if educational performance standards were met and that there should be a bar on the sale for commercial gain of school assets purchased with public money. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/29/dominic-raab-more-rightwing-on-education-than-thatcher-tory-private-sector-state-schools-profit?

People sent to care homes more than 450 miles away from home

“One in five care home residents have been sent out of their local area, with some stranded more than 450 miles from families and friends, according to official data revealed under freedom of information (FOI) laws.

In the worst cases, frail or vulnerable people are being taken from five local authority areas in London and southern England to Glasgow and northeast Scotland, because beds are unavailable at home or cheaper elsewhere.

More than two thirds of the local authorities which responded to the FOI request said they had sent somebody at least 125 miles away.

Barbara Keeley, Labour’s shadow minister for social care, who found the information, said: “This makes a mockery of the government’s claim that they want people to receive care at home.”

The human cost of the policy was described as “heartbreaking” by Judy Downey, chief executive of the charity Relatives and Residents Association. On average, one in 10 care home residents never receive any visitors.

“If [friends and family] can’t get there, frankly it doesn’t matter if it is five miles away or 500,” she said. “Often people have more information about their weekend break in Paris than they are ever going to get on what goes on in a care home.”

Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, which represents independent social care services, said: “Local authorities just look for where they can find a bed . . . It’s a really huge issue because people should not be removed from their communities or their families.”

Source: Sunday Times (pay wall)

Secretive group which wants to privatise NHS is funding Conservative Party (and Swire’s choice for PM)

Swire is a lead supporter for Dominic Raab – named below

“A secretive think tank which called for the NHS to be scrapped while its heads pour millions into the Conservative Party – and its MPs’ – coffers is being funded by big tobacco, an investigation has found.

British American Tobacco is one of the groups funding the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a free market think tank which is notoriously close-lipped about its donors.

The IEA has been an outspoken critic of public health measures for tackling smoking, obesity and harmful drinking, and past funders include organisations affiliated with gambling, alcohol, sugar and soft drinks industries. …

It has close links to the Conservative Party and the chair of its board of trustees, Neil Record, donated £32,000 to health secretary Matt Hancock between 2010 and 2018.

Dominic Raab – who, alongside Mr Hancock, is aiming to succeed Theresa May as Conservative leader – also has close links with the IEA, speaking at its 60th anniversary event, and promoting an annual essay competition as recently as last month.

When asked about these links by the BMJ, a spokesperson said Mr Raab has “always been a strong supporter of public health initiatives to make the UK healthier and reduce pressures on the NHS”.

While Mr Hancock is among the biggest beneficiaries, 30 Tory MPs including David Davis, Liam Fox and David Willets have received cash or hospitality from Mr Record or fellow trustee Sir Michael Hintze.

In total MPs have declared funding to the value of £166,000 from the pair since 2005, and they have donated £4.3m to the Conservative Party.

The BMJ investigation identified a 1999 document listing UK supporters of the IEA, including British American Tobacco, Rothmans UK Holdings, Tate and Lyle, Whitbread, and Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland.

When the authors followed up with key organisations to see which were still actively funding the IEA, British American Tobacco confirmed it was still donating. …”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/big-tobacco-funding-conservatives-nhs-hancock-raab-davis-a8916561.html