Labour Campaign Group’s Fake News NHS Poster

Labour Future, the centrist grassroots Labour Party campaign group, has posted a fake NHS poster telling voters to buy health insurance, claiming that “from January 2018 the NHS will no longer be a free service”. The poster, bearing the official NHS and Public Health England logos, is complete fake news. It’s pretty distasteful too given it says: “Don’t put your family at risk”. The phone number on the poster puts you through to NHS England, and the poster has been shared over 3,000 times on Facebook. Labour Future are fundraising off the back of this BS, the Facebook post links through to a GoFundMe page. The NHS and Public Health England will not be happy to have their name put to such blatant lies…

UPDATE: Labour Future has now taken down the post.

UPDATE II: An NHS England spokesman tells Guido:

“We treat misuse of the NHS logo extremely seriously and we are investigating the origin of this clearly fake poster. As soon as we became aware that Labour Future had reposted this image we contacted them and asked them to remove it from their social media, which they did.”

McDonnell Contradicts Corbyn on NHS Tax

Delivering his pre-Budget speech this morning, John McDonnell outlined his support for a hypothecated NHS tax to “restore trust” in taxation and government spending:

“Hypothecation, allocating taxes raised to specific purposes, can absolutely make clear where tax money is being spent. It can help restore the trust and confidence in taxation and government spending that has otherwise started to break down… It needs a clear commitment, over the long term, that specific taxes will be used for specific purposes, and that this spending will be properly monitored.”

Yet just six weeks ago Jeremy Corbyn seemed to say a hypothecated NHS was a bad idea. Speaking on Marr on 15 January, Jez said:

“I am not one that’s generally in favour of hypothecated taxation… Whether we’d have a specific tax I doubt, but I’m prepared to consider it and discuss it as I’m sure all my colleagues are. But if you go down the road of hypothecated taxation then you’re going to do hypothecated taxation for every other service.”

Well, which is it?

Politically Weaponised NHS Has Been Disarmed

Ed Miliband wanted to weaponise the NHS to defeat the Tories. For half-a-century Labour has used the natural Tory reluctance to pour unlimited amounts of money into the NHS as a means of scaring voters into their camp. David Cameron decided in opposition that it was time for the Tories to embrace the NHS as fervently as the voters; this was a key part of his modernisation agenda. Jeremy Hunt has been tasked with getting value for all the money, not saving money.

In the last 20 years the public’s satisfaction level with the NHS has risen from around 40% to 60%. More importantly, dissatisfaction has halved from 40% to 20%. This gives the public an NHS net satisfaction level of 40%. Three times as many people are satisfied with the NHS as are dissatisfied. Labour can argue that the improvement happened on their watch, the fact of the satisfaction however is ongoing, this presents a strategic problem for Labour. By the time of the 2015 general election Cameron was more trusted than Miliband on the NHS by 22% to 20%. Survation (and other pollsters) find May is more trusted than Corbyn by 35% to 24%, Corbyn is actually distrusted on the NHS by 45% to 31%. The NHS is now a negative for the Labour leader.

Last week Labour sent out leaflets claiming “babies will die” if Copeland votes Tory, testing the the old Labour fear-mongering NHS claims to destruction. In fact, their opponents now throw the Mid-Staffs scandal and poorly negotiated PFI contracts back in their face when they focus on the NHS. Voters don’t believe Labour’s scares any more, the NHS has been disarmed as a political weapon…

UKIP Launch NHS Counter-Attack: Labour Like “Abusive Parent”

Paul Nuttall has taken on Labour’s main attack line in Stoke by vowing to oppose NHS privatisation and launching a stinging attack on Labour’s record. No cat out of the bag but a crowd-pleasing policy pitch nonetheless: anti-privatisation, anti-PFI, abolishing hospital car parking charges, migrants must pay in for 5 years before accessing non-urgent treatment and foreign aid cash diverted to the health budget. Some tasty lines from Suzanne Evans too: “If Nye Bevan were here today, he would be disgusted by what the Labour Party has done to the NHS” and “Labour is like an abusive parent spending their own children’s money”. The NHS is the key non-Brexit by-election issue in Stoke: the town is a 30 minute drive from Stafford hospital which is still recovering from a major care standards scandal. There is one problem with Labour’s claim that Nuttall would privatise the NHS: he wouldn’t…

NHS Crisis Buried on Front Page of Mail, Sun and Times

Sunday: Paul Mason reveals his theory that Fleet Street is conspiring to keep the so-called NHS crisis off their front pages.

Today: NHS crisis on the front page of the Mail, Sun and Times.

