Category: Health

Greens To Present Bill To Reverse Tory Health & Care Law

Caroline Lucas, the Green party’s only MP, will present a bill to parliament which aims to reverse large parts of the last government’s Health and Social Care Act 2012.

The private members bill, named the NHS Reinstatement Bill, has received cross-party support, including the backing of Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrat MP John Pugh and the SNP’s health spokesperson Philippa Whitford.

The bill would reinstate the secretary of state’s responsibility for the health of UK citizens, something the Health and Social Care Act removed.

It would also abolish bodies such as NHS trusts, NHS foundation trusts and clinical commissioning groups, allowing commercial companies to provide services only if they were essential to patient welfare and the NHS could not do so itself.

A private member’s bill can be introduced by any member of parliament or peer who is not a government minister, but few of them actually pass in to law because they are given little parliamentary time.

In March this year, Lucas tabled a similar bill that had to be dropped when parliament was dissolved before the general election.

Labour MPs Cat Smith, Michael Meacher, Rob Marris, Kelvin Hopkins, John McDonnell and Roger Godsiff have supported the bill, but Lucas called for the whole Labour party and its leadership candidates to follow Corbyn in “standing up for our NHS” and backing it.

Full story :


Sharp rise in North East syphilis and gonorrhoea cases

Cases of syphilis and gonorrhoea have shown a sharp rise in the North-East over the last year.

Figures released by Public Health England show there were 1,447 new cases of gonorrhoea diagnosed in the region during 2014, up by eight per cent on the previous year.

Although the number of new syphilis cases in women fell, they rose by 40 per cent among men taking the total number of cases diagnosed in 2014 to 160, the highest level for five years.

Overall, a total of 18,971 sexually transmitted infections were diagnosed in the North-East in 2014, down 13 per cent on the previous year.

Chlamydia remains the most common STI, making up 51 per cent of all new diagnoses in the North-East, but the number of cases fell from to 9,603 in 2014 – a reduction of 22 per cent over the year.

Full story –


North East public health spending to be slashed

About £15.7m is likely to be slashed from funding to help people in the North East lose weight and quit smoking, according to the Northern Echo.

The Government is poised to cut each local council’s public health budget by 7.8 per cent immediately, in the first round of George Osborne’s post-election cuts.

The move will swipe cash for services such as smoking cessation classes, obesity clinics, school nurses and drug and alcohol treatments.

And it will go ahead despite warnings of an obesity epidemic and evidence that tackling the stubborn causes of ill-health can cut the long-term cost to the health service.

The Chancellor announced a £200m “in-year” cut to public health budgets earlier this month, but did not set out where the pain would fall.

Now The Northern Echo has been told that three options will be set out, possibly as early as this week:

* A 7.8 per cent cut “across-the-board”.

* Steeper cuts for councils deemed to be historically overfunded.

* Taking the entire £200m from local authorities yet to spend the money and with reserves.

Full story –


Here we go again!

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Reposted from the Leicester Mercury

DWP, you really are a piece of shit!

Tracy and Nick Gaskin

Tracy and Nick Gaskin

Officials have apologised after a man who cannot walk, talk or feed himself was told he had to attend a Job Centre interview to discuss his benefit payments as well as “training to up date his skills.”

Nick Gaskin, 46, from Quorn, was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) 16 years ago.

He can no longer do anything for himself and needs round the clock care.

He and his wife Tracy were astonished to receive a letter from the Loughborough Job Centre with an appointment for July 22.

The letter states: “You and your personal advisor will discuss the possibility of going into paid work, training for work, or looking for work in the future.”

His wife, Tracy, called the centre to explain the situation but was told he still had to attend.


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Pushing Sick People Into Work ‘Likely To Be Ineffective’

Government policy of pushing people of poor health from unemployment and into work is “likely to be ineffective”, according to a damning new report.

New research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), found that unemployed people of poor health are more likely to move from permanent to temporary or low-paid work than healthier workers. They are also more likely to slip back into unemployment.

Full story :


The Desperate Fight Within Disabled Campaigning


This is my first post in a few months, there’s been several reasons for this including an horrendous bout of depression, an operation and masses of work for DEAEP, our new course starts next week. There also been one issue that has taken over what little energy I’ve had left after this; a month ago I was asked if I’d be interested in working on the setting up of a unifying group for disabled people to fight the Government.

Anyone that’s read my blogs is well aware I’m committed to collective working and collaboration, most of my posts end with some form of plea for Unity or Togetherness, so of course I said yes. To my horror, in this very short period of time several of those willing to do the backroom work have been bullied and verbally assaulted by the same people who purport to believe in campaigning and challenging…

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Tory Cuts Could Push Tens Of Thousands Of Home Carers Onto the Dole

Tens of thousands of home carers who look after vulnerable elderly relatives could be pushed into unemployment, warns the Alzheimer’s Society.

Government cuts are leaving local authority social care budgets “at breaking point”, while struggling home carers are left juggling work and caring duties.

Within ten years, up to one million Alzheimers patients will be dependent upon the care they receive from relatives. This is estimated to save the economy around £11.6bn each year, which is greater than the £8.8bn spent on the NHS.

Head of policy at the Alzheimer’s Society, George McNamara, said:

 “Further government cuts to social care could lead to tens of thousands of working people forced to give up their jobs to look after elderly relatives over the next five years.”

“Workers can’t fit caring responsibilities into a lunch break.

