Posts Tagged ‘Government’

Dear Mr Hunt

Let us not beat about the bush.

Your attempt to save the National Health Service (NHS) £1 billion over three years, by way of capping agency spending bills, to re-invest in frontline patient care, is nothing but bravado in the face of a public who knows no better; and intimidation of hard working professionals who have to tread daily through sludge of government induced bureaucracy in order to deliver high levels of patient care.  To implement this aggressive policy at a time of year when individuals are at their most vulnerable clearly demonstrates the disdain this government has toward public sector workers.

Jeremy, the ignorance to the true potential of damage to health care demonstrated through your action is incomprehensible.  It is evident that there is already considerable loss of income across the NHS through the inability of hospitals to meet, in a timely manner, contracts with commissioning trusts.  On-the-day cancellations attributable in part to the inability of NHS hospitals to staff substantive vacancies with permanent staff; and a reluctance to employ short term agency staff, compound loss of income with the addition of  fines imposed by the commissioning trusts for failing to meet standards.  The perceived cost to prevent the cancellations, through the employment of short term agency, is an additional expenditure of small significance in the grand scheme of overall patient experience and outcome.

It must be asked Jeremy whether National Health Service Professionals (NHSP) ltd, an agency for healthcare professions set up by the Secretary of State for Health Alan Milburn in 2001; which was still owned in whole (all though not centrally funded) by the Secretary of State for Health in 2011, is included in your harsh opinion of, “agencies ripping off the NHS“?  In the very own words of NHSP:

We typically recruit more than 1,000 flexible workers every month, making NHS Professionals the largest recruiter in the NHS. http://www.nhsprofessionals.nhs.uk/nhsp/Pages/default.aspx

Is NHSP Ltd going to flourish through your anti-competitive attack on the private companies supplying agency staff?

Based purely on empirical data there is sufficient, substantive, evidence to be able to be explicit in saying the ratio of permanent staff (doctors, nurses, Operating Department Practitioners (ODP)) in post, on any one day, is far greater than that of agency.

Jeremy, if you are serious about making substantive savings in the NHS, remove the barriers of the internal market implemented by Thatcher post the Griffith Report.  Healthcare in silo’s creates financial waste.  Put some meat back on the carcass of a health care system made too lean by the blind followings of an inappropriate management system.

Regards

Richard

 

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“Words can be twisted into any shape. Promises can be made to lull the heart and seduce the soul. In the final analysis, words mean nothing. They are labels we give things in an effort to wrap our puny little brains around their underlying natures, when ninety-nine percent of the time the totality of the reality is an entirely different beast. The wisest man is the silent one. Examine his actions. Judge him by them.” ― Karen Marie Moning

Many promises have been made across the political parties vying for leadership during the build up to the 2015 General Election. And one can only conclude, that the heart and soul of the electorate were sufficiently lulled and seduced to facilitate the Conservative victory. It will be during the next five years that Cameron must be observed, and judged and held to account. The electorate must empower themselves with a dogged determination to ensure that it is they, not Government, who are the master.

In November 2014 an email was sent to Simon Danczuk (MP Labour) and Jake Berry (MP Conservative) regarding my concerns of a failure of Government to continue investigations in to historical child sexual abuse post General Election 2015. Danczuk’s office were quick in response; the Conservatives less so. Whilst I had been hoping for a response from the home secretary, the right honourable Teresa May (MP), the reply came through Lynne Featherstone (MP) Minister for Crime and Prevention
 
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I find it rather non-committal, which is unfortunately par for the course in British Politics.

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The Local Council Elections are over, and in the words of Nigel Farage the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) “send in the clowns”. His comment an apparent shot of sarcasm aimed at the Conservative Leader, David Cameron who had along with Kenneth Clarke, previously describe  UKIP as, “clowns, loonies, fruitcakes and closet racists”. Adjectives which could be attributed to all political parties at some point throughout history I’m sure. But who appears the clown now Cameron?

Party politics has over the years become divisive, particularly seen with the often child-like bickering often seen leading up to an election. Now-a-days it is not about selling the attributes of a political party, more about undermining the opposition. The lack of interest in politics, “1% of the electorate is currently a member of one of the main parties compared to an estimated 3.8% in 1983“, has resulted in poor party representation at grass root level. In France there is approximately one local representative per 100 citizens, in Germany this is one per 250; in the UK it is one elected official for every 2600 voters. Therefore is it any wonder, through an inability to reach out to an  electorate in a more personal manner, that there has been a decline in party political interest, and an interest in voting?

I myself am not surprised at the increase in votes that UKIP has, nor that Labour have found themselves with an increase share of the votes. The alleged, “Coalition” of Conservative and Social Democrat Party (SDP) has been a “coalition” in name only;  Nick Clegg has always appeared as the monkey to Cameron, the organ grinder.

Is it to say whether the final outcome of these local elections will have any bearing a General Election due 7th May 2015. The outcome could be seen as a very stern shot across the Conservative bows, or it could make for a decision by the MP’s to vote for an early dissolution of parliament; for which it would take a two-thirds majority.

In my opinion, to say a Political Party has been democratically elected is an absolute farce. I base this on the grounds that the actual number of votes cast, does not represent a significantly high enough proportion of the electorate, to produce a democratic result.

