Tag Archives: NHS

Goodbye NHS

David Cameron - NHSThe Tory/LibDem policy of destroying the NHS has been sweeping along since 2010, to the financial benefit of Tory donors.

This is really just one more step, but it’s a big one.

The prolife Conservative party instituted charges for maternal health care for “immigrants and tourists” in 2011. With the obvious results:

The researchers heard the case of a woman who needed a caesarean for medical reasons, but who gave birth at home because she could not afford the charges. The midwives and overseas visitors officers told the charity that some women were not going to their antenatal appointments and were instead turning up in labour with severe complications.
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The racism of the respectable

Daughters of EvePlease sign this petition, on the Downing Street site from Leyla Hussein, Daughters of Eve, and Efua Dorkenoo OBE, Equality Now:

Over 66,000 women in the UK have already undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) and more than 24,000 girls are at risk. FGM is a very British problem. Despite increased activities around FGM recently, it is not enough – we are still failing to stop the abuse.

[The petition has reached 100,000 signatures - 100,412 as of Sunday 26th January - and is therefore eligible for debate by the House of Commons. Important that if FGM is debated in the Commons it does not descend into a farago of Islamophobia: real solutions needed.]

The Guardian is running a consultation on how to eradicate FGM forever: closes 8th January.

In 2011, the Tory/LibDem government cut the funding for the only Whitehall post devoted to work preventing women and girls from the UK being subjected to FGM.

“This is a real step backwards,” said Diana Nammi, director of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation. “We feel it speaks about a real lack of commitment from the government and a marginalisation of this hugely important issue The new guidelines were an important step forward but efforts are now needed to ensure that they are actually read and acted on, and the government should also be working to change attitudes towards FGM within communities.

“Without a dedicated person in government to drive efforts forward, it’s hard to see how this will happen. The coordinator was a link between all the organisations working in this area and now that’s been lost.”
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On being undecided…

yes no dunnoThe White Paper on Independence is due out tomorrow. Because the SNP have no respect for Scotland’s Parliament, it’s to be launched in the Science Centre in Glasgow. After all, launching the Yes Campaign in a dimly lit auditorium worked so well….

Blair Jenkins writes at Yes Scotland:

Large numbers of people have yet to decide how they will vote in next September’s referendum – and for many this is the moment they have been waiting for.

At Yes Scotland, we know from our own detailed research that the more people hear the independence arguments, the more attracted they are to that option.

I wouldn’t expect Blair Jenkins to acknowledge this (I think the “detailed research” he refers is the surveys carried out by Brandwatch for Yes Scotland discussed here) but the most effective campaigners for a Yes vote in 2014 aren’t anyone in the SNP or in Yes Scotland: they’re David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband, et al.
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The NHS and prochoice

The NHS had existed for 19 years before it became possible for a woman who had had her children born in an NHS hospital to have an abortion in an NHS hospital.

In Northern Ireland, though the UK citizens there pay for the NHS just as they do in England, Scotland, and Wales, a woman who needs an abortion usually cannot get one: with the exception of molar and ectopic pregnancies, which are accepted even in the Republic of Ireland as needing to be aborted, any woman who needs an abortion must find the fare to England and a place to stay overnight before the abortion.

Until next Thursday. Marie Stopes International will open a clinic in Belfast on Thursday 18th October, and – acting within the ambiguous confines of the law – will be the first providers of legal abortion to women who would otherwise have to travel to London:

The main legislative restriction is the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861. Since 1967, the Abortion Act has governed abortion in England, Scotland and Wales but Northern Ireland was excluded, and the 1861 Act still applies there.
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Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

Whenever Labour, the Conservatives, the LibDems, or the SNP, talk about how the important things are to let big companies pay less tax and to crack down on benefit fraud, we can be quite sure they are telling a story which is aimed at getting tabloid support:

Tax evasion currently costs this country £25bn a year; tax avoidance – that is, large companies and wealthy individuals who “take advantage” of the system – cost us £70bn a year. In addition to this, £26bn is going uncollected, adding up to a staggering £121bn in total – or, to put it in context, three-quarters of the annual deficit. To put it in yet more context, the amount lost to disability fraud is estimated at £1bn – and this figure should be considered in the context of benefit underpayment, which consistently saves more than the fraud costs. This does not of course excuse fraud, but it does make a mockery of the coalition’s claims that abuse of the system is costing money that they will save by being “efficient” – another euphemism.

