The forgotten weapon that could help save the NHS

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It’s been a month now since one Mr. Jeremy Hunt, duly appointed Secretary of Health and best friend to rhyming slang, insulted the country’s entire medical staff. A month since the backlash against lies and innuendo supported by twisted facts and figures. A month since social media seemed to go in to meltdown with demands for his resignation, for the truth about his accusations to be laid bare. After that month, and the dust having settled a little, there are some steps being taken to remedy the situation, even if much of the country are still unaware there is a situation to remedy.
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I’m not here to tell you why we need to save our NHS. I can’t think of another way to say what I have already shouted for my last four articles. Instead I’m more interested in how we are going to save it. If you follow me on social media you’ll have seen me mention a new website www.nhssurvival.org. This website is set up and run by medics and patients, all wanting to preserve the free health care that this country has been lucky to have for the last 70 years. One of its missions is to call for a “Royal Commission on the NHS”, the idea being  it would “allow decisions about the NHS to be made by patients, public and professionals – not politicians”. Now as easy, and as right as it is to lay blame of the state of our health service at the feet of politicians (and lets be honest, almost a little fun) this cannot be the only remedy we should be pursuing to save the NHS.
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I talked in a previous post about the phenomenon of the “worried well” – people subjected to the disinformation by the media and the twisted facts and figures of the politicians, who feel they are more important than the next. It’s a culture of self-preservation and selfishness that has grown around us for decades – a far cry from when the NHS was first created, in the smoking ruins of the UK emerging from World War 2. In 1945 this country had nothing, and yet the people pulled together to look after everyone. Now I’m not exactly the most patriotic person you’ll meet, but if you are wondering why this country is called Great Britain, this is a huge reason! For an entire nation to band together the way it did after such a relentless pummelling is nothing short of heroic, and here we are, almost three quarters of a century later, watching it unravel.
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The only way to combat this systemic issue of an increasingly insular society is with education. An entire generation has grown up thinking that it’s ok to waste the time of the health service (and if you read the news you can add the police and fire departments to that list as well). It’s not ok. There was a time when, if you felt there was something wrong with you, you would talk to a family member or a friend to get some advice, instead of rocking up to your GP’s with a sniffle that could be easily gotten rid off by a few gulps of Lemsip (other cold remedies are also available).

Learning how to take care of yourself should be part of the national curriculum. Knowing how your countrys health service is operated and paid for should be compulsory education. Obviously we have first aid, sex education etc. but it should go further than that. We should be sharing how the NHS actually works, its roots. The National Health Service has it’s place in history lessons, science, physical education, social studies (I’m assuming these still exist in school since I left last century?!) The goverments health and education departments should be working together to help solve this problem that they have, be it directly or indirectly created. There are people out there walking around who still believe doctors work 9-5 Monday to Friday and still have time for a weekly 18 hole round of golf. It’s not their fault, it’s what they’ve heard through the rumour mill. Replace the rumour with facts and the NHS will be in a much better position simply because the people who use it will understand it.

A royal commission is essential to keeping the NHS out of the hands of politicians, many of whom have direct links to private health care firms that stand to make substantial financial gains were the NHS to be privatised. Education will help the doctors and nurses, who face an increased work load partly due to those “worried well”, who will be better informed on how to deal with their symptoms without having to seek medical attention, or if that attention is needed who best to see.
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I’m not a doctor, I’m just someone who is frustrated by the appalling situation within this country regarding its health service. I refuse to believe that the only way we can get away from this selfish insular society and back to that idea of helping each other is to go through another barbaric conflict. We are better than that. We have to be.

This isn’t about Doctors or Nurses, GP’s or Consultants. It’s about our Free Health Service

Yesterday morning, the silence was broken. Fifteen days after Jeremy Hunt made his inflammatory speech at the Kings Fund in Central London, giving NHS consultants an ultimatum on working weekends, and describing the rest of the staff as “lazy” and over-paid, the desperate voices of those people he bad-mouthed and those who support them were set free. After spending over two weeks building up in the virtual pressure cooker of social media, traditional news outlets have finally started to take notice.

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Jeremy Vine used his Twitter feed to break two weeks of silence around #WeNeedToTalkAboutJeremy.

Jeremy Vine is the first mainstream media broadcaster to openly take notice of #WeNeedToTalkAboutJeremy. He neither supports nor ridicules, merely highlighting the fact that there is a story here. Whether he decides to take it further and make it part of his Radio 2 show remains to be seen, but the fact that he recognises it, and has put it in the public arena, means that the hard part is about to start.

The public’s take on this is crucial, and the petition to debate a vote of No Confidence in the Health Secretary could be seen as a risky move. What is seen as a democratic register of the public’s view by some can also be questioned for it’s validity – ‘it’s just NHS staff signing’ or ‘people are just bored’. I mean if you can get a petition going to get a flavour of low fat yoghurt back on the supermarket shelves you could petition for anything. The danger with this petition was that the public wouldn’t take it seriously; that it was ‘those doctors whinging again’. Which is sad because that would miss the point completely.

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Reputation is everything in a career, especially in one as publicly scrutinised as the NHS. Mr. Hunts speech, where he (among other things) put the emphasis on consultants and their apparent refusal to work weekends as the reason for higher patient deaths on Saturdays and Sundays (totally wrong), has made a scapegoat of that particular senior role in the health service, while still allowing the Health Secretary to appear to maintain the view that he cares for the NHS. He turned the blame of failure of weekend access on a group of people who, yes, do have an opt out clause in their contract so they don’t work weekends but, as you will be able to read already in the Mirror, and from this weekend in the Independent, “88% of consultants are already working weekends”, based on a survey by the BMA of almost 900.

