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14th April 2024 
BLOG. Nye Bevan

BLOG

B1, 20/12/22

A delayed start to these blogging pages: a close bereavement followed by the Summer break and then a return to end with my clients left me somewhat short of of a running start.

But here we are; almost Christmas and whod'av thought it - nurses are striking and Paramedics too, HMG is posturing at playing hard ball and it would seem that the nurses have still a lot of public support in the bank. I've been down at the BRI with them, other colleagues from PoNHS have been up at Southmead and nationally reports are the same: lots of folk out on picket lines, sometimes deafening hoots from passing motorists and real earbenders when an ambulance or fire engine joins in, members of the public are turning up with hot drinks and snacks, local councilors are in evidence but sadly, in Bristol, as far as I know, not one MP showed their face.

Not one MP showed their face. In Bristol all of our four MPs come from the Labour party, a party that on paper is proud to have instigated our National Health service - I have a tea towel hanging in my front window that proudly proclaims the fact and, equally proudly no doubt, reminds us that the Tories voted against it (22 times) - but not one of them chose to show support for our National Health Service nurses on the first day of their first ever strike.

What is going on?

I wish I knew, I wish I had some better way of finding out, understanding what motivates the political mindset.




B.2. 28/3/23.

Clearly this blogging business isn't yet at the top of my agenda, not yet at least.

Thinking about the closing sentence above:
I wonder if anyone would be interested in a workshop aimed at exploring just why the tories, and a worrying number of labour politicians, seem to want to destroy our National Health Service, to look at it from a psychologically informed perspective?

I trouble myself with the thought that, as an experienced psychotherapist, I should know the answer.

All I really know is that 'shoulds' don't help much.

So, for starters:

Is it simply that it's offensive to the capitalist mindset that there's about 130 Billion pounds sloshing about in the service and no one's making a big profit out of it? (Until Covid and cockhand Matthew came along that is.)

Is it that people should, in their view, only get what they can personally afford? So no heart surgery for the poor, no costly drugs, no CT scans....?

Is it that progressive taxation offends the rich by getting them to pay more and thereby provide healthcare for those who could in no way afford it?

Is it a simple lack of recognition that healthcare for all means a fitter and therefore better and more reliable workforce (and more profit for the owning class as well.)?

Is it that nurses are still somehow regarded as servants who should be glad to work for a roof over their heads and something to eat (oops! nurses homes....food banks)?

Is it that there are vested interests at play in maintaining below workable numbers of nurses so that money can be directed to the private sector via nursing agencies? Perish the thought!

Is it that Drs are resented for their expertise and salaries in the same way as teachers are for their holidays? ( Junior Drs on the picket line tell us that they are earning £14.00 ph, they could earn more in Pret a manger, hence the slogan: " I can't make a flat white but I can save your life!" No wonder many of them are "Pret a partir")

Is it that cleaners or porters are regarded as easily replaceable, unskilled drudges to be outsourced to the lowest bidder with shamefully poor pay and conditions - until brexit sends lots of them home and hospital acquired infections rise due to deskilling and impossibly short task/time allocations by the profit seeking employers?

Is it that they still believe that the private sector can do things more efficiently as long as someone is making vast profits out of it c.f. trains, busses, water, gas, electricity or the American medical system that is the leading supplier of bankruptcies in the USA?

Is it simply selfishness and greed on the part of those in power?

Why do the tories hate our NHS? - So; anyone interested in w/shop? I'd be happy to facilitate one for the cost of the room hire as part of my sabbatical.......

THERE'S A NEW EMAIL SPECIFICALLY FOR YOU IF YOU WANT TO RESPOND TO ANYTHING WRITTEN HERE:

NHScampaign23@tonehorwood.co.uk


I think that most of us reading this will know that the tories, despite their recent attempts to re-write history and claim that one of their ministers first proposed and therefor created our National Health Service, voted to oppose a National Health Service it when it was being introduced.
From the beginning they opposed it and for the last forty years at least they have been trying to reduce, fragment and privatise it. But why? Why do the tories hate our national Health Service so much?

Why would anyone, anyone who is in government presumably to promote the public good, want to destroy a service that guarantees medical care to the whole population free at the point of need in return for a financial contribution made according to ability to pay throughout one’s working life or credited if one is unable to work?
What sense does such a view make in terms of economics, in terms of social justice in terms of simple morality?

I am no economist but it seems to me that anyone with a business to run, anyone who is convinced that economic growth is a good thing needs staff to do the work to create both the profit and the growth. The workforce needs to be fit and well and when sick needs to be cured/cared for. So it seems to me that from an employer’s perspective it’s a good thing to have workers health needs met by a system that the workers contribute to.