Must be a conspiracy to keep Corbyn’s speech out of the news…

Paul Mason’s Trumpian NHS Crisis Conspiracy Debunked

Over the weekend Paul Mason emerged from his leather-jacketed midlife crisis to reveal his latest conspiracy theory: Fleet Street is covering up the so-called NHS crisis. Top Corbynista Mason reckons the press are conspiring to keep NHS stories out of their papers so they can please their proprietors and secure invites to Downing Street drinks parties:

Does the theory stand up to scrutiny?

Mason told his followers that journalists at the Mail on Sunday had kept the NHS crisis out of the paper. The truth is the paper ran a major spread across two full pages high in the news section with the sub deck: “Britain’s NHS Emergency”. It featured the pull quote: “NHS is stretched to its limit”. 

Mason said there was “No NHS crisis” in the Sunday Telegraph. The truth is the paper covered the story on page two of the news section.

Mason also claimed the Sunday Times had ignored the issue. The paper devoted a large section of is leader column to the story.

Mason said the same of The Sun on Sunday. It covered the story on page two. The NHS crisis was also on the Sun’s front page this morning under the headline “Hospitals in Crisis”, with a spread across pages eight and nine on what it calls the “NHS Hospitals Scandal“.

Mason has so far failed to tweet any of this coverage or admit he was telling his followers a pack of fibs. This must be what the Corbynistas mean by their new Trumpian approach to dealing with the media…

Vote Leave Alumni Tell May To Spend Brexit Dividend on NHS

brexit

Thirteen leading Leave campaigners including Michael Gove and Gisela Stuart have urged the government to keep Vote Leave’s referendum pledge and spend the Brexit ‘dividend’ on the NHS. Buried in Wednesday’s OBR report was the revelation that Britain will get back an extra £32 billion when we leave the EU, approximately the £250 million per week figure which Vote Leave said was the net amount currently being paid to Brussels. During the referendum Vote Leave famously suggested that money could be spent on the NHS. Today Gove, Gisela, Steve Baker and others say:

“When we leave the EU we will be able to take back control of the billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money we send to Brussels each year. We will be able to decide how we spend that money rather than EU bureaucrats. The OBR has revealed that the British people will get back over £10 billion net a year once we leave the EU. We believe that this Brexit dividend should be spent on our priorities – the most important of which is our NHS.”
The OBR verdict is that Vote Leave’s referendum pledge can ultimately be kept by Theresa May, it is up to her whether she wants to do it. It’ll be very interesting to see Number 10 and the Treasury’s reaction, the Brexiteers are starting to reassert themselves…

NHS: It Would Take 147 Years and Cost £32 Million to Reveal Pension Data

NHS

Bumper NHS pensions have long been the subject of taxpayer ire, but how many health service employees are actually coining it? Co-conspirators at the Taxpayers’ Alliance fired off a Freedom of Information request to the NHS Business Services Authority asking for the number of members of the NHS pension scheme who had accrued pension benefits with a cash equivalent transfer value of £1 million or more. They were met with an extraordinary response:

“To provide the information would require a cash equivalent transfer value calculation for each of the member records – approx 2 million records (as at March 2015 this was 1,985,056 records). 70% of these values can be calculated via a system calculation estimated at taking approximately 30 minutes a case. 30% of values would need further specialist manual calculation, estimating that each of these would take approximately 1 hour to undertake. Therefore, I estimate that the cost of complying with your request would exceed the non- central Government limit of £450.”

This works out as follows…

70% of 1,985,056 = 1,389,539

1,389,539 x 30 mins = 694,770 hours

30% of 1,985,056 = 595,517

595,517 x 1hr = 595,517 hours

Total = 1,290,286 hours, 53,762 days or 147 years

In line with the £25 an hour rate they use for these calculations, the NHS is saying it would take 147 years and cost £32,257,160 to answer the FoI and reveal how many employees have million pound pensions. That has to be one of the most incredible FoI responses in history…

Police Launch Investigation Into ‘Tories Should All Be Shot’ Doctor

junior-doctor copy

Last week Guido revealed that the poster boy of the junior doctors had claimed Tory MPs should “all be shot”. Dr Usman Ahmed wrote that he has “always hated the Conservatives” and that Tory MPs should be “given hell”. Well Dr Ahmed’s rant has not gone unnoticed, with local MP Karen Lumley writing to the Worcestershire NHS Trust and the Chief Constable of West Mercia Police expressing her concerns. Lumley says that as a registered outpatient she fears for her safety if Dr Ahmed is on duty:

“I am extremely concerned about this sort of behaviour which is of course totally unacceptable and hope that you and the rest of the Trust would not tolerate it. As I myself am a registered outpatient at the Alexandra Hospital, if this information is accurate and he was on duty when I arrived for an appointment, I could not have any confidence that my safety or well being were assured”.