Independent

Preview of Independent cover – Saturday 1st August 2015

The Mirror starts to expose the lies.

The Mirror starts to expose the lies.

Here’s the truth about doctors, and I can say this because I’m married to one. People don’t become doctors or nurses for a dream working week. They don’t sign up because they’ll have time for lengthy breaks during the day, and they certainly don’t do it for the money. People become doctors because they feel they can help, they can make a difference. They spend at least 10 years training and honing their skills to be the best they can be before they are officially qualified, and even then, throughout their entire career, they never stop honing and training. They spend an increasing amount of time in an environment that never stops, having to tell patients often horrifying/heartbreaking truths, while diagnosing conditions from their encyclopaedic medical knowledge, all the time speaking to patients who may be as nice as anything, or rude and uncooperative.

Now here’s the thing about medical professionals – none of that bothers them. They will never complain about their job because it’s what they love, it’s what they signed up for. Long hours, no breaks, finishing late – it’s all part of the job, and that includes working at weekends. Doctors accepted this ages ago because of how our modern society functions. Thousands of people working shifts which includes weekends, and the staff at the NHS knew they would have to adapt to that. What staff at the NHS do not appreciate, is their own boss telling them that they are useless, they’re not doing enough and should work more but be paid less. This whole notion of a seven day working week for the NHS already happens because of demand and need from the public, but there is one fundamental question nether Mr. Hunt nor the Health Department has answered – how will this be paid for? For a hospital to be fully functional at the weekend extra staff of all levels are required. Then there’s support teams outside the hospital walls; social care workers, councillors etc. They will all require funding, which the the £8bn the Government pledged in the manifesto will barely touch.

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Here’s another thing about medical professionals; we, our society, will always need them. There will come a point where you need to make an appointment to see that nurse, or you need to sit down with a consultant, or you may need to pay a visit to A&E. The thing we are fighting for is how those life-saving services are going to be funded. We live in a capitalist society so all those man hours, knowledge and equipment need to be paid for. Time is money, and that money must come from somewhere. Do we really want to squander a universal free health care system that is paid for through our taxes and end up paying insurance premiums for check ups and examinations that may well be a waste of medical time, but will create a profit?

While I sit here telling you about all this, the National Health Service is being dismantled right in front of us. All this media attack from the government is a smokescreen, to turn public opinion against the ‘money grabbing work-shy doctors’ who in reality are working above and beyond what should be realistically expected of them, working way past the end of their shift to make sure patients get the care they deserve. In the meantime those patients are seeing ‘stories’ in certain right wing Tory linked media saying ‘leg pain is linked to cancer’ or ‘neck ache could be cancer’ or ‘Cancer Cancer Cancer’, (remember all the stories where “my doctor ignored all my symptoms and it was cancer”), increasing fear and therefore demand on medical staff way beyond capacity, so doctors have to not only deal with those who require much needed treatment and help, but also the “worried well”. This in turn portrays the doctors as unable to cope with their job, but don’t worry, here’s a privately run medical company who ‘really know how to do their job’ so everything’s ok. Oh, and what’s your credit card details please?

BBC budgetSince GP’s were forced to take control of the budget of all health services for their own locality back in 2010, they had to commission services on an increasingly smaller budget whilst patient demand has also increased exponentially. This has also meant time taken away from running their GP surgeries and stretching patient care even further, not that the doctors would ever let you see that. This model that the government imposed on them, against advice of medical professionals, was set up for GP’s to fail. It is this situation, imposed by the previous coalition government, that has paved the way for private companies to swoop in and take over. We already have the likes of Virgin Health providing their own service. As soon as patient demand picks up, they will be made to pay for extras and eventually the NHS will be nothing more than a brand name, the heart of its ‘free for all’ service ripped out. The public needs to step in and join the fight. The twisted facts that are being released to the media are nothing more than pro-government, pro-privatisation, anti-NHS propaganda, specifically designed to cause fear and confusion among the public.

The battle lines here are very clear; do you trust a government that manipulates statistics and twist figures to serve their own fictional narrative of ‘lazy doctors’, while many of them have their personal links to private health care companies which stand to take considerable profit at the expense of patient health, and who are conveniently recommended to receive 10% pay rises, or do you trust the diligent medical professionals who look after your loved ones without charge, that never complain about their vocation and are forced in to a pay-cut, while being strong armed to working longer hours, but are now fighting to get back their dignity and respect?

The only common ground that the doctors and nurses have with Jeremy Hunt and the current Conservative government is that they both want a seven day NHS. There is already a seven day NHS. The issue is that the Government don’t want to pay for it, so they are turning responsibility and blame on those who are doing the job. This is why it was imperative that the mainstream media began talking about it. Now, with the likes of the BBC’s Jeremy Vine, and the Mirror and Independent getting the story out of social media and in to the full view of the public arena, we can finally get the voices of these hard-working people heard and understood.

The World Needs A Trump Presidency 

America and The West has been sick for years. The fever had to break sooner or later.

Before I start this, let me make myself abundantly clear: I have not, am not, and never will or could be a supporter or fan of Donald John Trump Snr. This living breathing clown shoe represents everything that is wrong with America, and the world. His words and actions showing support for racism, bigotry, sexism, homophobia (to name but a few faults) are beyond my comprehension and barriers of taste and decency. That said, these do not appear to be beyond the boundaries of others. 

