Karen Martin – Nurse – A Response To The Nurse Who Cried Foodbank

 

 

Right well the Leaders Debate same old same old SNP bad, no getting a referendum, SNP bad but as hard as Ruth Davidson, Kezia and co tired they couldn’t land a blow on Nicola Sturgeon then it changed. You see in the audience waiting like a tiger prowling it’s pray was Claire Austin a nurse with a question, it was her second appearance on BBC in weeks after being on Question Time but at the time didn’t get to ask her question so she had been invited back to ask it this time fair enough no problem.

This was a passionate question one which she delivered with great vigour and one that she would demanded a answer, deserved an answer More Pay For Nurses. Fair point I thought our NHS staff deserve all the money we can give them then the she delivered the Kicker she has to get her food from a foodbank.

What wow no way foodbanks wow I never realised our NHS was that seriously in trouble , I knew about the cuts , I knew about the threat of privatisation but our nurses starving now I might be an Indy supporter and have a soft spot for the SNP ( ok a huge soft spot) but nurses starving that’s not on, these are the people who save our lives it’s just not on. I spent the rest of the show wondering how could we live in a society where our nurses are having to visit foodbanks wow.

Now as anyone reading this must know by now the following morning social media was awash with stories Claire Austin was a councillors wife then daughter visits to New York and the list went on BBC plant, Tory Plant, egg plant the list went on. To be honest it made me turn off my phone and social media to let it sink in when a sudden thought crossed my mind its doesn’t matter who that woman is related too or what she eats for dinner do our Nurses really need to use foodbanks because of what we pay them. I had heard we pay them more than England but there Jnr Doctors have been striking could this woman be telling the truth. This is when I came across Nurse Karen Martin.

Now who is Karen Martin to talk about this subject well Karen has worked as a Nurse for 38 years and is a Band 7 nursing sister in a kids hospital and is in charge of a huge theatre/ recovery department with staff of all grades and remember a band 5 nurse in Dundee will get paid the same as a Band 5 in Paisley, as will a Band 7 in Glasgow  will get paid the same as a Band 7 in Edinburgh ok. So at this point I will pass you over to the words of Karen Martin who with the breaking of this story feels and wants to put the public straight on this subject.

This is what Karen had to say
“Just to dispel the rapidly growing myths around this nurse and her salary I’d like to spell out exactly what she lied about in terms of that salary and why so many nurses are up in arms about it!
She works for the NHS as a staff nurse, (although she herself claims to be a charge nurse in a busy A&E), however for the sake of this exercise I’ll place her on the lowest band for staff nurses in Scotland. That’s the whole of Scotland because no matter where you work in the NHS the salary structure is identical. The least a newly qualified staff nurse would earn on a Band 5 is just shy of £22, 000. This rises year on year incrimentally for 6yrs to the Band maximum of £28,180.

She herself states that she has been working for many years so she cannot be stuck on the starting scale, it doesn’t work that way. Anyone working for 6yrs will have reached their Band max. If indeed she is a charge nurse as she claims on her LinkedIn then that would be Band 6 which starts at £26,041 and again incrimentally rises to £34,876. So you see there’s no way for a qualified registered nurse to be stuck at £22,000 as she claims. Furthermore she also works with RMR an agency I myself have done shifts for in the past and the pay is very lucrative compared to NHS payscales, so much so that most hospitals are now forbidden to use this agency.

So no matter how you look at this then that woman is not as skint as she claims to be! She blatantly lied about her pay and anything else that followed also has to be suspect. She lied knowing full well that nurses salaries are published and in the public domain, and also knowing there were bound to be nurses watching who would know instantly she was lying, clearly she didn’t care about that either. That I find both particularly perplexing and shameful.


The fact this attack on the Scottish government was allowed to take place during a debate for the GE is beyond the pale and highly questionable especially given the Scottish government have honoured the Pay Review Body recommendations, whilst Westminster has not is even more disgusting. It means that we in Scotland are paid more than our colleagues in England and Wales, albeit only by 1% per annum, but over the past few years that has mounted to a fairly sizeable gap.


Can I also say I agree with those who have said that the SNP government need to stop being so mealy mouthed and polite, and start being more aggressively assertive. They need to start attacking more, as this should be about highlighting their successes but more importantly Westminsters failings. This is not about the Scottish government and should never have been allowed to happen during a debate about a Westminster election, but then again it is the BBC so they will take any opportunity to divert attention away from where it’s supposed to be…..on the failings of Westminster!”

So there you go the nice lady on the leaders debate might not be related to a councillor and all her trips might have been paid by her friends and family but her statement about Nurses having to feed themselves at foodbanks is a blatant lie unless they are terrible with her money.

I would like to thank Karen Martin for coming forward and telling us like it is and giving us the truth on the subject, why Claire Austin spun it the way she did you would have to ask her and chances are we will never know so thanks again to Karen for letting me print this, I tip my hat to you and all who work in our NHS.

image NHS Scotland  foodbank donations  Nurses  featured image  food cans

 

Woman sanctioned after miscarriage was left in poverty and suicidal

A woman was left with just £24 each week of her social security to live on after suffering a miscarriage and being sanctioned. She has told the Daily Record how she considered suicide after being left with barely anything to buy food and pay bills.

Lyndsey Turnbull told of her ordeal as the Scottish Government formally launched their new welfare-to-work programmes.

Lyndsey from Midlothian, said: “I wanted to get into work but the whole thing seemed geared up to punish those who wanted to get off benefits.”

She was on approximately £140 a fortnight Employment and Support Allowance when she missed an appointment after having a miscarriage around nine weeks into a pregnancy.

She said: “I was in a bad place and couldn’t talk to anyone about it.”

Lyndsey was sanctioned because was too distressed to disclose the reason for missing the appointment, which is absolutely understandable. However, the punitive sanctions framework does not accommodate people’s circumstances and situations when they may be very vulnerable.

Having to face a stern and unsupportive bureaucrat, whose role is to discipline and punish people who cannot comply with rigid welfare conditionality, to discuss deeply personal and distressing circumstances – and such a traumatic event as miscarriage – is the very last thing anyone needs.

She added: “I went down to £24. I had no food, nothing to pay bills. It was awful.

“I really thought suicide might be the only option – and I wondered how many people would be just like me.”

Fortunately, Lyndsey eventually found someone to talk to at welfare service group Working Links, who helped her to get a second sanction reduced.

She later found a job at a petrol station and she said the new system’s voluntary focus will make it easier for people to get off benefits.

Lyndsey courageously contributed to a group meeting with Scottish National Party (SNP) Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn, to explain the problems she faced with the UK Department for Work and Pension sanctions regime.

Holyrood has no control over major benefits policy. However the new Scottish programmes will be voluntary – with no financial penalties attached – in a bid to get better results.

In other words, they will be genuinely supportive, rather than punitive and mandatory.

Around 4,800 people with disabilities and health conditions will get some help into work, the Daily Record reports.

Employment support is one of the first powers devolved through the Scotland Act 2016, made possible by the Vow of more powers before the independence vote.

Work First Scotland will help 3300 disabled people while Work Able Scotland will focus on 1500 people with long-term health conditions.

The Record revealed last year that the SNP would block any bid by Westminster to impose a sanctions system on the new programmes.

images

Batul Hassan, 49, who also met Hepburn yesterday, was made redundant after 11 years at a local authority and was helped into work by Remploy.

