Posts Tagged ‘cuts’

Dysfunctional NHS

January 15, 2012

Sometime last summer, my dentist smashed up a tooth. You will have to go to hospital she said. What now, I asked? No, they will contact you. What, they will call me? No, they will write to you.

Months later, having spoken to my dentist several times about the long delay, I get a letter from the hospital. Great, I think, I will be going in next week. No, an appointment for some weeks hence.

On the appointed day, I turn up at my local hospital. I check the paperwork to double check where I have to be, and shock horror, wrong hospital, I have not been referred to my local hospital but one some distance away, with no easy way of getting there by public transport.

I check with my dental practice, to learn that they, not just they but all GP and dental practices, have received instruction that patients are to be referred to hospitals in Hampshire, anywhere but the local hospital, which happens to be just across the county border in Surrey.

Frimley Park no longer local hospital for Farnborough and Aldershot
Farnborough patients denied patient choice

But we have patient choice, it is we the patient who decide where we are going. In theory yes, in practice no, budget considerations decide.

I broke a tooth, another trip to my dentist.

It will have to be taken out, and no, in light of what happened before, I will be referred to hospital. No way, I say, am I going miles away, I am to go to my local hospital. My dentist agrees, and says she will see what she can do. She then explains what is going wrong.

Up until April 2011, she would refer me to a consultant to do the necessary work. Now she has to refer me to a committee, it is the committee who decide where I will go, a committee that is not made up of dentists.

Many things wrong with this:

  • It breaks the working arrangement between local practitioner and specialist consultant.
  • It introduces a layer of useless bureaucracy that is simply wasting money and adding additional costs.
  • The decisions of the committee are being made on budgets not on medical grounds.
  • For the patient the inconvenience and cost of not being referred to their local hospital.

Early December I receive a letter inviting me to call the Royal County Hospital in Guildford. Not my local hospital, but better than Basingstoke.

I call, make an appointment. I ask why Guildford? They do not know. I could be referred to my local hospital, but then I would be at the end of the queue. I decide to try Guildford, be seen, then maybe get referred to my local Hospital Frimley Park.

Friday 13, I turn up at the Royal County. Bad design, obliged to walk the length of the hospital to find the entrance. Why is it not at the front of the building? I walk in and I am nearly knocked out by the oppressive heat. I find the relevant department. Instructions on reception tell me to sign in on a touch screen, instructions on touch screen tell me to to report to reception! Someone is making money out of a contract for unnecessary equipment. I report to reception and hand in registration form. Receptionist ask me have I used the touch screen to register. I say yes. She takes my registration form, crumples it up, and throws in the bin.

Consultant is pleasant and helpful. She looks at my recently broken tooth. I ask about the tooth the dentist smashed last summer. She says she knows nothing about it, asks me which tooth. Looks in the file and tells me there is no paperwork. I explain that I have been waiting since the summer and passed around the houses. She asks is it painful? I say no, but occasionally a dull ache. I say I am not waiting any longer, can she not deal with that one too? She agrees and sends me off for an x-ray.

My head is clamped in a machine, an x-ray machine rotates around my head. I am called back in to see the consultant. An impressive x-ray picture, a couple of inches high and several inches long. Four teeth to be extracted. I turn white. I only know of two. She then shows me a back tooth, wobbles it to make the point it is loose, and tells me it has infection all around. It does not have to come out, but will eventually have to come out. If nothing else, explanation for occasional dull pain. Surprisingly, the one the dentist has smashed up could be rebuilt. Another could be rebuilt, lot of work, a post and a crown. I say I do not mind, better than losing a tooth. The one the dentist said had to come out, yes, will have to come out.

Will it be done now? No, the hospital will contact me to make an appointment. Will she do it? Maybe, but will see on the day. Why not my local hospital? They only do under general anaesthetic and this can be done using local. She will write to my dentist and explain the teeth that can be rebuilt.

It can only get worse.

With the massive privatisation of the NHS the ConDem government is trying to force through against the strong opposition of the public and those who work in the NHS, it can only get worse.

Cuts are not the cure

April 6, 2011

We do not have a debt crisis. The CondDem government is using the Budget Deficit as an excuse for slash and burn of public services.

Historically the debt is not large, it is affordable. If it was not affordable, the interest payments would be much higher than they are.

At a time of a shrinking economy, the worse thing a governement can do is slash public spending. This simply tips the economy into recession and the economy spirals downwards.

Yes, the deficit should be reduced, but it should be reduced at a rate the economy can afford.

The quickest way to bring the Budget Deficit down would be to force agressive tax avoiders to pay their fair share of tax. If they paid the tax they owed there would be no need for public spending cuts.

Video made for TUC rally for an alternative to cuts in Hyde Park, London, on 26 March 2011.

National Health Service Reforms
Far from cutting debt, Osborne’s plans will make it soar
We are all in it together
Why austerity is not common sense
Will the cuts work? Just look at Ireland
Ireland the Model
Why cuts are the wrong cure

Toxic Tiger

December 17, 2010

The Celtic Tiger never was, it was a myth!

