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The A&E crisis and the supply and demand game- the need for a new politics of health

The NHS truth serum

As an avid teenage fan of Douglas Adam’s Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy I remember particularly enjoying the fact that the answer to life, the universe and everything was 42. And in belated homage to the book of my youth, I’m going to ask the reader to suspend their disbelief and accept that the answer to the current A&E crisis is 35. That’s right, 35 is the single number that can properly explain the meltdown in A&E services across the nation this week. To understand this however you have to understand the supply and demand game that our mainstream politicians indulge in during times of crisis.

We currently have an unprecedented meltdown in our capacity to treat those with serious acute injuries.  This is reflected  nationwide where we hear health professionals warn that the NHS is in “crisis” after waiting times in accident and emergency departments plummeted to their worst…

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Dear Labour supporters…

This is definitely worth a read. It does feel very much as though a number of left wing Labour Party members are fed up of waiting for change within the party. People who want to see public ownership and social policy supporting the people, the NHS and the Welfare State are looking for alternatives. And the time seems to be now.

Paul Bernal's Blog

As a long-time Labour voter who has since joined the Greens, and is still not absolutely certain which way to vote in the General Election, I keep finding myself saying the same thing on Twitter when discussing the election. Rather than repeat myself so many times, I thought I’d put a few of the standard questions and answers down here for reference. Just so you don’t have to ask me again and again, directly….

“Vote Green, get Tory”

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told this. Firstly, in my constituency that simply isn’t true. The Tories don’t really have a chance here – and anyway, if they did (and I’ll be watching the polling closely) I would almost certainly vote Labour. Secondly, we can’t just be cynical about this – if we think only in those terms, we’d never get the kinds of changes that brought the Labour…

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The Efford Bill – More Reasons For Concern


NHA Membership Secretary Deborah Harrington on the latest fallout from the Efford Bill

Labour MP Clive Efford has posted a legal rebuttal to Allyson Pollock and Peter Roderick’s critique of his ‘Efford Bill‘. It is written by David Lock QC – by chance the one-time Labour MP for Wyre Forest who supported the proposed ‘changes’ to Kidderminster Hospital which started the political career of NHA co-founder Dr Richard Taylor.

Lock’s analysis is a mixture of legal interpretation and neoliberal ideology. He ‘explains’ why Pollock, Roderick and others are wrong about Efford’s Bill, adding his neoliberal interpretation of the founding principles of the NHS. He seeks to demonstrate that the Health Secretary never had a ‘duty to provide’ healthcare and this is his commentary on the utopian and unachievable aim of a  ‘comprehensive’ service:

“There are a multitude of reasons why a comprehensive health service that provides relevant healthcare services to…

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The Lib Dem Whitewash Begins


The Liberal Democrats recently sent round a circular email claiming that they would champion the cause of mental health. It included such claims as “Just £1 out of every £9 is spent on treating mental illnesses. Liberal Democrats are changing that.” and “Do you want mental health services to get a fair deal in our NHS? Please join this campaign if you do.”

Perhaps the Liberal Democrats have forgotten that they are part of the current government, and are thus responsible for all of the following:

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Critical Briefing on TTIP from John Hilary, War on Want


If you’re feeling a bit lost on this subject then this is a wonderfully clear, easy to read primer on just how this Agreement, which is on its home stretch to completion, is going to threaten every aspect of our lives – and lives across Europe and the US too. The horrors the Coalition have brought upon us are just a taster of what’s to come if this is ratified by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

An acknowledgement (with thanks)

I just wanted to make sure that credit went where credit was due so…

A very big thank you to Jan Savage. Jan is a member of KONP and we met through a TTIP/KONP group. Jan drafted the original letter for comment and consideration and, as you all know, I put in some small amendments but the main body was her fantastic work. Jan would like to be acknowledged as the originating author and I am more than happy to do so.

Secondly to the ‘team’ that has assembled itself to send the letters out across the country and to feed back the results. As you all know MPs/MEPs ignore letters that don’t come from their constituents. Without you all the letters couldn’t have been sent so widely.

Second wave of letters to send will be with you shortly. This campaign has to continue in as directed and forceful a way as possible. TTIP is facing massive protest all across the EU and the US. Here in the UK we have been slow to react and the focus has been almost entirely on the ISDS. The rest of the world realises that it is the Agreement itself that presents the danger to us all.

In solidarity and with hope x