She has dyslexia, dyspraxia and hearing problems and said her previous employer struggled to understand her needs.

Batul, from Edinburgh, added: “The new system has the potential to be a good thing.

“Two contracts mean people can move at the right pace, not lumped together.”

Hepburn said: “The devolved services will have fairness, dignity and respect at their core.

“We believe people will see them as an opportunity to gain new skills through supportive training and coaching.”

The Conservatives have clearly changed the meaning of words such as “fairness”, “support” and “respect”, in order to persuade the public that their punitive policies are somehow acceptable, and to deny the negative consequences they have on people who need the most support.

They are not acceptable.

 

MY NAME IS SANDRA MARSHALL

MY NAME IS SANDRA MARSHALL, AND TODAY LIFE CHANGES!

TODAY I BECOME A WARRIOR FOR PEACE, JUSTICE, FAIRNESS, REAL SUPPORT and FACILITATION OF EDUCATION!

THERE IS HOPE, THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE, YOU JUST HAVE TO PUT THE EFFORT IN!

NOTHING HAS TO STAY THE SAME FOREVER!

THE WORLD CAN CHANGE, YOU JUST HAVE TO CHANGE IT!

EVERYTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE UNTIL IT IS DONE! (NELSON MANDELA)!

WE CAN WORK TOGETHER TO CHANGE EVERYTHING, IT’S TIME!

Yesterday, I heard some very sad news, yesterday a woman Lesley, in her thirties or forties died from an overdose, because, well we will never know the real answer to that.  A woman who had suffered trauma and abuse all her adult life.  A woman who fought a drug dependency for years and who I saw just two weeks ago, laughing, strong and happy as she graduated from rehab alongside my friend. She had a new flat, was going to a new life, had changed her life and was fighting hard with confidence. JUST WHAT HAPPENED.  Within one week of her leaving the Rehab she is dead.

I know I will not wait any more, it is time for action!

DID YOU KNOW THAT ONE IN THREE ADULTS IN THE UK HAVE SUFFERED SOME FORM OF ABUSE BEFORE THE AGE OF 20?

Did you know that it is in the teenage years that the brain decides what is needed for the human body it inhabits to survive.  Trauma and abuse at this age mean that the brain will see survival from these acts as the normal way of being for the body at a sub-conscious level.  The brain becomes hyper-sensitive and sees danger, even where there is no danger.

IT TAKES AN EXTREMELY LONG TIME TO RE-EDUCATE YOUR BRAIN!

Do you know what we are doing to our teenage children now?

We expose them to NEGATIVE CONDITIONING, they are forced to live with unbelievable pressure and anxiety put on them by our way of living, our present society.  It is too easy to brand someone a failure before they have ever had a chance.  The unique individual talents and gifts that we all have are smothered under the fear that things might change if everyone is allowed free choice and development.  Everyone is judged to be in one box or another because of where they came from or their “abilities”.  We are conditioned to be afraid of this group because of where they come from or how they have to live. WHY?

We all belong to different clans and live segregated lives, WHY?

Can we not accept that we are as diverse in knowledge, ability, practicality, etc,

Can we not celebrate and love that diversity instead of being afraid of it.

Can we not negotiate ways of working together instead of being afraid of each other.

Can we give up this mantra of divide and conquer and I need more power and create a sensible decent environment for everyone to live.

Can we not cast our barometer to hope instead of fear.

There is much more to this than you think but it is better let out slowly than all in one outburst, and for the avoidance of doubt I am talking about the brain and not politics.

However, here’s a question for you. JUST ASK YOURSELF, DO I HAVE HOPE?

IN MEMORY OF LESLEY

As a young girl I imagine you playing with your friends

Being the leader, the caring one I see,

At School I imagine the clever shy girl

Loved by everyone

As a teenager, trying hard, A young woman crying in pain

Made to feel worthless, useless, time and again

Looking for love that would mend everything

Caring and loyal, fighting hard to the end

Trying to break free

For your children, for your grand-child,

Always

Putting a brave face on everything, so hard

To find the light at the end of that long dark road.

But you, you are the strong one who succeeded

You did it, with bravery, sensitivity, a lot of laughter and tears.

You broke the devil’s bonds

The joy, strength, love in your heart

Showed through everything on that day 4th May 2017.

Although I only knew you for a few minutes, a few seconds in life

I will always remember that moment and the inspiration that shone in your face.

The shame of shames,

That there was no-one there, to help you through at the end

God bless you always Lesley, I will not forget that smile

With love from Sandra Marshall

twitter @leithunique,

linkedin sandra marshall,

 facebook sandra marshall

http://www.leithunique.wordpress.com

Terminally ill woman lost her ESA, home and all her belongings after being told she was fit for work

Claire Hardwicke

Claire Hardwicke has stage four thyroid cancer. This means that it has spread to other parts of her body, and sadly, Claire was told that her cancer is terminal. She also has chronic osteoarthritis. Despite taking 80mg of morphine a day to cope, she still experiences considerable pain.

Additionally, Claire already had a life-threatening, acute allergy to latex. This means that she has to carry an EpiPen at all times, which is an epinephrine (adrenaline) injection to treat life-threatening anaphylaxis. Developing a severe allergy to latex unfortunately meant that Claire could no longer continue working as a mental health nurse.

Claire first became ill 9 years ago with uterine/ovarian cancer, but it was the allergy that made her unemployable and ended her career as a mental-health nurse, her partner, Alan King, told me

Claire’s first bout of cancer was treated and she made a recovery, which lasted only 7 years. Sadly, the diagnosis of her more recent thyroid cancer and metastases wasn’t diagnosed until it was incurable. The tumours had spread throughout her thyroid gland, neck, lymph system and adrenal glands.

All Claire can hope for now is palliative care, which is alleviatory only, as a cure isn’t possible.

Unbelievably, Claire was assessed as “fit for work” by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) last year. Her Employment and Support Allowance was stopped. All of her financial support ended. This was despite being told by the Capita assessor (for Personal Independence Payments) that the report to the DWP would state that Claire was in need of more support, not less.

Overnight the couple lost every bit of financial support they had previously been entitled to, so Alan decided to use what little financial resources he had left to help Claire to fulfill some of  her”Bucket List.”

The couple were forced to say goodbye to their rented bungalow and 99% of their possessions because their housing benefit was stopped. They had no income, as Claire’s Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) was stopped, and the Carer’s Allowance also ended.

Claire explained to me that when she lost her lifeline support, the wait for appeal hearings was over 18 months. The couple couldn’t afford to wait that long, as they had no income. They also didn’t know if Claire would survive the wait.

Claire and Alan went to visit family members around the UK before setting off, in October 2016, on a Mediterranean cruise for a month, which Alan paid for, using his credit cards. They already owed a lot of money on their credit cards, but with no income at all, the couple were facing destitution.  The incredible distress the couple suffered took its toll on Claire’s already poor health, too.

On the return journey, both of them realised that coming all the way back to the UK – where they were homeless, with no income, and they no longer even qualified for free prescriptions – would be pointless. So the couple left the cruise when they got to Portugal, where it’s significantly warmer than the UK (and therefore less painful for Claire) – and they’ve been there ever since, living in a very basic, rented room.

Alan told me: “Claire’s cancer hasn’t claimed her life as quickly as we both had imagined, (which is good), but with medications, food and board, we’re now out of funds and out of options unless we can somehow fundraise for some subsistence.”

