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The end of the NHS?

The Conservative Party have tonight used their 78-seat majority to vote down an amendment designed to protect the NHS and publicly-funded health and care services from being subject to any form of control from outside the UK in a future post-Brexit Trade Deal...
The Rise and Fall of General Practitioners

The 2004 GP contract is a handy hook on which to hang the decline of British General Practice into the calamitous state in which we would now find it, if we could ever get an appointment. The usual accusation is that it made GPs overpaid and underworked and enabled them to spend all day on the golf course, but we should know by now that scapegoats are products of propaganda.
I was senior partner of a large General Practice at the time of the contract, and since it led directly to my taking early retirement four years later, certain aspects stick in my memory. One is that it was Gordon Brown (then Chancellor of the Exchequer and in overall charge of the negotiations) whose erroneous belief that GPs already did spend all day on the golf course led to some of its worst outcomes.
In truth, the rot had set in long before, following the same trajectory that some U.S. front-line Covid doctors have identified over there. A profession of inquisitive minds, gaining expertise from seeing patients and from peer-to-peer discussion, gradually shifted towards a top-down model of centrally planned protocols and ‘best practice’, executed by technical operatives and, increasingly, controlled by Big Pharma and government PR.
I came into General Practice at its possible zenith, when it had ceased to be a bolt-hole for people falling off the hospital consultant ladder, and had become a skilled speciality in its own right. It had inherited the early-NHS model of independent practices contracted to the NHS, which once wedded to high professional standards served to put the doctor-patient relationship centre-stage, rather than the relationship between doctors and their managers.

Read More: The Rise and Fall of General Practitioners
UK health agency to cut 800 jobs and halt routine ‘Covid’ testing

The flagship public health body set up by Boris Johnson to combat the pandemic is in turmoil, with plans looming to cut jobs by up to 40% and suspend routine Covid testing in hospitals and care homes to save money.
Whitehall sources have told the Guardian that the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), led by Dr Jenny Harries, is in a state of disarray, with morale at rock bottom and concerns it is not funded to cope with any resurgence in the pandemic. Public health experts warned that the “alarming” cuts could cost lives.
More than 800 staff are due to be lost from vital health protection teams across the country in the coming months, a reduction of 40% from the current 2,000 members of staff. One insider said people were being given two weeks’ notice that their contracts were being ended early, and the way it was being dealt with was similar to the “recent situation at P&O”.
Some other teams throughout the organisation have also been told they need to cut full-time equivalent staff by 40%.
After the Treasury slashed its budget to deal with Covid, UKHSA is now proposing to health ministers that it suspend regular asymptomatic testing in hospitals and care homes from May to save money before a potential winter spike in cases.
Sources in the organisation said funding for asymptomatic testing in high risk settings is only enough to cover six months in a year, and senior officials believe it would be better saved for later in the year.

Read More: UK health agency to cut 800 jobs and halt routine Covid testing
Anyone want the jab? Armed police sent to heart attack patients as crisis-hit NHS buckles under surging demand

Armed police are being sent to save the lives of people in cardiac arrest because ambulances “can’t cope” with demand, The Independent can reveal.
Officers are spending up to a third of their time on non-policing matters, a watchdog has warned, including responding to mental health crises and transporting patients to A&E as ambulance services face a “chronic crisis situation”.
Andy Cooke, HM chief inspector of constabulary, said that firearms officers have been responding to pleas from struggling NHS colleagues to respond to cardiac arrests.
He told The Independent that police are becoming the “first, last and only resort” as NHS services buckle under strain, taking them away from tackling crime at a time when recorded offences are at a record high in England and Wales.
Mr Cooke, the former chief constable of Merseyside Police, added: “Recently, officers in armed response vehicles (ARVs) were being sent to reports of people who were having cardiac arrests because the ambulance service couldn’t cope with the demand, because they’re trained in first aid and to use defibrillators.

Read More: Armed police sent to heart attack patients as crisis-hit NHS buckles under surging demand

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