Monday, July 05, 2021

Start a correspondence with your MP about NHS privatisation

 Following on from the previous post about the evidence for NHS privatisation which ends with urging people to start a correspondence with their MP asking them to work halt and reverse privatisation of the NHS, I post below a first letter to copy, amend (MPs respond better to individualised letters) and post. You can also use this excellent website, They Work For You, to email the MP, which is helpful because it follows up on the letter to find whether the MP replies. 

The idea is to start a real correspondence, not just send one letter. Insist that they answer the questions clearly and give their honest views. If they put up counter-arguments, and you don't know how to answer, post them back here in the comments, and we will find  and supply the answers.

It helps to form a local letter-writing group, and also to visit your MP individually or in groups.

It is a good idea for your group to conduct opinion polls of people in the constituency, so that you can give the MP information about the proportion of constituents who oppose the privatisation of the NHS. I will put more info about this tactic up here in subsequent posts.

Spread the word, and good luck.


[Your address] 

…. MP

House of Commons

London SW1A 0AA

 Dear...

The NHS, which provides health care free of charge at the time of need is, as you know, very much appreciated and valued by British people, and is rightly a source of national pride. Yet since 1987 it has been the subject of an extensive series of changes designed to make it possible to sell off sections of the service. It has suffered greatly from under-funding, yet there has also been a marked increase the amount of taxpayers’ money flowing into private health care corporations. There is no reasonable doubt that the intent is to abolish the model of an NHS paid out of general taxation, and to bring in some form of insurance based, private health care model.

One thing is clear: private health care is more expensive than the universal service.  The costs of invoicing for every item used, every action carried out, the cost of administration, and the constant leaching of money to shareholders, are far greater than in the NHS model.

What I seek, as your constituent, is to clarify your position on the NHS by getting answers to the following questions:

1.      Do you accept that private health care delivery is more expensive than the NHS model?

2.      Do you unequivocally support the idea of an NHS funded out of general taxation?

Thank you for your trouble in answering these questions.

With best wishes

 .......

Monday, June 28, 2021

NHS IS BEING PRIVATISED: THE EVIDENCE

This post is an update on the original page published in June 2021


THE NHS IS BEING PRIVATISED: THE EVIDENCE

It is a commonly said that the NHS is being privatised, changed from being a service owned and run by and for the nation. Politicians often try to deny this or muddy the water, so here are the plain facts in a very brief summary.

1.       In 1987 Margaret Thatcher introduced the “Internal Market” in the NHS, by creating a division between purchasers and providers of care services. This immediately increased complexity into the NHS, with huge amounts of administrative work needed to calculate (or estimate) the costs of everything from brain surgery to a cardboard bedpan. This administrative work has imposed a serious cost burden on the NHS.

2.       The Private Finance Initiative which used private money to build hospitals, ran from 1992 until 2018. It provided £13bn, but will cost £80bn by the time the debt is repaid. This benefits the private sector, but cripples the NHS.

3.       Foundation Trusts were introduced by a Labour Government, which breaks the NHS down into smaller chunks which can be sold off. This was attempted in the case of Hillingdon Hospital, but the experiment failed.

4.       GPs have been re-organised into consortia, which again are capable of being marketed.

5.       Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill in 2012 removed the responsibility for the Secretary of State for Health to care for the NHS, and obliged NHS Trusts to put contracts out to tender. Since then, contracts worth billions have gone to the private sector. In the five years to 2015 the private sector was awarded the majority of the contracts for: Pharmacy, patient transport, diagnostics, GP out of hours.

6.       In the course of negotiations of a post-Brexit trade deal, US corporations are very keen to reduce the ability of the NHS to control drug prices. Their plans could increase the cost of drugs to the NHS by a massive £27 billion.

7.       Integrated Care Systems were introduced in 2017, and are very similar to US Accountable Care Organisations. Their aim is to reduce spending. If a private partner in the ICS manages to reduce spending, it is allowed to keep the savings. This is an incentive to cut corners.

8.       Sir Simon Stevens, (until recently, CEO or head of NHS England), has introduced Sustainability and Transformation plans. These aim to reduce NHS beds (the UK has among the lowest ratio of beds to population in the developed world), save £5 billion a year in NHS spending, and reduce the number of A&E departments in the UK from 144 to 50. Sir Simon opposed Obamacare when he was CEO of a US healthcare corporation.

9.       Car parks, cleaning, portering and catering have all been privatised.

10.    Hospitals are increasingly renting space and facilities to private health care organisations.

11.    Increasing numbers of private centres are being set up to do things like hip replacement surgery, which are simple and relatively predictable. If anything goes wrong subsequently, the NHS is expected to put things right, not the private corporation who did the operation.

 

All of this is clear evidence of a gradual process of privatisation of the NHS.

On the next page we discuss the debate about privatisation.



 

 

The Debate about NHS Privatisation

Conservative ideology holds that private is good, public is bad. This is based on the philosophy of individualism, which insists that politics must be based on the individual. This philosophy is false, because Homo sapiens is a social animal. Sadly, health corporations can persuade politicians to see things their way by giving donations to the Conservative Party.
This article https://tinyurl.com/teombsu lists no less than 70 MPs, mainly Conservative, who have received serious money from health corporations, or have had other connections.

Politicians argue
that GPs, pharmacists, dentists and opticians have always been independent sub-contractors. This is true, but this arrangement was stable, whereas since 1987, the changes that Conservatives (and to a lesser extent, Labour and LibDems) are creating is causing the role of private agencies to be steadily expanding. 

