Category: Uncategorized

Desperate, underpaid NHS paramedic tells Theresa May: “I’ve seen things no one should have to witness”

Pride's Purge

A paramedic has written a moving description on Facebook (see below) of the difficulties he has to face every day in his job, and how he is paid a pittance of just £12.35 an hour to do it.

This is because the Tory government has over the last 7 years capped paramedics’ and other public workers’ pay rises at 1%.

The cabinet ministers who made that decision, however, have seen their own pay rise over the last 7 years to the point they are making approximately £117.92 an hour*, on top of which they can also claim expenses, subsidies and other perks.

A perfect example of Theresa May’s warped Britain today.

Brian Mear:

I joined the Ambulance Service in 1986.
For over 28 years I worked doing “Front Line” work. That’s Emergency work. Covering 999 calls. For the last 6 years of my service I worked alone predominantly on nights at…

View original post 447 more words

Millions of pounds originating from HSBC have been laundered directly to the Conservatives, say claims

Roger Mullin of the Scottish National Party.

New cash for Conservatives scandal

Roger Mullin, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, has called for an investigation after it was disclosed that “£5 million of HSBC loans were laundered directly to Conservative HQ.” He isn’t alone.

It appears that evidence has emerged of organised, very substantial and ongoing donations made by IPGL, a private holding company, and other subsidiaries, controlled by Michael Spencer to the Conservative Party, totalling at least £5.3m, representing a “huge percentage of annual turnover”. 

Michael Spencer’s interdealer broker ICAP was fined for its role in the Libor scandal. The Conservative Party resisted calls from the opposition to return £4.6m donations ICAP and Michael Spencer made during the period of the Libor Scandal when Spencer was also Treasurer of the Party.

Campaigners and other opposition MPs such as Labour’s John Mann, who serves on the Treasury Select Committee, have raised these issues, and many allege that such donations wouldn’t have been possible without HSBC’s financial support of IPGL.

The allegations were first raised by Fionn Travers-Smith of Move Your Money at the Annual General Meeting of HSBC Holdings PLC on 28 April. He said:

Not only does this raise questions about HSBCs role in public life, the level of influence that you hold over government, and your own refusal to discuss the possibility of corruption and undue influence at last year’s AGM – but it also raises questions over whether you have contravened your own policies on being politically neutral.

 HSBC’s Douglas Flint responded to the allegations by evading the issues raised, and said “We are politically neutral” and “we’re not going to talk about individual companies at all”.

Joel Benjamin from Debt Resistance UK questioned these claims of neutrality given deputy chairman of HSBC, Simon Robertson’s £700k donations to George Osborne and the Conservative Party.

In their AGM notice, released in March, HSBC said to its shareholders: “HSBC has a long standing policy not to make any political donations or to incur political expenditure including in the UK or the rest of the EU within the ordinary meaning of those words.

We have no intention of altering this policy. However, the definitions of political donations and political expenditure used in the UK Companies Act are very wide. As a result, they may cover activities that are an accepted part of engaging with our stakeholders to ensure that issues and concerns affecting our operations are considered and addressed, but which would not ordinarily be considered as political donations or political expenditure.

As a result, the Directors have concluded that it would be prudent to seek authority from our shareholders to allow them to make political donations and incur political expenditure of up to £200,000 in aggregate in the period up until next year’s AGM. In common with many other UK companies, this is purely a precautionary measure. The authorities sought are not designed to influence public support for any political party, or political outcome; they are simply to ensure that the Group does not inadvertently breach the UK Companies Act. “

As the law stands, a UK-incorporated company must not make a political donation to a political organisation or incur any political expenditure without shareholder approval or, if the company is a subsidiary, the approval of its UK holding company. Directors could incur personal liability if authorisation is not obtained. Nor must it influence public opinion regarding candidates or political outcomes in elections and referendums.

Presumably, the three senior HSBC bank figures who have donated £875,000 to the Conservative party in recent years have done so without shareholder approval. 

