Whilst we’re familiar with the old refrain – ” April fool is past and gone , so you’re the fool for carrying on….” we felt that the following leak was too significant to be included in our Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #10 and have instead chosen to post separately, if belatedly , today :
“I’m not in the Labour Party and have no wish to be drawn into their internal rows. However I notice that the final item in the screenshot in your post below refers to Cllr Phil Davies vowing “that Wirral council are doing all they can to stop ACS’s in the NHS…..
Some people might say he’s a fool. Others less charitable might say he’s a liar. Some would use stronger language.
He’s opposed to the ‘STP’ (Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships), he’s opposed to the ACS (Accountable Care System) , so how does he explain his own Council’s policy to implement both – from 1st April 2018 ?
See the screen shot above from a presentation to staff by Wirral’s Director of Adult Social Services Graham Hodkinson (who by the way, also from 1st April 2018 , becomes the deputy at Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) , thus committing Wirral Council into NHS England’s plans to ‘slash, trash and privatise’ the hand that feeds them very well indeed).”
Perhaps Pip can feed this back to the Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) at their next meeting or is he quite happy to continue to make fools of both his Labour colleagues and Wirral’s constituents?
And so we finally reach the grand finale of the Leaky Awards 2017 and taking our cue from the #TimesUp contingent at the Golden Globes we’ll be wearing black. The clock may been ticking down for us but may it also do the same on the abuse of power – wherever it takes place and in whatever form.
However we’ll spare you the dreary , self-righteous speeches – it’s on with the show and our first award of the evening…….
Campaign of the Year
Winner – Defend Our NHS (Wirral)
The local branch of the DONHS have throughout the year provided us with information about future plans for the NHS and particularly about Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) that should concern us all , especially as Wirral Council are a key strategic player via the Clinical Commissioning Group.
Runner Up – Wirral Needs
If only for the chant ” Labour Council listen to the people”. Our advice to them after 7 years of banging our head against a brick wall is that they won’t so you’ll have to make them ! The only way they will be forced to listen is at your local constituency party meetings and in the run up to the local elections this May. After that it’ll be the same old,same old – personal interest and political ambition taking precedence over the public interest. Don’t say we didn’t tell you!
Campaign Fail of the Year
Winner – Wirral Labour ‘Keep Wirral Green’ campaign
How Wirral Labour reconciled this campaign with proposals and developments for assaults on the Green Belt at Saughall Massie, Hoylake and Thornton Hough etc; we can only hazard a guess but full marks for the sheer PR chutzpah .
Runner up – Frank Field/Wirral Globe nurses car parking charges at Arrowe Park Hospital (aka Wirral University Teaching Hospital – WUTH )
Whilst it was undoubtedly a worthy campaign we noted how WUTH CEO David Allison received the petition from Field, gave some bland assurances and then promptly disappeared in a cloud of controversy.We suspect that any incoming CEO will have their work cut-out just keeping WUTH afloat and car parking charges won’t be a priority . Meanwhile we note that Field is strangely silent about more wide reaching proposals for car parking charges across Wirral that are set to be introduced by Wirral Council. And once again we have to ask is this the only income generation scheme that Wirral Council can come up with and is it even legal?
David Allison : Yeah whatevs Frank I don’t need this right now. But love your tank top .
Comeback of the Year
Winner Esther McVey, MP for Tatton
Back from the dead
The former MP for Wirral West returns to high office as Work and Pensions Secretary in this week’s Cabinet reshuffle . Somehow this cat on a hot tin roof always manages to land on her kitten heels . And for all her talk of female empowerment we think that McVey is the quintessential beneficiary of modern day political nepotism , where ambition exceeds talent . The only contribution of note to the local political scene when she was a Wirral West MP was when she hijacked the Martin Morton whistleblowing case for personal and political advantage at Prime Minister’s Questions (apparently Morton knew nothing about it) . What happened after she raised the issue with David Cameron is a particularly worrying episode but alas we won’t be able to do it justice here. Perhaps one day the full shameful tale will be told.
Runner Up Stewart Halliday – the economic migrant/consultant from York who crossed the Pennines escaping infamy to make his fortune on Wirral with his two consultancy stints earning him circa £200K. So will Wirral Council kindly tell us whether he’s still around and what exactly we got for our money?
This man can do a powerpoint presentation and bullshit at the same time ! Therefore Wirral Council must give him as much money as they can.
