Labour hid ugly truth about National Health Service

The Times has a report on some damning reports on the state of the NHS. According to the Times:

They diagnose a blind pursuit of political and managerial targets as the root cause of a string of hospital scandals that have cost thousands of lives.

The harsh verdict on the state of the NHS, after a spending splurge under Labour between 2000 and 2008, raises worrying questions about the future quality of the health service as budgets are squeezed.

One report, based on the advice of almost 200 top managers and doctors, says hospitals ignored basic hygiene to cram in patients to meet waiting-time targets.

Apparently the three reports were commissioned  by Lord Darzi, the former health minister from international consultancies to assess the progress of the NHS as it approached its 60th anniversary in 2008. They have come to light after a freedom of information request.

The reports show such things as:

A damaging rift between doctors and managers: “The GP and consultant contracts are de-professionalising, and have had the peculiar effect of simultaneously demoralising and enriching doctors. We’ve lost the volitional work of the doctors and far too many of us are now just working to rule.”

Pointless new structures. “Stop the restructurings. The only thing they generate is redundancy payments.” One body responsible for improving standards reported to five different ministers and had three different names in the space of 30 months.

A culture of fear and slavish compliance. “The risk of consequences to managers is much greater for not meeting expectations from above than for not meeting expectations of patients and families.”

Do read the whole article to get a feeling of how much of YOUR money Labour have pissed against a wall.

Labour hid ugly truth about National Health Service (NHS) – Times Online.

The NHS could do with some Conservative innovation

No, not my words but those of a self-described Labour voter who works in the NHS. According to Dr John McGowan who is academic director, department of applied psychology, at Canterbury Christchurch University he is thinking the unthinkable:

could the Tories be better for the health service?

As he explains, the problem with the NHS is that there are too many “initiatives” and not enough  innovation.

He concludes

Labour has provided a foundation through putting health treatments on an evidence-based footing. The Tories could add something new if they can move from Labour’s tight grip and get back to encouraging innovation. It will mean a huge step towards improving choice and quality. In addition, a positive side-effect would be the chance to re-energise NHS staff by listening to their ideas and unlocking their inventiveness.

So can the Tories be the saviours of the NHS? It sounds unlikely, but perhaps a streak of entrepreneurial flair could be just what the doctor ordered.

The NHS could do with some Conservative innovation | Society | guardian.co.uk.

Helicopter ER-MCV – Pecotox owned, Nato Contracted – It’s role?

ER-MCV at Lashkar Gar
ER-MCV at Lashkar Gar

Some digging around has established a couple of things about the above helicopter and the firm that runs its.

First the company Pecotox has a number of issues concerning it’s shady history particularly its operations history in the Congo and where it got some of it’s fleet. Nice to see that Nato can pick on a suitable company to hire assets from. Obviously they were the ones that came in cheapest, especially since they were/are banned from EU airspace.

The company name  Artic Group Ltd on the side of the helicopter also seems to have dodgy connections to do with arms brokering and perhaps other types of activity’s. The website for TransArms, the Research center for the Logistics of Arms Transfers has this to say on it’s mission page about an aircraft run by Artic Group Ltd:

This Ilyushin 76-T, registration number ER-IBV (formerly RA-76521), manufacturing number 3423699, belonging to Artic Group Ltd and operated by Jet Line International and Aerocom, was variously used between 2003 and 2005 by the U.K. Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Department of Defense for operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq. Jet Line International’s aircraft have been frequent visitors of airports in Africa Great Lakes region, as well as Ostend, Maastricht, Prague-Ruzyne, Bratislava, and Tiraspol (in the separatist Moldovan region of Transnistria

Now that’s a strange list of places that this aircraft went to. I wonder what it was doing?

Second the role of the helicopter in Afghanistan appears to be rather much of a mystery. From my previous entry we learnt that:

Tokorenko (the owner of the helicopter)  said. According to cited source, the helicopter was not hit by a missile as said earlier, but by a grenade launcher. “The helicopter transported food and water that the crew had to throw to the population of Sangin city, Helmand province. The helicopter was hit when the crew was going to detach the food and water in order to send it to the ground. The grenade hit the rotor and as a result the aircraft lost the power and crushed”, added the cited source.

Now if we look at the photograph above we see ER-MCV at Lashkar Gar HLS. And it looks like it has been taking on supplies from British Forces. I found one comment on one of the forums that indicated that it was being used to supply the FOB’s but no other confirmation. What is completely unlikely is that Nato or the company would allow the helicopter to deliver Food and Water to civilians in the manner described using this helicopter. It is completely illogical and just downright dangerous.This type of aircraft is not suited for this type of mission.

