I’m confused

I’m confused. Chris Chope, the right wing tory MP for Christchurch and East Dorset has yet again introduced a Private member’s bill called the NHS co-funding and co-payment Bill. This Thatcherite neo-liberal has repeatedly sought to undermine the NHS with this sort of legislation for years now but this time he moight well gain some traction. The current overall tory majority might just allow the bill to get through.

The Bill has it’s second reading in the House early next month.

What confuses me isn’t that this nasty little scumbag is trying once again to derail the ‘free at point of delivery’ nature of our health service. That’s just par for the course. Weasels do what weasels do and there are few more weasely than Chope. He’s the one that fillibustered a bill to ensure landlords, like himself have to treat tenants fairly. He’s also the one who derailed a Bill to make upskirting illegal.

What confuses me is the very idea that the bill is necessary.

You see, we already have co-payment options in the NHS. That’s why we have prescription charges and fees for optician and dentistry services. It wouldn’t take a change in the law to extend that in principle. But Chope isn’t content to have the option to extend what amounts to small tweaks around the edges of the NHS. He wants to smash the very idea of the NHS by introducing co-funding too.

It may not look like much at first glance but co-funding actually means much more than the tokenistic sort of arrangement we get from prescription charges. Co-funding really does mean a two-tier system of health access where those too poor to afford treatment or who can’t get insurance, either because of high premiums or pre-existing conditions simply won’t be able to access healthcare at all.

This is the system that sees countless American citizens go bankrupt every year (Breaking bad, anyone). It’s the reason that US accident victims are known to plead with would-be helpers not to call them an ambulance because they won’t be able to pay for their care. It’s the reason why so many impoverished Americans give birth without midwifery or medical assistance, leading to much higher infant and maternal mortality rates than would be expected in a civilised, advanced economy such as theirs. And Chope wants to inflict that on us.

Please talk to your MP. And make sure that everyone in your constituency knows about the bill. Check to see how your MP votes and spread that information around too. If they vote for this bill they’re very definitely voting to further impoverish sick and disabled people in your town, to put pregnant women and their babies at risk and generally to lower the health and life-expectancies of you and your neighbours.

But the government will be able to afford more backhanders for their wealthy donor chums so that’s OK, isn’t it?

The NHS: Brits taking back control

I released a longer video some time ago in which I talked about international trade talks, the NHS  and in particular US trade talks and the practice of negative listing. That’s the idea that unless something is specifically listed as ‘off the table’ in trade negotiations it most definitely is to be considered ‘on the table’.

This week our conservative majority government, including my own MP, Mark Jenkinson voted not to protect the NHS in this way. They could have made it illegal to sell the health service in whole or in part to foreign concerns out to make a fast profit from our taxes but they didn’t. They actively chose to keep our national health service vulnerable to predatory private health providers.

Ah, you might reply, but at least it’s a British decision from the British parliament made via British sovereignty.
But you’d be wrong.

You see, they also voted to extend their own impotence. Tory MPs, including my own, voted once again to ensure that the government doesn’t need the approval of parliament to make far-reaching changes to our constitution, to our system of government, to our democracy and to the institutions of state.

If your MP is not a cabinet minister then you have no representation in parliament because the tory MPs used their majority to give it all away.

How’s that for taking back control?

Dear Tory MP, are you not ashamed?

Every time you see your Tory MP, ask them this. Get your friends and neighbours to ask them too… Repeatedly. Don’t let them get away with it!

Stu’s news: Black lives matter

This weekend saw a huge protest in support of Black Lives Matter. The protestors were highlighting a range of issues, of course but with one central demand so far as I can tell. They want the British government to grow a set of bollocks and forthrightly condemn Trump’s administration for allowing, even inciting the murder of black people on US streets. They want the killing to stop both here and abroad and they want our government to stand up and be counted as part of the cure – instead of passively negotiating trade deals with a country whose record on human rights abuses is so blatantly bad it isn’t even surprising any more.

RCN statement on PPE

Responding to PHE latest “Considerations for acute personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages” guidance, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, Dame Donna Kinnair, said:

“This guidance was developed without full and formal consultation with the Royal College of Nursing. It is unacceptable that any healthcare setting in the UK does not provide PPE as required by HSE and set out in the existing guidance. Only sound scientific evidence or safety concerns should change the guidance. We have written to the HSE in the strongest terms to voice our concerns. Nursing staff need to be afforded proper protection full stop.”

Here’s my view – not the RCN’s…

This Thursday you can clap for the NHS if you like. Or, you can write to your MP and demand they put pressure on the govt to take whatever measures are necessary to fix this needless PPE crisis. You can explain that you’ll be watching.