Below is Roger Mullin’s last letter as current MP,  parliament is now Dissolved until after the General Election. Mullin posted a copy of the letter on Twitter earlier today.

letter

Some more context

In 2012, the US government was persuaded by our government not to pursue criminal charges against HSBC for allowing rogue states, terrorists and drug dealers to launder millions of dollars after George Osborne and the UK banking regulator intervened to warn that prosecuting Britain’s biggest bank could lead to a “national and global financial disaster”. Instead of facing a prosecution, the bank were given the option to pay a record $1.92bn (£1.4bn) fine

The House financial services committee report said the UK interventions “played a significant role in ultimately persuading the DoJ [Department of Justice] not to prosecute HSBC”. 

The report revealed that Osborne wrote to Ben Bernanke, who was then the Federal Reserve chairman, and Timothy Geithner, the then treasury secretary, to warn that prosecuting a “systemically important financial institution” like HSBC “could lead to [financial] contagion” and pose “very serious implications for financial and economic stability, particularly in Europe and Asia”.

In 2015, it came to light that there are long-standing links between the scandal-hit HSBC and the Conservative Party, after Electoral Commission records showed three senior bank figures have donated £875,000 to the party in recent years. It was revealed that HSBC’s deputy chairman, Sir Simon Robertson, has made 24 separate donations totalling £717,500 in the last nine years.

As a point of interest, the links go much further back, as David Cameron’s great great grandfather, Sir Ewen Cameron, became principal agent to the Calcutta branch of HSBC, following which he acted as manager of its Shanghai branch, where he served until 1890.

Further revelations emerged that the bank allegedly helped wealthy individuals evade tax through Swiss accounts. It was also revealed that HSBC’s deputy chairman, Sir Simon Robertson, has made 24 separate donations totalling £717,500 in the last nine years.

He gave 17 donations to the Conservative Central Office between 2002 and 2014, and four totalling £100,000 to George Osborne between 2006 and 2009. The other three went to the party in East Hampshire. Robertson, who was knighted in 2010, is reported to have a personal wealth of £10m.

Conservative donors, peers and a high-profile MP are listed among the wealthy who legally held accounts in Switzerland with HSBC’s private bank, for a wide variety of reasons. Their ranks include Zac Goldsmith, former MP for Richmond Park, plus his brother, the financier Ben Goldsmith, and a Swiss resident, German-born automotive heir Georg von Opel, who has donated six-figure sums to the government in the past two years.

Peers named in the HSBC files include Lord Sterling of Plaistow, the P&O shipping and ports entrepreneur who was ennobled by Margaret Thatcher, and Lord Fink, who was also a party treasurer under David Cameron and has given £3m to the Conservatives.

Zac Goldsmith has, with his brother Ben and their mother Lady Annabel, donated over £500,000 in cash and in kind to the Conservatives.

Big Banks Aided Firm At Center Of International Bribery Scandal

Cash for Conservatives Exposes the HSBC Dirty Money running the Tory Party – DEBT RESISTANCE UK

 HSBC files: Swiss bank hid money for suspected criminals

The British HSBC bribery and corruption cover-up – Nicholas Wilson

Business dealings of Tory donors could be wiped from official records

Update
One promising result:

vine

And a rather hasty response from the Electoral Commission, which you can view here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk

 


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ITV poll: 68% of 165,000 people vote Corbyn4PM

itv tm

A poll by ITV’s This Morning asked viewers which party leader they would prefer to see as Prime Minister. The result was remarkable:

Over 165,000 people participated – and more than two-thirds chose Corbyn. Theresa May’s share of the vote was far less than a third of what Corbyn achieved.

Polls on Twitter, though considerably smaller scale, asked people who they intend voting for – both posted by a Conservative – also show:

poll correctand on the NHS:

poll 2 NHS

 

The SKWAWKBOX

A poll by ITV’s This Morning asked viewers which party leader they would prefer to see as Prime Minister. The result was remarkable:

itv tmOver 165,000 people participated – and more than two-thirds chose Corbyn. Theresa May’s share of the vote was far less than a third of what Corbyn achieved.