The couple have paid money in advance for their single room in Portugal, which covers rent until 14th March, after which time they will have absolutely nowhere to go.

Claire says: “There are new trial therapies for extreme cases of thyroid cancer like mine.

 I wish I had a pot of gold to pay for the experimental cancer therapy.
I don’t want to die, but choices and chances aren’t given to the poor people. We need a miracle, a winning lotto ticket. There should be equal opportunities for all patients.”

The treatment would possibly extend Claire’s life and improve the quality of the time she has left. She says: “I could have a chance of a longer, fuller life…. but I don’t have that option open to me….”

Tiffany Williams, a friend of Claire’s in the UK, has set up a crowdfunding page on JustGiving to raise £800 to help pay for her treatment. So far, 53% of the sum has been raised.

It’s such a modest amount for a treatment that will make a huge difference to Claire and Alan, who have lost their home and everything else they had in the UK. Now they are at risk of losing their room in Portugal, too.

You can make a donation at:  https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tiffany-williams

Update

Claire informs me that the gofundme collection has now closed. But for those wishing to help in some way, there is a beautiful painting of Claire by Jason Pearce, which is up for auction with funds going to her medical fees.  

She says many thanks. 

Jason Pearce is an administrator for a very popular political group, and like me, he was originally contacted and asked if a member (Alan) could post a gofundme page to raise money for treatment costs to the group, as his wife, Claire, is seriously ill. Jason agreed, and offered to help. As Jason is an artist, it was suggested that he could paint a portrait of Claire and it could then be auctioned online to help raise some more money towards Claire’s ongoing treatment.

This is Jason’s lovely painting of Claire.

17358823_10211339136927882_1860474519176663615_o

“Claire”

20″ x 16″ Mixed media on canvas.

You can follow Kitty S Jones at her webpage Politics and Insights

 

Desperate, underpaid NHS paramedic tells Theresa May: “I’ve seen things no one should have to witness”

 

A paramedic has written a moving description on Facebook (see below) of the difficulties he has to face every day in his job, and how he is paid a pittance of just £12.35 an hour to do it.

This is because the Tory government has over the last 7 years capped paramedics’ and other public workers’ pay rises at 1%.

The cabinet ministers who made that decision, however, have seen their own pay rise over the last 7 years to the point they are making approximately £117.92 an hour*, on top of which they can also claim expenses, subsidies and other perks.

A perfect example of Theresa May’s warped Britain today.

Brian Mear:

I joined the Ambulance Service in 1986.
For over 28 years I worked doing “Front Line” work. That’s Emergency work. Covering 999 calls. For the last 6 years of my service I worked alone predominantly on nights at weekend so I could care for my mum who had cancer. At night I would be covering 80,000 people alone. In that time I undertook significant training. Advancing myself in skills and knowledge. I became a Paramedic in 1992. A Pre-hospital Trauma Life Support instructor, I trained new entrants on the road for over 16 years. I became an Hems Paramedic on the Thames Valley Air Ambulance dealing with Major System Trauma incidents . I’ve dealt with royalty and the lowest sections of society. Film stars, Rock Stars, Serial Killers, Drug Addicts, I’ve been stabbed twice, punched, spat at. Had vomit thrown in my face. Had ribs broken by being kicked by a hypoglycemic patient. Been called a c*nt and worse, been held at gun point as a hostage even had a man try and bite my nose off.
Been to major shootings. Helped guide 60+ babies into life. Seen countless people at the very end of their journey. I’m trained to cannulate people to administer drugs, intubate, defibrillate , put chest drains in, I’ve put a trachyoctomy on a 16 year old boy hit by a train, tried to resuscitate two burnt toddlers after their father set fire to them both. I’ve seen things that no one should have to witness
At the end of that time with all that experience I was worth £12.35 an hour before tax (this was my bank shift rate on my very last shift, somewhat lower than my colleagues due to not getting anti social enhancements but even with I feel we are criminally underpaid for the work we undertake).
That’s what my skills are worth to society.
Less than an estate agent, less than a refuse collector, much less than any MP regardless of political party, less than the majority of office workers working in a clean environment doing sociable hours.
Yes £12.35 before tax and National Insurance. Tax is something the super rich avoid.
Why because modern society puts no value on me because I don’t make money.
I’m not a footballer or an actor or a bean counter for the banks. I don’t fit into the capitalist system that we are all brainwashed to think is the only workable system humanity can live by.
So go ahead and vote for the Tories again and see the NHS finally die. Let them take away the last decent thing we have left in this country that cuts across all races, ages, and class.
The great institution that our grand parents fought through the horror of the Second World War to set up “from cradle to the grave”.

.

*MPs’ working hours here. Ministers’ current annual pay here.

You can follow Tom on twitter at @ThomasPride    and at his webpage Prides Purge

Never mind the NHS – our nuclear trident submarines also run on Windows XP!

Very worryingly, today the NHS was hit by a cyber attack.

This is because the NHS is so underfunded that when Microsoft stopped support for Windows XP – the operating system which most NHS hospitals use – they didn’t have enough money to update their systems.

Much more worryingly – our nuclear Trident submarines also run on a version of Windows XP:

Which gives a whole new meaning to the blue screen of death

featured image Submarine

You can follow Tom on twitter at @ThomasPride    and at his webpage Prides Purge

It cuts both ways

I’ve had lots of conversations on social media in recent weeks which boil down to the concept of personal responsibility. I don’t expect I’m saying anything original here, but I’m so frustrated by the double standards I see day in, day out, I wanted to write something down.

The starting point for this, again, is the ongoing debate around the UK government’s family cap. Many of us in Scotland have been puzzled about why the widespread horror around the family cap that has led to the so-called “rape clause” doesn’t seem to be felt south the border to the same extent, and in my experience the main reason cited seems to be the concept of personal responsibility. I could go on and on about this but it’s all been said before, and I think my last post on the subject of children’s rights made my feelings perfectly plain. So instead let’s have a look at this personal responsibility thing in a bit more depth. It’s an interesting exercise that throws up some anomalies.

Take the NHS. Much is written and said about the cost to the NHS of smoking, alcohol and obesity, but I’ve seen less about the cost to the NHS of more, dare I say, middle class activities such as extreme sports. Even less is written about costs incurred by missed appointments, unnecessary prescriptions and the like. I was curious about public attitudes to these things so I researched it a bit and I came across a very interesting survey conducted by the private medical company Benenden in 2015¹, which confirmed my suspicions. A few quotes:

“The survey revealed that the public will take a hard line when it comes to treatments needed as a result of excessive lifestyle choices. The number of people who believed making poor health choices, including, obesity, drugs or alcohol, should result in not being treated by the NHS hovered around 51%-53% in each case. Interestingly, injuries sustained from taking part in extreme or dangerous sports, or injuries from regular running on a tarmac surface were excused, with 61% and 55% of respondents believing these qualified for NHS treatment.”

“When it came to looking at their own attitude to the NHS and what they feel they are entitled to, the public was more relaxed. Three-quarters (75%) of those questioned admitted they didn’t consider the cost of a procedure or worry that the free treatment they were receiving could be taking treatment away from someone in greater need, despite 62% expressing concerns that the NHS was under strain.”

Commenting on the survey results, the medical director of Benenden said:

If the public was more aware of the cost of appointments, treatments, operations and prescriptions, and really took responsibility for their own health, using the NHS only when absolutely necessary, the crisis the service finds itself in today would be significantly lessened.”

