Whole-Person Care

Today, Shadow Secretary for Health Andy Burnham gave hope to all in the country with his and Labour’s vision for the future of health and social care provision.

I was delighted to attend the launch of his Whole-Person Care policy review which outlined the parameters in which Labour was seeking to take health and social care in the future.

In 1997, the scandal was waiting lists. People in this country were dying while they waited for operations and because of that, meeting targets became a priority area of focus for the Labour administration. But the challenges that faced the sector at the end of the last decade and is becoming ever more apparent now requires a shift in priorities.

Andy Burnham argued for wholesale integration of Health and Social Care. The Conservative and Liberal Democrat’s Health and Social Care Act 2012 was condemned and he pledged to repeal it if Labour came back into power. In fact, the whole discussion abut the Act itself ended up being all about Health and had a ‘we’ll deal with the social care bit later’ approach.

What he did concede was that the reform that Labour brings in will work with the bodies that he inherits in 2015 if Labour win the next general election. The NHS had already undergone straining top down organisational change under this Tory Liberal Government and it would not be right to make them do it again. Instead, he indicated that there would be a refocus on what these bodies do. Health and Wellbeing Boards should be the main commissioning body and Clinical Commissioning Groups would be advisory. These new Boards were best placed to shape both health and social care provision through one budget.

English: NHS logo

It would also mean commissioning of adaptations in the same process in recognition that this saves money in the long run and delays the need for expensive care provision because of risk aversion.

At the moment, we are faced with a situation where people have physical needs, mental health needs and social needs, but there is a lack of coordination between the services. One person, three care services. The gaps between them are frankly dangerous.

Council services are being cut to the bare bone and our projections show that in Brent, the budget shortfall because of cuts and rising demand to our social care services by 2020 will be £45 million. The Local Government Association has said that if this area is not reformed then money spent on more ‘popular’ services will reduce around the country by 90%.

A full transcript of Andy Burnham’s speech can be found here – LINK

The Whole-Person Care approach was well received by the audience which stretched well beyond the party faithful and starts a landmark process to truly reform health and social care services for the better.

The absolute end of the road for the NHS?

Jeremy Hunt appointment as Secretary of State for Health is bad for the NHS. This article from the Mirror in 2009 explains why – LINK

English: Credit: James Firth of Dalton Firth L...
English: Credit: James Firth of Dalton Firth Limited. Copyright (c) Dalton Firth Limited, released under Creative Commons (CC) Attribution – Non Commercial license v2.5: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David Cameron is right to raise the issue of binge drinking

Despite the rank hypocrisy highlighted by the Political Scrapbook here (LINK), which describes how David Cameron profited £84,000 from a “binge drinking” bar chain, The Prime Minister is right to raise the issue of binge drinking.

Although the issue in Dudden Hill ward is in a slightly different context compared to what David Cameron is talking about, some of the issues are experienced in my ward, particularly in the Neasden area.

A Kranz (wreath) of Kölsch beer.

The Government talk of the soaring costs to the NHS because of excessive drinking. In Neasden, street drinking has an impact on the Council’s resources as people are drinking and throwing cans away on the streets rather than recycling.

In addition, individuals off their heads on alcohol are taking part in anti-social behaviour in surrounding streets and can appear intimidating hanging around in groups in front of people’s houses.

The additional time that the Police have to spend in these hotspot drinking areas is also having a drain on Police resources. In Neasden, I am working with Sergeant Matthew Howard and the Safer Neighbourhood Team along with the Neasden Action Group. Last week I also took the opportunity to raise it with Brent Borough Commander Matthew Gardner.

The Council also has a role to play through licensing. Alcohol is too readily available. It does not help that one in four premises in the Neasden shopping centre sells alcohol; and in some cases, as cheap as £1 a 500ml can of beer.

At the same time, there are underlying issues of jobs and unemployment that have to be addressed on a national scale.

New NH$

A bit exaggerated but there are elements of truth in this. Our friends at Unison have produced a video about the Conservative and Lib Dem proposed changes to the NHS.