All of these parties at Westminster and Holyrood seem to think they can tell us what should matter to us.

I am undecided about how I’ll vote in 2014, and free for nothing, I’ll tell both Labour and the SNP how they could convince me to vote their way.

Tell me you’re going to build enough council houses that everyone who needs to rent one can have one. And keep building them so that as the stock diminishes by Right To Buy, it increases by new builds. You know this will save money – Housing Benefit has effectively become a subsidy for people who can afford to buy a place for the purpose of renting it out. Nice little earner for them. You know this will increase employment, decrease homelessness, improve quality of life hugely, even improve educational scores – children don’t tend to do well in school when they’re living in a bed-and-breakfast. Continue reading

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Cabinet of despair

Government departments and their ministers, reshuffled

We’re in a recession heading for a depression, and George Osborne is Chancellor of the Exchequer. Osborne believes that the right thing to do when the economy is failing is to cut government spending and to make large numbers of people unemployed. Even economists who thought this theoretically might work realise it’s long since proved to be not working (Martin Wolf of the Financial Times was recommending in May that the government announce a change of plan): Nobel Prize winning economists Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, turn out – strangely enough – to know more about the economy than a man whose main qualification for being Chancellor is that he was in the Bullingdon Club with David Cameron.

Yet Osborne is set to continue cutting till May 2015. And short of revolution, we can’t get rid of him.
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Hunt for the NHS

Jeremy Hunt isn’t just an unscrupulous toerag – we knew that. He’s now Health Secretary, despite believing that:

  • Homeopathy works*
  • That this House welcomes the positive contribution made to the health of the nation by the NHS homeopathic hospitals; notes that some six million people use complementary treatments each year; believes that complementary medicine has the potential to offer clinically-effective and cost-effective solutions to common health problems faced by NHS patients, including chronic difficult to treat conditions such as musculoskeletal and other chronic pain, eczema, depression, anxiety and insomnia, allergy, chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome; expresses concern that NHS cuts are threatening the future of these hospitals; and calls on the Government actively to support these valuable national assets. (EDM 1240 in support of Homeopathic Hospitals, 2007, h/t Tom Chivers)

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Why is the Telegraph helping Labour get elected?

Lyall Duff thought he’d made his Facebook profile private. The lesson everyone should take from the Telegraph’s “investigative journalism” – finding a few ranty sweary posts and quoting or partially quoting them – is that Facebook is never reliably private.

The SNP have suspended Lyall Duff, but it is too late to take his name off the ballot for Murdostoun ward in North Lanarkshire: the Telegraph waited to disclose Lyall Duff’s posts until after the deadline precisely so that the SNP’s possibilities for damage limitation would be minimal. This will benefit Scottish Labour; they won a majority on North Lanarkshire council in 2007, and half of the seats in the Murdostoun ward. The Telegraph ran another story this morning with an opening:

Labour questioned why the SNP was prepared to pass new legislation cracking down on sectarianism in football matches but has so far refused to expel Lyall Duff. They accused the First Minister of crying “crocodile tears” over the affair.

Why are the Telegraph runing a press campaign to help Scottish Labour win one more seat in a local authority ward in North Lanarkshire?
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Abortion

There are a set of moral, ethical, and medical issues around abortion.

[Also about use of Care Quality Commission staff for a politician's personal prejudices. More of that in the update below.]

The Telegraph does not appear to be interested in any of them, in its latest US-style article about “abortion clinics”.

First and most importantly: Is the person who is having the abortion being coerced in any way? It would be immoral and inethical for a doctor to perform an abortion on anyone unless she wants to have her pregnancy terminated.
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The Tories like the US healthcare system

And Simon Johnson, Scottish Political Editor at the Telegraph, likes a liar. Let me explain.

The Health and Social Care Bill will become law. The Tory love for the US healthcare system is based on its profitability to people like them rather than to its effectiveness. The Health and Social Care Act is intended to increase the NHS costs and decrease services.
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