We’ve been hearing more and more over the last few months, and especially after the election, of the surprise in Trump’s following. His pledges pandering to the basic fears of the ill informed American (banning Muslims, reversing Obamacare, punishing abortion, building “The Wall”) has drawn back a curtain on a country so utterly divided it no longer deserves the title of United States. I mean it must be bad if an entire state like California wants to remove itself from the union. Right now America is no more united than England can realistically be part of a United Kingdom after Brexit. 

Given the frankly awful options America was forced to choose their next Commander-In-Chief from , I always saw Hillary Clinton as the least worst option out of her and Trump. But now, given this deep nationwide divide I do wonder if another President Clinton would have been a bigger mistake than Trump in the White House. Yes, you may say that’s crazy, nay impossible. But consider Clinton for a minute. Firstly, a female president, while very welcome by many and indeed needed, is clearly too big a step for a country, of which half its population  simply couldn’t cope with something just as progressive and hopeful as a black US president. Hillary Clinton’s presidency would have been blocked at every turn by the Republicans, and achieved less than Mr. Obama’s time in office, because she would be another Democrat in a Republican house. And God forbid, a female Democrat in that house! At the end of the day, being the first serious female contender for President is not enough to qualify you for the highest office in the land.

Hillary Clinton is also part of the very system that Trump supporters and those oh so important swing voters feel has let them down. All those jobs going to “foreign lands”, being “taken by those immigrants” (just one of the staples of many a Republican campaign that horrendously simplifies a complex situation to dangerous racial bias, yet which Trump claims he can magically fix). 

Ultimately, Clinton couldn’t be trusted because of her history, both in her career and personal life. Whether or not you believe the laundry list of corruption allegations going as far back as the Watergate scandal, to the perfectly timed FBI investigations in to (disproven) security breaching emails, whether proven false or not, mud like that sticks. And in a career spanning 40+ years, that amount of mud becomes a straightjacket, impossible to escape or convincingly hide from observers. For these (admittedly oversimplified) reasons, Clinton was the wrong choice for President, and for the Democratic nomination. The DNC failed to recognise that the people simply wanted someone they could trust and that a female candidate, while a great achievement, is pointless if she’s wearing one of those straightjackets. By pushing Clinton to the forefront, the Democrats failed the country they claimed they wanted to govern.

Source: CNN

And if, in some alternate reality, Mrs Clinton did become president, of course there would be elation from her supporters, but I do believe the backlash (or “white-lash” may be more appropriate) from disgruntled Trump supporters would have been just as disappointed/heart-broken/frustrated/angry (and possibly more violent) as what we’ve been seeing from the millions of Clinton/anti-Trump supporters. But this is the nature of democracy, heck any contest; to have a winner there must be a loser. You may argue that (see above CNN graphic) Clinton should have won based on the popular vote and that the Electoral Votes don’t truly reflect the views of the people. There’s only one problem with that; a victory of 0.1% isn’t a mandate to go against the rule of the land, or change the wishes of 52.6% of the country that didn’t want Clinton. As a Brit who voted remain in our ridiculous EU referendum, I can say this from experience; all your protests, your petitions, while valid and even required to voice your concerns and fears, ultimately accomplishes nothing except to further highlight the chasm within America. You have already spoken with your vote. You live in a democracy, you champion it. This is it. Deal with it. Fight your corner, please fight, but recognise that this is not just a battle against the next president, but against the very system that gave him not just the opportunity to be considered a candidate, but also the keys to the White House. 

The 45th President of this so called United States of America is a test. Half of Americans got what they wanted, which I believe will be a step back to the worst ideals of the 20th Century. The other half are now in absolute dread at the prospect of being dragged by there by their ankles. Like Brexit before him, Candidate Trump gave political validation to the worst aspects of modern society. But now he’s President Trump he claims he wants to unite the country, and in order to do that, the vile rhetoric of the last 18 months has to be dialled down. This inevitably means that some of his (often half baked, if not, raw) pledges that he has made to his baying rally crowds will have to be flipped. When 2017 starts let’s see what happens to that stupid wall of his that “Mexico will pay” an estimated  $25bn for. Let’s see what really happens when he tries to deport an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants from US soil. All of America will be watching to see if he can deliver on these and other ridiculous, populist pledges; half hoping he can, the other half praying he can’t.

Even up to the beginning of November the idea of President Trump was always a joke. The reality of it just isn’t funny. What this clown shoe represents isn’t just a failure of America, but a failure of the so-called “Civilised Society”. Across the Westernised world, its people are rising up and rebelling against authority like a hot headed teenager screaming “you don’t tell me what to do”! With President Trump, Brexit, and the growing popularity of right wing politics across Europe, we face the mother of a globalised hormone charged tantrum. So maybe it’s time to let loose the reigns. Let these societies, these metaphorical spoilt brats go out and make their mistakes. Indulge in their ill advised and poorly thought out vices. Then hopefully, in time, they’ll wake up with their heads in the metaphorical gutter, vividly remembering and forever regretting the stupid mistakes they made. Because they clearly have not learnt from their elders, or paid attention in history class when being told about the catastrophic rise of the right wing across Europe just 80 years ago. Or worse, maybe they just don’t care.

