The NHS and that Mr Hunt

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One of the reasons many people will give against a re-united Ireland is the disparity between the two health systems, north and south. In the north you visit your GP and it doesn’t cost, visit your GP in the south and it costs. Ditto prescriptions. In general the north’s health system is well ahead of that in the south. In fact it’s to the shame of successive southern governments that, even with the Celtic Tiger roaring, they didn’t bother their lazy consciences with setting up a decent  health system.

However, if you live in the north you’ll probably have noticed that the NHS is creaking at the seams. If you want an appointment with your GP, a wait of two weeks is not uncommon. There are all the stories of people being left lying on trolleys in over-crowded hospitals. And now that Jeremy Hunt, who’s in charge of health,  is intent on driving junior doctors to despair and/or emigration.

If you watched the BBC’s Question Time this week you’ll know that Hunt is claiming junior doctors won’t come to the negotiating table to sort out their pay and conditions. You’ll also know that a young doctor from the audience pointed out that Hunt had over twenty non-negotiable conditions in place before discussions even began. Essentially, in their concern to privatise the NHS, the Tories are telling junior doctors that unsociable hours begin at 10.00 pm. They’re also opening the doors to working doctors so hard over long continuous periods, the health of patients (and doctors) is at risk.  It’s clear that junior doctors are prepared to strike over this, and judging from the  majority of contributions from the panel and the floor of Question Time,  the British people are with them. If that doesn’t work, the junior doctors will simply leave the UK and go to other countries where they’ll be given decent working conditions and pay.

There are not many things that unite unionists and nationalists/republicans, but this is one of them. The NHS was one of the most significant institutions created by a government in the twentieth century.  The Tories are intent on fragmenting and ultimately destroying that NHS. Their selfishness and stupidity is seen clearly in this clash with junior doctors.  I don’t know if there’s an online petition supporting junior doctors, but if there isn’t there should be. One way or another, the public should be sending a message to Hunt and his mates: hands off the NHS – we paid and pay for it, we value it and you try to damage it at your peril. Talk about a red-line issue.

And yes, I do have a daughter who’s a junior doctor, and she does pronounce Mr Hunt’s name in a slightly different way.

13 Responses to The NHS and that Mr Hunt

  1. Francis November 7, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

    Welfare, not Warfare. When the weapons and capacity of War mongers increase, to the detriment of Peoples Wellbeing, we have a problem. The Conservatives in Ireland, and Britain, are the Problem. In the south of the country they wear the masks of the old Civil War Parties and may well use 2016 as a distraction. In Britain, they are the minority of those who voted, and even less when counted with those who didn’t. I diverge slightly from your view Jude on Unionism and a cross consensus prioritising the Health Service. The High Church Afrikaner Unionists aligned themselves with these Economic and Political Criminals. Not just the Ulster Unionists, the DUP, and the Druggie Progressives shadowing the UVF. WTF are we to believe their spin. The loyal Orders should be protesting Carson Style against the cuts to the People they Marshall. WTF am I thinking with such insane speculations. What’s that Billy Hutchie…..Exactly. Change must be effected over some peoples heads. Esp those in the Tory Alliance Electoral Pact Club.

  2. Iolar November 7, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

    Once again the response to the crisis in the health service, is a re-organisation. Ms Thatcher started to dismantle the health service by introducing the purchaser/provider split into the health service. Individuals with expertise in managing supermarkets were drafted in order to ‘modernise’ the health service. Training and staffing budgets were slashed. Individuals without clinical experience or management qualifications controlled budgets on the basis of a system of performance related pay and bonuses. Do we get value for money? The evidence speaks for itself. In the Republic an emergency medicine consultant revealed earlier this week that a 91-year-old spent 29 hours on a trolley. This is not an isolated case. It is a question of adequate levels of staffing and resources.

    In the north of Ireland, there is money to burn as waiting lists for medical care grow longer by the day, yet duplication of health and other public services remains the order of the day on this island. Some politicians and health service bureaucrats should realise there are some things that cannot be purchased with all the money in the world, such as health. We can and should learn lessons about the provision of high quality health care services from our Scandinavian neighbours, before it is to late. It is not a matter of re-organisation, it is a question of priorities and resources.

    Finance is never an issue when a military invasion is planned and resourced on the basis of dubious intelligence. Finance is never an issue when it is considered necessary to stockpile nuclear armaments. It seems we do get the politicians we deserve.

