Whatever is happening to our NHS? Latest update on #JR4NHS now available


If, like me, you’ve supported the Urgent Legal Action for Our NHS campaign the result is very disappointing.

Mr Justice Green has found against the campaign on both remaining counts.

Read the full report from the campaign organisers here.

The campaign has achieved some success as the Secretary of State for Health has conceded to a consultation.

But so far there is no sign of any consultation.

A House of Commons Library Briefing Paper published on 6th July 2018 states on the very first page:

THe NHS England consultation has not yet been launched

and I really wonder if the consultation will ever see the light of day.

I shall keep looking for it and if I catch sight of it I’ll let you know. But don’t hold your breath!

Anyway, I don’t think that some obscure consultation is the right way to introduce this massive and fundamental change to our NHS.

It should be done at a General Election – clearly spelled out in the Tory manifesto what is intended. And then we all get a chance to vote and decide if we want our NHS handed over to private companies on 10 year contracts.

We talk such a lot about “democracy” these days related to the Brexit referendum and “taking back control”. Shouldn’t we be exercising control over what is done to our NHS?

Thanks for reading my blog today.

You can find all my blogposts about #JR4NHS on this page.

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Man lives on tea alone, St. Annes-on-Sea, Lancashire.

St Anne's on Sea

I like tea.

You possibly like tea.

But not to the exclusion of everything else.

This fascinating and amazing tale from 1951 brings a whole new perspective to the health benefits of drinking tea.

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#JR4NHS in court this week


How ludicrous that in the year of the 70th anniversary of the founding of our NHS, a campaign group has to go to court to stop the current Secretary of State for Health and Social Care implementing his privatisation plans via Accountable Care Organisations.

Aneurin Bevan would be appalled.

Wednesday this week, (23rd May 2018) sees the campaign Urgent Legal Action for Our NHS in the Royal Courts of Justice.

I quote from the campaign update:

When the case started in December 2017, NHS England was planning to introduce the first Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs) by April 2018. The Government was planning to rubber stamp swathes of regulations so that ACOs could operate.

Following massive public support, NHS England promised a full national consultation on the plans. And the Government said it will not make the regulations until after the consultation. That satisfied 2 of our 4 grounds for judicial review – our first victories.

But, at worst, ACOs and the regulations have only been delayed by one year. The policy to introduce ACOs is still very much in place. We need to win this court case to land a serious blow to plans to privatise the NHS.

Read the full campaign update here.

Hopefully the news will be good and justice will prevail.

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Does green tea have health benefits?

jasmine tea

Recently I’ve been drinking a lovely Jasmine Blossom Green Tea from Newbys.

The tea is quite expensive but has a lovely, delicate flavour.

For years I’ve been under the impression that green tea is beneficial to health without really knowing why so I’ve  consulted Dr Google.

The NHS choices website has an excellent analysis of the claims made for the health benefits of green tea.

The article explores a wide range of claims for the benefits of drinking green tea including:

Does drinking green tea protect you from cancer?

Can green tea aid weight loss?

Does green tea cut cholesterol?

Can green tea help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease?

Can green tea lower blood pressure?

Can green tea prevent tooth decay?

In concluding the article, NHS Choices refers to dietitian Alison Hornby

who says:

“In the Far East, green tea has been used as a treatment for a variety of conditions ranging from arthritis to weight loss, as well as a preventative measure for diseases such as cancer, although the evidence for the majority of these conditions is weak or lacking.

“However, as a social drink, it appears to be safe in moderate amounts, so lovers of green tea can continue to enjoy it.”

Overall, it seems that green tea won’t do any harm, might do a little bit of good but probably won’t make any difference. So, I’ll keep on enjoying my Jasmine Blossom Green Tea although I doubt that I will ever be paying £57 for 250g!

Thanks for reading my blog today.

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Your National Health Service in 2017 #NHS


69 years ago this country was facing a war-weariness, an economy in disarray, the end of empire, a nation negotiating its place in the world, a need for massive house building. At that point, this country stepped-up, and took a bold and optimistic view. Not only on a whole range of social topics, but about the need for and the benefits from a National Health Service.

Stirring words from the penultimate paragraph of Simon Stevens’ speech to NHS Providers in Birmingham on November 8th.

In the speech Stevens also warned of a waiting list of 5 million patients by 2021 on current funding and called on the Government to meet the Brexit NHS promise.

Stevens also pointed out that our NHS is grossly underfunded when compared with similar economies in Europe.

Now some may say: aren’t we spending at the European average? Well, only if you think that bundling-in austerity-shrunken Greek and Portuguese health spending should help shape the benchmark for Britain. If instead you think modern Britain should look more like Germany or France or Sweden then we’re underfunding our health services by £20-30 billion a year.

Read the full text of the speech here; it only takes a couple of minutes and is well worth the time.

Who is Simon Stevens?

Simon Stevens is the Chief Executive of NHS England.

He became CEO of NHS England in 2014 after an early career in NHS management. This lead onto becoming the president of the global health division of United Health Group, a giant US private healthcare company. He also advised Tony Blair’s government where, as well as advising on a huge public reinvestment programme, he championed the use of privately-run independent sector treatment centres. Read more in this Guardian article.

According to this Guardian report, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that Simon Stevens will be held personally responsible for ensuring the health service does not end up in a crisis this winter.

A winter with the prediction of the biggest flu scare for years.

No wonder Simon Stevens was telling a few home truths to Theresa May’s government in his speech last week.

Does anyone actually understand how the NHS works in the twenty first century?

Check out this graphic from the King’s Fund which attempts to summarise how the NHS (oops! sorry! NHS England) works.

You will not believe it!

Unless you work in the NHS but you probably can’t believe it either.

How can one individual be responsible for this lot (even if he is paid £189K)?

Notice in the King’s Fund video how the Secretary of State for Health aka Jeremy Hunt is so arms-length from our NHS.

I can remember a time when Government Secretaries of State were supposed to take responsibility for their department and resign if something went badly wrong!

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard Jeremy Hunt blame the failure of the NHS to meet more and more of its targets on the rise in patient numbers due to our ageing population.

Yes, Jeremy. That’s right! We’re called the “baby-boomers”.

We needed more school places, more training, more jobs, more houses, more maternity services, more school places and injections for our children, and more doctors, nurses, dentists and teachers for them too.

And now Jeremy we need lots more health and social care for ourselves.

So why, Jeremy, are you so surprised? Surely, Jeremy, you knew we baby-boomers were there. Didn’t you realise we were getting older? That we’d need more health and social care. Why weren’t you and your department making preparations? Why weren’t you planning for the increasing demographic? Isn’t that what government is supposed to do? And if you have been planning, well you haven’t made a very good job of it, have you?

And that’s hardly surprising when we look at the King’s Fund graphic.

What was said at the time of the 2010 General Election?

No more top down re-organisation of the NHS!

Come on, Jeremy. Get a grip! Let’s have a Secretary of State for Health who takes responsibility for what’s going on in our NHS. Or move over for someone who will!

Thanks for reading my blog today.

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