Employers rely on our National Health Service to keep the workforce able to work. I see no employers, even the largest, setting up their own hospitals, A&E departments, GP surgeries or ambulance services. Some, it has to be said, give private health insurance as part of the benefits package; the shortcomings of which only becoming apparent when attempting to use them for anything pre-existing or chronic, most do not.
So why would employers not want a national Health Service for their staff? ( Even employers who run private healthcare firms benefit from it’s use when staff require emergency treatment or care for chronic conditions with hefty pharma bills).
I can only guess:
Perhaps they still believe that 'getting something for nothing' is not good for working people despite the fact that working people pay for such services through their PAYE which the employers themselves administer.
Perhaps, having worked hard to get themselves into employer positions they fear for their new status and feel a need to do what they can to keep others down.
Perhaps they believe that, as in the USA, working people should be liable to bankruptcy when ill health strikes and they find themselves insufficiently insured.
Perhaps they believe that healthcare for the working population is a matter for charitable organisations and through which a means for their own self-aggrandisement through conspicuous giving.
Perhaps they believe that working people are expendable in an economy where workforce needs are diminishing and that the sick and injured can be left to manage as best they can with or without any charitable input, as there are plenty more where they came from.
Or perhaps they believe most of the above and hide behind the stated belief that we, as a country, just can’t afford universal healthcare, forgetting in that view that it is we as individuals who are paying into the system and the government that is paying out on our behalf and, in theory at least, according to our wishes. We are the country and we, by a vast majority, believe in in the benefits and economic viability of universal healthcare.
What we can afford is a decision, how we make that decision in regards to the health of the nation goes a long way to informing what kind of a nation we were, are, or aspire to be.

In terms of social justice, let’s start with Nye Bevan, the minister who actually, despite the tory attempts to re-write history mentioned above, steered our National Health Service through parliament: “ No society”, he said “can call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical care because of a lack of means.”
But there are clearly those amongst us who don’t share that view, I wish I understood them better.

And as I said above: I'd be willing to facilitate a w/shop on this for the cost of the room hire as part of my sabbatical if enough people get in touch with some interest......

More on this next time.

B.3. 5/4/23

Went to a meeting of Labour Party members and staff in Filton last Thursday in the hope of getting a few words with Keir Starmer who was there to kick start the local election campaign.
Got through the melee after the speeches, shook his hand, looked him in the eye and asked for a sit down with him and Keep our NHS Public; he agreed and I went on to talk with an aide and the SW coms person in the hope of making it happen.
We shall see what comes of this; interesting in the light of Labour's Shadow Health Minister Wes Streeting's response to a similar request which was to send along one of this aides.
I'm a fan of looking such folk in the eye. On Keir Starmer's Wiki page it mentions that he was a keen amateur footballer in London - no idea where on the pitch he played but it did get me wondering how come he and his party seem so reluctant to wack every ball possible into the open goal of this government's health policy. It all seems a bit acquiescent to me. Not sure how any of this this might relate to Wes Streeting having a hefty donation from a supporter involved in private healthcare.........

NHScampaign23@tonehorwood.co.uk


B. 4. 15/6/23.

Clearly I continue to be not the most dedicated blogger.

Still waiting for confirmation of the promised meeting with KS. My notes to the relevant gofors are straining at the leash of impatience.

More locally; Protect our NHS, the Bristol/Bath and WSM based campaign group asked the four Bristol Labour MPs to meet us to discuss lacal and nation issues around our National Health Service. Darren Jones was keen to do so and in at the outset, Karin Smyth and Thangam Debbobaire apparently have more pressing concerns and Kerry McCarthy has yet to confirm.


The National Health Service will be 75 on July 5th. so stand by for an outpouring of hypocritical self congratulatory BS from the tories, their masters and hangers on despite the years of attacks on the service.
I hear that there's going to be a celebratory event at The Carlton Club - an exclusive membership club in St. James, London - to mark the event.
Would it be cynical of me to wonder what, exactly, they'll be celebrating:

- Perhaps their success in increasingly turning our National Health Service into a funnel for pouring public money into private pockets?
- Perhaps their success in setting up unelected bodies, so called Integrated Care Boards, to manage local healthcare with the freedom to engage more freely than ever with the private sector.
- Perhaps their success in withholding any staffing plan despite undertakings to do so?
- Perhaps the growth in profits of staffing agencies as the Health Service is forced to fill unsafely short rotas with overpriced temps?
- Perhaps the growing number of people who feel forced into buying surgery from private providers as they can no longer bear the pain whilst waiting in the longest waiting lists ever?
- Perhaps their success over many years in keeping these aims hidden from general view. We used to speak of them doing so "by stealth" but now, as a very well spoken consultant colleague of mine put it: " The tanks are on the facking lawn!"
- They will certainly be celebrating the general lack of attention and opposition to their plans over the years from both the public at large and the opposition (no irony there then) parties.
- No doubt some of them will be chortling:"How the fack did we get away with it?" out of champagne swilled mouths.