We had the EU pump in billions of euros. We had the banks pump in billions of euros. Because the Irish were in the euro zone they were unable to take the necessary fiscal measures to stop the economy overheating, but they have shown such a level of financial ineptitude that had they had control they would probably have made it even worse.

Companies were setting up IT support in Ireland. Why? Not because of the home grown talent as there was none. It was because of the masisve EU handouts. All the key staff came from overseas. Often they would fly in for Monday to Friday, then fly back home for the weekend. A lucrative gravy train whilst it lasted but of no benefiit to the Irish.

Banks were peddling money like crack cocaine dealers. Want a million euros guv, why not have two, three even? The pushers getting fat on bonuses on the amount they pushed.

British banks alone have pushed somewhere between 50-100 billion euros. Heading the pack RBS. A bank that typified greed. Now bailed out by the British taxpayer.

Property prices soared. Houses that were going for a few hundred, maybe a few thousand or tens of thousand, were now going for half a million.

Greedy property developers and speculators jumped on the bandwagon. Money was to be made out of nothing.

Then came the crash and the day of reckoning. The idiots in charge displayed their lack of understanding of economics. The squeeze, austerity measures, have made a dire situation worse.

One property, at the height of the boom valued at £10 million, could not even reach the reserve at auction of a little over half a million. Individual apartments once fetching half a million, now cannot make 11,000.

And the losers? The builders, the plumbers, the brickies, all out of work.

The latest package from the economic illiterate cretins that constitute what is jokingly called a government in Ireland is to lower the minimum wage, hike taxes on working people. This deflates still further a failing economy. Meanwhile corporation tax stays at at ludicrously low rate.

Also see

Euro – economics of the madhouse

Why austerity is not common sense

Will the cuts work? Just look at Ireland

Ireland the Model

Why cuts are the wrong cure

If ever there was a campaign that Tories should support …

Why cuts are the wrong cure

December 4, 2010

We are not all in it together. The poorest is society are being made to pay the price of the greed of the richest.

There are alternatives to savage cuts in welfare, savage cuts in public spending.

We all know cuts are a false economy. Cuts will make Britain more unfair. Yes, there is a deficit, and yes it should be reduced, but at a rate the economy can cope with. A budget deficit, which is not as bad as claimed, is being used as an excuse for slash and burn of public services.

Also see

Shop a Scrounger

Ministers accused of ‘burying’ damning report on impact of benefits cuts

Topshop day of action against tax dodger Sir Philip Green

Vodafone £6 billion unpaid tax bill

October 29, 2010

While the poor starve, the rich and global corporations fiddle their tax.

Last week, the UK government announced massive cuts in public spending with the poor and the disadvantaged and the environment being hardest hit.

The week before the government had announced a whole new army of investigators to track down benefit claimants who might be fiddling their meagre income, might be doing the odd few hours down the pub cash-in-hand as the only way to make ends meet. As one young mum told me, it was this little extra that paid for clothes and the occasional treat.

And yet at the same time, tax collectors are to be cut.

It does not not need much thought to see who benefits from this, the rich and Big Businesses.

Just one example that has caught public attention, especially after their flagship London store in Oxford Street was closed down in protest, is Vodafone, £6 billion which the government has apparently said they do not have to pay.

We are told we are staring into the abyss, facing bankruptcy, but it is ok for Vodafone to be let off the hook over an unpaid tax bill of £6 billion.

On Wednesday protesters shut down the flag ship Vodafone store in London. On Wednesday protesters shut down all six Vodafone stores in Leeds.

This Saturday (30 October 2010), ie tomorrow, it is planned to shut down every Vodafone store in London, and if possible across the country.

This type of protest coordinated by UK Uncut, and similar protests on Climate Chaos by groups like Climate Camp and Climate Rush, is far more effective than French-style protests and political rallies as it is hitting directly the greedy bastards who got us in the state we are currently in.

£7 billion cuts in benefits to the poor. £6 billion unpaid tax by Vodafone. We can all do the sums and we do not like the result.

Sign the petition calling for Vodafone to pay their unpaid tax

Follow on twitter

Earlier in the year George Osborne the millionaire Chancellor who last week announced the massive cuts was in India promoting Vodafone! The irony is not lost that India is demanding that Vodafone pays their unpaid taxes!

It is not only Vodafone, other big companies are dodging their tax. Barclays has a special secret unit to advise companies and the super rich on how to avoid their taxes. Listen to the excellent BBC Radio 4 File on Four documentary, A Taxing Dilemma.

Also see

Vodafone Direct Action Spreads – Saturday Callout

Johann Hari: Protest works. Just look at the proof

Vodafone’s tax case leaves a sour taste

Taxman let Vodafone off £6bn bill

Insurrection on Oxford Street

Protestors shut down Vodafone store over ‘tax dodging’ claims

Occupation highlights Vodafone’s legal tax dodge

Leeds protesters shut down Vodafone

Vodafone Oxford St Occupied! We want our £6bn back

First Cuts Not the Depest

Vodafone must pay $2.6bn India tax bill

Vodafone given $2.5bn Indian tax bill deadline

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