There are two further outcomes from this election that I’d like to quickly share. The first is that we now have concrete proof that time travel does not and will never exist, because no one in the future would look back at the last year of this destructive freak show of an Democratic election campaign and say “no, I wouldn’t change a thing” and not do something about it! And secondly, amusingly, possibly childishly, here in England Trump means “fart”. Next year we will be witness to the Fart Presidency. “Ladies and gentlemen, President Fart”!! Purile I know, but if simple pathetic jokes like that can still make you laugh this week, then we’re in with a shot of cleaning up this mess. You could say let’s wait for Trump’s follow-through.

US Election: Choice? What choice?

​America is caught between a rock and a hard place with Trump and Clinton. Can the celebs make it easier to choose?

CLICK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE OR GO TO https://www.the-newshub.com/us-politics/us-election-choice-what-choice

To read the full article just click!

The UK: Not a democracy, more a dictatorship by distraction

Governments refusal to debate NHS Bill proves they no longer represent the UK people

11th March 2015; it was to be a day of reckoning for the Conservative government and their increasingly obvious plans to dismantle and privatise the NHS. Parliament was to listen to the 2nd reading of the Green Party’s NHS Reinstatement Bill…….

FOR MORE ON THIS STORY, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

How YOU can help save the NHS

NHS Reinstatement Bill to be debated in Parliament 11/03/2016

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So we’re in to the 2nd day of the 4th round of industrial action by junior doctors‬. It’s a disgrace that our highly trained and valuable medics have been put in this position by a government intent on breaking their promise that the NHS would be “safe” in their hands. As with Jeremy Hunt’s handling of this entire situation, it was a lie.

When the junior doctors return to work tomorrow, the battle for the future of the NHS will continue, inside the Houses of Parliament. The NHS Reinstatement Bill, which has cross party support, aims to remove our health service away from the prying hands of private contractors and keep it in public hands, ensuring that the most important thing remains patient care, not shareholders bank balances.

MP’s must vote in favour of the bill to ensure this happens, that’s why today I have written to our local MP asking her for support. I ask you please to do the same. You can write to your local MP by entering your postcode at https://www.writetothem.com/.

You can read more information on the NHS Reinstatement Bill at http://www.nhsbill2015.org/

Please help to do what the Conservative government clearly can’t – keep the NHS safe.

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Government guidelines leave male abuse victims out in the cold

 

petitionEquality. It’s not just a word, it’s a battle. One that has raged since before we even knew how to say it. Whether it is based on our gender, race, beliefs, sexuality, hair colour…..we still fight to be recognised as equals even though many I listed here are affectations we are born with. We had no choice in. While open debate rages around the topics of the gender pay gap, equal employment opportunities and same sex marriage, there is another more disturbing discussion required that our own government seems intent on ignoring.

PLEASE CLICK TO READ THIS ARTICLE AT THE NEWS HUB.

Transcript of interview with Kate Russell and Paul aka MahdDogg

This transcript is a companion piece to “Government guidelines leave male abuse victims out in the cold”.

Normal: SPB

Bold: Mahddogg

Italic: Kate Russell

 

Right, for both of you then: In your own words what is the aim of your campaign?

For me it’s about justice, pure and simple. Once we started looking into the overwhelmingly gender biased portrayal of domestic abuse victim support material and awareness campaigning by UK police authorities we followed the breadcrumb back to the source: the Home Office statutory guidance on coercive control, issued in December 2015 to support the new law… That guidance, as written, expressly advises gender bias against men… it’s unlawful, it’s wrong, and it’s morally corrupt

For me, it’s to get to the heart of why there is gender bias in the treatment of Domestic Abuse victims, which I think we have identified, and address it head on. Domestic Violence is a massively underreported crime yet the Home Office is issuing guidance to the police that is based upon CPS prosecution statistics, and is not representative of the entire breadth and diversity of victims, male, female, gay or bi or trans. It’s ignoring and therefore not targeting these groups. The guidance must be changed so that policing and investigation of Domestic Abuse and coercive/controlling behaviour is gender and sexuality blind.

100% of the authorities who have responded to my question about whether they use that document to inform policy making in policing domestic abuse, stated in writing they do use it as guidance

I know from my experience that there is a stigma amongst male victims in particular. Guidance of this kind is what keeps us from reporting our abuse. Because it seems like the authorities don’t care.

yes.. and men don’t report it because this stigma tells them they won’t be believed, and might lose access to their kids, or face arrest themselves. No wonder they don’t report it

That last one is at the forefront of every man’s mind when we’re under attack too. It’s why we don’t defend ourselves

So this becomes not only about getting the government to change guidance appropriately, and authorities to adjust accordingly, but also to affect a massive change in culture as well.

Absolutely. If the home office admit they were wrong then we can use that as a springboard to start asking police authorites and the care services to review their policies and offer real support to ALL victims

That’s the hope, just this one step isn’t going to be enough to effect a full on shift in culture, but this one step will be massive in it’s impact on victims of domestic abuse and violence. All it takes is for Theresa May and the Home Office to change 3 paragraphs to reflect the reality.

It’s also about changing the perception of male victims about what is happening to them.. if they see posters expressing male victims then maybe they will feel more confident to take action and save themselves and their kids. And if female abusers see these poster maybe it will make them wake up to the reality of what they are doing

While no one wants to admit they are a victim, understanding that you are can help you make the moves you need to get help and get safe.

Every journey begins with a single step. In this case that step is rewriting 3 paragraphs

That’s all. Right there, and will change so much.