Guido understands that following the letter West Mercia police have now launched an investigation into Dr Ahmed. The Worcestershire NHS Trust has said it is also investigating his behaviour. A very silly thing for Dr Ahmed to put on his Facebook page…

UPDATE: Dr Ahmed has now apologised on Facebook “I wish to apologise unreservedly for a foolish remark made in the heat of the moment; both for the upset it caused and also for it detracting from the real issues of concern of an unsafe contract for millions of patients and their doctors. Once again my sincerest apologies.”

8 Campaigns Downing Street Didn’t Threaten Over NHS Logo

Downing Street are trying every trick to nobble Vote Leave – this morning government lawyers filed a laughably vexatious trademark infringement complaint over use of the NHS logo in campaign literature. Note that No. 10 are pursuing Vote Leave on this, yet allowed left-wing groups such as Unite the Union, Protect Our NHS, 38 DegreesKeep our NHS Public, The Socialist PartyMomentum NHS, London Labour, and even Tom Watson and Steve Coogan to use the logo for campaign purposes. Of course it’s handy that NHS England chief exec Simon Stevens is a close ally of Peter Mandelson. Splurging thousands on spurious legal battles while there is a £2 billion NHS funding black hole is not a great look…

Junior Doctors Jet Off on Cut-Price Val d’Isere Junket

Just as well junior doctors called off the second of their three planned strikes, scheduled for this week, because hundreds of them are jetting off to Val d’Isere today. Over the next 72 hours doctors are attending their annual winter conference, which has been held at the premier French ski resort for years. The good news is there are still 133 last-minute tickets left for doctors-in-training, at a reduced rate of £330. Medical students qualify for concessions at £210. It is even tax deductible if attendees present an eight-minute report or short paper.

Lectures include “What it takes to win”, “When things go wrong” and “Being sued”. Though far more exciting are the special offers available:

“Val d’Isere is considered to be the world’s premier ski resort. It offers the best skiing together with lively après ski. There are several ski companies offering special DoctorsUpdates rates for delegates in Val d’isere.”

Wonder if they’ll have any snappers for company at the “lively après ski”…

The trip finishes up on Wednesday with the 25th annual St George’s Cup Slalom Race:

“On the Wednesday we hold the great annual St George’s Cup Slalom Race. The rules of the race are cleverly devised so that skiers of all abilities can take part with an equal chance of success. Every competitor completes two timed runs down the same slalom course. The person whose second time most closely matches their first is the winner. This difference is sometimes as close as hundredths of a second!”

Good to see those £30,000-£70,000 junior doctors’ salaries aren’t going to waste!

Weekend Babies Higher NHS Death Rate

weekend+baby

The junior doctors fighting against a 7-day NHS – which aims to achieve the same care quality throughout the week – rejected research previously highlighting that in the year studied – 2013-14 – there had been 11,000 excess deaths from Friday to Monday. Despite the research being carried out by seven leading doctors and statisticians, including NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh and published in the British Medical Journal, the doctors’ union mounted an impressive propaganda counter-attack rubbishing the research and questioning the validity of the statistics. They claimed that the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was misrepresenting the data…

This morning completely separate research from Imperial College based on analysis of 1.3 million births over a 2 year period made comparable findings – weekends are associated with a higher rate of complications for births in NHS hospitals.

The rate of perinatal death on weekdays was 6.5 per thousand babies delivered. The rate of perinatal death across babies born on Saturday and Sunday was 7.1 per thousand. In addition to this, the team found that mothers admitted at the weekend had slightly higher rates of infections compared to weekdays (8.7 infections per thousand deliveries, compared to 8.2 per thousand). The authors suggest that if rates of perinatal death and maternal infections were the same across the week as they were on a Tuesday, there would be 770 fewer perinatal deaths a year, and 470 fewer maternal infections. There are around 4,500 perinatal deaths every year in England across 675,000 births. 

The BMA doctor’s union’s reluctance to move to a 7-day NHS is costing lives…

Envy of the World Update: Cambridge Hospitals in Special Measures

docheds

The health service regulator Monitor have placed Cambridge University Hospitals Trust in special measures after their inspectors found it was “inadequate“. The Trust was haemorrhaging £1.2 million a week, largely because they cocked up the implementation of the electronic patient record IT system e-Hospital.

The e-Hospital system is widely regarded as a poster child for disastrous NHS trust IT projects. Three years ago CUH plumped for the most expensive contract they could and tied themselves to it for 10 years. Within three years of signing the deal, their Addenbrooke hospital has gone from being one of the safest and most respected in the country to special measures. Envy of the world…

Mastermind of Disastrous NHS IT Project Jumps Ship

Tim-Kelsey-at-Reform

The man responsible for the disastrous Care.data programme, NHS England’s national information director Tim Kelsey, has announced he will shortly be jumping the sinking digital NHS ship. In three short years, Kelsey turned Care.data, an IT project that was supposed to help the NHS share medical records, into a dysfunctional and unsecured disaster. One peer-reviewed case study described it as “highly problematic… mismanaged… inadequate…”

Oddly, the NHS press release announcing Tim’s departure doesn’t mention Care.data. You can opt out of the Care.data system by clicking here

NHS Hacked by ISIS

moroccanwolf

An NHS website called “Telling Stories” that details patients experiences of illness and treatment has been hacked. The individual or organistation behind the attack calls themselves “Moroccanwolf” and defaced the site with a screed blaming the USA and Israel for the crisis in Syria. Elsewhere on the internet Moroccanwolf claims to be an IS supporter.