Comrades of the Year – Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ) and Cllr Steve Foulkes (Foulkesy)
Were LRJ and Foulkesy separated at birth? Whilst they share so many characteristics none of them can be found in the Nolan Principles! See for yourself :
LRJ Standards Panel investigation report : The Panel found the evidence of Cllr Louise Reecejones to be inconsistent,vague and misleading. The Panel did not therefore find Cllr Reecejones to be credible.
Foulkesy Standards Panel investigation report : I found it difficult to get Cllr Foulkes to be precise or detailed . His responses were vague,inclined to be evasive and I found them ‘economical with the truth ‘ and unconvincing.
Yes, just the kind of low lifes we want making decisions about our lives,eh?
Accessories of the Year –
Winner – Paula Basnett ,CEO Wirral Chamber of Commerce for those shoes.
These understated little numbers were considered suitable daywear to shortlist nominees for yet another awards ceremony and did not in anyway reinforce our perception that Ms Basnett and her organisation are all about flash presentation and very little else.
Runner up All Wirral councillors wielding ‘Show Racism the Red Card’placards as a virtue signalling accessory. But especially the local Labour group who tolerate racists in their midst. But can anyone spot Deputy Leader Cllr George Davies in the picture?
Best Picture of Unwanted Copies of Wirral View
Whilst appropriately enough both pictures position copies of woeful Wirral View next to their final destination – a bin – we’d like to think the winner of this category contributed to the dumping (no pun intended) of the original Liverpool -based distributor of Wirral View. Unfortunately a £750,000 3 year print deal with Trinity Mirror means we’re burdened with this lumbering white elephant for the forseeable future. Compare and contrast with Wirral Leaks which has cost council taxpayers of Wirral £0 and we would argue has been more effective in addressing the ‘information deficit’ of local people, particularly when we’ve been providing information that Wirral Council don’t want you to know about!
Wirral’s annual entry in Rotten Boroughs Awards 2017
Winner Ex- Wirral councillor Jim Crabtree
Included in Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs 2017 ‘Quotes of the Year’ is this fine example of ‘doublespeak’ from former Wirral Councillor Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree. It’s a year to the day that Crabtree pleading guilty to offences under the Communications Act 2003 and it’s frightening to think that his well deserved fall from grace might never have happened if his increasingly appalling conduct hadn’t been reported on Wirral Leaks. As a quote from one of our Labour sources testifies when they raised concerns about Crabtree’s fitness to be a councillor – “The comment from George Davies was ‘better the devil you know’ while Frank (Field) thinks he’s the best thing sinceslicedbread” – the local Labour group were reluctant to rein him in . Furthermore we understand that they failed to address allegations made by a whistleblower about grant monies which Crabtree allegedly should have paid back to Wirral Council.
Join us for the second part of our journey down the red carpet to hell.
“Five years ago, we were a local authority in crisis: focused on cuts and on the verge of government intervention. Since then, we’ve been recognised as the Local Government Chronicle’s ‘Most Improved Council’, experiencing the fastest turnaround of any council in the UK. So what’s changed? In a nutshell, we refuse to give up; we never stop moving. Our pragmatic, innovative and bold plan, ‘2020 Vision’ will ensure that we’re getting the basics right; that we’re achieving more; that we’re changing the way we do things. In this role, you’ll take us to the next level and create a legacy for yourself in the process.” – Wirral Council advert to recruit a new Director of Finance will make you laugh , vomit or both.
“They don’t seem to realise I’m at the top of the peckingorder ” and referring to the investigator :“She doesn’t scare me and a little councillor involved might just shut her up.” – Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ) texts used as evidence against her during Standards Panel Code of Conduct investigation. LRJ describing herself as top of the pecking order brings visions of an Animal Farm hen coop in desperate need of a cock. The cock in question being Foghorn Leghorn!
” ‘Sustainable’ = slashed budgets and services.· ‘Transformed’ = cut, demoralised and damaged beyond recognition. ‘Partnership’ = developed in secret, operating in secret, condemned by local councils, a total lack of public/patient consultation, and the only happy partners are Richard Branson and a series of US ‘healthcos’. ” Defend Our NHS provide a definition of STP (Sustainability & Transformation Plans)
“An economic value below the legalminimum wage……..(would help employers) to take on low-productivity disabled workers.” – Frank Field ,Birkenhead MP demonstrates his deep understanding of disability and equality rights .