You can explain that their future votes depends upon this… and you can mean it!

Questions for my MP

Obese psychopathic jenky mark jenkinsonAccording to my local MP the UK has loads of ICU beds, respirators and the staff to operate them. He says the NHS is doing well locally. The fact that we went into this crisis with only around a quarter of the NHS beds we had when the service began in the late 1940s seems not to have bothered him a jot. It’s true that some of that reduction can be explained by the number of services currently delivered in the community. But that doesn’t account for such a massive drop in infrastructure given how many more of us there are now than there were 70 odd years ago immediately after a worldwide war.

A large part of the reason why we went into this crisis so unprepared is because of 10 years of conservative cuts on the health service.


A large part of the reason why we went into this crisis so understaffed is because the tories have spent the last 10 years abusing the workforce.

A large part of the reason that we went into this crisis so under-resourced was because when everyone else was buying up PPE, ventilators and other equipment we were still being told to sing happy birthday by our Prime Minister who made a song and dance about shaking hands with hospitalised Covid-19 patients. What an example to set!

And now – Now – they tell us that we’ve plenty of ICU beds. If so, why is the government developing protocols that deny ICU care to older people?

nursing-homeWhy are we preventing care home patients from entering ICU or even ordinary hospital wards should they contract Covid-19?

Why has government policy been not to count care home deaths, even when the figures are available?

I don’t know the answers to these questions but I do know this…

Ever since Cameron formed his ConDem government in 2010 the tory party has waged war on benefits claimants.

The largest and most expensive group of benefits claimants are old age pensioners and long-term disabled citizens.


The government didn’t start this pandemic – no government did – but that doesn’t mean they can’t take advantage of it.

Boris’ original ‘do nothing’/Herd immunity plan would have been a brilliant way to cull the elderly and the sick but the media let the cat out of the bag along with citizens from other countries like Italy and they had to change tack.

So next they lied about trying to source ventilators etc whilst refusing to join the EU procurement scheme and failing actually to put in any orders.

procurement scheme

The media called them out on that too so they started work on building extra capacity and attempting to encourage people back to work in the NHS that the government drove them out of so recently.

Then they realised that they could still cull the elderly by encouraging DNACPR agreements on the grounds that we need the ICU beds for people who pay tax. They could reserve the real treatment for those people who had a chance of increasing tory party donors’ profits once they get back to work. So they set up a kind of stealth rationing system until once again the media called them out on it. Now they pretend to be some sort of rescuer when actually it was their policy in the first place.

Care home test and ppe both

This stuff raises a lot more questions than it answers  but here’s some very straight inquiries for my MP, Mark Jenkinson…

Mark Jenkinson_1

If we have such wonderful capacity in the NHS, why did anyone feel the need to blanket DNR the elderly population in the first place?

Was it a decision born of necessity like battlefield triage (unnecessary if we have all that spare capacity) or of ideology and a desire to cull the ‘useless eaters’?

Does the NHS have all this spare capacity you speak of simply because it’s not treating senior citizens and abandoning those whom the government considers too expensive to breathe?

Was Boris really in ICU?

My latest offering. It’s OK not to know – this isn’t a real fight anyway. We need to take Boris on over policies, not more evidence that he lies – even if we could prove this (which is doubtful). It’s a huge distraction from the real issues that will most likely go nowhere.

The great PPE swindle

Last Friday Matt Hancock, Secretary of state for health and all round bad egg stooped about as low as he could. He actually tried to blame hard-pressed clinicians on the front line in the fight against coronavirus for over-using the PPE that his own department had spectacularly failed to plan for or provide.

Like all tory politicians, Hancock wilfully left the NHS under-resourced and now attempts to cover his guilt by throwing the blame on to his victims. Shame on you Hancock! Shame on you.

So I decided to make a short, 3 minute video, highlighting just some of the statements made by Hancock and his cabinet cronies in the face of questions asked by more sensible heads. Enjoy!

Nurses aren’t heroes!

It’s lovely that you think we’re heroic and all that but it’s just not true. We’re working people like any other doing the best we can in extremely difficult circumstances. Like everyone else we’re doing the jobs we’re good at. Personally I’d be a rubbish plumber but I am pretty decent as a mental health nurse. Provided, of course, I’ve got enough equipment to do what I need to do safely.

If you’d really like to do something to support nurses and all the rest of the staff who are keeping Britain as healthy as we can in these difficult circumstances, there is something you can do, something that is far more powerful and long-lasting than applauding on Thursday evenings…