One interesting point raised in the report was the question of prescription charges, a constant bone of contention between people in England and the rest of the UK. The reasoning behind the free prescriptions offered in every UK nation except England is very simple: the cost of means testing pretty much cancels out the money raised from charging for a small minority of prescriptions. There’s also the broader concept of universalism, which I’ve mentioned before on this blog, which holds that the costs of prescriptions and many other benefits are better funded from general taxation to prevent the barriers to access that could otherwise cause more expensive problems further down the line.

One argument I see used a lot against so-called free prescriptions is the perceived abuse of the system. A figure that’s often quoted is that NHS Scotland spends around £10 million a year on prescriptions for paracetamol which can be bought far more cheaply in any supermarket. Now there are some good reasons for this, for example people with some long term conditions may take large amounts of paracetamol and we all know the restrictions on buying these pills at the supermarket. But assuming, for the sake of argument, that some people do happily accept a packet or two of paracetamol or other common painkillers free on prescription, are we really saying that the answer to this is to abolish free prescriptions for all? Isn’t it conceivable that the answer is for these individuals – most of whom I would guarantee can easily afford their own paracetamol – to take “personal responsibility” for their choices and refuse the prescription, opting to buy the medicine themselves instead? Just as the answer to the cost of missed appointments, rather than the commonly proposed solution of charging for said appointments (and risking less well-off people facing the choice between seeing the doctor or paying the bills), is perhaps for people to remember to phone and cancel.

Why is it that the answer proposed by some to these problems (mostly, I would cynically observe, by those who can afford to pay) is to cancel the universal policy, instead of actual personal responsibility?

That is until we come to taxation. Judging by some of the reactions I’ve read to UK Labour’s proposal to raise taxes for those earning over £80,000 a year – and that’s a huge amount of money by any standards – personal responsibility stops when you get far enough up the income ladder. We’re constantly told that raising taxes on high earners won’t yield any more money because the wealthy will simply find ways to avoid it. Well what happened to the personal responsibility to pay your way in the society that you’re a part of?

You might feel hard done by having to pay more towards public services because you choose to pay for private health care or private schooling, and fair enough that is indeed your choice. But people on low incomes don’t have that choice, and they don’t have the choice to minimise their taxes either. New statistics published last month by the ONS² show that the poorest 10% pay around 42% of their income in taxes, compared with 34.3% for the top 10%. Net income for the poorest 10% (after direct and indirect taxes and including benefits) is on average £6,370 and for the richest 10% it’s £72,746. So if the poorest are expected to take personal responsibility not to drink, smoke or have more than two children in order to ensure “value for money” for the taxpayer, isn’t it right that the wealthiest in society also take personal responsibility to pay their fair share for the common good?

Notes

¹ https://www.benenden.co.uk/newsroom/research/research-archive/benenden-national-health-report-2015/

² https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/britains-poorest-households-pay-more-their-income-tax-richest

You can follow Sylvina Tilbury on twitter @caorach or at her blog newscotblog.wordpress.com

featured image NHS

Mental Health – Complex Trauma or PTSD or Being Human

With regard to Mental Health, I have learned so much and more each and every day I learn. It was no different in our workshop today.  So many different unique perspectives on one subject.  I have suffered from a complex trauma issue for a few years now and I have been human all my life.

There are times when I over-react simply because my brain is telling me about the dangerous situation I am in, even when it is not a dangerous situation.

If a trigger I have never realised was there suddenly decides to rock my boat, it takes time to recognise what it is and what I can do to re-train my brain not to consider that particular trigger a problem.

There are some long, quite scary words used in Complex Trauma training, “systemic abuse,” being one of them.  Now that one can open up a whole can of worms, anything from watching too much news, to being hounded in respect of benefits, creating all the anxiety and stress that does bring-up.

You know, I am sure that every single individual interprets communication completely differently from the next person.  If you look at the process:

You see something, you think a thought – through the chemical processes of the brain, that thought becomes communication and in the case of verbal communication, you then have a  verbal, communication.

The person, receiving the information, hears and sees the verbal communication, which is then decoded by the brain.

A complicated process.

Added to which we all have our own developed individual realities, issues, background, that get in the way of us completely understanding, or interpreting what is being communicated in the way the person creating the communication meant it to be heard, seen etc.

We also have something else that can interfere in the whole process and that is an ability emotionally to feel what a communication is about.  We pick up emotion at an unconscious level and can get the communication wrong if what we see and what we feel do not match-up.  We can be honest about statements, and truly believe that the act was carried out, even when it didn’t happen that way at all, simply because we feel the intention, even when we do not see the act, itself.

Empathy, when we connect with others at an emotional level is an amazing human ability.  It allows us to sympathise, and, although we cannot walk in anyone else’s shoes, relate to others with similiar life experiences or issues.  In this way, we  can share, learn, teach, support each other.  Mutuality, as it is called, can bring a more complete, in-depth mutual support experience (Peer Support), than other forms of support. Some people are so sensitive to the emotions of others that they can end up travelling the road with the person suffering emotional disturbance.  It can prove impossible to pull away or draw back easily from situations, causing trauma to the previously unaffected person in addition to the person suffering disturbance.

Did you know?  The brain is really like the branches at the top of the tree, it is where the chemical/electrical thought, memory, etc. processes occur.  We do, however have other systems in the body that are part of the whole brain system.  These areas are located in the heart and the gut, the liver as Muslim people would say.

It is only when these three brain functions work in harmony, ie. we do not have a gut instinct or a heart suspicion that is different from the thoughts going through our brain. On the contrary, everything is working together, that we can be in the best place we can possibly get too.

So that was my day’s learning.  I would love to hear from folks on what they think, etc.

twitter @leithunique,

linkedin sandra marshall,

 facebook sandra marshall

http://www.leithunique.wordpress.com

 

 

Dr Anna Gregor (Retd) – In the Past An Advocate Of Progressive Healthcare – In the present a Whistle-Blower with no Pea In Her Whistle – Yet The Unionists Keep Trotting her Out To Start Arguments With Little Substance Since They Are At Odds With Reality

2017: Dr Gregor (retd):  I Am A Unionist – Stages Career Comeback- Just For One day

Dr Gregor’s recent attack on the Scottish Health Service and Scottish Government was entirely expected.

A willing horse, she was trotted out by “Better Together” to deliver her poisoned views in the 2014 Independence Referendum.

At that time she said that she was not an avid “no” campaigner but she had issues with Alex Salmond who had claimed independence was needed to protect the Health service in Scotland from the Tory government in Westminster.

In her diatribe she also accused senior medical staff who supported Alex Salmond’s statement, of lying.

But her comments at the time she was interviewed on “www.radio.cz” and other publications, gives lie to he assertion that she was not an avid “no” supporter. She was and still is.

A brief review of events at the time she was Scotland Cancer Tzar (2001-2006) reveals a likely reason for her dislike of the SNP government.

In 2002 Dr Gregor brought forward a proposal to shut small local hospitals all over Scotland transferring healthcare finance to an American style operational mode.

Nicola Sturgeon (Shadow Minister of Health) and a number of senior Scottish Medical Officers supporting her opposed the measures and they were never carried through.

The American company has since been subject of much criticism over the years since. The then Labour Scottish Executive fortunate to have listened to Nicola Sturgeon’s counsel.