Theresa may can do that, on her own, in her office, in about 10 minutes. And the document as written is UNLAWFUL, by the government’s own definition

We’ve done the research to back up the change; it’s in breach of The Equality Act. I’ve been reading a lot of acts.

If we were discussing a minority here, people would be up in arms about the under reporting of the crime, and would launch a media campaign to make them more aware. But it’s men… half the population. So that aspect just doesn’t get spoken about. Instead we launch campaigns to encourage more women to come forward.

That’s the bias that results in documents like the Guidance. Where we can see from the Violence Against Women Report from the CPS shows that 84% of their reports come from women. Women ARE reporting, more should too, of course. Women are already responding to the last 30 years of work done by domestic violence campaigning and services.

There is a blatant hypocrisy here. Have you received any backing from any help groups or charities that deal with domestic abuse?

There have been a number of small groups who have been in contact with Kate and I throughout the campaign and back before we even started.

Lots of small charities and support groups are helping push the petition, and if you read the comments you will see dozens and dozens of personal accounts from abused men who have not reported their abuse. But the mainstream organisations supporting domestic abuse victims all suffer the same bias, and all refer to the statutory guidance when questioned. Having the guidance changed would take away that place the hide and make the well-funded organisations have to stand up and be counted.

Having seen the posters, would you also say that as well as discriminating against men, it is also on the side of being racist and homophobic?

Not racist or homophobic no. Those are proactive discriminations. What we’re dealing with here is lack of support and omission of the true statistics. It’s not a wilful discrimination, but equally corrosive to the victims who are not represented.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call it homophobic, that’s heading into hate crime territory, however it definitely does exclude Gay and Bi relationships as all seem to depict heterosexual relationships. As to race, I wouldn’t say so. A lot of campaigns do have a good balance of ethnicities represented.

Agreed on the ethnicities fact, but that goes back to my point about minority representation. It’s very ‘fashionable’ to support minorities. “Fashionable” is perhaps trivialising that point too much.. but you get my drift I hope.

I can’t say it better than that. It’s certainly something that is proactively addressed. However there is one “-ist” that hasn’t been mentioned: sexist. [Are these campaigns] sexist?”

And instead of responding to newspaper polls where the public overwhelmingly agree the campaigns are sexist, some public servants instead vote brigade their cronies to swing the poll results back the other way. While being paid a salary by public money, half of which comes from the pockets of men.

Then claim to be victims of an “Orchestrated Campaign” against the police.

It occurs to me that even if we get the guidance changed, these biased approaches will still exist, but with the guidance document changed to express the gender/sexuality neutral status of the crime it will take away their place to hide when challenged. That has to be a positive thing for everyone.

Just out of interest what kind of media exposure have you had so far?

We had an interview on BBC 3 Counties radio which kind of kicked it all off and gave us the idea to target the guidance document

That was an hour of radio time on this subject. A good start too. We’ve been pushing everything so far through social networks; even through there, we’re getting a good feel as to public response. It has been overwhelmingly positive. I’m sitting here with the petition page open watching the numbers go up. That’s a heartening thing to see.

Less heartening are the dozens and dozens of stories from abuse victims who feel they don’t have a voice.

Is the petition just for May, or is it requesting a debate in Parliament?

Just May. She has the power to change it It is fully within the home secretary’s power to change the guidance as laid out in Section 77 of the Serious Crime Act 2015. The simple facts are, the document as it stands is unlawful by the government’s own definition, and Theresa May can put that right in less than an hours work probably. She has yet to reply to repeated emails and tweets to the Home Office account though. So much for ‘public servant’.

Refusing to do so, well, that would send a very clear message to victims of domestic abuse everywhere.

This is not a topic for debate.. there is no debate.. it’s the right and moral thing to do

It just occurred to me that this may well fall under a Human Right issue. Has this been explored aat all?

Hmm… not expressly. This petition is the first step. If we get no joy, we won’t stop. Any person who is sane can see the document is wrong

But if she refuses then it may very well become a human rights issue.

I mean, it uses statistics taken from the Violence against Women and Girls Crime Report 2013-2014 to assert that most victims are women…

And everyone in those statistics reported and it lead to a prosecution.

That’s like going into a brazillain meat BBQ restaurant to assert that most people are meat eaters, or going into a vegan restaurant to assert we’re all vegetarians.

The Office of National Statistics covers unreported crime and includes male victims. Putting them at 33% of all victims of abuse. 33.33% to be precise.

It’s another prime example of the government only using facts that they want to use.

When the government office in charge of national statistics says that the numbers the guidance relies on can’t be used as national statistical data then they have no argument to make.

One of the problems historically in bringing light to this issue is that it is usually argued back and forth between people with extreme ideologies – feminists vs. mens rights activists. It’s the reason we wanted to be clear in the petition that this is not about Men vs. Women. I campaign for gender neutrality and against gender bias in the tech sector. I couldn’t be more moderate politically. And Mahddogg is a victim – WAS a victim.. though it’s a dreadful label to put on someone who has shown such strength of character in raising this issue.

A survivor, and I’d like to see more of us.

We don’t care who you are – if you’re suffering domestic abuse, you deserve to get treated equally.

This is not an issue to use as a political or ideological football. It can affect anyone, from any walk of life. That’s the importance of all of this. The law is good, its application is wrong.

Theresa may needs to understand that this isn’t going away

Guys this is brilliant thank you.

