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Author Archives: DavidTG

Last week I handed in my badge.  No, I was not playing a disgraced sheriff in a western.  It was my NHS badge and my term of office was up. I carry some treasured memories away with me.  The first thing I have to say is that everyone I encountered was very dedicated and extremely professional about how they did their job.  Secondly I am convinced that the NHS needs fundamental reform and that will not be easy. It needs more resources.  Even Theresa May thinks that. But that is not all. We need to think about what we are […]
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  There is wide agreement that it would be beneficial to integrate social services and local NHS community services.  This could provide “wrap around care” and look after elderly and vulnerable people in a community setting. Such a system could reduce hospital admissions, but the reason for doing it is to improve the welfare of patients. Such scheme are already working well in Durham and other parts of the country. Where there is not agreement is when such a system could be constrained within a strict financial envelope . A possible consequence could then be the outsourcing of management and […]
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  I feel passionately about the NHS. It is something we as a nation should be immensely proud of, and we are lucky we established it when we did, because I expect it would be very difficult to set up such a scheme now with all the vested interests who would oppose it. It stands as a symbol of fairness and solidarity in a society which is otherwise becoming more unequal and fractured. I am involved with the NHS and I never cease to be amazed by how selfless and ethical most of the people who work in it are. […]
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Thanks to South Tyneside SHA and Iain Malcolm for hosting this event, and for Sharon Hodgson and Emma Lewell Buck for taking the time to come. There was a full discussion, and the following points emerged. There have been drastic reductions on spending on social services and public health spending is set drop. Health inequalities, particularly with children, continue to widen. A recent report highlights this. Budgets for prevention should not be cut. This undermines the Five Year Forward View. Local Authorities need more power to implement effective public health measures. There is universal agreement that health and social care […]
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We have had worrying items in the news about the state of the NHS. A hospital in Lincolnshire had to suspend A&E at night, and in the North East we have had warnings about a shortage of GPs. So what is going on? Let us look at the facts. We all know the population is ageing, and older people tend the use the NHS and social care more than younger ones. New technologies are also more expensive, although they often result in better outcomes. The NHS needs an increase in real terms funding every year simply to stay where it […]
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In Easington we held a seminar on January 16th 2016 jointly between Easington Constituency, The Socialist Health Association and Unite and invited the public to come. There was a great turnout, including people who were willing to admit they suffered, or had suffered, mental health issues. There were almost 50 people there. We had some good speakers too, who were willing to give up their time on a Saturday, Dr Paul Williams from Teesside and Dr Kamal Sidhu from Easington, joined by Anna Lynch, Director of Public Health for Durham. I am very grateful to all of them, as well as […]
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Whatever you think about the new regime in the Labour Party, one of the good things about it is a willingness to discuss policies openly, and to invite other people to join in. In Easington we held a seminar jointly between the Constituency, The Socialist Health Association and Unite and invited the public to come. There was a great turnout, including people who were willing to admit they suffered, or had suffered, mental health issues. We had some good speakers too, who were willing to give up their time on a Saturday, Dr Paul Williams from Teesside and Dr Kamal […]
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I have heard Simon Stevens speak, and read the Five Year Forward View.  His utterances and writings are very intense, and have to be thought carefully about. First let us dismiss the canard that because he worked for United Health in America he is automatically bon a mission to privatise the NHS.  In fact he worked for the part which dealt with Medicare, a state-funded scheme. I think his ideas have merit and the SHA should consider them. (Bear in mind of course that he did not write the Five Year Plan single-handed.  It is the result of much debate […]
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Anyone who was at Labour Party Conference this year could not fail to have been impressed by the shared enthusiasm and sense of endeavour linked to the issue of the NHS.  Harry Smith’s speech about the progress we have made moved some of those in the audience to tears.  Everyone was fired up with enthusiasm to make the NHS our big election issue. Fringe meetings about the NHS were full to bursting. It is great to see the Labour Party united around an issue where the Tories are distrusted and we can make the running. So does that mean there […]
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The SHA held a Policy Forum on January 11th in Durham open to SHA members, Labour Party members and other sympathetic health experts. The meeting was sponsored by Unite. 45 people attended, including health professionals, trade unionists, councillors, activists, academics and NHS Governors and Lay Representatives. The conclusions are presented under the categories used in the Labour Party “Final Year Document”. Some points fit into more than one category. (a)             Whole Person Care Integration between health and social care should focus on the person not the organisation.  Labour’s “Every Child Matters” onion was a good model.  Needs based not service […]
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First published in the Newcastle Journal At this time of year political commentators like to set out what they think the major challenges ahead.  So far the main topics have been the European Elections, The Chilcott Enquiry into the Iraq War, which is due to report in the summer, and the Scottish Referendum on Scottish Independence. I want to add a fourth.  The future of the NHS, since this year may well be a tipping point as to whether we still have something we can recognise as an NHS at all. In this country we have been blessed with two national […]
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How the “Big Society” fits into “One Nation” politics. Many of us on the left worry that despite the obvious economic difficulties of many in our society, those in positions of economic power continue to act as if nothing has changed from the “glory days” before the crash in 2008.  Large bonuses and payoffs are still the norm, even in some publicly-owned organisations.  Statistics indicate that economic inequality is increasing yet at the same time many of the very rich seem to contribute little to society.Despite the protestations of David Cameron at the last election about the “Big Society” that […]
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