She is also memory blind to the poor state of the Scottish Health Service and cancer care services in the period 2001-2006.

The worst cancer services in Europe. Patients written off and dying often without any treatment or respite care.

Compare that record to the SNP government’s performance from 2007-2017. Cancer service provision in Scotland is rated one of the best in Europe.

And all this vitriol from an immigrant provided by the UK  with free further education and extensive medical training and support leading to a rewarding career in cancer care.

And the galling fact that her own country, Czechoslovakia successfully split in 1993, reforming the Czech Republic and Slovkia in what has been termed: “The Velvet Revolution.” A well travelled road that Scotland would be wise to follow.

It might just be that not being native to Scotland Dr Gregor has failed to embrace the Dichotomy confronting Scots. But readers of the full article will be left wondering or just angry that she seeks to support the Westminster political system that so badly failed to protect it’s citizens.

 

11

 

 

 

Dr Anna Gregor Medical Consultant (Oncology)

Anna was born on 13 August 1948 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. She emigrated to England in 1970 to study and graduated from the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine in 1973.

Her career path in medicine comprised: Senior house officer, registrar Brompton Hospital, Royal Marsden, London, 1973—1980. Consultant radiotherapist, oncologist Western Infirmary, Glasgow, Scotland, 1983—1987. Senior lecturer clinical oncology University Edinburgh, 1987—1997. Consultant clinical oncology, Macmillan lead cancer clinician Western General Hospital, 1997-2006.

Memberships: Fellow, Royal College Radiologists London, Royal College Physicians Edinburgh.

Anna’s time as a clinical oncologist in Edinburgh coincided with major changes in Scotland.

Following a transfer of political power in 1997, from the Conservative government to “New Labour” a referendum was held asking the Scottish electorate if it wished to take up devolved government.

The proposals received overwhelming support, with 74 per cent voting in favour of a Scottish Parliament and 63 per cent voting for the Parliament to have powers to vary the basic rate of income tax.

Following the passage of the Scotland Act 1998, the Scottish Executive (officially referred to as the Scottish Government since August 2007) and Scottish Parliament were officially convened in 1999, a date which marking the transfer of powers in devolved matters, previously exercised by the Secretary of State for Scotland and other UK Ministers, to the Scottish Ministers.

The Labour party were elected to form the first Scottish Executive.

The Scottish Health Service (SHS) was a devolved institution requiring the appointment of a Minister of Health and Susan Deacon was duly appointed.

She faced a baptism of fire in her new job as major deficiencies were identified across all services.

The National Health Service in Scotland, (controlled through the Scottish Office) had been badly neglected and starved of resources for years.

The organisation and delivery of cancer services was appalling. Survival rates were among the worst in Europe, in some areas the worst. Annually 26,000 Scots were being struck down with nearly 15,000 dying within 6 months.

It was so poor that in 1999 it overtook heart disease as the leading cause of premature death in Scotland. Susan Deacon had to act quickly and she duly did so.

She recruited Dr Anna Gregor to the cause, gave her a free hand and £40 million to fix things.

A strategy aimed at improving Scotland’s appalling record on cancer was duly unveiled by Susan Deacon.

Top Scots oncologist Dr Gregor was appointed to the new post of cancer supremo for Scotland.

As lead cancer clinician, she would head the strategy ensuring it delivered results on the ground.

There would also be a new approach to decision making and planning, bringing front line staff and patients together in a revamped Scottish cancer group giving them more say in deciding priorities for investment and change.

Three regional cancer advisory groups were created in the North, South-East and West of the country to improve the planning and design of local services, and to advise the Scottish cancer group on how to end the postcode lottery of care in Scotland.

 

anna

 

The strategy also included:

1. Managed clinical networks, bringing together all professionals involved in caring for patients with a particular cancer type, to be in place by 2002.

2. All NHS boards to review local palliative care needs and services by March 2002.

3. Maximum waiting time from urgent referral to treatment for all cancers to be two months by 2005, with most patients treated faster.

Ms Deacon said the strategy’s aim was to build a comprehensive, modern network of services to match the best in Europe.

But this would be a long-term strategy – there was no quick fix to years of under-investment. She said: “Strong regional centres of excellence and regional cancer advisory groups will work with patients and the voluntary sector to make better local assessments of staff shortages and equipment needs. And our strengthened Scottish cancer group will ensure that money is directed where it is needed most,”

Dr Gregor, the new cancer supremo, said the group’s first priority would be to look at staff shortages in key specialities.

She would report to the minister by the autumn, with detailed plans before the end of the year. “This strategy marks a real watershed for cancer in Scotland. It offers us a real chance to start to speed up improvements in treatment.

But it is also a huge challenge for those of us delivering front line services. We have got to make the extra resources we have been given work better for patients,” she said.

The new strategy was welcomed as a “major step forward” by the British Medical Association in Scotland, which pledged to drive forward efforts to improve cancer care. “This is about more than just spending more, it also means putting clinicians in control and giving them the tools to improve every cancer patient’s chances of survival,” said Dr John Garner, chairman of the BMA’s Scottish council. (The Guardian)
Cancer Services in Scotland

What follows is a potted history of cancer care events in the period 2001-2008 at the time Dr Gregor had clinical management responsibility.

 

TRMRMMGLPICT000065104259o

 

 

 

 

2001: Dr Gregor – Hospitals Need Twelve Linear Accelerators

Dr Gregor, oncology consultant and head of cancer services at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital said: “the new equipment will ensure every cancer patient gets treated within the recommended four weeks” and estimated that it would cost only £18 million to buy and install it.

The cost represented just over half the £34 million which the executive had “clawed back” from the Scottish Health Service’s £135 million budget underspend.

comment: An underspend and the service in crisis. Unbelievable.

Additionally, each machine would cost about £200K annually to staff and run. She said: “We all know that there are unacceptable delays in the treatment of cancer, particularly lung cancer.” (The Herald)

 

 

 

 

 

2001: Cancer Expert: Why I Called Beatson a Slum

One of the world’s leading cancer experts has revealed he dropped his interest in a top job at Scotland’s main cancer centre after finding conditions at the hospital “like going into Bombay”.

Professor Karol Sikora was a candidate for the prestigious position of Chair of Oncology at the Beatson Centre in Glasgow but was put off by what he describes as “chronic under-investment”.

He was previously chief of the World Health Organisation cancer control programme and professor of clinical oncology at Hammersmith Hospital in London.

“I went to have a look. Half the patients in Scotland are treated there but the place is a mess.

It is one of the most prestigious positions in Scotland and arguably the biggest centre of its kind in Britain. (The Herald)

Comment: Some of the £135Million underspend should have gone to the Beatson

 

Beatson

 

 

 

 

2001: Beatson Cancer Centre at “Breaking Point”

An urgent report has been demanded into the running of Scotland’s biggest cancer treatment centre after the resignation of three consultants and claims that the service is at breaking point.

Medical staff at the Beatson Oncology Centre in Glasgow, which treats 60% of all cancer cases in Scotland, have been concerned for some time that the rise in workload has not been matched by an increase in resources.

Although the Royal College of Radiologists recommends that consultant oncologists should only see 315 new patients a year, some of the oncologists at the Beatson are seeing twice that number.

The centre should have 11 linear accelerators to treat the population it serves, but it has only six.

The result is that waiting times are longer than recommended, and some doctors have warned that these delays are leading to poorer outcomes for some patients.