Imposition from the eyes of a future junior doctor.

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Earlier today I spoke with a medical student, Michael, asking him his thoughts on the imposition of the junior doctors contract.

“Stephen, I’m well thanks (though been better!) It’s a bad day, not just because the contract is set to apply to all junior doctors from August, but because it sets a precedent for the government to ignore the views of an entire workforce and force through a flawed contract condemned by all. That is bound to affect the dynamic, both within the NHS and between the public sector and the government, in a very serious and negative way. Medical students are demoralised. My colleagues and I have our final exams in a month’s time; what better way to motivate bright young minds than to impose unsafe, unfair working conditions just as they reach their biggest hurdle to entering what was once a respected profession?”

It’s a polite response, but it cannot hide the disappointment shared by all those who are fighting to save the NHS. Mr. Hunt’s insistence at forcing this contract is seen as nothing more than a diktat on an already overstretched, demoralised workforce. We’re asking how many existing junior doctors will leave the profession because of this imposition. We should also be concerned about how many medical students will turn their back on their once chosen profession, because of the actions of a failed marmalade exporter.

I agree with Donald Trump, but not for the same reasons.

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This week was the 35th anniversary of the death of Mr. John Lennon; the man who sang at Christmas “War is.over if you want it”. Well it turns out we don’t want it, at least certain Powers-That-Be don’t. After multiple “military interventions” in recent years, in Libya, Afghanistan and twice in Iraq, it seems we still think dropping bombs will solve the problems we face – problems that our esteemed leaders created, by dropping bombs. Seriously, rats learn quicker!

Of course America is in this coalition against Cystitis (there’s so many names for these “Islamic militants” I thought I’d use the one comedian Adam Hills came up with), and in America there’s a man with a plan. A plan that he thinks will stop terrorist attacks in the United States. That man is Donald Trump, and the plan is to ban Muslims from entering the USA.

Now I know there are those of you that think this is total overkill, but I think Mr. Trump is right. Go on, do it. Ban Muslims from entering the US. Seriously, do it. And while you’re at it, why not ban Jewish people as well. And don’t stop there, why not ban homosexuals too? Add Hispanics to the list. Heck, just include any religious, sexual orientation, ethnic or other group of people that you blame for the problems in your America. Ban them all, and then sit back in your white ivory tower and watch as the problems you thought you could solve through banning select groups of people instead of, oh I don’t know – GUNS, continues unabated.

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We’re always told not to give in to fear, that we should rise above it – conquer it. If you have a fear of heights, you climb to the top of the tallest tower. If you have a fear of dogs, get a dog! (Friends quote there.) That’s what this is all about; fear. The very word “Islamaphobia” denotes a fear of Islam. And as the saying goes,’we always fear what we don’t understand’. So surely we should rise above the fear and try to understand Muslims and their place in the world, instead of demonising and destroying their way of life.

Now I know there a people out there who looks at these “militants”, guns and knifes in hand, faces obscured by headscarfs, and see them as nothing short of evil. That they’re trying to destroy our way of life  And you’re right to worry, but the actions of terrorists ultimately has nothing to do with their beliefs, ethnicity or anything else. At the end of the day I don’t care what group you’re from; if you’re black or white, Muslim or Christian, gay or straight, blonde or brunette, Star Trek or Star Wars – the minute you slit someone’s throat, or shoot them in the head, or drop bombs on innocent civilians, you lose the right to any of those labels and are stuck with just one: murderer. Hiding behind a twisted version of an ancient belief structure is nothing more than an excuse. Many believe that religion is responsible for many of the worlds conflicts, a view I also subscribe to. Heck, it can also cause conflict in the family – what about the adage of the two topics you should never discuss around the dinner table; politics and religion? Ever since the dawn of mankind people have subscribed to various belief systems, and it has always caused conflict. You would think that after a millennia we as a species would have been able to evolve past the ignorance and violence to acceptance and tolerance of other peoples views and ideas, but here we are in the 21st Century, still being held back by our fears. And it’s fearmongers like Donald Trump that are holding us back.

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In the wake of Mr. Trump’s fearmongering, there’s a petition doing the rounds calling for Mr. Trump to be banned from the UK – hardly surprising when you read that a quarter of the British public support Trumps immigration policy. Not surprising either that UKIP have jumped on the bandwagon, although even the party’s leader and Mr. Toad lookalike Nigel Farage called Mr. Trumps language a “political step too far”. Banning Mr. Trump seems like the right thing to do at first glance, but once again it’s ignoring the issue. It’s not addressing the intolerance of this man and those who subscribe to his view point, of which there are many. Like I said, people are afraid, and the only way to get past this fear is to discuss it – show evidence to the contrary. Maybe we should be discussing religion around the dinner table after all.

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Now with Mr. Trump, he knows exactly what he’s doing. He knows the mood of America right now, and he’s stirring it up – he’s creating a tidal wave of hate and fear that could well give him the Republican candidacy for the White House. Ultimately, no matter how much evidence and facts you present to debunk his arguments, he’s hardly likely to listen. It’s fascinating that someone so well known for “reality TV” seems to live in a world of such abject fantasy. So for him we make an exception to the rule; we ignore him. Don’t interview him, don’t give him the time of day, but don’t ban him either because then he’s the victim, that’s how he feeds – he draws power from negativity. Cut him off!!

This post was brought to you by The Wishful Thinking And Pigs Might Fly Society. Because sometimes, common sense really isn’t that common.

