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“The First Word”: The NHS Crisis to #CALEXIT What’s Making the News?

The Crisis in Our NHS

BREXIT and the US elections have trumped most other political issues in the UK. Meanwhile the NHS has undergone a crippling set of strikes by hospital doctors and the funding crisis in Local Government has decimated support services especially for the elderly and disabled who do not have direct family support in the home.


This is producing a deadly cocktail made up of patients being unable to be safely discharged from hospital, surgeons being forced to cancel urgent operations as there is no space for post-operative care on the wards and further deteriorations in what would be otherwise manageable conditions.

A patient in the East Riding of Yorkshire described the impact of cancelled surgery. “My surgeon needs to place a permanent line in my chest so that I can receive the twice weekly dialysis needed to ensure stability of a nasty an aggressive immunological condition. Having weighed things up he decided to operate tomorrow (14/11) but has had to cancel due to a complete lack of beds anywhere in the hospital. This means I may have to go another whole week without treatment and my condition is rapidly going downhill”.

This patient blames the cuts accepted by Hull City Council to adult services meaning many residents cannot be discharged from hospital in a timely manner.

With the Autumn statement on the horizon Tory MP’s are getting jittery. These who backed BREXIT are being asked, “where’s this £350 a week from the NHS we were promised?” This followed a report from the Care Quality Commission that the Social Care in England is, “at tipping point.”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is lobbying Philip Hammond to inject £1.5 extra cash into social care when the new chancellor delivers his autumn statement on 23rd November. This money would be passed on to Local Authorities such as Hull which has seen cuts of £100 each to the NHS and Council direct grant funding. Hammond’s other option is to abolish the 2% cap on Council Tax rises. This would have the effect of punishing residents for his predecessor George Osborne’s hammering of Local Government budgets.

Since the NHS achieved record levels of satisfaction from the British Attitudes Service of 70% in 2010 (it fell 12 points in just one year of the coalition taking power) and Commonwealth Fund, a Washington-based foundation which is respected around the world for its analysis of the performance of different countries’ health systems saying the NHS was the most efficient in the world, the wheels have come off in spectacular style. £20 billion of “savings” i.e. cuts, privatisation of services and crucially savaging of council budgets has seen any increases announced by the coalition and short lived Cameron majority government wiped away.

Andy Burnham in his 2010 Labour Leadership campaign had correctly identified Social Care as the potential crux of any future breakdown of the NHS. Having experienced his Nan’s final unsatisfactory years, he proposed unifying the NHS and Social Care so that hospital budgets can be spent on acute care rather than treading water. The cost of a hospital bed is £1000 a night. Care home costs are not calculated nationally but investigations by Democracy Thinks worked out the figure as £600 a week. That’s £85 a night. A staggering saving.

Burnham’s proposal makes perfect sense as another major issue is the abysmal lack of communication between the acute and the primary sector. Bringing it all together would allow for a care plan that involved discharge liaison with homes and families to ensure security and dignity for the patient. Plus, it would save a few quid. The Parliamentary Opposition, whoever they are, should be hammering the Government over funding whilst persuading them that an overarching plan must be drawn up by the Health Select Committee before being voted on by MP’s.
Australia’s Deportation Scandal.

Abroad now and a breaking news story that should shame Australia and make them a pariah in the international community.

Last month the BBC broadcast a documentary focusing on the degrading conditions experienced by displaced persons in so called camps on the South Sea Islands of Manus Island and Nauru. Disease, malnutrition and suicide are rampant and if these places were in Europe there would be complete outrage that any state could systematically, and as a matter policy visit such torment upon fellow human beings.

Australia sends all asylum seekers arriving by boat to offshore camps in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific territory of Nauru for detention and processing. Both areas are cash strapped and need the income which is certainly not spent on helping people.

Now Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has vowed to deport all those seeking refuge and refuse entry to any more desperate people on boats. Last week Legislation to impose a lifetime ban on any refugees even visiting Australia passed the House of Representatives, parliament’s lower house. In order to punish displaced persons for trying to seek protection in Australia, they will be stopped from ever entering the country, even to visit their children or other family members.

The next stage will see a deal done to save the Camp detainees by the UNHCR and President Obama has agreed they can come to the USA. President Elect Donald Trump today announced he wants mass deportation to be the main plank of his immigration policy, “…. three million, we are getting them out of our country” he told 60 Minutes news programme.

What hope now for now for those wretched people at the mercy of the Australian Government? Especially as the Labor Party leader Bill Shorten said his party maintained a “unity ticket” with the government on stopping any asylum seekers from ever settling in Australia.
Trump Victory Sparks CALEXIT Campaign.

BREXIT California style maybe on the cards if social media trends are to be believed. The epitome of west coast liberal and tolerant America, the home of Harvey Milk voted Hillary by a margin of 28 points as the Democratic candidate took the 55 electoral college votes on offer.
Tech guru and IT multi-millionaire Shervin Pishevar started the #calexit on Wednesday following GOP candidate Trump’s victory.

The movement has burgeoned into 100K plus followers of Facebook and other social media platforms prompting CNN and other outlets to take notice. Watch this space. The best move that California could make would be for local politicians, mayors and Democratic Party Governor Jerry Brown to make the State a safe haven for all Trump’s victims.


About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.


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