  3. Jim.hunter November 7, 2015 at 6:08 pm #


  4. John November 8, 2015 at 5:31 am #

    A fine and outstanding burst of what i may call ‘controlled anger’ from you there Jude. (And i was expecting the ‘rhyming slang’ before i clicked on the link. (!) – Best of luck to your daughter and her colleagues by the way. (Mr ‘Hunt’ is worth approx £5 million btw).
    There was no doubt that Thatcher had two main aims upon entering power – Dismantle (as lolar rightly – and in more depth), The NHS, and secondly – The Miners. And between the two, destroy / fracture the Unions. – As regards the Miners, a great deal can be said (and has been) – Who was right/wrong – Scargill / The Nottingham Miners who broke the Picket Lines? Scargill – rightly or wrongly, who tried to hold on to his subsidised NUM Apartment in London – to some disdain – but then again, it can’t be said he didn’t fight to the bitter end for his Union Members/Miners, against a woman who set the Army (dressed as Coppers’), alongside baton-wielding thugs (Police ID removed from Uniforms) – on Miners – AND their Wives. (A bit of first hand info here Jude. I was just approaching my 20’s back then, went on some ‘Flying Pickets’ with friends Fathers from my Home Town – crammed in a van on quite a few occasions to’ing and fro’ing from Lancashire to Yorkshire. Very much an eye-opener – on top of the fact that my Sister was approaching the end of a less than 10 year stint with the ‘dibble’ (in Bradford – right through ‘The Yorkshire Ripper’ era too) – she’d grown to be disgusted with the institutionalised racism etc etc within ‘The Force’ – against the Public, The Miners (i often went to stay with her, discovering what kind of tricks her ‘colleagues’ were up to), and even against ‘their own’ – such as gluing locker doors closed, so that when she (and other, predominantly WPC’s came on shift – they couldn’t get into their lockers to retrieve items they needed). I must say that reading her ‘Log Books’ during the years before were quite an insight into ‘The life of Crime’. – Though after all these years, i still can’t forgive her for being the first in the Family to vote Tory. (Thatcher ‘primed’ The Police Force, as soon as she got in, (plan in the ‘offing), with a 40% pay rise).

    And so, Decades later, her (evil) spirit lives on…Turning Labour into ‘New Labour’ (Neo-Liberalism Thatcher-Lite) – destroying a Political Party that i don’t expect to see in Government till at least 2025 (even). Managing to turn the working class against their own – and of course those from other faiths/religions (I get the local daily ‘paper from back home e-mailed. – Safe to say, i’m not very well liked! Generally always by the same individuals, not that i care – but someone has to be the dissenting voice amongst the wilderness – conned by Thatcher into believing they were ‘Middle Class’ because they managed to mortgage themselves into buying subsidised Council Houses (something my Mum and Dad refused to do. – And when my Mum passed away 6 and a half years ago, and i gave the keys back to the Council, the home that had been ours since 1970, where there was ‘always a bed whenever’ (the bit with the keys was a very difficult process indeed. – Though, having said that, one of my closest friends told me not long after (he must have been doing ‘drive-by’s) – that a young couple with a couple of little ‘uns had moved in – so that lifted my spirits, and i hope they’ll get the 4 Decades in a very nice home that we did – and their kids enjoying the benefits of a Public Park at the top of the Street that i did for years and years.

    Anyway, back to the local ‘naysayers’ and racists – filling the comments pages of the local paper with highly dubious remarks – say when there’s an item about the new Hotel soon to open on what used to be the Town’s Bus Station…”Wait for the flood of Migrants, filling the Hotel” (and taking our jobs)….”Why aren’t these cowards back where they came from fighting ISIS”…on and on and on – into every conceivable news item you can imagine – Though never ever a mention / attack, when the Nurses and Doctor’s are treating them in the Town’s (hugely underfunded and staffed – at the ‘bottom end of ‘the pyramid’, that is) Hospital – Be it a life-saving heart-surgery operation by a Pakistani Doctor…after treatment by Asian Nurses. – Getting their faces/heads stitched back together by the same after their weekend Town Centre brawling.. – Will they stand up for the NHS? (Not realising that The Health Service is 1/3’rd staffed by ‘Immigrants’, and would have collapsed long before now without them – Or have their heads equally been turned on such matters, and many others, by an English ‘Press’ that save for The Guardian and Mirror, is extreme/very/neo-con right-wing? (Having said that, i’ve posted comments via The Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ sections, via News Items that are open as and when, for years. – A couple of month’s ago, in a wholly relevant item, a simple quote (attributed) “A Nation Of Sheep Shall Beget A Government Of Wolves” was removed. No reason. – e-mailed them (as a reader / purchaser of some 35+ years would), got a “Will look into this”. Still waiting for that one.