 

Can we still call ourselves Great Britain?

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Right, I’m coming straight out with it – I’m embarrassed to be British.

A while ago I was staying in a hostel in New Zealand, and I saw a couple – blatantly American – checking in, trying to convince the receptionist they were Canadian. It wasn’t like the couple were going to get banned from staying there or anything, they just wanted it to be made clear – they were from Canada.  I ended up speaking with them a few hours later – nice couple, properly patriotic but at the same time embarrassed by what their country, or rather their President had been doing. It might be prudent to mention at this point that their president at that time was George W. Bush, so you can kind of understand their wishful anonymity, sad as it was to see. It was like watching a lion trying to convince the rest of the zoo he’s a vegetarian – cute but sad.

I’m embarrassed to be British, and for me that’s not cute. I was never the biggest patriot in the world to begin with, but watching the gradual and systematic destruction of our country’s values and ideals has made me realise just how great Britain is, or rather how great it used to be. And I’m not talking about the grand old days of colonialism and how our great nation ruled the seven seas. Our greatness came from our morals and beliefs. Unfortunately we have a group of people running our country who have done nothing but abuse the country’s systems, infrastructure and people, and then lie with the pretext that they are doing this to make the country better, safer and more financially viable. While I include previous governments in this, all the evidence from the Conservative governments recent activities suggests this is far from the case.

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There’s the tax credit cuts – something that David Cameron swore blind before the election wouldn’t happen. It hasn’t – yet – but not for the Tories lack of trying. When you parachute in as many of your honourary peers to vote for the cuts in the House of Lords, and it’s these lords who show they have more in common with the general public than those got voted in to power, then you must know something is wrong.

There’s the government secretly changing the rules – having recently altered their own ministerial code to effectively exempt themselves from international law. This mean that the UK is not obliged to observe any international laws or treaties that would prevent them from using military force in other countries. or even answering to a United Nations investigation believing that tax credit cuts are a human rights violation. This effectively means the government of the United Kingdom answers to no one but itself.

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There’s the recently passed Trade Union bill that will, among other things, greatly restrict the rights of professional individuals and their unions to vote on and participate in industrial action. It is also so draconian as to set back equal opportunities in the workplace, with women workers the most affected by the divisive bill.

There’s the Investgatory Powers Bill, or as it’s become known The “Snoopers Charter”. A piece of legislation drawn up by Theresa May and the Home Office that we are told is there to make us safer, by monitoring all of our personal communications. People are naturally sceptic of this, and the government has been accused legalising invasion of privacy. The act has been further questioned in light of the recent and horrific attacks in Paris by So Called Islamic State, with many noting that “keeping everyone’s online history for a year and passing that to the intelligence service will not make us safer.” Even IT business leaders have said it’s a “bad idea”.

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It will soon be a lot harder to vote the Tories out

There’s also the worry that the game is being rigged. Again, behind closed doors, this government is changing more rules, and this time it’s on how we as a nation vote. If you think they’re doing the sensible thing of scrapping First Past the Post in favour of proportional representation, I’m afraid it’s far more troubling. They are planning to cut the number of British MP’s, presumably under the cloak of streamlining the parliamentary system. This will also change how we register to vote, which has the potential to leave thousands of UK citizens unable to have a voice in an election. Effectively the Conservatives are making it more difficult for those citizens who are more likely to vote against them to vote at all.

Plus there’s proposed changes to the Freedom Of Information act, which will greatly restrict access to vast amounts of important data and will further entrench the government whilst covering up potential scandals. Remember the MP’s expenses story? That was published through gaining FOI. This new act will mean such stories that are well within the remit of public interest will be harder to divulge.

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And finally, my personal (for want of a better word) favourite: the NHS. The UK’s health service has been chipped away at since the 1980’s, and now it looks like rhyming slangs best friend and current Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is packing the whole thing with political dynamite! He wants a 7 day NHS, he wants to reform the NHS, he wants to impose new contracts on junior doctors…..and there’s the final straw. 53,000 doctors, ranging from the “just out of uni” stage to the “about to be a consultant” stage, have said no, with 98% of those balloted (76%) of all junior doctors) saying quite clearly they are “prepared to take part in industrial action” – something that if the previously mentioned Trade Union Bill was currently law would be much more difficult, nay impossible. And before we start saying “how dare junior doctors talk about striking, they have a duty of care”, it’s worth noting that our police force got to this stage back in January 2015, for similar reasons. Plus given that further cuts to the force are on the Tory agenda, I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear of more disquiet from our hard working law enforcers either.

Junior doctors have had enough because the contract being imposed on them – not offered to them – is unsafe, both for them and their patients. Mr. Hunt has said that he wants to negotiate, but has a funny way of showing it; from describing junior doctors as “militant” for balloting on strike action, to offering an 11% pay rise that is actually a 26% pay cut. The health secretary, aided by Conservative media cohorts Daily Mail and The Times, also tried to launch an ill advised smear campaign against British Medical Association leaders, which quickly fell apart (I mean Heaven forbid that medical professionals have interests outside of their career. MP’s would never do that #sarcasm.) There’s one thing you should never do if you’re going to pick a war of words and ideals with people: don’t start one with a group whose very job involves examining and scrutinising hard data and facts. It will win out against lies and spin every time.

