Sunday, February 17, 2008

Kick out United Health Europe

An emergency motion to Green Party Spring Conference in Reading has voiced strong opposition to the inroads of health privateers such as United Health Europe into UK public healthcare:


The Green Party is extremely concerned to learn that a private American health firm (United Health Europe) has won control of three GP surgeries in London. We fear that this is the first step in an attempt to corporatise health care in the UK.

We believe that this is being done without any proper consultation with the citizens of the UK, who as stakeholders are the true owners of the NHS. We also fear that this paves the way to monopolistic malpractice and profiteering if it allows retail and pharmacuetical conglomerates such as Boots and Tesco to have any control over the salaries, judgements and activities of GP's and other primary health care providers.

We pledge our full support to opposition to this disgraceful step and any others like it by Gp's patients and pensioner groups and trades unions in the health sector.

We call on the Green party spokespersons nationally, locally and regionally to promptly issue public statements condemning this corportatisation and call upon the Green Party press office to give such statements maximum promotion.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Virgin Births and Private Polys

Green Party health spokesperson Stuart Jeffery will launch the Green Party response to the NHS reports by Lord Darzi this Friday (15th February) at Green Party Spring Conference in Reading, warning that the increased provision for private companies in the NHS will spell only fragmentation and centralisation for the health service.

The two reports by Darzi over the last 6 months sets out the agenda for future of health care in London and the rest of England. The reports attempt to address accountability, access, public health and safety in the NHS. They key recommendations set out by Lord Darzi promotes the increased capacity of private providers in the NHS and calls for a creation of polyclinics to replace local GP clinics.

Entitled 'Virgin Births and Private Polys', the Green Party response will criticise the report on several keys aspects:

1) The support of private providers, creating an 'inflexible, unaccountable and expensive' NHS.

2) Strengthening the 'marketisation' of healthcare through the 'choice' agenda.

3) Encouraging fragmentation of healthcare through private providers.

4) Centralising GP surgeries into polyclinics and the centralisation of hospital services

5) Backing the corporate health care providers to take over GP surgeries, end of life care, secondary care and other services.

6) Failing to understand the wider connection between society and health, promoting a medicalised approach to health promotion rather than addressing the real issues.

Commenting on the Darzi report, Green health spokesperson and author of 'Virgin Births and Private Polys' Stuart Jeffery, said

"Darzi's reports are more of the same privatisation, privatisation, privatisation agenda from New Labour. It is fragmenting health care and costing taxpayers millions, and must stop. Darzi's reports are lackluster, and fail to understand many key issues affecting the people's health and also what people want from their NHS.

"Darzi thinks he can fix health problems by some old style health promotion, whereas Greens are aware that society, poverty and the environment are the major determinants of health. Darzi thinks that people want distant specialist hospitals to choose from whereas we know that people want, and need, good local services that they can trust.

"The proposal to introduce polyclinics to replace GP surgeries is appalling. Polyclinics should be introduced as an additional layer of care, rather than as a centralisation of services. Darzi also mercilessly promotes private providers, who have been shown to fragment care, be expensive, and remain unaccountable.

"Richard Branson has now entered the health care market, with the opportunity to run public services such as GP surgeries and maternity units. It is only a matter of time before we end up with expensive Virgin Births."


Notes for editors:

Launch of 'Virgin Births and Private Polys' will be on Friday 15th February, at 18.00 at Green Party Reading Town Hall.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Fluoride, poison in our water


Green Party health spokesperson Stuart Jeffery today slated controversial Government plans to fluoridate national water supplies, claiming that medicating people without permission breaches European Human Rights conventions.

With Health Secretary Alan Johnson's recommendation that fluoride should be routinely added to UK water supplies, Green Party health spokesperson Mr. Jeffery said

"Besides the reality of negative health effects, this is an issue of medical ethics. Fluoridating water is essentially medicating people without their permission, and the European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine distinctly states that individuals have the right not to be medicated without their consent.

"Poor dental health is a complex public health issue. The root causes are poor diet and inadequate dental hygiene. Typically the government seems more concerned with dangerous knee-jerk action and to be seen 'doing something', rather than confronting the real causes of the problem.

"While we continue to feed refined sugar to our children in schools, efforts to reduce tooth decay will be in vain."

Mr. Jeffery continued

"The health case for fluoride has been far from made. Claims about the effectiveness of fluoride simply do not stand up to close scrutiny. While topical fluoride on teeth does help prevent tooth decay, there is simply no good evidence that systemic fluoride does.

"Fluoride is a known poison if ingested over a long period of time, even in small daily doses. Its consumption has been linked to a range of medical afflictions including severe skeletal problems, fluorosis (discoloration of the teeth), osteosarcoma (a rare form of bone cancer) in boys, and problems affecting the central nervous system.

"Most European countries have managed to reduce levels of tooth decay in recent years, in almost all cases without fluoridation.

"The Green Party wants to see a programme of education for children and adults regarding proper dental hygiene and a healthy diet, a health warning on all sources of fluoride intended for human
consumption, and a ban on the fluoridation of drinking water."