Naysayers will say that the poll was not ‘scientific’. That’s true. But then, the methodology of official polls is rarely disclosed properly and vastly differing results suggest that those may not be too scientific either. It’s also possible, of course, that Corbyn supporters are simply more motivated to call or go online to cast their vote and influence the result – but again, that’s hardly a negative.

One thing that is certain, however, is that the result in no way supports or aligns with the prevailing punditry that claims the result of the General Election is a foregone conclusion or…

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Theresa May’s secret plans to replace NHS England with private US healthcare system Kaiser Permanente

Pride's Purge

Kaiser Permanente is a private healthcare organisation based in California.

But unlike many other private healthcare companies in the US, Kaiser provides a complete model of integrated pre-paid insurance along with healthcare which is supposedly provided free at the point of need.

This is a system much like our own NHS but with three major differences – Kaiser’s healthcare provision is much more expensive than the NHS, the healthcare provision side is run for profit and unlike the NHS its cover isn’t comprehensive – it only covers those people who are in work.

Despite that, Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt seems to love Kaiser. He and other ministers have personally visited the company at its California headquarters – several times in fact:

And Kaiser’s own website lists other recent visitors from the UK, including many NHS hospitals and NHS trusts as well as HM Treasury and the Ministry…

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Dismay at Deborah Orr’s unusually ill-informed article on Simon Stevens’ Next Steps for Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships

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“Published last Friday, Simon Stevens’ document takes another big step towards realising Jeremy Hunt’s plans to replace the NHS with an American-style insurance system. It is clear about the intention to make Sustainability and Transformation Plans – now renamed Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships – into Accountable Care Systems.

Accountable Care Systems copy the US health insurance system. They are being spun as A Good Thing because they end the purchaser/provider split. Don’t fall for the spin.

Accountable Care Systems/Organisations are mechanisms for denying care by choosing to treat only patients who represent “best value for money” – ie are cheapest to treat, and most likely to have the best health recovery as a result of treatment. The Next Steps document keeps banging on about how they are going to enable “demand management” ie reduce patients’ access to care.”

Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS

STP Agony Aunt usually likes reading Deborah Orr’s columns – so she was dismayed by the reporter’s ill-informed applause in her weekend Guardian column for Simon Stevens’ Next Steps for Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships.

Published last Friday, Simon Stevens’ document  takes another big step towards realising Jeremy Hunt’s plans to replace the NHS with an American-style insurance system. It is clear about the intention to make Sustainability and Transformation Plans – now renamed Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships – into Accountable Care Systems.

Accountable Care Systems copy the US health insurance system. They are being spun as A Good Thing because they end the purchaser/provider split. Don’t fall for the spin.

Accountable Care Systems/Organisations are mechanisms for denying care by choosing to treat only patients who represent “best value for money” – ie are cheapest to treat, and most likely to have the best health recovery as a result of…

View original post 1,142 more words

Young woman who committed suicide was called ‘a f****** waste of space’ by mental health worker

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Suicidal Hannah Groves did not get the support and care she needed

The  Mirror reports: “In the UK the number of ­women taking their own lives has grown steadily since 2011. Mental health issues make up 23 per cent of those with health problems making contact with the NHS. But mental health provision has received only 13 per cent of the overall funding. Since 2011 the number of beds for mental health patients has fallen by 8 per cent.”

Last year female suicides hit a ten year high.  In 2015 – 2016, only 55% of mental health trusts reported increases to budgets since 2012, when “parity of esteem” with physical health was promised by the government.

Last year, a leaked report by a government taskforce painted a bleak picture of England’s mental health services, revealing that the number of people killing themselves was soaring, three-quarters of those with psychiatric conditions were not being helped, and sick children were being sent “almost anywhere in the country” for treatment. Suicide in England is now rising “following many years of decline”, with 4,477 suicides in an average year. There has also been a 10% increase in the number of people sectioned under the Mental Health Act over the past year, suggesting their needs are not being met early enough. In some parts of the country, more than 10% of children seeking help are having appointments with specialists cancelled as a result of staff shortages.