Professor of Radiation Oncology, Ann Barrett, is one of those leaving after 16 years at the Beatson centre. She blamed the lack of investment in the centre for her departure. “I am so unhappy that the quality of care I am able to give is so far below what I want that I simply find myself unable to carry on. Three of us leaving may well mean a crisis, but my hope is that by going I will help to push the issue forward so that something is done.”

The problems at the Beatson have led to difficulties in filling senior positions in the past. The post of professor of medical oncology has been vacant since 1999, and one applicant for the post, Professor Karol Sikora, abandoned his interest after publicly describing the Beatson as a slum.

Scotland’s health minister, Susan Deacon, asked for an urgent report on the problems at the centre.

Outside experts were called in to improve the management of the Beatson and to advise on the best way forward.

The row overshadowed an announcement the week before of extra resources for cancer care in Scotland.

Details were given of a £10m recruitment package that should increase the number of cancer specialists employed in Scotland, as well as extra nurses, radiographers, and other staff.

More than half of the money is to be spent in the area covered by the Beatson.

The investment is the first product of Scotland’s £40m national cancer plan that was launched in the summer.

Dr Gregor, the lead clinician in the Scottish Cancer Group, which identified the priority areas for action, said. “This is the first year of the cancer plan. Problems will not be solved overnight.

But we have a responsibility to make sure that this investment makes a real difference.” (http://pubmedcentralcanada.ca/ptpicrender.fcgi?aid=327273&blobtype=html&lang=en-ca)

 

Detect Cancer Early (1)

 

 

 

 

2001: Dr Gregor and Her £40 Million Blueprint For Reforming Cancer Care in Scotland

A champion of patient involvement in health care planning and policy, she said, that she wanted to seize the “historic opportunity” to change cancer care in Scotland for the better dismantling “many fundamental barriers to change in the NHS”. (The Herald)

 

stand-up
2001: Radical changes in fight on cancer; New strategy bids to overcome failings

The Scottish cancer strategy promises a radical new approach to a disease which strikes and kills many thousands of Scots each year.

The plan acknowledges failings in the past lack of investment in modern equipment, poor workforce planning to meet demand and badly organised services to treat patients quickly and sensitively.

Three new groups will be created to improve planning and design of local services to end the postcode lottery of care when access to services is determined by where the patient lives. (The Herald)

 

info-menb-01-mr_2r7vd7u
2001: Management and survival of Patients With Lung Cancer in Scotland Diagnosed in 1995: Results of a National Population Based Study.(Report compiled by Dr Gregor)

Background: The prognosis of patients with lung cancer in Scotland is poor and not improving. This study was designed to document factors influencing referral, diagnostic evaluation, treatment, and survival in patients with lung cancer.

Methods: Patients diagnosed during 1995 were identified from the Scottish Cancer Registry and their medical records were reviewed. Adequate records were available in 91.2% of all potentially eligible cases.

Results: In 1995, 74.1% of patients in Scotland diagnosed with lung cancer had the condition confirmed through laboratory testing. And 75.3% were assessed by a respiratory physician;

However, only 56.8% received active treatment (resection 10.7%, radiotherapy 35.8%, chemotherapy 16.1%) and 2.9% participated in a clinical trial.

Survival was poor with a median of 3.6 months; 21.1% were alive at 1 year and 7.0% survived 3 years.

Conclusion: This national population based study demonstrates low use of treatment, poor survival, and the influence of process of care on survival. Implementation of evidence-based guidelines will require substantial changes in practice. Increasing the number of patients who receive treatment may improve survival. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11182014)

 

info-budget-dist-02_bz3k6fs-mr_hczfpnf

 

 

 

 

2001: Cancer Scenarios: An Aid to Planning Cancer Services in Scotland in the Next Decade

The population of Scotland experiences relatively high incidence of many common cancers, and deaths from cancer represent a significant fraction of total mortality.

Within Scotland, there are significant variations in the risk and outcome of cancer, geographically and socially.

This grim picture is moderated to some extent by the knowledge that we have the tools at hand to do something about it in a rational way.

Collection of reliable data on cancer incidence and outcome, and health professionals committed to use of information to improve services through evidence-based practice.

The aims of the Scenarios project are to predict trends in cancer incidence and mortality in Scotland in the next decade, and to speculate on the scope to influence these trends through interventions such as screening programmes and the application of recent innovations in treatment.

The purpose of the report is to bring together this information as an aid for the planning of cancer services in the next decade. (http://www.sehd.scot.nhs.uk/publications/csatp/csatp-00.htm)

 

 

info-improving-health-02-mr

 

 

2001: Scandal of the Cancer Patients Left to Die-Calls for Inquiry Into Ageism in NHS

Around 800 Scots a year diagnosed with lung cancer do not get the treatment they need, according to a new study.

The same report revealed that only 31% of patients older than 70 were treated, a finding which last night prompted charities for the elderly to call for an investigation into ageism in the health service.

Scotland has the worst record in Europe for a disease which strikes without mercy.

Fewer than 5% of patients survive after five years compared to 14% in other European countries.

The Scottish survival rate has changed little in 25 years, despite new treatments.

A rise in deaths in the early 1990s alongside a drop in numbers diagnosed showed deficiencies in treatment. (The Herald)

 

scotsmancancer
2002: Dr Gregor – Warns That Planned Improvements Are in Jeopardy Due To a Shortage of Trained Staff

Cancer services in Scotland have been subject to sustained bad publicity in the media for the last year.

Against a background of low five-year survival rates for lung cancer compared to the rest of the UK and Europe, for example, specific services have been widely criticised.

A recent Cancer Research UK survey found that some surgeons in Scotland have been failing to follow guidelines on staging endome-trial cancer.

The report, published in the British Journal of Cancer, concluded that death rates were ‘significantly higher’ where guidelines were not followed although other factors would also influence patient outcomes.

Dr Anna Gregor, a leading cancer clinician for Scotland, warned that the Scottish Executive’s plan to improve cancer care is being hindered by a lack of expert staff. (http://journals.rcni.com/doi/pdfplus/10.7748/cnp.1.6.9.s14)

 

ournhs

 

 

 

2002: Dr Gregor Warns of delay to NHS cure

Dr Anna Gregor, lead clinician for cancer services in Scotland, warned that the fight against the disease was about more than resources and said getting the right numbers of trained staff in place could take years.

Speaking at the Scotland Against Cancer conference, hosted in Edinburgh by the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party group on cancer, she said: “If I got £100 million to spend on staff today I couldn’t get them.

There is a severe shortage of trained manpower, of oncologists, radiographers, radiologists. I’m told we’ve run out of cancer nurses and specialist cancer pharmacists.” (The Herald)

 

4f744ebc8c772cd741ae7cf2fe109f37
2002: Dr Gregor – Scotland’s Cancer Czar Tells Health Secretary to Shut Little Hospitals and Spend The Money Saved On American Style Rapid Outpatient Care.

The Labour government appointed cancer expert said “We can do with fewer hospitals, absolutely.

Every time you try and close one somewhere the politicians march out, local clinical groups march out and patient groups march out”. But better results would be achieved by concentrating resources on modern equipment, more specialist clinicians and shorter stays for patients.

But her comments went against the conventional wisdom that more beds are needed to speed up the treatment of patients, thousands of whom are facing long waits for operations in Scotland.

