September 21, 2017

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Will STPs finally wreck the NHS? -

Sunday, June 18, 2017

STPs – A new way to wreck the NHS -

Friday, February 17, 2017

Private health insurance doesn’t cover A & E!! -

Monday, January 30, 2017

The real costs of NHS contracting out -

Monday, September 26, 2016

Taxpayers subsidising private pharmacies? -

Saturday, September 10, 2016

In Sickness-In Health-In Profit

In the old, simplistic days of the NHS, your doctor referred you to your local hospital. You were given a letter; you phoned the appropriate hospital department and made an appointment. Not now, as you can only be seen at your local hospital if your GP has a contract with them, or with what is now known as any ‘qualified provider’. At my GP’s surgery, I have requested to be treated only by the NHS, not by private for-profit providers. Needing an MRI scan for a back problem, I was amazed to be told that my GP did not have…

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Sex, Drugs & the EU

If proof was needed that EU politicians and unelected officials have finally lost the plot, read on! The EU has decided that the GDP* figures for all 28 member states are inaccurate, and this means that the distribution of the EU’s large budget – which is based on the size of each country’s GDP – is also inaccurate. At least this is what they say but it is also possible that the by artificially increasing GDP countries are made to look financially healthier. Clearly, it’s sensible to make statistics more accurate, but there are serious questions about the way in…

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Ethics and Mark Carney

Britain has a housing boom, partly because of the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, retail sales figures are surging, the stock market is booming, and the current account deficit is at a record 5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is 50% higher than forecast. Normally, these indicators mean that interest rates would have to go up to take the heat out of the economy. However, to make the necessary increase in interest rates now, or anytime soon, would jeopardise the feel-good factor needed for a Tory election victory in 2015. The deputy governor of the Bank of England for…

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NHS – Eve of Destruction

“No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned, they are lower than vermin.”   Aneurin Bevan’s famous quote automatically comes to mind as we stagger from crisis to crisis in the NHS, although vermin might object to being mentioned in the same breath as the Tory Party! The arrival of the NHS on 5th July 1948 was not an easy birth. It was opposed by the Tories and by the doctors’ trade union, the British Medical Association…

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Unfaithful Boris screws Tube Passengers!!

The Mayor of London, who campaigned for election on the promise of keeping ticket offices open, now plans to close them as part ofthe 12.5% cut in the budget of London Underground (LU) announced on 21st November. This will, at a stroke, reduce safety, reduce service, cause inconvenience to the travelling public and increase the cost of travelling cattle class. The intention of London Underground is to create a self-service, supermarket model, and that means all Ticket Offices are due to close by 2015. Look at the crowds in busy ticket halls like Euston – long queues for the ticket office,…

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Co-op Bank: Mutual or Bust?

Since the appalling news of a Co-op Bank takeover by US hedge “vulture” funds (Aurelius Capital and Silver Point Capital) a growing body of Co-op members and bank customers are rallying to restore co-operative control and underpin the bank’s commitment to ethical investment.  Background The future of the Co-op Bank has been in doubt since announcing losses arising from the acquisition of the Britannia Building Society. Once the government made clear it would not bail out the Co-op Bank its credit rating shattered and the vulture funds bought up Co-op debt – interest-paying bonds at a lot less than the…

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Tagging the Dead – Incestuous Financial Relationships

“Tagging the dead” was a recent popular newspaper headline1. The story told how G4S – of Olympic Security fame – and Serco were invoicing for tagging 18,000 offenders a day, when only 15,000 were actually being tagged and monitored. Besides invoicing for the few that were actually dead, other fraudulent invoices included people who had moved abroad, been returned to prison, or had never left prison in the first place!! Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, called in the Serious Fraud Office to investigate one company, and subsequently said that both companies needed to have a period of “corporate renewal”. The…

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Neo-Liberalism or Fascism ‘Light’?

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism, because it is a merger of State and corporate power.” Benito Mussolini The UK economy today has some startling similarities with both Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa. The overriding image of fascism is the Nazi jackboot trampling over the brave democratic countries of Europe, and fascism itself will always be associated with a totalitarian state, racial superiority, concentration camps and most of all, the Second World War. Yet the economic and financial system that underwrote political fascism has not received much publicity since the victors always write history. Germany lost the Second…

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Private Eye – The Balcombe Planning Permission

After two weeks of protests in the village of Balcombe, West Sussex, villagers keep asking themselves; who allowed Cuadrilla to drill on our doorstep? Planning permission for the US firm’s test on the Balcombe estate – owned by Simon Greenwood, a great grandson of the first Lord Cowdray – was granted by West Sussex county council (WSCC) in 2010 and expires at the end of September. If Caudrilla had waited any longer to start work it would have had to reapply, and this time round it could have expected strong opposition to a revised planning application. So why was the…

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Send Fracking Packing!!

Why are we arguing over the safety of fracking, when there is no need for fracking at all? It has been known for some time that if global warming is to be limited to two degrees Celsius (2°C) between now and 2050, then only about a quarter of the world’s proven fossil fuel reserves will be needed.1 The figure of 2°C is not a number plucked out of thin air, but a figure the vast majority of climatologists consider the maximum increase possible to avoid seriously altering the planet’s climate.2 The logical conclusion from this is that if more energy…

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