“For anyone in this day and age to hold those views, and especially someone in Frank Field’s position, is abominable. It is exactly the same sort of thinking as the Nazi ‘useless eaters’ rhetoric.” Linda Burnip from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) responds to Field’s comments
“The right to equal treatment and equality are human rights. Human rights are not privileges. That’s why they are called rights. I suggest Mr Field goes back to the drawing board. His comments are a disgrace and he should now apologise. Furthermore, if the Labour Party wishes to prove that it has truly changed its tune, it will need to demonstrate that the New Labour old guard are no longer calling the shots and put the voices of disabled people first.The last time we looked, Mr Field was not a spokesperson for disabled people.” – John McArdle from campaign group Black Triangle also responds to Field’s comments. By the way people from Birkenhead , just a reminder, you are allowed to disagree with your MP.
“It had adversely affected the staff morale and the reputation of the authority and rebuilding trust and transparency is still ongoing” – Simon Cuerden – Corporate Business Support Manager, WirralCouncil comments on the conviction of Wallasey Town Hall petty cash thief who would have evaded justice if an attempted cover up by officials hadn’t been uncovered by Wirral Leaks
” Wirral is officially the happiest place to live in the North West”– Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies , ‘Leader’ of Wirral Council in peak Pollyanna mode latches onto a bogus Rightmove survey as if it somehow negates an Ofsted report deeming Children’s Services ‘inadequate’ and a Care Quality Commission assessment that over half of care homes on Wirral are inadequate or require improvement. Yeah, Pip, whatevs.
Comrades, “Now is the time” to stop acting like a “Party within a party” – and even like a “Momentum within Momentum”.
It is time to grasp that the mainstream (often called the “Left”) has won back the heart and soul of the Labour Party. I do not know of a single member of the Seacombe Branch who has not fully supported my own declarations for Corbyn on the two websites or who does not support him now. So why introduce friction where thereneed be none? Let’s try now to be a single Labour Party in Seacombe Ward.
Some comrades will remember that we also, for a while, held “Songs of the Labour Movement” musical evenings in the Park View Social Club – an opportunity for comrades to perform – or just listen and rub shoulders informally. But, since then, we have had the difficulty of the Party being suspended so long that many of us don’t even know eachother. – Cllr Adrian Jones keeps the red flag flying and addresses Wallasey CLP members seemingly in denial about the circumstances that led to the local branch being suspended by the Labour Party.
“To ensure the promotion of “professional curiosity” when vulnerable children seek advice” – The final recommendation made following the (unpublished) Serious Care Review report following the Rajenthiram Brothers Child Sexual Exploitation case. It comes to something when you have to ask those who get paid to protect vulnerable children to actually try and do their jobs properly!
“Wirral Council has to ensure every pound spent is wisely invested and we get the best value for our residents.This decision is the right decision at the right moment – the contract with BAM Nuttall was coming to an end and we believe we can deliver this service more effectively by taking direct control.”– Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies announces the surprise return of highways services to council control which is in the opposite direction of all other council services. There are suggestions this decision was influenced not by best value but by personal and political interests.
” Just goes to show what’s goingon out there .We live in a sheltered world . We’re all too good for our owngood“– Cllr Ron Abbey comments on the conduct of councillors in other councils clearly demonstrating he’s in denial and utterly deluded.
” I’ve always bought my houses, I’ve never inherited them……”Frank Field , MP bitch slaps fellow Labour MP Hilary Benn and manages to unite all members of the House of Commons in condemnation of his comment.
“The darkness around us is very deep” – Cllr Tony ‘Tight-fit’ Norbury reads a poem urging elected members to ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ whilst every single Wirral councillor appears to be oblivious to the darkness around them.
“Basically, it is the same thing over and over and over: incompetence, very poor communication (with me, but also with other agencies and between themselves), rudeness, poor or non-existent note-taking, people leaving at short notice and with no proper explanation, etc etc. It just goes on and on.
When the Klonowski enquiry produced its damning report, I briefly hoped that the people found to be grossly incompetent (and, in some cases, corrupt) would be removed. Disheartening, to say the least, to see people like Steve Foulkes still in place. Where is the accountability? There simply is none.
It beggars belief that Wirral Council has not been placed in special measures. I daresay the reasons behind that are political. The Tories asking for it are being hypocritical because part of the problem is chronic underfunding from central govt but I do think that being placed in special measures would be the best thing. The only thing, actually, that would give people like me and my son the chance at least of a semi-decent service. I know special measures are not a panacea but they would be our best chance.” – ACarer contacts us to describe her experience of trying to get a much needed service for her disabled son.
