Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the category “Health and Social Care”

Covid19 – Attempting a Personal Risk Assessment

My doctor has confirmed that I count as “vulnerable” (due to lung problems) and therefore I should socially-distance for “at least 12 weeks”. This is the only real mitigation step offered by this government (so far; drafting this on 21 March 2020). Can applying Health and Safety principles – particularly with regard to Risk Assessment help me take steps that are both proportionate and effective?

Read more…

Leave has lost the plot

How out of touch can you get? Vote Leave were always saying that the remainers were “out of touch”. I suspect it is not unique to one sect or the other but endemic in Westminster.

Leading Vote Leave figure Gisela Stuart says EU citizens in the UK have been “left in limbo” since the referendum.

The Labour MP will head a research project on how to protect their rights after the UK leaves the EU.
BBC News Website, 16 August 2016 | EU citizens ‘left in limbo’, says Vote Leave MP Gisela Stuart

Just how out of touch is she! Read more…

Jo Cox: Others can speak of her far better

I did not know Jo Cox, the MP murdered whilst doing constituency duties. I am not a fan of party politicians but I have to lift my cynicism when talking of the constituency work which the vast majority of MPs do diligently even if they find it difficult dealing with someone who is not a supporter.

I listened to the House of Commons tributes and without exception found them moving, relevant and appropriate without political grandstanding. I was fortunate that after the Commons tributes, the BBC played recorded coverage of the Lords tributes.

One contribution seemed to stand out and because Parliamentary Copyright encourages us to make use of parliamentary material, I can republish the tribute so that a few more people can stumble across it, appreciate it and ponder its message.

It was said that Jo Cox “would want us to be talking about the policies as much as the personality.” This tribute did just that.
Read more…

Lies, Damned lies and Simplistics

We seem to be suffering from a lack of appropriate figures to inform key debates and consequently protagonists seem to package up any data in to sound-bite grenades that then get lobbed into public debate. An example is the debate over the “seven-day” NHS.

There are not enough doctors to run a seven-day NHS in England, according to a leading doctor.

In a speech on Tuesday, Royal College of Physicians president Prof Jane Dacre will warn ministers the issue must be addressed if their policy is to work.

She will highlight research that shows vacant posts are not being filled and gaps in rotas are being seen.
BBC News Website, 15 March 2016 | Not enough doctors for 7-day NHS, says Royal College head

This news report suffers in a number of ways:

  • It is a “pre-announcement” – the actual news concerned has not happened yet so we cannot see the full context of the speech,
  • It conflates two issues; the seven-day NHS and the current shortage of doctors.

It is the latter that currently most concerns me. Read more…

Who is Kidding who?

The BBC reports today that Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) has today (six months on) criticised the charity’s trustees and the Charity Commission.

But how much is the actual business model – of using charities to deliver what would otherwise be government services – examined and criticised? Read more…

Laziness and Populism

There is a strand in British politics – probably much approved of by the Pub Landlord – that says that by resorting to simplistic slogans, that have just a germ of truth to them, you can attract much approval and support.

Our Prime Minster seems to be especially good at this; I hope it is a character flaw rather than as a result of his expensive education.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Cameron said the push on language was “about building a more integrated, cohesive, one nation country where there’s genuine opportunity for people”.

He also said that while he accepted there was no “causal connection” between poor English and extremism, a better grasp would make communities “more resilient” to threats of radicalisation from so-called Islamic State – or Daesh.

“If you’re not able to speak English, you’re not able to integrate, you may find, therefore, that you have challenges understanding what your identity is and you could be more susceptible to the extremist message that comes from Daesh,” he said.

Lady Warsi – who was the first female Muslim cabinet minister – welcomed the new money for language teaching, but said: “This lazy and misguided linking, and what I saw once again as stereotyping of British Muslim communities, I felt took away from what was a positive announcement.”
BBC News Website, 18 January 2016 : David Cameron’s Muslim women policy ‘lazy and misguided’

We need to be more (academically) critical of some of these pronouncements. Read more…

NHS Overspend: Truth or Dare?

What does [the overspend] mean for patients?

Patients can expect the same level of emergency and urgent care and there is no suggestion this will be compromised by the financial plight of trusts.

But as the year progresses and if financial problems persist, hospital chiefs may decide to allow waiting times for elective care and non-urgent procedures to lengthen.
BBC News Website, 9 October 2015 : What’s gone wrong with NHS finances?

But what does that mean for the finances? Read more…

Privatising Welfare

Part of the present Government’s philosophy is that Government should be small. If something does not need to be done; it should not be done. If it does need to be done; it does not necessarily need to be done by the Government.

Hence “Big Society” – the idea that volunteers or the voluntary sector can take over from government – particularly in the areas of health care, social care and education.

The problem is – what happens if a voluntary provider of these services fails? Read more…

First 100 Days

We are currently 71 days into this government and beginning to see its true colours. The “100 days” mark will occur during recess, so possibly it is worth reviewing how this “One Nation” government is doing.

Read more…

Market Forces

We are meant to believe that Market Forces are “the best” means to organise an economy.

Increasingly, I find myself questioning this belief – but being uncertain of the best alternative.

This week two examples have further disturbed that belief. Read more…

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