B. 5. 26/7/'23

You may be amazed to read that Keir Starmer's gofors have not yet confirmed a meeting with KONP.

You may be further amazed to know that South Bristol MP, Karin Smyth, has no time to meet with her constituents who are members of PONHS as she is on the shadow health committe and planning to meet with KOPN in the next few months. No one at KONP knows anything about this, I have written and asked her if this is related to the agreement I thought I had with KS to meet with KONP, perhaps she might have been delegated to attend in his place, and have had no reply.

Meanwhile the Junior Drs have been striking, the consultants will soon and the Radiographers are outside the BRI doing the same today.
- Just heard that the JD's will be out again on August 11th - 15th and the Consultants on August 24th - 25th. -

PONHS continues its biweekly street stall in The Centre at 1PM Monday and Friday getting passers by to sign a PC to their MP, from whatever part of the UK, expressing their concern at the state of our National Health Service. Our counting hasn't been that accurate but we've sent over 1,000 of them this year.
Part of the point of the street stall is to listen to peoples' concerns and feed them into our campaign work. The most disturbing thing I've heard in the last few weeks came separately from two female Ukrainian refugees. Women who fled a war zone and were welcomed here. Both of them told me that they have booked to return to Ukraine - back to a war zone - to have Gynae treatment as they cannot face the wait for it here.
Such is the state of our world leading undeveloping country.



B. 6. 9/10/'23

Having begun with a bit of a whimper, the sabbatical has ended with a bit of a bang as it coincided with PONHS booking Banner Theatre to bring their show "Enough Is Enough" to Cotham Parish hall last w/end. Banner are probably our last UK avowedly Socialist theatre group and the show focused on the depredation of our National Health Service and the working class in general. Not a massive audience but we probably broke even and see it, if there was a loss, as a very enjoyable and worthwhile campaigning expense.
One piece of feedback read; " The show reignited a flame that I have neglected to stoke for a while." Can't get better than that........

There are clips of the show on YouTube and, if you fancy a bit of agit-prop theatre, Banner can be contacted at: bannerauto2013@gmail.com. They will be back in Bristol early next year with a show for Bristol Trades Council.

PONHS continues it's post card campaign, we collected just short of 100 of them at the Forwards Festival on the Downs in Bristol.

Strangely enough, still nothing from Starmer or Smyth on meetings with either of them ( when I were a lad...looking someone in the eye and shaking hands on whatever was discussed meant something..........)

PONHS is continuing to work with the St Pauls Dentst Group following the withdrawal of BUPA from the dental service in Ashley Rd. at the end of June - presumably they weren't making enough money. We are keeping this on the agenda in our now, hopefully regular, meetings with the Integrated Care Service CEO.

We are also promoting our petition about the ill fitting IAPT mental Health Services locally. " One size does not fit all" This is being hosted by KONP and can be found on their www:
https://keepournhspublic.com/nhs-talking-therapies-petition/
I urge you to take a look ( and sign & share) if you have concerns about Mental Health services locally and, by implication, nationally

At KONP we are putting in appearances at the Covid Inquiry and promoting our own inquiry report " Malpractice in Public Office" which can be downloaded for free either full length or in digest form from the home page of:
https://keepournhspublic.com/
by following the link from " People's Covid Inquiry, Learn lessons and save lives." on the first page.
It's a long, scary read - the product of ten two hour on-line sessions chaired by Micheal Mansfield KC and contributed to by both those affected and national and international experts.
KONP's vision for our National Health Service appears on a paper for the Labour Party's current conference and is also well worth a read:

https://labouroutlook.org/2023/10/05/delivering-a-vision-for-the-peoples-nhs-keep-our-nhs-public/

The Junior docs are still striking intermittently and the consultants have joined them. Bully-Boy Barclay, not my name for him but Roy Lilley's, is still refusing to speak to them - in public anyway and no one I know knows, or will say, different,
Roy Lilley has a much, much better informed blog than mine for these matters. See: nhsmanagers.net

Both PONHS and KONP are politically non aligned and so, in my role as a psychotherapist, am I. However, as we get to the end of this infrequent blog and approach the even more infrequent return of a General Election, allow me to leave you with the thought that when the National Health Service was being planned the tories voted against it twenty-two times (not the forty-eight times I wrote earlier) that's twenty-two attempts to derail what was to become the most equitable and universal healthcare system that the world has ever seen.

Go well,

Tone.

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