“As the Labour member on the (Standards) Panel it was very difficult for me to hear that a Labour councillor had used her position as a councillor to damage the reputation and the livelihoods of other people. It goes without saying that people who come into this council were elected to serve the residents of the borough and not to use our position to do damage to them………”Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin proves to be another councillor in denial and conveniently forgets her role and that of other Labour councillors in damaging reputations and livelihoods of various former council officers who dared challenge them.
“Phil’s Folly “– Cllr Gerry Ellis proving there’s life in the old dog yet at a standing room only public meeting where he described Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil Davies and his plans for development of the Hoylake Golf Resort.
No offence meant to LRJ but Wirral Needs pleas to Pip seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. – Matthew13:13 ( Our thanks to Mr F. Field , Oxton for the biblical quote )
We’ve found some time to catch up with our beloved John Brace’s footage of Monday’s last full Wirral Council meeting of 2017. We’ve attached part one of the meeting below (you can do the rest if you’re interested).
First thing to say is that it confirms that our sources were spot on with the Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ) story (part 3 of Brace’s footage)…..and secondly we were interested to see Mr Brace himself ask a question about Wirral Council’s forthcoming plans to film council meetings themselves. We just hope John keeps on filming as knowing Wirral Council if the rehearsed and scripted exchanges are anything to go by their footage is bound to be selectively edited.
So what else happened ? Hats off to young Peter Shield from the Wirral Needs campaign who spoke most eloquently whilst accompanied by the Momentum Choir in the public gallery who chanted at regular intervals :
LABOUR COUNCIL LISTEN TO THE PUBLIC
Good luck with that one guys and guyesses! Although you’re singing our song – we would have added a few whistles. We’ve been at it for 7 years and they only listen to what they want to ( i.e what Frank Field tells them) . The battle for the soul of the local Labour group was clearly demonstrated by the fact that the Corbynistas applauded Tory leader Cllr Ian Lewis more than Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies. These are strange times indeed.
Looking at the agenda ( well we didn’t – life’s too short) but our faithful factotum Verity told us to look out for a question about why the Highways contract , which is currently with BAM Nuttall, is suddenly being brought back in house. Unfortunately there were endless questions about the Hoylake Golf Resort which came with the same scripted answers and added nothing to the debate and so we never discovered the rationale or details of the business case for doing so. But then the question would have been answered by Cllr Stuart ‘Witless’ Whittingham so it is highly likely we would be none the wiser if he’d had the chance to clarify this curious volte-face anyway!
Finally we publish a statement from Defend Our NHS on their take on Monday’s meeting if only to reinforce it’s not just us who are concerned about how the Wirral Council leadership conduct their business. Wake up people!:
Massive deception of Wirral public by Council leadership
A statement from Defend Our NHS.
12th December 2017.
For immediate release.
At Monday’s (11th December 2017) Wirral Council meeting it was agreed to press ahead with changes to local health and care services.
Council leader Phil Davies told the meeting that the Council was implementing Labour national NHS policy by working with local NHS colleagues to integrate health and social care services.
There were angry protests as Davies refused the suggestion of meeting local anti-cuts campaigners and accused them (falsely) of advocating an ‘illegal’ budget.
The health and care changes involve deception on an industrial scale.
At the weekend Davies had emailed every single Wirral member of his party to say, “In addition, Labour Party policy nationally is to halt and review the NHS ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’ (STPs), which are looking at closing health services across England, and this is fully supported by the Labour Group in Wirral. It is the Wirral Labour Group who have already led the fight to reinstate Eastham Walk-In centre after its closure.”
His statement and the changes bulldozed through last night are based on deceit, half-truths and worse:
1.“Tohalt and review”? NO! At its annual conference this year the Labour Party agreed: “This Conference Calls on our Party to restore our NHS by reversing all privatisation and permanently halting STPs and ACSs.” No mention of a ‘review’. The policy is ‘permanently halting’. STPs and ACSs are acknowledged to be the government’s way to “slash, trash and privatise” the NHS with over £900 millions of cuts planned for Cheshire and Merseyside alone.