Politicians argue that privatised healthcare is more efficient than care provided by the NHS. This is just plain wrong. Private provision is far more expensive because of all the bills and invoices which have to generated. Different sections of the NHS, which just used to cooperate, now have to send each other itemised bills. In the US, administration costs amount to about 40% of total healthcare costs; in the UK before privatisation began, administration costs were 6%. In addition to administrative costs, private corporations will cream off some of the money they get from Government as profits to give dividends to their shareholders.

Politicians argue that it does not matter who owns the bricks and mortar of the place where treatment takes place, so long as the treatment is delivered. PFI (see other side) proves this to be wrong. It is more efficient for the NHS to own its own hospital than to pay rent or interest to a corporation. 

Politicians argue that health care costs are rising unsustainably. Rising costs of health care is a universal problem in the modern world, and the NHS is placed in the middle the range in international comparisons regarding cost. Privatisation will only add to the cost. Health care in the USA is about twice as expensive as the NHS. Social and economic reform will reduce health costs, not privatisation.

If we do not stop the process of privatisation, we will be left with a rump NHS that does emergency care while anything that is remotely profitable will have been sold off. Private care facilities may be able to perform procedures from cataract surgery to hip replacement, but they do not have A&E departments. Any emergencies in these facilities are shunted over to the NHS to be sorted out.

At the end of the privatisation process lies insurance-based health care. Insurance is always based on risk assessment, which means that high-risk patients will be left to fend for themselves.

The NHS is our NHS. We paid for it with our taxes. Now it is being privatised.

Protect Our NHS is conducting an opinion poll in North Somerset. You will have received a polling slip with this page.

Please join in and cast your vote, so that we can tell your MPs exactly how much local opposition there is to the Government’s NHS Privatisation Plans.

Everyone can help to resist the privatisation process by opening a correspondence with your MP>

This vote will be carried out in North Somerset, but if you are interested in running a poll in your area, get in touch via the comments

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Zoom Meeting on the Melbourne Isolation Hood to stop spread of Covid in Hospital

 



You are invited to a  Zoom meeting on the Melbourne Isolation Hood
Time: Jan 28, 2021 09:00 London time

The Isolation Hood is designed to cut the risk that Covid-19 patients in hospital spreading the infection to fellow patients or to Nurses, Doctors and other front-line health care workers.
It does this by capturing all droplets and aerosols breathed out by the patient and drawing them through a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA), where the virus is trapped and inactivated.

The Isolation Hood (also known as the McMonty Medihood) is in production in Melbourne, Australia, and 80 units are in use in six Australian cities, all within ICUs and wards.

It has been welcomed by front line health care workers, who feel more secure when the Hood is in use.

One unit has been kindly donated free of charge to the NHS by the manufacturers, Evan Evans of Melbourne, and is being installed in the renal unit of a hospital in the South West, since if patients on renal dialysis contract Covid-19 they are at risk, on account of being on immune suppressant medication.

The speaker at the Zoom meeting will be Dr Forbes McGain, a consultant anaesthetist, who developed the Medihood in collaboration with Prof Jason Monty, Professor of Engineering at the University of Melbourne. He will speak for 30 minutes, leaving plenty of time for questions.

Links

Medihood website https://medihood.com.au/

Aerosol generation relative to respiratory interventions and the effectiveness of a personal ventilation hood McGain F et al, Critical Care and Resuscitation


To Join the Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88053702729?pwd=c29Bb3o0bjkyMEdNYW9rdFU4VkUzdz09

Meeting ID: 880 5370 2729
Passcode: 13EuQi
One tap mobile
+13462487799,,88053702729#,,,,*051523# US (Houston)
+16699006833,,88053702729#,,,,*051523# US (San Jose)

Dial by your location
        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
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        +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington D.C)
        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Meeting ID: 880 5370 2729
Passcode: 051523
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/khBTUREs5

Friday, January 01, 2021

We Can Cut the Number of Hospital Acquired Covid Infections


The virus that causes Covid-19 is spread mainly by inhaling droplets from infected people who are within two metres or less, and by aerosols of virus particles, which may persist in air for 30 minutes or more.

10-20% of hospitalised  Covid-19 cases caught the virus in hospital.

This situation can be improved with some pretty basic technology.  

The transmission risk from Covid-19 cases

People in hospitals who are known to be infected with Covid-19 are putting out droplets containing the Sars-CoV-2 in large amounts when they cough, speak and breathe , especially in the first week since symptoms began.

People with Covid who are receiving oxygen delivered via mask or cannula will be continually exhaling droplets into the hospital environment. The air in their vicinity and in their room will contain a considerable quantity of virus, both as droplets and as aerosols.

Bed coverings and the floor within a couple of metres will be hosting significant amounts of virus. This virus will feed back onto the patient, continually re-infecting them every time they breathe in, or when they touch their face after letting their hands rest on their sheets. The floors can be cleansed at frequent intervals, but the bed linen presents an infection risk to anyone who handles it.


The health and safety of health care workers needs to be protected

The air in the vicinity of the patient poses a health and safety risk to anyone who enters the room or indeed breathes air in the vicinity of the room. PPE is used to reduce this risk, but PPE does not present an impenetrable shield, and 649 healthcare workers (including 36 doctors) have died from Covid-19 contracted while giving care.

The simplest way to capture expired air is by means of a hood positioned over the head. Air will be withdrawn from the hood through a tube positioned above the head at a rate greater than 6 litres/minute, which is the volume of air that is exhaled by a human at rest. The material of the hood will be of transparent plastic that can be sterilised. This hood will produce an upward flow of air across the face, and all expired air will be safely collected.

I produced Figure 1 below with the help of a professional artist friend, (thanks Stephan Marjoram). It shows one configuration of an air management hood. In this embodiment, the hood is open, and the body of exhaled breath is managed by the flow of air. This was my concept, and is very similar to the NIOSH hood (below) but I have abandoned development in favour of the market-ready Medihood.

Figure 1