    The Tories have been doing their upmost to dismantle the NHS for years now – Bliar and Brown also quietly doing their bit (in fact, despite the hammering The Liberals took at the last Election, and the jeers they faced – Quite some damaging measures would have made it through The Commons).
    What it boils down to now, and what is needed – is a return to the ‘old days’ – A complete and utter Strike. – General if necessary. – The Nurses / Doctors / Midwives etc Unions – and the full support of The TUC / TGWU etc etc – and a million(s) man and woman March from the ‘General Population – because i fully, fully believe that this effectively is a ‘last stand’. – If C – I mean Hunt, and Cameron, Osborne (of whom i’m more qualified on Paper and Experience in Economics believe it or not), along with their multi-millionaire front-benchers – Will finally ‘seal the deal’ on Thatcher’s Legacy and Wish….The Destruction and Privatisation of the NHS – And a full US style Healthcare System – and a ‘revolving door’ already used for post-MP ‘Boardroom Jobs’ (including a very well known Labour front-bencher – who’s name escapes me at this late hour and much typing – who after the last Election, walked straight into a £150,000+ job with BUPA).

    To finish Jude, as regards the situation ‘down here’….Tallaght Hospital – 19 hour wait in A+E, then left on a trolley for 8 hours, with a 5 minute ‘review’ 3 hours in (including begging for Epilepsy / Painkilling Medication time and time again). Eventually, i couldn’t take any more, headed for the exit via the General Exit – collapsed. Signs of life from the ‘upper echelons’ then…a Taxi (billed to the Hospital) to take me back to Kildare. – The matter that a very well-meaning Neurologist who had directed me to A+E after a CAT Scan (“You don’t look at all well John…), never resolved.
    A six hour operation to remove metal and screws from my upper left arm – and remove half the shoulder (the first operation, by a very well known Orthopaedic Surgeon – who left a screw mis-placed, and grinding into my shoulder, for nearly 2 years) – The initial operation due to slipping on a patch of ice, and braking every bone between my elbow and shoulder. (Still in my early 40’s when that happened – and not a “Why has someone of this age broken all these bones?) – The 2nd Op – 12pm till gone 6pm (i’ll never forget the clocks above me, ‘in’ and ‘out’. A Friday night – A Consultant came round at half ten…”We’re sending you home in the morning.” WTF am i going to do?! – A bag for at least a week’s stay at the side of the bed. Phone call after phone call – and just got lucky going on midnight, and a friend’s Sister said she’d collect me. – 3 empty beds in the room, 14 in total on the ward. – Didn’t strike lucky after a post-stress smoke – got back into bed and after about 15 mins, buzzed for a morphine shot. A proper (i won’t put it into words) ‘of a’ Nurse came in, said “If you’re able to go for a cigarette, you don’t need any Morphine.”
    – And that’s just part of my experiences at that dump of a ‘Hospital’.

    And very finally…One of the girls at my local Chemist dropped my Prescription off last weekend – as you can imagine by now Jude, i’m on quite a lot of meds – all very much due to the mis-management of Medication years ago by a Consultant in Dublin – which wasn’t discovered for over 5 years, by which time, the damage had been done – and was / has only worsened. – A surprise waiting for me…A 5th Medication taken off the Medical Card list in less than 3 years. (And a very necessary painkiller). – By the Political Party who said they’d never charge for Prescriptions. Then did. Then increased them by 400%

    The FG **** at the end of my apartment block is edging ever closer to having to replace 4 flat tyres one morning – hopefully when he’s in a rush because he’s been on a bender (tax payer funded one way or another. As ‘Expenses’ go – he’s right up there).

    Anyhow Jude. – All Power and Strength / Support to the NHS – And once again, Good Luck to your Daughter – and all her many, many friends and colleagues.

    Regards as always,


    • Jude Collins November 8, 2015 at 11:55 am #

      Grma, John, agus Beannachtaí Dé leat.

      • John November 8, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

        Grma, Jude. – re: NHS… Thar gach ni eile, Ni ceart go cur le cheile.

        – agus Beannachtai De leat.

    • Gearoid November 8, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

      Thanks for your very erudite and poignant contribution, John, as it exposes the merciless monetarist economist policies of the British tory party and their fellow travelers across the globe.