2.Davies and all but one of his misinformed councillors have been unable to answer an unequivocal ‘yes’ to this simple question put to them by Defend Our NHS: “Do you support our campaign to stop the STP/ACS and oppose the further near £1 billion cuts?”
3.In fact and unbelievably the leaked policy of Wirral in league with the local Clinical Commissioning Group is now “the development of a single ‘Accountable Care System’”, while:
4.“The STP will operate at Cheshire and Merseyside level, commissioning some specialist services. Primarily operating on the basis of a Strategic Health Authority – holding the local Wirral system to account…”
5.In other words they are planning the very things which Davies claims to oppose.
6.It comes as no surprise. To give just one example from recent years (there are sundry others), what was the Wirral Council Leader doing at the 9th March 2016 (yes, 2016) Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board? “In his role as Chair, Councillor Phil Davies suggested the focus be on how, as a Board, members could add value to the whole emerging NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan agenda”.
7.He has never replied to a single communication from Defend Our NHS – including a question (asked twice) in relation to the Vanguard project. In April 2015 (yes, 2015) we asked him, “Why has Wirral granted enhanced entry to our local health services to major US and/or US-owned corporations, especially one representing the ACO model? Surely this and “testing of a capitated budget approach” are the logical precursors to a health insurance scheme?”
8.And, by the way, to say that, “It is the Wirral Labour Group who have already led the fight to reinstate Eastham Walk-In centre” somewhat spins the reality.
Campaigners from across the entire Cheshire and Merseyside STP ‘footprint’ have been meeting to plan their response. Davies and his like who say one thing to their members but plan the exact opposite behind closed doors – and then push it through a Council meeting – will be in for a few shocks after Christmas.
‘Defend the NHS – Wirral’ and ‘999 Call For The NHS’ have contacted us to share their concerns about ‘Sustainability & Transformation Partnerships’ (STP). Of course we’re suspicious of anything with ‘Transformation’ in the title. And certainly anything touched by the dead hand of Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies.
Therefore we proudly present a crash course kindly provided by the above pressure groups as to why we all need to be concerned about STPs.
The story of Wirral Council’s leader and his steps from willing participant to Damascene conversion to unconversion along the road to health and well-being (taken from published minutes inter alia).
Step 1: 9th March 2016 Health & Wellbeing Board. Phil Davies in the chair.
“The Board discussion included a focus on: How the Wirral Plan and 20 Pledges related to the work of the Board; How the Plan related to the emerging NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan; and How the Board could add value to help deliver more effective and efficient partnership working to achieve our priorities.
The Board agreed that a follow up discussion was required to understand and agree, within the Wirral Plan and emerging strategies:- Which strategies were top priorities for the Board; and Which strategies does the Board wish to; Lead; Influence; or be kept informed – included in Figure 1 of the report.
To help inform the follow up discussion, the report brought together some supporting information. This aimed to draw out the strategic linkages between the draft Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the Wirral Plan in order to help partners agree the future focus, priorities and strategic direction for the Board.
Councillor Phil Davies cautioned against duplicating work and suggested the focus be on how, as a Board, members could add value to the whole agenda.”
Step 2: 13th July Health & Wellbeing Board. Phil Davies in the chair.
“Jon Develing, Chief Officer, Wirral CCG presented the report to brief members of the Health and Well Being Board on sustainability and transformation plans for Cheshire and Mersey and how this would be informed by a local delivery services plan for Wirral….…Members welcomed the report and agreed it would be a good framework and focus for the Health and Wellbeing Board with helpful ties to the Wirral 20:20 Plan.
Resolved – That the development of the Healthy Wirral Local Delivery System Plan and the mechanism by which this will feed into the wider development of the Cheshire and Mersey STP be noted and endorsed.”
Step 3: 16th November Health & Wellbeing Board. Phil Davies in the chair.
This is the day the STP was officially published. Board papers included the milestones and timetable for the Sustainability and Transformation Plans and associated operational plan. Apparently glitches on the CCG web site were disrupting further dissemination. Item 4 on the agenda was the sustainability and transformation plan (STP) and a verbal report from Graham Hodkinson, Director for Health & Care. Councillor Davies refused both to take the item and to allow any questions or comments from the audience. The exchange is available on video via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTvIQwwwUWw about two minutes in.