What is more likely is that the aircraft was coming into Sangin and was targeted by the Taliban. It being a civilian aircraft it would have minimal protection from even small arms fire and certainly from what is described as a grenade launcher.  There are reports that the Taliban claimed to have shot down a Chinook in the area and if they had done this it would have been a huge propaganda victory as well as a setback for the allied forces.

I am still worried that with the lack of helicopters available inside Afghanistan that this helicopter could have been used to transport Troops and wonder if this is why the government has apparently tried to stop discussion on this aircraft in the papers. It is a death trap for any combat situation and could have resulted in huge loss of life.

We may hear of more developments over the next few days.

This Ilyushin 76-T, registration number ER-IBV (formerly RA-76521), manufacturing number 3423699, belonging to Artic Group Ltd and operated by Jet Line International and Aerocom, was variously used between 2003 and 2005 by the U.K. Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Department of Defense for operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq. Jet Line International’s aircraft have been frequent visitors of airports in Africa Great Lakes region, as well as Ostend, Maastricht, Prague-Ruzyne, Bratislava, and Tiraspol (in the separatist Moldovan region of Transnistria

Blue Blood for the NHS

Instead of ranting on about who invented or voted for the NHS Annabel Goldie has done something simple and effective to back the 60th anniversary of the NHS, she has given blood.

This marking of the anniversary, is typical of the understated and very effective way, that Annabel has led the Tories in the past 18 months.

Mind you as one of the comments on the site says

Why not, she gave blood at the opening of the NHS.

Goldie bringing blue blood to ordinary Scotsman(or woman).

Goldie gives NHS something back – Scotsman.com News

Goodbye to the NHS

Whenever I hear that the government is about to “do” something to the NHS, I head over to DR Crippen at NHS Blog Doctor to see what the real story is. Dr Crippen is a General Practitioner and has a long experience of seeing the NHS from the frontline

A case in point is the release of the Darzi Master Plan for the NHS. Now I know what the plan is about and how it will help me to a better “quality” life. However I am still stuck as to how Labour will do anything with this report to actually help anyone. As Dr Crippen says

You begin to lose the will to live as you wade through this morass of focus-group soundbites. Is there any meat on the bone? Don’t eat, don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t take drugs, don’t have sex and don’t go mad. All good stuff. You can’t fault it, can you? You can’t criticise motherhood and apple pie. Trouble is, you cannot build a health service on soundbites.

In other words the report is the usual mound of meaningless drivel that Labour calls “Policy” and then uses it as justification to waste our money.

If you want to do a bit of reading on the Farzi committee I suggest you peruse through these articles at the Ferret Fanciers blog.

Meanwhile I will be celebrating my first day with Private Health care courtesy of my company.

Thank God for Private Health Care

According to the Guardian

“The long awaited review into the future of the NHS by Lord Darzi will next week propose a big boost in the size of independent nurse-led provision of primary care, similar in ambition to the rise of independent foundation hospitals.”

Now who is waiting for this review is a good question. The government most likely as they will be looking for any measures that will cheapen the provision of health care. Well apparently Darzi has discovered a cracker, Nurse-led provision of primary care. That’s right get rid of the GP’s, you remember them the Doctors who have trained for over 10 years to give you proper care. Instead we will have Nurse’s with Protocols, tick boxes to work out what is wrong with you. Doesn’t that make you feel happy.

Who cares, as from 1st July, I have Private Health care, provided by my company. I will be seeing Doctor’s and not nurses. This is how Labour will make the NHS cheap, they will frighten everyone who can afford it into getting Private Medical Care.

P.S. My wife is a nurse, I have nothing against proper nurses who provide care for patients.

UPDATE: Dr Crippen (NhsBlogDoc) on this.

NHS review to push for more nurse-led care | Society | The Guardian

Injured Troops must get Better Treatment

A British soldier patrols the northern suburbs of the southern Iraqi city of Basra

A British soldier patrols the northern suburbs of Basra. Photograph: Dave Clark/AFP/Getty images

The Telegraph reports that Lieutenant-General Louis Lillywhite, the Surgeon General, has said

Double the number of troops are now surviving serious injuries than would have done during the Falklands conflict. But while they receive high-quality emergency care while still on the frontline, the focus now needs to shift to improving follow-up treatment in British hospitals.

The article continues

Those who are capable of surviving, we are making survive. Three or four months ago that was our main effort. We have now got to turn to the quality of that survival. Adding it was impossible for all injured servicemen to be dealt with in military facilities because of a lack of manpower. There is much to do he admitted.

Apparently the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) now routinely logs every detail of injuries in theatre, from the type of injury and its severity, the length of time the casualty remained in a battlefield and, if deaths occur, whether it was possible to prevent them, given the safety of the scene and the injuries.

The figures show that by mid-February, the Armed Forces had suffered in Afghanistan,

  • 87 fatalities
  • 114 personnel were seriously or very seriously injured
  • 1,133 injured personnel were admitted to field hospitals
  • 880 were evacuated to the UK.