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This isn’t another prolonged piece on the state of the NHS and defending junior doctors, because their doing a bang up job themselves. It’s just another piece in a very disturbing puzzle, and while what I’ve written here is by no means a complete picture, it must at least make you question the Conservatives true agenda for the UK.When you see the Prime Minister shaking hands with leaders of countries who have at least questionable records on human rights (China and Saudi Arabia) then you know that what it means to be British has changed for the worse.

Fear and lack of leadership alternatives got the Conservatives in to power, and now that they’re in they are doing everything they can to keep themselves there. They are taking steps to minimise any chance of a response from the public that disagrees with them, whilst making dangerous decisions on our behalf that may not affect us directly now, but may well affect the next generation. It’s not a dictatorship because it’s more than one person, but it’s pretty close.

Like I said, I’m embarrassed to be British.

 

Interview with Dr. Hamed Khan

This is a full transcript of an interview from October 9th 2015.

Dr Hamed Khan

Dr. Hamed Khan is a GP, A&E doctor, and has become one of many key NHS figures to talk openly about the problems this junior contract is causing, and representing a new initiative take the health service out of politicians hands.

Firstly thanks for agreeing to talk to me. You’ve been busy. Is it getting any easier getting your message across?

“I think it is. Slowly but surely we’re getting more and more support from the public, politicians and even the parts of the media. Incidentally I was speaking about the NHS deficit on BBC 3 Counties Radio this evening and Roberto Perrone (their lead presenter) told me how he had spoken to various people who thought that the only way to save the NHS by devolving it from political control, and creating some sort of independent commission to look at it, and oversee it in the longer term. What I’m also hearing frequently from both patients and front line professionals is that they feel that politicians are driven by elections and 4 year electoral terms, which hinders their ability- and perhaps motivation- to think about the longer term. And this is why our idea of bringing together the public, front line professionals and patients to think collectively about the NHS, without the limitations of a 4 year electoral term, is gaining so much traction. The idea of a Royal Commission to do this is novel, and new territory for many people- but again the independent nature of this is something that I feel many people find attractive.”

A lot has changed since we first made contact. Was Mr. Hunt’s recent letter a surprise for you?

“We are a large diverse group, and reactions within the group vary. Some of us feel that this is old wine in a new bottle, and that JH is merely putting spin on what is fundamentally no change in his original position. Others feel that it is a sign that he is has- very slowly- started to gain an insight into the level of opposition he faces, and is trying to change his stance and entice the BMA back to the table. We’re reluctant to give a knee jerk reaction, although I think it’s accurate to say that most of us are more skeptical than optimistic. It’s early days and the devil is in the detail. It doesn’t help that in the DoH appears to be very inaccessible, and reluctant to participate in any media discussions and debates. I’ve spoken to several journalists from numerous TV channels who have expressed deep frustration at the reluctance and refusal of DoH officials to appear and debate with front line professionals. It is understandably that many of us perceive this as a lack of openness that reflects the weakness of their arguments.”

And seems to be a reluctance to be transparent or accessible reflected in the delayed publications of the NHS deficit figures until after the Tory Party Conference.

“Well it certainly gives that perception. One thing that is clear from all this is that the way the DOH has managed its communications has been confrontational and deeply undiplomatic. The disconnect and disengagement has escalated to a highly charged emotive confrontation and what many people see almost as a state of war! Whatever the arguments, this breakdown of relations cannot be conducive to any constructive or purposeful discussions and progress.”

You mentioned that more are skeptical than optimistic and I can understand why. I’m going to play devils advocate for a minute. Do you think Hunt’s letter is a trap? My wife is a GP and we both went through it thoroughly. From where i sit he could easily back Jnr docs in to a corner with this. If he’s making concessions on the 48 hr working week, and therefore preserving patient care by making sure doctors are less tired, but Jnr docs still strike over the contract, he’ll be able to say that the strike is in fact all about pay.

“But he isn’t. The key safeguard was that trusts were fined if doctors breached the EWTD (Early Working Time Directive). He hasn’t addressed that in his letter. Rather he’s given a vague assurance that doctors won’t. But that’s meaningless without a disincentive for trusts. At the moment trusts are fined if doctors work more hours than allowed by the EWTD. My understanding is that trusts will not have to record doctors hours- and thus will not be fined if their doctors work beyond the EWTD.”

Explains part of the deficit at least. You’re fighting for an independent body for the NHS. What is needed to make this a reality and get politics out of the health service? What can the public do to help with this?

“Public support and awareness is the most important thing. We want members of the public to join us and participate in helping us run the organisation and direct it. The only funding we receive at the moment is, in essence, through crowd funding- that is the other important way in which the public can help us. Other than this, we’re trying to gain traction and support from politicians and major think tanks and academics. A number of MPs have responded very positively to our idea, and we are talking to them. As have several influential academics. For example I recently spoke to Nigel Edwards, the Chair of the Nuffield Trust, and he told me that he fully supported our vision and ethos.”

I see you have also gained the attention of Lib Dems Norman Lamb. He’s been quite vocal recently about the problems in the NHS.

“We’re delighted that he has been vocal in calling for essentially the same thing we have bwpid-screenshot_2015-10-22-21-53-36-1.pngeen calling for. And having someone speak openly with the level of insight and experience he has reflects the strength of our arguments and our ultimate aims and vision.”

You can follow Dr. Khan on Twitter by clicking on the picture.

The movement Dr. Khan talks about and represents is called NHS Survival. You can find out more and show your support for a National Health Service removed from political control at www.nhssurvival.org.

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