Step 4: Wirral Globe 21st November
Sit down before you read this…Leader of Wirral Council Phil Davies says: “we are extremely unhappy that elected members and officers have not been involved in the process of producing STPs and we will not sign up to any of the proposals until we have had an opportunity to discuss the contents of the STP and effective arrangements put in place to engage our residents.” READERS FALL OVER IN AMAZEMENT…
Step 5: November: Angela Eagle, MP for Wallasey (Wirral) statement:
”Yesterday I sat down with Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Borough Council, to discuss the Tory government’s plans for a billion pound in cuts to our local NHS. These cuts threaten the future of acute care across the whole of the Wirral. It became clear very quickly that the plans are yet another top-down set of cuts and reorganisations, imposed by the arrogant Tory government, on the Wirral, and that neither Phil nor I have had any say on the plans at all. It is wrong for the Government to act in complete defiance and without any consultation with local people, workers and their representatives. Sign our petition today at www.savewirralnhs.com to register your concerns.”
Step 6: 28th November Wirral People Overview Scrutiny Committee:
Rejected the Cheshire & Merseyside STP.
The plan was also rejected by Cheshire West and Chester Health and Wellbeing Board on 16th November, by Sefton Council on 17th November, and by the Liverpool Health and Wellbeing Board on 1st December. These have all been widely reported. Knowsley Council have joined the opposition.
Step 7: December 2016 full Council meeting:
“agrees to write to the Secretary of State for Health and call on the government to withdraw these Plans immediately with a view to holding urgent discussions with key partners, including local Councils, on how good quality health and social care services can be provided going forward [sic] based on continuing to provide a National Health Service which is properly funded and free at the point of need.”
There is no evidence that the letter was written or a reply received.
Step 8: July 2017 Phil Davies writes:
“I don’t see any sign that STPs are going away, although they have been re-badged as Five Year Forward View Delivery Plans. Locally, we have committed to integrated commissioning, and that naturally leads to the question of how the providers are going to respond. There have been a series of workshops, led by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC), to explore what our view is about accountable care on Wirral. What has come out of that is that there are a number of options, ranging from a single ‘organisation’ through to an ‘alliance of providers’ and a couple of stops in between. The very strong view currently expressed by the providers (and that includes the GPs) is that they do not want a single Accountable Care Organisation, so we are talking about an Accountable Care System…”
The cuts have already started – Wirral CCG ran something called a ‘consultation exercise’ late in 2016. It’s part of the STP but they don’t say that too loudly. And it asked the public for their opinions on proposals to cut a whole list of medical services. [Andthey’ve already been ending contracts for valuable work.]
So, rather than simple clinical decisions, the public were invited to vote in some kind of treatment beauty contest. People in other parts of the country are being asked to vote on different lists. The local NHS is becoming a postcode lottery.
Meanwhile the cuts have been happening for years because we and the NHS are being ROBBED.
Last year US drug giant Pfizer increasing the price of 100mg packs of an anti-epilepsy drug from £2.83 to £67.50.
We are being robbed by the PFI (private finance initiative) – hospitals built and then leased back to the NHS at eye-watering rates of interest, often by firms which also blacklist trade unionists.
And it’s happening close to home. Not many Wirral residents know that 20 of their local GPs are in cahoots with Richard Branson. Yes, the tax ‘avoider’ Richard Branson runs Virgin Care – and they are in a surgery near you. It’s not a huge contract BUT Branson is biding his time until the NHS collapses and he and his collaborators are asked to pick up the pieces and run a service on the cheap ‘in the community’.
We’re being robbed by accountancy firms like Price Waterhouse Cooper, brought in and paid £300,000 by the Cheshire & Merseyside STP to identify where the STP can make cuts.
Most of all we’re being robbed by the madness of running something we never used to have – an NHS market. Thousands of managers, administrators, lawyers, accountants, inspectors, regulators employed simply to oil the wheels of awarding contracts to private firms. Privatisation does NOT save money. The cost of running the NHS commissioning ‘market’ takes about 15% of the total budget.
So hospital waiting lists get longer and you can’t get an appointment with your GP despite the fantastic efforts of NHS doctors, nurses, paramedics and other staff whose wages have been frozen and whose conditions get worse. Medicines previously available on free prescription now have to be bought.
Why? Not because we need to ‘save’ money. The NHS is almost the cheapest health service in the developed world.
So why the problems?
Because there have already been billions and billions of pounds worth of cuts.
Because of the robberies listed.
Because staff aren’t been recruited and trained.
But most of all because this government WANTS to destroy the NHS and force us into some US-style insurance scheme.