In Iraq,

  • 212 had died by mid-February
  • 212 were seriously or very seriously injured
  • 2,695 were admitted to field hospitals
  • 1,347 were evacuated to the UK.

These figures are probably the first to be released to the public showing the casualty rates in these two theatres for UK forces.

A journal published by the RAMC reported that of the 76 deaths from trauma related injuries which occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 12 months to April 2007, none could have been prevented.

Statistical evidence from Britain and the US suggested that the death rate from serious injuries was now between 12 to 15 per cent – roughly half the rate which occurred in the Falklands or Vietnam.

Most seriously injured service personnel brought back to the UK are treated in civilian hospitals at first, although many will later be transferred to the military rehabilitation centre at Headley Court in Surrey.

There has been repeated criticism of the standard of care servicemen – most of whom have suffered head injuries, severe burns or lost limbs – receive in the civilian system. At Selly Oak in Birmingham, troops have complained of dirty, mixed wards and of abusive treatment from staff.

Last month, Afghanistan veteran and paratrooper Capt Martin Hewitt said the “truth” about the continued poor care for troops back in the UK had to be exposed as it was “unacceptable”.

Not only is standard of care unacceptable but the compensation paid to injured troops is also woeful. Take a look at this story on Rogue Gunner’s blog, which highlights the case of

A hero British soldier left severely crippled by an Iraqi sniper has been awarded a paltry £35,000 in compensation from the Army.

Jon Le Galloudec, 27, was picked off on the streets of Basra almost a year ago. His brave comrade Rodney Wilson came to his aid and was shot dead in front of him. The bullet that hit Jon ripped through his spine leaving him paralysed in his left leg and from the knee down in his right leg.

Contrast this with the record £2million compensation to an Iraqi teenager paralysed by a stray British bullet or the £484,000 awarded to an RAF typist who injured her thumb.

Currently the NHS and this government do not do enough for out injured personnel. They are now relying on public donations and help to get vital rehabilitation facilities. Have a look at the very worthwhile “Help for Heroes” organisation’s website which has now raised over £6m for facilities in just over 8 months or donate via the sidebar link.

Injured troops must get better NHS treatment – Telegraph

Labour’s legacy to GP’s

Dr Crippen highlights the fact that Carole Malone is a dishonest, androgynous, peri-menopausal, publicity seeking, ex lard bucket after she wrote this column titled “Lazy Docs make me feel Sick” in the News of the Screws this week.

What he is actually doing is highlighting the fact that Journalists and the public are being invited to have a go at GP’s nowadays beacuse this Labour govenrnment has in it’s usual fashion managed to destroy the respect that GP’s used to be held in.

They (the government) have managed to do this with their own truly spectacular failure to understand how the whole NHS system works and in particular General Practice. They have in the short time of 11 years managed to destroy many peoples faith in the system and to have reduced the system to a meanlingless litany of “targets” and dumbing down of the work of GP’s. GP’s are now to be the whipping boys for this failure rather than the government with its ignorance and denial of any wrongdoing.

This is strikingly similar to what they have done to the police as I said last week, it is also strikingly similar to what they are doing to the Ambulance Service. I have no doubt there are many more areas of Public Services that are in a similar situation.

We should, instead of castigating GP’s, look at how we have arrived at this situation. The government have defined targets and set about molding the GP service to how they thought it should be run rather than taking the advice of those who knew how it should be run. Now having been caught out with this wholesale destruction they make the GP’s the target of their failures. This is typical of Gordon Brown’s view of Courage.

The only good thing is that the public have now become wise to Labour’s failures and have started to look behind the headlines at the actual detail. The detail that shows it is not “Lazy GP’s” but lazy and stupid government that is the problem in this case. Unfortunately there are still lazy and stupid journalist out there who do not have the intelligence to actually check up on the details that they have been spoon-fed.

This is the problem with Labour they keep going for the targets and style rather the substance and actions. They have now been caught out too many times and the public have become wise to their inadequacies.

NHS Blog Doctor: Carole Malone : the dishonest, androgynous, publicity seeking, ex lard bucket in the News of the World

Priority NHS treatment promised to war veterans ?

According to the Guardian

Health Secretary Johnson is expected to write to GP’s across the country instructing them to extend priority treatment to all 4 million existing veterans. Those with injuries received as a result of their service will be able to bypass hospital waiting lists, get priority access to specialist care and become eligible for free prescriptions.

Whilst I applaud this idea, it will do nothing without the backing of funding to allow the priority treatment and still retain reasonable treatment levels for the rest of the General Public. Perhaps the £1.8 billion the NHS is in “surplus” could be used to help with this.

Priority NHS treatment promised to war veterans | Society | The Guardian