Just Remind Me How The Tories Will be Worse?

Later, a healthcare professional working for the private healthcare company which carries out these assessments, wrote in indicating that there was a target that the inspection team were expected to meet. Under the username rightthewrong, he wrote:

“I probably am going to get fired tommorrow for coming on this forum, but I don’t care. I have been doing these “assessments” for some time now. It’ s rubbish, draconian to say the least and it is designed to get people off the sick benefit. It is designed so that 75% of the people who apply for ESA, come hell or high water, ‘fail’ it.”

Well Duh

NHS walk-in centres near railway stations are not popular with commuters and are a waste of money, say University of Sheffield researchers.

…a study has found they are seeing as few as 30 patients a day and cost twice as much as other GP surgeries.

While they are paid for by the NHS, they are actually run by private health firms.

The Department of Health-funded evaluation found that the clinics were seeing between 33 and 101 patients a day, despite having capacity for 150 to 180 patients.

Four of the centres were in a poor location away from the beaten track, the study – reported in the British Journal of General Practice – concluded.

It was estimated that the price per attendance at the clinics was £33 compared with an estimated £13 for walk-in centres provided by the NHS.

At some centres, the cost per patient was as high as £62.

Study leader Dr Alicia O’Cathain said the results showed that walk-in centres should be provided by the NHS, rather than private companies.

And she added that they needed to be placed near where people work, rather than at train stations. “One of the problems was location, so one for example was near the train station but wasn’t on the commuter track and there were very few people who went through that way. At the start and end of the day people are in a rush, but the way that people use walk-in centres is to go in their lunchtime.”

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Obama Fail

Hip Op & You Don’t Stop

Once again it is hip arthroplasty time! If I look back it was January ’08 when mi madre had her left hip done and as is often the case it soon became apparent the pain was not just from that naughty joint, the right needed doing too, so factor in enough recovery from first op and schedules and here we are about to embark on it again. This time it is to sunny Ysbyty Gwynedd we go for our socialised medicine. Despite occasional horror stories about the hospital (thanks internal market and outsourcing!) the surgeon seems good and me and my sister and assembled nieces will be on hand to keep things kopasetic (the theatre is ‘ring fenced’ against infection they trumpet, but then you think, erm, surely all theatres are/ should be?!?! They’re not likely to say ‘yeah the St. MRSA suite is smeared in shit, blood and pus but hey whadya gonna do? Clean it?! We’ve got management consultants to pay you know.’). Anyways, things like this require a leap of faith in society, you cannot be everything and do it all yourself (thus libertarian’s juvenile narcissism breaks down) we pay tax into a common pot, we have medical staff trained, we have hospitals, time to see if people still care enough about other people to do a good job despite the best efforts of the atomising ‘free market’ and its political & corporate shills.

Swine Flu Silver Lining

It could be worse, you could be in a backwards nation with no comprehensive health service-

The fatality rate also appears to be low. In the UK, only three people – all with significant underlying health problems – have died out of 7,447 confirmed cases. Health experts believe more people have caught swine flu but shown no symptoms. In the United States, the official figures show 27,725 Americans have contracted H1N1, with 127 deaths.

Hmm roughly what, almost a thousand percent higher fatality rate for corporate profits first system? (money- a pretty comon motive for murder I guess).


At last a good article in the ‘meejah’on the privatising and removing of entitlement bill (also known in newspeak as the Welfare Reform Bill), HarpyMarx makes good points too and states the most pressing simple solution- ditch the bill. It is Toryism being inflicted by a nominally Labour Government. I have experience of the system as it treats us differently sane types and one subject that is avoided is the role of the PCA system in increasing stressors on suicidal people, consequently the DWP have directly played a major contributory part in suicides that could have been avoided. This is known but ignored in order to cut benefits and follow orthodox neoliberal ideology towards moving public money into private hands. As such I consider it a form of corporate manslaughter by our government and the associated corporations it contracts.

Atos Origin employ doctors to run the software tests (which cannot be peer reviewed for medical efficacy because the DWP & Atos claim ‘commercial confidentiality’) which are then adjudicated by non doctors. As such an interesting appearance of medical professionalism is presented by this, the claimant sees a doctor -albeit just clicking a mouse on a PC questionnaire- not the office based adjudicator. I think the medical profession have to ask some hard questions as to the ethics of playing a role in the current and proposed systems. However given the role of medical professionals in torture, I won’t hold my breath (no water boarding pun intended).

Harpy’s mention of Michael Moore’s Sicko is very apt, as it showed the process of corporate executives receiving bonuses and career advancement in return for denying treatment to clients that lead to the clients death but to increased profit for the corporation. The private sector’s advance into the NHS is spearheaded by the privatising of welfare and particularly its medical aspects. Just as America wakes up to the horrors of healthcare for profit (and the ruling class fight desperately to avoid a democratically majority desired national healthcare system) we are about to fall fully into the nightmare, piloted -as ever- on the least powerful, most ignored and misunderstood minorities in society. We should be saying- “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” (this time, pun intended).