Commenting on the situation last year, Labour’s mental health spokesperson, Luciana Berger, said the figures are a “wake-up call” for ministers.

“Ministers talk about making mental health a priority, but in reality they have presided over service cuts, staff shortages and widespread poor-quality care, with devastating consequences,” she said.

“It is particularly worrying that women’s suicide rates in England are now the highest they have been for a decade. Ministers must identify the reasons behind this drastic increase and take the urgent action needed to tackle it.”

Hannah Groves is one victim of a growing mental health crisis among women, as female suicide rates hit a ten-year high last yearHannah’s desperate mother begged for help in vain more than 100 times over nine days before her daughter killed herself.

Mandy Park’s distraught pleas were not only ignored by a Southern Health Trust mental health worker, they were ridiculed. Hannah was labelled an “attention seeker” and a “f***ing waste of space”.

Hours later Hannah was found dead at home, aged just 20. Hannah had made numerous suicide attempts in the nine days before her death yet was repeatedly ­denied admission to hospital.

Last year, the privatised Southern Health NHS Trust – which runs a series of mental health services across the county and is headquartered in Tatchbury Mount, Calmore – was condemned by the Care Quality Commission after failing to protect patients and investigate the deaths of hundreds of people in its care, following a scathing independent report. The Trust has been the subject of independent government reviews since it was revealed it failed to investigate the unexpected deaths of hundreds of its patients between 2011 and 2015. See also: Southern Health NHS Trust, a Drowning and a Call for Better Care Everywhere and Embattled NHS trust boss quits role but will keep salary and benefits in new job and Southern Health criticised for putting ‘patients at risk’.

Hannah was a straight-A student studying French at university, and she had no mental health ­problems until October 2012. Mandy believes she suffered a sudden onset of psychosis, but this was not diagnosed because she was not ­properly assessed.

On the night she got ill, Mandy gave Hannah a lift to her boyfriend’s and later had a ­panicked call from him.She picked up her daughter but on the trip home Hanna ­repeatedly tried to jump from the ­moving car. She also attempted to run into oncoming traffic.

Mandy said: “She was such a sweet, gentle person. But it was like she was possessed.

“Her voice had changed and she was speaking in a monotone.

“She didn’t smoke but she would pace the floor, chain-smoking and ­staring into space. I was terrified of my own girl. She kept saying she felt numb.”

Mandy took Hannah to A&E where the medical staff referred her to the Trust’s mental health crisis team. However, staff from the trust assessed Hannah and decided she did not meet the ­criteria for a bed in Antelope House, in her home town Southampton.

Over the next week she ­repeatedly attempted suicide. Mandy took her to ­hospital, to her GP and even to an out of area mental heath facility, desperately trying to get help.

Police and paramedics regularly attended the family home and she begged mental health workers to intervene, in vain.

Mandy said: “One time she had a scarf round her neck and I had to hold her down. I spent hours on the phone to the mental health team but they would sigh as soon as I told them who I was.

Hannah even got hold of the phone herself and was repeatedly telling them she was going to kill herself but they did nothing.”

Three days before her death, Hannah was taken to A&E once more, but was sent home again by the mental health Trust.

Mandy said: “Hannah fell on the floor in a heap. It was heartbretking. She knew she needed help.”

The evening before Hannah’s death, on October 22, 2012, her boyfriend brought her orange roses and she wrote the words “I’m still alive” on a chalkboard.  Mandy ­recalled she was so hopeful, she said: “I thought I was getting her back.”

The next day Mandy had to call the police after Hannah threatened to kill her family. She was arrested under the Mental Health Act.

Again, staff at Antelope House refused to admit her after a social worker told the police detention officer she was a “f***ing waste of space” an “attention seeker”.