I wait with interest to see what happens next.

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There has been a great deal said, by many, on Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister: these, and my own opinions have not affected my thinking on the subject of Thatcher’s funeral arrangements.

Moral – “concerned with character etc., or with right and wrong; good, virtuous…”

When the death of Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK) (1979 – 1990), was reported on Monday 8th April, “Downing Street…said the politician would be given a full ceremonial funeral with honours – the same status accorded the Queen Mother”. It was later identified that this gesture by “Downing Street”, or rather the incumbent Government, could cost in the region of £7 – £10 million pounds, to which Thatcher’s family would contribute something.

It is my opinion that the funeral arrangements for Thatcher demonstrate a crass decision by Government, considering the current economic state of the country. This is £10 million we can ill afford to fritter away on such a frivolous gesture of pomp; lavished upon an individual who passed by the public eye over twenty years ago, ending her life, to many, in relative obscurity.

There is nothing right, or virtuous, nor good in the way in which the UK Government is treating Thatcher’s funeral.

But we will just have to live with that, won’t we?

skeletal-debateEngland is in the midst of two of the biggest scandals this century.

First we have the scandal affecting the National health Service (NHS); and now the escalating scandal involving the use of horse meat, for which there is a sufficient opinion in the newspapers being offered up under various sensationalist headlines. 

Why am I writing this?

Because I want to convince myself that there is nothing to get wound up about, and putting it down in a post is sort of catharsis.

Question…Would you know what horse meat tasted like if it was in a burger, lasagne or kebab? I know I couldn’t, and if told it was a beef burger or beef lasagne then that is what it is. It is funny that no-one questions the flavourings, preservatives and other chemicals put in these dishes. The French have eaten horse for years with no ill effect (some may disagree with that statement). Put a beef steak and a horse steak next to one another, cooked in different pans, then I might be able to tell. It’s said that frogs legs taste like chicken, I wonder what the contents of “chicken nuggets” are?

Question…Is horse meat cheaper than beef? I believe horse meat is up to 40% cheaper than beef in some countries, so is it any surprise we find it in some cheaper brands of food. For example if you want to by the “ten burgers for a £1” do you really expect to find 100% beef; wonder how much crushed bone and offal could be in there.

Question…What about “Bute” (Phenlybutazone) getting into the food chain? I have yet to be convinced that if “Bute” is present, that it is of a such significant amount that one would succumb to the documented side effects of the drug. May be if you ate an entire horse or two, which had received long-term treatment of Phenlybutazone I would seriously consider it a risk.

What is the real issue…I guess for me the real issue is probably the deceit, labelling the product as beef when it contained horse; but then who would have bought it?

I am glad that I gave up buying meat products from the supermarkets a long time ago now. Despite paying a little more, I use the local butchers who buys his meat locally sourced and when you see him making the burgers from the meat he has just minced you know what you are buying.

So forget the sensationalist head lines, put down your pitch forks and just forget what you read in the media. It’s all tripe!

Iain Duncan Smith  (IDS) has suggested that “tackling poverty is not just about giving people more money through state benefits” it is about getting people back into work, and supporting them. As I interpret it, a re-fashioning of society where the emphasis is on government supporting those who make the effort to help themselves; a utopia. One view is that if you do give people more money through state benefit, that money returned to government through taxation. Another being, where will the extra money come from in the first instance?

What IDS is talking about is one aspect of poverty referred to as “relative poverty”. Described by almost everybody’s favourite reference site “Wikipedia” as, “…a measure of income inequality”; “…measured as the percentage of population with income less than some proportion of median income.” The definition of relative poverty in the United Kingdom (UK)  is “less than 60% of the typical income“, to contextualize this, the median salary in 2011 was £26244 therefore if one earned less than £15746 one was living in relative poverty.

If a family has less than 60 percent of the median income it is said to be poor, if it has 60 percent or more it is not” in effect IDS is removing people out of relative poverty in one sentence; or is he just using poor as a metaphor?

To hypothesise using quoted figures of one parent out of a partnership working 35 hours at minimum wage (35 hours * £6.19 *4.33 * 12 (months) = £11257), approximately (£15746 – £11257) £4507 in universal credit would be required just to stop one being poor, instead of the government paying out £15746 in benefits.

In principle reducing benefit payments by roughly 72% (using above figures) sounds wonderful and would certainly facilitate the redistribution of government monies easier.

Yet with 8.2% of the population eligible to work currently unemployed, 2.63 million people not contributing to government coffers, for whatever reason: in addition approximately 4000 troops made redundant from the forces. Where does IDS propose employment will come from?

But IDS is leaving something out here, a point that he is very well aware of and to me does hold its own in relation to relative poverty. It is this: what is the government doing to address the absolute poverty that is a real and present issue within the UK today?

An extremely powerful, thought-provoking article, “I don’t feel human’ Experiences of destitution among young refugees and migrants” makes me wonder where our priorities should stand.

Should we be looking at helping those with nothing?

The whole moral and ethical debate as to why, and how, and whose to blame for the refugees and migrants in the UK today can, like “Norton antivirus“, run unobtrusively in the background but there needs positive action by the powers that be to address this issue.