But The Scottish Executive backed her remarks, which came just weeks after she and health minister, Malcolm Chisholm made a fact-finding visit to the United States.

She said she had been impressed by the care system used by Kaiser Permanente, an American private healthcare provider.

She said: “Patients face shorter waits and have access to a larger number of specialists and more modern equipment, partly as a result of money being saved by using fewer costly hospital beds and having shorter inpatient stays.

Kaiser Permanente’s use of hospital beds is a third of that of the NHS and Scotland has more beds than the rest of the UK.

It’s absolutely the way we should go. We need to have a radical rethink, stop emptying people into beds because we have such long waiting times. It clogs up the system and costs money.”

Shadow health spokeswoman Nicola Sturgeon opposed the suggestion that the number of hospital beds in Scotland should be cut.

She said: “It’s completely the wrong thing to do. We have 700 fewer acute beds now than we had in 1999 and it is one of the reasons we have struggled to get waiting lists and waiting times down.”

Report available: (http://www.kaiserthrive.org/kaiser-permanente-horror-stories/)

The Scottish organiser for Unison, said Kaiser Permanente had faced heavy opposition from health unions in its home state of California.

He said: “They launched a campaign under the heading of: ‘Sicker and Quicker’. By making primary care the priority and reducing the number of acute beds Kaiser Permanente patients are being admitted sicker and are being discharged quicker.”

Dr Harry Burns, Director of Public Health at Greater Glasgow Health Board, also said he was not convinced by the American model. He warned the study published in the BMJ was “deeply flawed” because it did not take higher social deprivation in Britain fully into account.

He said: “With Kaiser you have your cardiac surgery at Stamford University and then go back to a million-dollar house in Palo Alto.

If you have your cardiac surgery in Glasgow you go back to a fourth-floor tenement flat in Shettleston.”

Dr John Garner, chairman of the British Medical Association in Scotland, also warned against further reductions in the number of beds, explaining a large proportion were needed for emergency admissions.

And Margaret Davidson, of the Scotland Patients’ Association, condemned Gregor’s suggestion that some local hospitals should be allowed to close.

The Scottish Executive said it welcomed Gregor’s comments and shared some of her views.

A spokesman said: “Bed numbers should not be the currency on which we judge the success of the NHS.

What is far more important is to look at the patient and how their journey of care through the system is managed.”

(http://www.scotsman.com/news/cancer-czar-shut-down-hospitals-to-fund-care-1-1373489)

 

247064_1064723473544253_5800019231702880699_n
2002: Lack of Specialised Staff Putting Dr Gregor’s Scotland’s Cancer Plans at Risk of Failing

Dr Anna Gregor, leading cancer clinician for Scotland, told a conference in Edinburgh that the health service was “running out” of vital staff. “The biggest difficulty is the current shortage of trained manpower,”

Dr Gregor revealed. “We are running out of trained cancer nurses and we have run out of trained oncology pharmacists. We need a national strategy to address this,”

Dr Gregor’s comments came two months after Malcolm Chisholm, the health minister, announced an extra GBP 10 million for cancer services, some of which was to be spent on recruiting more nurses. (The Scotsman)

 

images
2003: Dr Gregor – The Doctor Who Has Seen How the System is Failing Cancer Patients

Dr Gregor explained why she had undertaken the thankless task of overhauling the delivery of cancer services for Scotland. “I decided that the last ten years of my working life would be spent trying to fix the system,” she says, the clipped vowels of her native Prague still faintly audible. “I had grown really tired of trying to fix things for individual patients. It was becoming increasing difficult. However much I improved the bit I was responsible for, the die was cast by the time the patient got to me and I could not influence what would happen to them after they left my care. Things needed to be changed. (The Scotsman)

improving-cancer-care-for-children-and-teenagers-in-scotland

 

 

2003: Dr Gregor Highlights Scotland’s Cancer Timebomb

According to Dr Gregor, lead clinician for cancer services in Scotland, the incidence of cancer in Scotland is set to rise by between 20 and 40 per cent in the next ten years.

Currently, 26,000 Scots are diagnosed with cancer each year and 15,000 die of it.

By 2013, the figure for those contracting cancer could be as high as 36,400 but death rates are set to fall, increasing the pressure on an already over-stretched NHS. (The Scotsman)

 

agreg2002-1

d1ceb6747182eda049d20681782f7d67dca6599c

 

 

 

2004: Dr Gregor Warns of Crisis in NHS Services Unless Urgent Action is Taken

Dr Gregor, the lead cancer clinician for Scotland and the woman whose job it is to implement the Scottish Cancer Plan, said Scotland lacks an overall vision for the future of NHS services.

She is calling for a wide-ranging public debate about the future direction of the NHS in Scotland. “Whether it is an ideological barrier or a political one I don’t know, but there is an unwillingness to do the difficult things that need to be done,” she said.

She went on to state that: “the NHS in Scotland has been cushioned from the sort of pressures the NHS in England is currently facing because of the extra 20 per cent funding it has traditionally received under the Barnett formula. (The Scotsman)

 

Breast-Cancer_2517769b

 

 

 

2005: Dr Gregor Calls For a Tax On the Big Mac and Other Fast Food To Help in the Fight Against Cancer

Dr Gregor said a tax on McDonald’s burgers could cut the amount of fatty foods consumed, just as high duty on cigarettes had cut smoking rates.

Appointed by the Scottish Executive to oversee reform of Scotland’s cancer services, she believes a poor diet and reliance on junk food is at the heart of the country’s poor health record.

And she wants any revenue brought in from the new tax to be reinvested in healthy eating programmes. ‘If we are serious as a country about changing the population’s eating habits, then we have to look at the tools at our disposal, including pricing policy,’ Dr Gregor said. ((The Scotsman)

 

liver-cancer-696958
2006-2008 Dr Gregor was awarded CBE for services to Medicine. She retired in 2008 and took up work with “Prostate Scotland” which had been set up in 2006 as a registered Scottish charity to inform, support and advance on prostate disease and prostate cancer.

 


2014: Scottish Expats in Prague Frustrated to be Missing Out on Independence Vote

Unlike Scottish ex-pats, thousands of EU nationals living in Scotland are entitled to take part in the vote.

That includes an estimated 7,000 Czechs some of whom are temporary labourers while others are long-terms residents. One of the latter is Doctor Anna Gregor, CBE.

She left Czechoslovakia for Britain in 1969, and eventually settled in Edinburgh, becoming one of Scotland’s leading oncologists. She is opposed to Scotland’s independence.

She is also unhappy that temporary residents have a say. “We had an invasion of Catalans to Scotland who have an interest in the vote because of their own separatist agenda. A crass observation

We’ve had Poles – but they eventually realize that if they vote yes and we as a secession state will cease to be in the EU until we manage somehow to get back, they will have to leave. ” Another crass observation

(http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/scottish-expats-in-prague-frustrated-to-be-missing-out-on-independence-vote)

 


2014: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics – Dr Gregor (Retd)

Formerly a leading cancer clinician in Scotland, Dr Gregor (retd), attacked the “Yes” campaign assertion that Scotland needed to gain independence to protect the Scottish NHS.

She stated that this was a “total and utter lie” and went on to express her concern about the “unreasonable distress and panic” that was being spread among patients.

But the “Yes” campaign had its own selection of health experts, and the campaign group NHS for “Yes” boasted a growing list of members, including Professor Mike Lean from Glasgow University and consultant surgeon Phillipa Whitford, who support their belief that the best way to protect the NHS in Scotland was through independence.