Just hours later, Mandy found her daughter’s body. She had left her home for a matter of minutes to call the crisis team, begging for help once again.

Mandy painfully remembers “At the hospital I stood there while they did CPR. Then they said there was nothing more they could do. I fell on the floor, screaming the place down.”

The grieving mother decided to call medical ­negligence solicitor, Nick Fairweather, to fight for justice in her daughter’s memory.

Mandy was heartbroken and ­physically sick when she heard the comments about Hannah, who was a constant danger to herself.

Mandy said: “It beggars belief that ­anyone could treat another human that way.

“Hannah changed overnight from a happy young ­woman to a ­totally different person. She was my world.

“I love and miss her. She had so much to live for and to give. If she’d got the right treatment she’d still be here.”

Last month Mandy, a former ­support worker for deaf children, was awarded £260,000 in an ­out-of-court medical negligence settlement from Southern Health Trust.

The Trust admitted that Mandy had been a “secondary victim” of its ­failings after she developed post-traumatic stress ­disorder and spent six weeks in a ­specialist mental health facility. She has also ­contemplated ­suicide, but felt she could not leave her son Patrick, 21, without a mum.

Mandy said: “Finding Hannah’s body was the worst moment of my life. I have flashbacks every day. It’s like a film on a constant loop.

“The effects of these ­failings have been catastrophic. I’m ­terrified it will happen to someone else’s child.”

The Health Care Professions Council ruled the insults about Hannah were “undoubtedly spoken” but failed to prove the case against a named social ­worker.

Coroner Keith Wiseman ­delivered a narrative verdict at her inquest and ruled the Trust had “not adequately identified” the risks to Hannah.

Mandy said: “Everyone says I did ­everything I could but there are times when the guilt kicks in. I wonder if I should’ve just handcuffed us both to Antelope House.

“It’s 2017 but our attitude to mental health beggars belief – especially from those supposedly trained in this field.”

 She added: “A lot of people do judge, and say, ‘Snap out of it.’ But no one would ever tell you to snap out of it if you had cancer. Something has to change.” 

Julie Dawes, interim chief ­executive of Southern Health said: “I apologise again on behalf of the trust for letting Miss Groves down in 2012 and I send my condolences to her family.”

 

 

If you feel suicidal, need support and someone to speak to, Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. Call 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org 

 

 


 

I don’t make any money from my work. I am disabled because of illness and have a very limited income. But you can help by making a donation to help me continue to research and write informative, insightful and independent articles, and to provide support to others. The smallest amount is much appreciated – thank you. 

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Lords table motion to kill new Tory restrictions on PIP

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It’s estimated that around 160,000 disabled people will be stripped of their entitlement to support for the additional costs they face because of their disability after the government shifted the goalposts to deal with upper tribunal legal rulings, according to the Labour Party.

Debbie Abrahams, shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “Instead of listening to the court’s criticisms of personal independence payment assessments and correcting these injustices, the government has instead decided to undermine the legal basis of the rulings.

This is an unprecedented attempt to subvert an independent tribunal judgment by a government with contempt for judicial process.

By shifting the goalposts, the Tory government will strip entitlements from over 160,000 disabled people, money which the courts believe is rightfully theirs.

This is a step too far, even for this Tory government. Labour will stand with disabled people, who have already borne the brunt of seven years of austerity, in fighting this injustice.”

(See also:  Government subverts judicial process and abandons promise on mental health ‘parity of esteem’ to strip people of PIP entitlement. )

Labour opposes the reform and will also seek to block the statutory instrument in the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

According to the Liberal Democrat Voice, the Liberal Democrats have tabled a motion to kill the government attempts to severely restrict disability benefits. 

The government will have used a statutory instrument that amends the Welfare Reform Act 2012. However, statutory instruments are generally used for non-controversial policy changes, and changes that don’t require much parliamentary scrutiny and debate. That clearly is not the case for the Conservative’s contentious Personal Independence Payment regulations, that attempt to overturn court rulings that are meant to be independent of government influence.