Brent GP List Validation Excercise

NHS Brent were present at a Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting which I attended at Brent Town Hall last week. Many may have read in the local press about a recent process that NHS Brent undertook to validate the names which they deemed to be ‘inactive’ and take out names that did not respond to letters from them.

Brent has a fluid population and it may well be that the NHS is spending money on patients that no longer live in Brent. This is something the NHS cannot afford given the cuts that it is being forced to make by the Coalition Government.

I asked a question to NHS Brent on the practicals… ie. if I felt ill tomorrow and wanted to see my GP and found out my name had been struck off their list, what would happen. I was reassured that it will be extremely simple for me to simply get treated and re-register with my GP.

At the beginning of this meeting, the context of these changes was introduced where it was mentioned that the NHS in Brent has to carry out its duties with fewer resources. So secondly, I asked whether this context had changed given the Prime Minister’s announcement last week following the Government’s ‘listening excercise’, to which the answer was simply NO.

Hundreds in Dudden Hill say no to Tory-Liberal NHS reforms

In the space of two hours, over 300 people signed a petition opposing changes to the NHS coming from the Tory-Liberals.

As part of Labour London Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone’s day of action on the NHS, the Brent Labour Party were talking to people at the Saturday Church End Market in Dudden Hill Ward and many were concerned with the Government changes to our NHS.

The way the Government has gone about these changes has been a total fiasco. It has failed the first test of reform with Doctors, Nurses and other health professionals opposed to Andrew Lansley’s personal pet project manufactured in partnership with Lib Dem Minister Paul Burstow.

I think the Tory Liberals are finally coming round and realising that the change originally proposed was a change that would make Health provision in this country worse, not better and that is why they embarked on a pause and reflect period in their reforms. This is welcome. However, I believe the Health Bill is rotten to the core and if the Coalition are serious about making positive reforms, they need to withdraw the current Bill from Parliament and start again with a new Health Bill from scratch.


NHS cuts set to spark boom for private providers

Waiting times are set to lengthen, nurses and frontline staff are facing the chop, but private companies are expecting to boom under Liberal Tory NHS reforms.

These revelations are revealed in this Guardian article here: LINK

I hope the Government do pause, listen and reverse their proposals.

Lib Dem / Tory Government NHS proposals based on fallacy

The BBC is reporting that the National Health Service in England has set aside nearly £1.7bn this year for reorganisation. This is more than seven times what it aims to save on management! LINK

No consultation, No pilots, and it’s not even in the Lib Dem or the Conservative manifesto to give their private sector GP friends £80 billion of NHS PUBLIC money to play with, which many experts have said will lead to the dismantling of the NHS as we know it. There is no evidence whatsoever that their proposals will improve the service which has moved leaps and bounds since 1997. Indeed, with 23 of the 29 Lib Dem / Tory coalition Government ministers being millionaires, they will not use the Health Service in the way that ordinary people do.  On BBC’s Question Time, Francis Maude admitted that he had opted for Private treatment out of choice on Thursday’s debate – therefore having no experience of seeing the improvements that have been made in the service when he had the opportunity to do so.

Yes, it isn’t a perfect system and there are improvements that are needed, but an overhaul of the whole system as we know it is not the answer. Things aren’t in such a bad state that such a radical approach is needed.

In their manifesto, the Conservative Party claimed that they were the Party of the NHS and now that they are in power,  they want to introduce a system that is radically different to our current universal healthcare system. It was the Labour Party created it, we saved it, we value it and we will always support it. It is easily forgotten that in 1997, 284,000 patients waited more than 6 months for an operation. The figure today is almost zero. Waiting lists have fallen by over 500,000 and waiting times are now at their lowest level. Indeed waiting lists were a major issue under Tory Britain and now, not even a whimper.

We delivered the largest hospital building programme in its history, with 118 new hospital schemes opened and a further 18 under construction. The Tories claimed throughout the election campaign that Labour did not fix the roof while the sun was shining… WRONG! This is exactly what the Labour Party did achieve, literally, and the evidence lies right within the Central Middlesex NHS hospital in the London Borough of Brent. Extraordinary improvement in what quite frankly was once a dilapidated hospital.

That’s the Labour NHS legacy.