“Looking after an elderly parent with dementia takes huge amounts of time, energy and emotional stress. Many carers will have no choice but to give up work unless they get better public services.”

Whilst the government has recognised how childcare can help to keep people in work, providing quality assistance to home carers has not been awarded the same level of importance or significance.

Mr McNamara said:

“The Government has recognised the need to improve parents’ access to childcare to maintain economic recovery. But sidelining social care for a rapidly growing population of vulnerable older people also poses serious risks to the economy.

“Local authority budgets are at breaking point, economic growth is slowing and a massive wave of cuts in public service is imminent.

“We want the Government to end the crisis in social care and provide a vital lifeline for working families caring for elderly relatives.”

Source – Welfare Weekly, 17 May 2015

Thatcherite policies ‘have made us sick’

‘Thatcherite’ policies have caused ‘epidemics’ in obesity, stress, austerity and inequality, according to a new book by public health experts.

The authors of the book, from Durham University, argue that the UK’s neoliberal politics, often associated with the economic policies introduced by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, have increased inequalities and literally made people sick.

They suggest that the epidemics could have been prevented, or at least been reduced in scale, through alternative political and economic choices such as fairer and more progressive taxation, strengthened social protection and reduced spending on warheads.

The public health researchers are calling on the new Government to take drastic action to ensure a decent living wage, a fair welfare system and an end to privatisation within the NHS.

The book, ‘How Politics Makes Us Sick’, is due to be published by Palgrave Macmillan on May 20.

The authors, Professors Clare Bambra and Ted Schrecker, show that the rise of precarious jobs and zero-hours contracts has led to an epidemic of insecurity and chronic stress, and austerity measures have widened the gap between rich and poor with destructive consequences for health.

 They also highlight scientific evidence connecting the epidemic of obesity, which has doubled in the UK over the last 30 years, with the epidemic of insecurity that followed the neoliberal transformation of labour markets.

The book points out that the rising economic inequality is resulting in a growing health gap between the most and least deprived ten per cent of local authority districts in England, which is now larger than at any point since before the Great Depression.

Co-author Clare Bambra, professor of public health geography and director of the Centre for Health and Inequalities Research at Durham University, said:

Our findings show that modern-day ‘Thatcherism’ has made us fat, stressed, insecure and ill. These neoliberal policies are dominating the globe and they are often presented as our only option but they have devastating effects on our health.

 “What we need is a political cure in the form of a revitalised and social democratic welfare state in which workers have a living wage, the welfare system means that people are not below the breadline, and the market is removed from our public services such as the NHS.”
Source – Northern Echo, 15 May 2015

ESA sanctions for being too ill to work up by 25% in one month

The number of employment and support allowance claimants being hit by sanctions has increased by 25% in a single month, DWP figures released today reveal. The vast majority of sanctions are for failure to take part in work-related activities, often because claimants are too ill to do so.

The latest statistics, which run up to the end of December 2014, show that ESA sanctions have increased from 2,626 in November 2014 to 3,274 in December. This is the highest number of sanctions since May 2014.

Just 16% of sanctions were for failure to attend an interview. The other 84% were for failure to participate in work-related activity.

Previously released statistics show that a disproportionate number of ESA claimants who are sanctioned have a mental health condition or learning disability

Very often the failure to participate stems from the fact that the claimant was not able to undertake the activity, for example because their health condition meant they could not travel or they could not cope with attending a group activity at an unfamiliar venue.

The reality is that the work programme has primarily become a means to stop ESA claimants’ benefits rather than a method of helping people move closer to employment. Benefits and Work expects to see the sanctions numbers continue to rise over the coming months and years.

You can download the latest sanctions statistics from this link.

esa sanctions bar chart


Source – Benefits & Work, 13 May 2015

‘Massive spike’ in long A&E waits highlights crisis facing North-East NHS

A nursing union has highlighted the “crisis” facing the North-East NHS by publishing details of what it calls a “massive spike” in long accident and emergency waits in the last four years.

The figures from the Royal College of Nursing contrast the small numbers of long A&E waits in the week ending May 8 in 2011 with the same week this year.

They show that at six out of eight North-East accident and emergency units the number of patients who had to wait between four and 12 hours from the decision to admit to actual admissions had rocketed between 2011 and 2015.

In 2011 only 15 patients had to wait between four and 12 hours until they were admitted – but by 2015 this figure had risen to 141.

The largest rise was seen at the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where the number facing long waits for admission to A&E rose from eight in 2011 to 47 this year.

The second highest figure was recorded at the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust where the number facing long waits to be admitted rose from zero to 37.

At the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust the number facing long waits jumped from six in 2011 to 14 in the corresponding week this year.

 Glenn Turp, regional director of the Royal College of Nursing, said:
“This is nothing short of a crisis in A&E. If anybody tries to tell you that the NHS is not feeling the strain, then frankly they are living in cloud cuckoo land.”

Mr Turp added: “What this basically tells you is that, without significant extra funding from central government, our beloved NHS simply will not be able to cope in the future.”

A spokesman for County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust said:

“Pressure on A&E departments has increased significantly since 2011 as reflected in these figures.

“We have taken a number of steps to improve the patient’s experience in our A&E departments, and to reduce waiting times.

“There is more to be done, which is why we have announced plans to extend the A&E departments at Darlington Memorial and University Hospital of North Durham.”

Source –  Northern Echo, 12 May 2015