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Author Archives: Irwin Brown

Irwin Brown has been the editor of Socialism and Health since it was founded in 1965.

This branch condemns seven years of Tory austerity that has brought NHS to the brink; regrets that the Tories have spent less than 1% per year while NHS costs rise by 4% leading to pay caps, rising waiting lists and tighter rationing nationally and in this constituency; therefore we call on the Labour Party to stop austerity in the NHS and re-commit to increase the NHS budget in line with rising costs of new treatments, fair wages and increasing health needs, rather than the 2.3% average increase promised in the 2017 manifesto.

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In recent years there has been a growing understanding of just how essential sleep is in order for us to live healthy and active lives. This has led to an entire industry of sleep scientists and bed retailers all seeking to find new ways of helping us achieve that mythical eight-hours sleep. But what is it that sleep does that’s so essential to our well-being? Physical benefits When sleeping our bodies carry out essential maintenance in everything from repairing blood vessels to regenerating damaged skin cells. And such is the power of this activity, that those suffering from sleep deprivation […]
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Staffordshire was the last of the Sustainability and  Transformation Plans to be published perhaps because relationships in this part of the country are rumoured to be poor. Both providers and commissioners in the area are challenged. Despite this the commissioners in Staffordshire are going ahead with a hugely controversial project to outsource some £1.2 bn of NHS services. This is at least in part an outsourcing of commissioning functions. The Public Accounts Committee considered a similar exercise in Cambridge with some grave concerns. The PAC report into the matter noted:- We asked the CCG why it had decided to contract […]
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Reading many Sustainability and Transformation Plans leads to the conclusion that what we need are Survival and Recovery Plans. Every day brings more reports of failings in the care system. Every STP sets out starkly a set of challenges that have to be met. Every commentator and think tank agrees the system cannot meet our expectations without further funding, which the government says is not coming. Survival ought to be about getting through the winter without system failures. Recovery ought to be about getting back to meeting all the NHS targets (A&E, Ambulance, Cancer, Referral to Treat Time) and having […]
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The principle of the STP process is sound. After the disastrous destruction of planning arising from the Health and Social Care Act, the notion of bringing together providers and commissioners within a recognisable geographical area is a good one. Ignoring or actively subverting the failed market approach brings some sense at last. Sustainability and Transformation Plans set out to offer opportunities to explore options and collectively find solutions to various health and social care challenges. They also give the chance to join up health and social care, and involve local authorities much more – potentially key in an era of […]
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Despite the very best efforts and dedication from thousands of staff the care services in Blithering are not as good as they should be and without significant changes they will get worse. Leaders from within the NHS and local authorities have worked together to agree on the key issues facing Blithering and to think about how changes for the better could be made. Many local groups, local organisations and staff have also been able to submit their views and ideas. Now we wish to consult with the wider public on our ideas. There are many reasons why changes need to […]
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Welcome to your new role as Shadow Secretary of State for Health. It is to be hoped that you can build a strong team and bring continuity after the sadly premature departure of Heidi Alexander. You take the role at a time of major pressures on our NHS due to the inadequate funding and the lack of proper system of accountability because of the ludicrous H&SC Act. We are also witnessing but not adequately highlighting the disgraceful continuing decline in social care and support. Labour went into the 2015 general election with some care policies that were widely supported throughout […]
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If it was decided to move to an all public NHS in England with health boards then what would be the advantages and what would be the cost of making the transition? So far this change has been argued for as an end in itself, stopping any private involvement in the NHS, but nothing has been said about how it could be brought about, what the benefits are for patients or the costs to be met. The Welsh NHS has virtually no private provision of health care. It is structured through local health boards based on defined geographical areas and […]
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Our basic model of universal free health care is affordable and desirable for sound economic reasons as well as for social justice. It is a model supported by the public. Currently it is in the headlines because by general consensus it is unable to meet expectations given current levels of funding. Cuts in funding over two parliaments and the chaos from an unnecessary redisorganisation have halted the improvement trend established up to 2010. Cuts in social care have caused hardship for hundreds of thousands and piled even greater pressure on the NHS. Bad stories about the NHS will lead to […]
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Both the SHA and the Labour Party have developed policies that are designed to remove the market structures from the NHS and to return to an integrated managed system with a Secretary of State politically and legally accountable for its performance. Both have argued that a top down reorganisation is unnecessary and to be avoided; legislation is required to repeal the market related part of the 2012 Act but the broader aims can be achieved by allowing existing structures and organisations to develop in the appropriate way. In fact this is already happening in many parts of the country with […]
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Many campaigners expressed concerns during the passage of the Lansley nonsense that the NHS was being packaged up to make privatisation easier and a sell off inevitable. As has been said many times the only way to prevent privatisation is to elect a government that does not do it. Anyway. The NHS Reinstatement Bill  suggests that the NHS is reorganised so that (around 40) health authorities would be directly funded to plan, organise and provide the services for the relevant area. The health authorities would be under the direction of the secretary of state and their management would be appointed. […]
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It looks as if the era of markets and competition within the NHS has come to an end. The vanguards and devolution experiments are challenging the traditional boundaries. Many pages of planning guidance contains no mention of competition – Monitor is being morphed into something else entirely. Commissioning as has been tried through its various guises is adapting further in different ways in different places. Integrated providers and hybrids of commissioner/provider are now possible. New kinds of organisational bodies could be taking over the role as strategic commissioner of integrated services. So – much thought is being given to future […]
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