News from Nowhere 96 March 2021

You and whose army?

A News from Nowhere mole overheard this delicious exchange originating somewhere in a parallel universe:

SwEL1*   If we don’t prevent the Long Term Plan Bill being enshrined in law we will never have a universal NHS free at the point of delivery again. It is designed to bring more privatisation and move us closer to the failed American insurance based health system.

SwEL2*   Pure shock doctrine. Feels like the only way to stop it is to occupy/shut down the newspapers & Westminster until Johnson & his entire Government resigns and we have a National Government which declares it will renationalise the NHS, rail, & mail. A protest w/ a clear objective.

*SwEL = Swivel-Eyed Loon   Source: Twitter

The network of food banks is now bigger than McDonalds

Foodbanks began in the UK in 2000, the first being in Salisbury. By 2010 there were 71, and by 2020 there were about 2000 – more than all the branches of McDonalds. Ten million people are experiencing food insecurity, and 4.5 million children are living in poverty. 

The Right to Food campaign wants laws changed to ensure every citizen has a right to food. 

The campaign aims to create a movement that first changes the nature of food banks from being a form of charity towards being a form of solidarity. We need to eradicate poverty and the need for food banks. If after reading this you do nothing else, sign and share this petition to make access to food a legal right:

Source: The Trussell Trust, and watch Ian Byrne on: 

Bodycams- another kind of PPE?

Patient satisfaction in NHS dropped sharply in the autumn of 2020, with the biggest area of concern being fast access to healthcare. The goodwill expressed towards the health service during the first Covid-19 peak in the spring of 2020 dissipated during the autumn. Hospitals were getting busier with more A&E attendances and demand for planned appointments and procedures reverting to near-normal levels. Increasing numbers of patients were waiting for assessments, tests and operations. Is that why ambulance crews in London have begun wearing body cameras to protect them from violent assaults and threats?

Sources: Matt Discombe Sharp drop in patient goodwill towards NHS since autumn Health Service Journal 22 February 2021   London Ambulance Service Media Team   Ambulance crews given body cameras for their protection  2nd February 2021  

Beware of GIGO!

Big Data is the hope of the NHS, isn’t it? A man in Liverpool was invited for a Covid-19 vaccine because his Body Mass Index (BMI) was high, at 28,000. (BMI is weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared; 30 and above counts as obese, 28,000 is incompatible with life).  Data had been added to his GP electronic record erroneously. His height of 6 foot 2 inches had been entered as 6.2 centimetres. 

The electronic record did not sound an alarm and nobody looking at the record seems to have noticed, until questioned. As it happened the very fat man was chunky Liam Thorp, political editor of the Liverpool Echo, whose journalist’s instincts told him something had gone awry. It didn’t take him long to find out, to the embarrassment of the NHS. It’s good to know that an old rule of data management still applies; garbage in, garbage out (GIGO).

Source: Liam Thorp  I was invited for a covid vaccine because the NHS thought I was 6cm tall Liverpool Echo, 17th February 2021

It’s good to talk

Our report on the extraordinary growth of London’s Socialist Health Association branch (‘Pack them in’ News from Nowhere 95 February 2021) encouraged a number of SHA members who wanted to tell a tale or two, to seek a mole’s ear. As always in these quirky political situations, the stories are much more complicated than the headlines suggest.

Billed a “clean sweep for the left” by one activist, the election of new members representing London on the National Council suggests a more mixed outcome. It is clear, however, that the list of favoured candidates – described as ‘mainstream’ – circulated by Luke Akehurst did badly. Luke Akehurst is the Secretary of Labour First, which together with Progress, is part of the umbrella organisation Labour to Win, supporting Starmer.

A participant in the meeting of hundreds noticed how little interest in NHS policy was expressed by so many of those gathered on-line. She thought the spear-carriers were from Momentum.  There was more certainty about misbehaviour over money, but only to the extent that nobody could explain what had actually been going on. Whatever the outcome, another stated, “the SHA still doesn’t have a mass base”.

News from Nowhere awaits more views, keep them coming!

Sources: too numerous to say.

NHS sues itself

NHS Property Services, which owns around 10 per cent of the NHS estate, has launched a legal action against five general practices which, the property company claims, owe them rent and service charges totalling £1.3m. This is a counterclaim in response to a legal challenge from the British Medical Association which asserts that the fees demanded by NHS Property Services were “unlawful”. This is a test case that could set a precedent for 800 practices— more than one in 10 of England’s total.

NHS Property Services, itself the offspring of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, is owned by the Department of Health and Social Care and has a portfolio of more than 3,600 buildings. The landlord has struggled to agree terms with as many as two thirds of its tenants, and in some cases no written leases for the properties exist. The full trial is set for 2022.

Source: Nick Carding PropCo sues GPs in landmark legal battle Health Service Journal 23rd February 2021

Read more News from Nowhere and articles on the NHS in ERA 3 at

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