Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Health and the War Machine

This is an email from Joseph Healy, point out succintly what I'm sure many of us are very aware of. We are still spending less than our neighbours on health care (as a proportion of GDP) and yet we put phenomenal amounts into 'defence'. When was the last time we we invaded or attacked? Probably when Labour started selling off the NHS and let the private sector in...


This article is very much in line with what I have been saying as a prospective Euro candidate in London. For anyone who does not see the link between foreign policy and the backward health and social care, not to mention transport modernisation etc, the writing is on the wall.


Defence spending should be cut to the bone and the frummery of Empire, such as Trident etc, axed. The imperial posturing will cost the deaths of many pensioners, patients etc. When a local Labour councillor tried to get a campaign going on extending the tube system to Camberwell, I supported
him in the letters page of the local paper, but suggested that he got Gordon Brown, then the Chancellor, to divert some of the Iraq millions into the scheme.

Why have Germany, France, Italy and most continental countries got better health services? Answers on a postcard to the Ministry of Defence.

Joseph Healy

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


This is news from the BBC: "A clampdown on spending within the NHS has turned a massive deficit into an even bigger surplus in just two years.

As much as £1.8bn, about 2% of the budget, will be left unspent this year, the Department of Health says - prompting charges of "boom and bust"."

Apart from the disgrace that these cuts have been too high and patients suffer rather that funds getting spent as they were intended, this underspend also demonstrates the madness of the NHS market economy.

With purchasers (PCTs) and providers (hospitals etc) paying and receiving funding on the basis of volume of work, there is no certainty around budgets. They therefore have to aim greatly on the side of caution when planning expenditure - or face losing their jobs. It looks like they have acheived a margin / buffer of 2%, which is great if you are a business, but bad if you are one of the patients queuing in an ambulance for a bed in Norwich last night.
The NHS's rationale is to provide care, not to make surpluses, get involved in market economies and not to put patients at risk through bizarre, outdated and damaging practices such as the health care market. We only have to look at the pinnacle of healthcare waste - the US system - to see what the market can do for healthcare.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tescopoly to take over GP services

This is from : Pulse "GP practices are to be forcibly converted into franchises and offered up to high-street retailers to run under ambitious plans welcomed by senior NHS managers as a blueprint for the future."

Fortunately, there has been a small U turn for other areas being privatised: "The government is rowing back on its use of the private sector for NHS care by scrapping a series of projects. Six clinics in the pipeline and another already up-and-running will fold at a cost of millions of pounds as they do not provide good value, ministers said." from the BBC.

What is clear is there is a complete lack of strategy. Alan Johnson seems to be trying to quieten the noise, from those opposed to privatisation while trying to get some new corporate friends on board. The thought of Tescos running GP surgeries is obscene. Tescos will have have same effect on primary care as it has had on small independent shops - devastating.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Chan Wheeler - fraud allegation

I don't read The Mail much, but this caught my eye: NHS boss 'benefited from Sting-lie fraud' in US role.

"A highly paid American recruited to commercialise the NHS is facing allegations that he benefited from fraud during his previous job with a US health insurance giant.

"A US judge likened the allegations against NHS Commercial Director Chan Wheeler to the plot of the film The Sting, in which two conmen win huge sums betting on horse races after the results are known.

"The judge said Mr Wheeler and his co-directors in UnitedHealth were accused of doing the same by awarding themselves millions of dollars worth of shares in the firm deliberately dated to a time when the US stock market was at an all-time low after the September 11 attacks in 2001."

More United Health problems again, this time with one of their executives entering the NHS to extract more taxerpayer's money to turn into shareholder profits. I have blogged before on Simon Stevens and won't go on about him again, but do remember him as the Downing St advisor on health who now heads up United Health Europe...