The move follows the recent undemocratic announcement by the government that they will be tightening the criteria for claimants of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) which will see people with serious illnesses such as diabetes, epilepsy and a wide range of mental illnesses left without support.

The purpose of Upper Tribunals

The government has introduced the restrictive regulations after losing two cases at tribunals, showing an utter contempt for the UK judiciary system. However, the UK tribunal system is part of the national system of administrative justice

Administrative law is the body of law that governs the activities of administrative agencies of government. It is designed to independently review the decisions of governments, and as such, it provides protection and promotion of fundamental rights and freedoms for citizens.

The Upper Tribunal is a superior court of record, giving it equivalent status to the High Court and it can both set precedents and can enforce its decisions (and those of the First-tier Tribunal) without the need to ask the High Court or the Court of Session to intervene. It is also the first (and only) tribunal to have the power of judicial review. (The Conservatives have a historical dislike of judicial review. See for example: The real “constitutional crisis” is Chris Grayling’s despotic tendencies and his undermining of the Rule of Law.)

The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 created a new unified structure for tribunals and recognises legally qualified members of tribunals as members of the judiciary of the United Kingdom who are guaranteed continued judicial independence. This means that the judiciary is kept discrete from other branches of government. That is so that courts are not subjected to improper influence from the other branches of government, or from private or partisan interests.

Judicial Independence is vital and important to the idea of separation of powers. The intent behind this concept is to prevent the concentration of political power and provide for checks and balances. It has been significantly influenced by judicial independence principles developed by international human rights constitutional documents. in the application of the European Convention on Human Rights in British law through the Human Rights Act 1998, which came into force in the UK in 2000.

The government’s new regulations are a particularly autocratic move, aimed at simply overturning two legal rulings that the government did not like, partly because their zealotry concerning their anti-welfarism and “small state” neoliberal ideology has been challenged. The regulations were ushered in and imposed so that they would not be subjected to parliamentary scrutiny and debate or democratic dialogue with disabled people or groups and organisations that support and advocate for those with disability. 

From Penny Mordaunt’s statement:

“The first judgement held that needing support to take medication and monitor a health condition should be scored in the same way as needing support to manage therapy, like dialysis, undertaken at home. Until this ruling, the assessment made a distinction between these two groups, on the basis that people who need support to manage therapy of this kind are likely to have a higher level of need, and therefore face higher costs.

The second held that someone who cannot make a journey without assistance due to psychological distress should be scored in the same way as a person who needs assistance because they have difficulties navigating. By way of example, the first group might include some people with isolated social phobia or anxiety, whereas the second group might include some people who are blind. Until this ruling, the assessment made a distinction between these two groups, on the basis that people who cannot navigate, due to a visual or cognitive impairment, are likely to have a higher level of need, and therefore face higher costs.”

Responding to the announcement, Baroness Cathy Bakewell, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said:

“The government is using its recent losses in court as an excuse to severely restrict disability benefits. Rather than listening to the ruling they are using it to make matters worse for disabled people – that is utterly outrageous.

What makes things even worse is that they have sneaked this announcement out under the cover of by-elections. These decisions impact the lives of vulnerable people, Liberal Democrats will not allow the Conservatives to get away with treating people with disabilities with such total contempt.”

The Liberal Democrats contributed to scuppering the government’s plans to restrict tax credits back in October 2015.

Personally, I welcome any collaborative effort to challenge the Conservative’s draconian policies which deny people the help and support that they need. 

 

Related

Government defeated twice on tax credit cuts in House of Lords

Government signal move to curb the powers of the House of Lords after tax credit defeat

The Strathclyde Review clarifies the Conservatives’ authoritarianism

A black day for disabled people – disability benefit cuts enforced by government despite widespread opposition


I don’t make any money from my work. I am disabled because of illness and have a very limited income. But you can help by making a donation to help me continue to research and write informative, insightful and independent articles, and to provide support to others. The smallest amount is much appreciated – thank you.

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