Welfare reform will contribute to the growing problem of mental illness. The DWP is taking on the role of a therapeutic agent, claiming work will make people better against the advice of their doctors.

Welfare reforms to date are failing the needs of people with mental illness. Claimants who have “symptoms without diseases”, or mental health conditions, and who cannot demonstrate that their illness has an “objective medical pathology” will be most at risk of being denied benefits or forced to undertake inappropriate work activity.

Personal Capability Assessment claims have been assessed by Atos Origin employees with no medical training. Computerised evaluations coupled with clearance time targets have led to significant statistical error. Fifty per cent of appeals against the refusal of claims found in favour of the claimant (pdf). In 80% of these cases the problem was poor assessment of mental health problems.

DWP research shows (pdf) that Pathways to Work pilots have done little to help people with mental illness find work. Further DWP research shows that one of the main barriers to attending work-focused interviews is mental ill health (pdf). The same report also reveals that sanctions have a negative impact on people’s mental health, both for those who are already mentally ill and for others who develop anxiety or depression.

Welsh Fucking Water! (Well United Utilities)

And now… some light ranty relief:-

Here in sunny, ok rainy at present North Wales you get used to the fact that Welsh Water, the privatised water providing monopoly is incapable of providing clean fucking drinking water on a reliable basis! And here we go again-

About 70,000 households and businesses in two north Wales counties are being advised to boil their drinking water after bacteria were found in supplies. Customers in areas of Flintshire and Denbighshire supplied by the Alwen treatment works are affected.

Now this doesn’t affect me…yet, but for all those tired of this bullshit year in year out I ask- Is drinking water somehow beyond our scientific abilities? I’m sure I’ve heard of other places where amazingly you can drink the water and not get ill, ooh it must be like some futuristic dreamscape! Has the concept of potable water become an impossible riddle to even the greatest of minds?

No, it is just an impossibility to the neoliberal mind. Now enjoy the hilarious farce that is Welsh Water’s post privatisation history (thanks Conservatives!)-

Welsh Water Authority was privatised by stock market flotation in 1989, along with the other nine regional water authorities, which provided the company with a substantial cash surplus for some years, which it used to diversify in a wide range of sectors including leisure (Hotels, Fishing etc.).

Yeah that’s what I want from a water provider, a good range of hotels and a keen interest in angling. Oh no, what I meant was the other thing, what I like in a water provider is clean fucking drinking water! (I may have already mentioned that -clean fucking drinking water- but y’know repetition might make it sink in, in between the suits looking at new car brochures and second home buying).

It renamed itself Hyder in 1996 after taking over a local electricity company (SWALEC) and becoming a water and electricity multi-utility.

What could possibly go wrong, water and electricity mix so well!

However, in 1999/2000, following the windfall tax on utility profits and the 1999 Ofwat price review, Hyder got into financial difficulties which led to its breakup following a takeover battle.

Who could of foreseen their huge profits might get taxed and their business practices were so criminal Ofwat would force a change? They’re not mind readers…Oh these things took some years to happen and there were months of warning, erm…maybe they were otherwise engaged on what colour the hotels should be painted or which celebrity to advertise their fishing business, was Noel Edmonds busy, did Roger Daltrey turn them down?

Western Power Distribution purchased Hyder on 15 September 2000 with a view to acquiring its electricity distribution business, and rapidly sold off Hyder’s other assets. Welsh Water was sold by WPD to Glas Cymru for £1,

A pound? That explains it, they found a babbling tramp in a Cardiff street and swapped the company for a half can of special brew. Wait they didn’t? So what can explain it? Neoliberal MBA managerialism that couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery? Financiers who make money with every transaction regardless of the consequences to those who actually use the service? Like that could ever go wrong, CDO’s all round!

along with £1.85 billion of Hyder debt. Under the terms of its licence Glas Cymru may not operate in sectors other than water.

Imagine, a water providing monopoly actually dedicated to providing water and not using its monopoly (which makes it an industry manifestly unsuitable for privatisation even free market theoreticians could figure that out… or not apparently). But as it’s a monopoly, how about we own it (y’know, like we did), so it runs at cost and no one exploits the need for the most essential substance for life on planet Earth- water.

Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water (Dŵr Cymru means Welsh Water in Welsh) is owned by Glas Cymru, a company limited by guarantee. Most of Welsh Water’s activities are outsourced to other companies.

So really Welsh Water is a contracting body which passes on the work and …the responsibility?

KWS Wales operate waste water in the south and United Utilities operate clean water for the whole of Wales and waste water in the north.

Hey here’s an idea, keep the two separate! There you can have that for free, you see maybe your consultants haven’t told you this but sewage and drinking water…not the same thing, m’kay? But what was that again?

clean water for the whole of Wales.

Whoa there- United Utilities operate clean water for the whole of Walesthey do? Can we have some of this clean water? Where can you get it? Because it certainly doesn’t come out of the fucking taps!