Scotland’s esteemed former chief medical officer, Sir Harry Burns, also argued that Scottish independence could be “very positive” for the country’s health, if people felt they had more control over their lives.

It is clear that by attempting to shift the focus to the health service the SNP has managed to strike a nerve amongst their opponents, but whether it strikes a chord with the public remains to be seen. (Holyrood)

 

dr_2781494b

 

 

 

2017: Dr Gregor (Retd 2014) Claims NHS On Cliff Edge As SNP Starves Services of Cash,

The now retired doctor, (who has repeatedly criticised the SNP government for their handling of the devolved NHS since coming to power in 2007) blasted the Scottish Government for not passing on cash increases from Westminster to cancer care.

Dr Gregor once credited with leading Scotland’s cancer care strategy from near disaster (under Labour and LibDem Executives) to recovery, said that Nicola Sturgeon’s party have failed to meet a series of waiting time and treatment targets.

She went on: “We are hurtling over a precipice with everyone pretending that it is going to be all right and it won’t be.

If you have a health service tightly controlled by politicians, then you have additional complexities in this already messy system, which is short-termism and pork-barrel politics of the highest order.

She added: “Until about 10 years ago, we could have put the NHS on a sustainable footing.

Ten years ago we didn’t have a 25 per cent vacancy rate in senior clinical staff. “We didn’t have budget shortfalls.

We didn’t have such demoralised staff that they were all looking to protect their pension pots and going at 55. “We can’t get people to come here.

The politicians are being extremely disingenuous when they say we want a health service fit for the 21st century. “They are doing nothing to make that happen. Quite the opposite, they are stopping things from happening.”

The NHS spend £12.2 billion a year in Scotland, about 40 per cent of the total Scottish budget.

But Treasury figures show a nine per cent increase in health spending in England, compared with a 3.4 per cent rise in Scotland between 2011-16.

NHS boards have been asked to make savings of £500 million an average of 4.8 per cent, this year. All of which will be reinvested in the Service which will assist matters.

The Scottish Government insisted they are committing an additional £327 million to health boards, taking NHS funding to a record high level and delivering £176 million more than inflation.

A spokesman said: “This reflects our commitment to protect the NHS with record levels of investment and is an important step towards achieving our commitment to increase the front line NHS budget by almost £2 billion by the end of this parliament.” (Daily Record)

 

1914 itok=rUPQL_Pr

 

 

 

6 May 2017: But her claims do not match the facts – Health Service Patient Satisfaction Continues to rise in Scotland

Patient satisfaction with Scotland’s health service continues to rise according to this year’s inpatient experience survey.
The Quality of Healthcare Experience National Indicator has risen to 82.8, the highest it has been since the survey began in 2010.
This represents a rise of 1.1 from the previous survey in 2014.
The 2016 survey, published today, found that 90% of patients rated their care as good or excellent.
Good or excellent care in A&E has also increased to 88% and the number of people who thought their ward was clean has increased from 95% to 96% since the last survey in 2014.
Overall satisfaction with the hospital environment increased from 88% to 89% since the last survey, and overall satisfaction with hospital staff has remained at 91%.

cancer-survival-rates-europe

 

 

 

Health Service Provision in Scotland Can be likened to “James and the Giant Peach”  It’ll Swallow Up all the Available Resources and Still Want More

2017: We spend 35% of Scotland’s budget on health and this year we will spend more than £12bn on the health of 5.34m souls.

According to Dr Anna Gregor, formerly the lead cancer clinician for Scotland, health statisticians have worked out that if we carry on with the same healthcare provision as we have now, the increasing demand will mean that by 2025, every school leaver in Scotland will be required to work for the NHS.

(Here she is indicating a review of health service provision is needed cutting back reducing staffing requirements)

 

ashtray2

 

 

 

2017 Summary:

Dr Gregor’s recent attack on the Scottish Health Service and Scottish Government was entirely expected.

A willing horse, she was trotted out by “Better Together” to deliver her poisoned views in the 2014 Independence Referendum.

At that time she said that she was not an avid “no” campaigner but she had issues with Alex Salmond who had claimed independence was needed to protect the Health service in Scotland from the Tory government in Westminster.

In her diatribe she also accused senior medical staff who supported Alex Salmond’s statement, of lying.

But her comments at the time she was interviewed on “www.radio.cz” and other publications, gives lie to he assertion that she was not an avid “no” supporter. She was and still is.

A brief review of events at the time she was Scotland Cancer Tzar (2001-2006) reveals a likely reason for her dislike of the SNP government.

In 2002 Dr Gregor brought forward a proposal to shut small local hospitals all over Scotland transferring healthcare finance to an American style operational mode.

Nicola Sturgeon (Shadow Minister of Health) and a number of senior Scottish Medical Officers supporting her opposed the measures and they were never carried through.

The American company has since been subject of much criticism over the years since. The then Labour Scottish Executive fortunate to have listened to Nicola Sturgeon’s counsel.

She is also memory blind to the poor state of the Scottish Health Service and cancer care services in the period 2001-2006.

The worst cancer services in Europe. Patients written off and dying often without any treatment or respite care.

Compare that record to the SNP government’s performance from 2007-2017. Cancer service provision in Scotland is rated one of the best in Europe.

You can follow Calton Jock at his webpage CaltonJock

 

 

Theresa May’s secretive plans to replace NHS in England with private US healthcare system Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is a private healthcare organisation based in California.

But unlike many other private healthcare companies in the US, Kaiser provides a complete model of integrated pre-paid insurance along with healthcare which is supposedly provided free at the point of need.

This is a system much like our own NHS but with three major differences – Kaiser’s healthcare provision is much more expensive than the NHS, the healthcare provision side is run for profit and unlike the NHS its cover isn’t comprehensive – it only covers those people who are in work.

Despite that, Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt seems to love Kaiser. He and other ministers have personally visited the company at its California headquarters – several times in fact:

And Kaiser’s own website lists other recent visitors from the UK, including many NHS hospitals and NHS trusts as well as HM Treasury and the Ministry of Health itself (click to enlarge):

We have already seen that US firms are looking to capitalise as the NHS becomes increasingly privatised, including Kaiser Permanente Foundation‘s senior vice president Hal Wolf who has openly called for the NHS to become “more like Kaiser Permanente“.

Alarmingly, Theresa May has specifically refused to guarantee she will not open up the NHS to US firms in a post-Brexit trade deal across the Atlantic.

Understanding the plans to replace the NHS with the Kaiser Permanente system explains why there has been a recent speeding up of the ongoing marketisation and privatisation of the NHS.

It also explains why the Tories were so desperate to push through their disastrous NHS reforms in the first place. A central plank of the NHS reforms was the formation of Clinical Commissioning Groups – which were openly based on Kaiser’s Permanente Medical Groups and which also happen to be a central plank of Kaiser’s healthcare system.

And understanding the plans to replace the NHS across England with the Kaiser Permanente system goes a long way to explaining why Theresa May has done nothing to resolve the worsening NHS crisis, which she is gambling will only make the public more keen to see changes to a system that is being deliberately broken.

So if the Tories win in June – say goodbye to the NHS in England and hello to Kaiser Permanente …

featured image Poster

You can follow Tom on twitter at @ThomasPride    and at his webpage Prides Purge