      • John November 8, 2015 at 8:00 pm #

        And Thank You Very Much Indeed Gearoid, for your reply and comment. I’ve been a virulent anti-Tory since i’d barely entered my teens – (The first sighting of Thatcher, well before her Election as Leader and PM…being trailed by TV cameras round a shop, and her (pre-toned down ‘cut-glass’ accent)..”Is this how much things cost these days” – A Shopkeeper’s Daughter, who didn’t know the price of bread and milk? – Of course not (despite being married to a millionaire who made his money in dubious circumstances). – Just a dig at The Labour Government at the time – who paid a heavy price for ‘The Winter Of Discontent’ – though it shouldn’t be forgotten that at the turn of the 70’s, there was the calamitous Tory/Edward Heath Govt, The US had been printing trillions upon trillions of Dollars to pay for The Vietnam War – destabilising the World’s Currency Markets during the early to mid part of the Decade – And of course, the Oil Wars (TV and lights out at 10.30pm in the UK).
        And then almost 20 years of Tory Rule and the utter destruction of the North of England / Society and Communities fractured – and still to this day, as some 4,000 Steel Workers were laid off, within the space of a Month – as Cameron / Betty et al rolled out a huge carpet for the Chinese visit (the carpet probably made in China too). Doubtless no discussion was made of the Chinese ownership of the Plants that had closed down – nor the fact that the Factories in China are still producing steel, despite stockpiles that would build at least 500 mega-skyscrapers at the very least.
        Less than two weeks ago, (Lord) Heseltine came up with a ‘jaw-dropper’ – “It was probably the best time for these jobs to be lost” (!) – Mere weeks before Christmas – and in many cases, entire Families working at the Steel Plants.
        So, as i entered my 50’s recently – the hatred shows no sign of abating – and never will.

        A very, very good book i’d like to point you in the direction of Gearoid, is ‘The Establishment – and how they get away with it’ – by Owen Jones. – A youngish (mid 30’s) chap – and very, very clever. Very much an eye-opener of a book, and very, very interesting. – He can easily be found on You-Tube (and if you find a particular interview / debate he’s taking part in – chances are it’ll be one that will enable you to ‘subscribe’ and add him to your other Y/T subscriptions.

        Once again Gearoid, Many Thanks – And My Very Best Wishes Indeed To Yourself.

  5. ANOTHER JUDE November 8, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    I wouldn`t bet on Unionists supporting the strikers, (mind you they did have a penchant for backing a very different type of strike back in the old days, but that`s another story altogether.) Hunt is best known for hiding behind a tree outside a room where James Murdoch was delivering a speech.

    • John November 8, 2015 at 8:14 pm #

      I was thinking very much more of a UK strike AJ – and besides that, the only march the Unionists have any interest in, happen every July! – As regards ‘the old days’ – would that be a reference to H&W – or am i missing a big picture that’s staring me right in front of my map (face)…? – Thanks for the reminder re: Hunt / James Murdoch by the way – i’d completely forgotten about that! – And also many Thanks for your regular contributions to Jude’s blog. – Always insightful and interesting.

      Very Best Wishes To You AJ.

  6. ANOTHER JUDE November 9, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

    John, I was thinking more of the strikes where men wearing masks forced shopkeepers to close their businesses and, ahem, persuaded workers not to turn up. All the while in cahoots with politicians from the DUP and UUP. Around the time of the Dublin/Monaghan slaughter.

    • John November 10, 2015 at 10:07 am #

      Ahh, – Thanks for that snippet of info AJ (hope you don’t mind the abbreviation by the way). – I should have known about that, as i have a book (fairly lengthy) specifically about the Dublin / Monaghan Bombings, written by a chap called Joe Tiernan – which i’ve had for quite a while (though it’s been well over 2 years since i read it – and surely what you mention will be contained within). No credit to myself for that not ‘sticking in my mind’ – though i’m an avid book reader / keeper, (some 700+ books here, wedged into my Apartment) – split equally between Non-Fiction/History and Fiction. Some i’ve had since my Teenage years. (Lord knows how they’ve survived more moves than a ‘Multi-Chess Tournament’ over many years).
      I’ve just finished a ‘Fiction’ – so will re-read Joe’s book over the next few days – and again, i’m sure there’ll be references to ‘The Strike’ – and the complicity of the DUP / UUP – and fully presuming there is, i’ll be berating myself for ‘letting that knowledge slip’. (Once read, especially ‘Non-Fiction / History books – the contents always remain lodged in my ‘grey matter’ – assisted by the fact that i made a ‘snap decision’, well over 6 years ago, to give up ‘the scoops’. And books last much, much longer than a Pint – and despite a low income, i can allow myself a new book at least every 10-14 days from a very good Independent Bookshop in the small Town i live in, down here in Kildare, plus some amazing “How could someone give this away?!”, in the 3 Charity Shops). – One day, that youthful wish of having my own Library will come true! (The lack of at least 2 tall bookcases being an issue).

      As can be the case, i slightly diverted there. – Thanks Very Much Indeed AJ for ‘re-directing me in the right direction’ – and over the coming days, as the ‘Top-Level Talks’ progress – or if Robinson and his ‘rising star’ Arlene Foster (a meteorite hurtling Earth-wards springs more to mind) – regress, – We can only hope that Sinn Fein, under the very steady hand and much Political ‘nous’ of Martin McGuinness et al, will salvage something. – Though with Villiers, Edna and Charlie Flanagan present – It’s a question, that’s very much open to question!

      Thanks Again, and Best Wishes.