Moroccanwolf” appears to be making a habit of hacking into NHS websites, defacing the Moorfields Eye Hospital website earlier this year; begging the question as to how equipped the NHS is to keep sensitive patient data safe. We should ISISt on better security…

Shameless Burnham’s NHS “News Management” Chutzpah

Another stunning lack of self-awareness from Andy Burnham, who has some nerve putting his name to this article in today’s Mirror:

“the Government publishes all the bad news about the NHS on the same day in the hope that it will minimise the negative headlines. It’s a cynical attempt at news management from a Tory Government that knows the NHS is going backwards on their watch. And it shreds Tory claims to be committed to transparency in the NHS.”

“Minimise negative headlines,” you say? “A cynical attempt at news management”. Oh really?

Let’s remember how, as Health Secretary, Burnham and his deputy allegedly told the Care Quality Commission to “tone down” a report into hospital deaths because it would be too “political” before an election. This is from the Guardian’s write up at the time:

“Burnham, then health secretary, had questioned why he had heard “graphic details” about Basildon hospital’s treatment of patients on Sky News before he had been briefed about it in December 2009. The agreed protocol was that his department was told in advance of such reports and CQC officials were told he was “furious” about the breach.

Two months later with an election looming, Burnham’s deputy Mike O’Brien also cautioned the regulator that “anything you do is going to be political whether you intend it to be or not. And of course once we reach March (2010), purdah, whenever that starts, you can’t publish anything”.

Perhaps most damaging is the CQC’s own interpretation of ministerial wishes. Following the meeting with O’Brien a former non-executive director Martin Marshall at the CQC discusses the publication of the 2010 State of Care report, which summarised of the regulator’s findings in health and social care during the year.

In an email to former chief executive Cynthia Bower and her deputy Jill Finney a few months before the 2010 general election, he warns about “the politics”. “It is really important that we get this report absolutely right before sending anything to the department … The DH will go through this with a toothcomb and it is naive to think that they will really only do a factual check”.

Marshall said there was a need to be “careful about language” and suggests “being hard-hitting without presenting critical data will … be more politically acceptable than criticising with evidence”.”

Burnham’s your man for cynical news management to prevent negative NHS headlines…

NHS Un-Appy

NHS WASTE

NHS England has been pressured into removing sub-standard apps from their Mental Health Apps Library following accusations that they’re too incompetent to assess the third party applications. The Library which launched in March is supposed to curate a selection of medically sound health apps, but health campaigners have poured scorn on the quality of the apps being promoted by the NHS as viable health solutions. Current apps on the store include Phobia Free which uses “exposure therapy” to overcome arachnophobia, Panic Attack Aid which relieves panic attacks by offering distraction exercises and Depression Calculator which tells you if you are depressed…

After sustained pressure from health charity medConfidential the NHS has removed some of the worst offenders, including Kvetch which offers to help you “share your suffering, and use the power of sick social to get the sympathy you deserve.What a load of crApp…

Boffins: NHS Staff ‘Too Incompetent’ to Digitise

NHS WASTE

NHS staff are too dim to implement effective reform to their IT systems, according to the boffins drafted in to overhaul IT at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Addressing an event at the Academy of Medical Sciences this week, Fran Cousins and Dr Afzal Chaudhry singled out a lack of competence on the part of senior NHS staff for burdening their hospitals with costly and sub-standard legacy systems.

“I would say the first barrier is a lack of knowledge and understanding… There just aren’t enough people with the capability, competence and knowledge to implement and digitise 250 hospitals across the country”

Envy of the world…

NHS Overpaid by a Massive 920% For IT Products

NHS WASTE

The NHS is overpaying for basic IT equipment on an epic scale, in one case splurging out 920% above the trade price for a product. The figure comes from benchmarking organisation KnowledgeBus – after reviewing IT spending across 20 sectors they found the NHS had managed to overpay percentage-wise more than anyone else. Socitm, the professional body that represents those in IT management, state that organisations should never pay more than 3% above the trade price for IT hardware…

Tutting Diane Abbott: ‘Tories Harp On About Mid-Staffs’

In an ITV London health debate last night former Shadow Health Minister Diane Abbott tutted when the Mid-Staffs scandal was mentioned:

When called out by the presenter, she justified her response by claiming that the Tories “always harp on about Mid-Staffs”.[…] Read the rest

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