Archives for category: NHS

Time-pressed residents of Birmingham, Solihull, Cannock, Dudley, Coventry, Lichfield, Sandwell, South Staffs, Tamworth, Walsall and Wolverhampton who regularly scan their section of the Brummie site, appreciate the free service it gives, whatever their interests. Main news items covered, include a range of locally run websites, music and the arts, sport and business.

Links to them give those sites a wider readership than would otherwise have been possible. Until the final few months Mark was a helpful and courteous correspondent and this later lack of response was ascribed to pressure of other work, which involved travelling abroad. We now can see that there may have been health concerns claiming priority.

Three of many interests served: Our Birmingham, West Midlands Producers and Localise West Midlands thank him and hope that a way will be found to maintain the Brummie.






The Birmingham Trades Union Council invites you all to our annual May Day rally; open to all trade unionists their families & friends to commemorate historic, industrial, political & peace struggles around the world.  

 12.30 pm Saturday 29th April: committee rooms 3 and 4

Council House Victoria Square B1 1BB 


         Frank Keogh,  UNITE Health sector  

         Patrick Highton, Birmingham Keep NHS Public 

         Stephen Brown, Musicians Union regional secretary 

         Neil Vernon, formerly branch secretary Birmingham UCATT (now part of Unite) 

         Gill Ogilvie, regional organiser GMB on school funding cuts 

          Speaker from the Friends of the Birmingham Libraries 

The speakers will discuss the crisis in the NHS, the massive cuts in funding for local schools leading to widespread redundancies of classroom assistants and teachers and the destruction of Birmingham’s library service. Neil will be speaking about the use of umbrella companies to exploit employees. There will be plenty of time for discussion from the floor. 

Refreshments will be provided and unions and political campaigns are invited to have stalls at the event. 

For further details and to book a stall contact the Birmingham TUC secretary:



Comments on an FT article by Philip Stephens 

No policies? Every time I see Jeremy Corbyn being interviewed or giving speeches he is addressing these very issues and more.

“Who can worry about housing, schools or transport, let alone the mundane aspirations of Middle England, ahead of the great liberation struggles.” I don’t know where Philip Stephens has been but every time I see Jeremy Corbyn being interviewed or giving speeches he is addressing these very issues and more.

I would suggest he and the Labour party have lost the working-class vote thanks to the previous Blair government being non representative of them.  Remember Mandelson talking about being: ” Intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich as long as they pay their taxes…?” Corbyn has also suffered very badly by the press.  Mrs May has profited by Cameron’s mistake and badly handled Remain campaign and we are now at the mercy of this unelected PM and her party… (see also JC policy docs here)

Philip Stephens creates a narrative that doesn’t fit the facts. Corbyn has delivered effective attacks on the Government on welfare, the NHS and housing, some producing small U-turns.

He also travelled up and down the country campaigning to Remain. The problem was he and the Labour Party failed to breakthrough the media ignoring their campaign and focussing (in terms of the Remain argument) exclusively on the pathetic and useless official Remain campaign. Jeremy has been democratically elected twice to be leader. His record should in no way be considered dismal. He has consistently delivered his honestly and long-held beliefs.

Rubbish analysis as per usual although the historical throwback is well put.

Corbyn does care about housing, education, schools, middle england, under invested regions (it was Corbyn who was talking about a migrant impact fund), transition to Green energy.

Corbyn far-left? Inaccurate and “un-FT”. Corbyn seems to be a middle of the road socialist, at least by normal European standards.

Far-left policies include abolishing private healthcare, private education, the monarchy, making all third-level education free, nationalising banks and railways and a number of other things, some of which would probably be quite good for the country.

As it is, Corbyn seems to be a middle of the road socialist, at least by normal European standards. Far-left European politicians would include Vladimir Lenin, Rosa Luxembourg, Alexander Lukashenko and any number of dictatorial 1980s Communist party secretaries in Warsaw Pact-era eastern Europe. Jeremy Corbyn is quite clearly not in that zone unless one is a swivel-eyed Daily Mail reader.

A question: When Brexit is done and May is left standing there blinking vaguely and surrounded by the wreckage of the economy where will the Conservative Party be in the eyes of the electorate?

Its reputation for sound economic management will have been trashed along with the economic damage it has just imposed on the country so who wins?

Philip you are doing the FT (and its readers) a signal disservice by misunderstanding Corbyn and the Labour left.

Copeland was never likely to vote for an anti nuclear Labour Party – and well you know that. The wonder is that the Labour Party nearly won the seat despite being clearly antagonistic to the existence of the region’s biggest employer. WE, the subscribers to the FT, expect objective reporting that enables good decision making.

Corbyn and labour can’t win at the moment, if they go to the middle and ignore the democratisation of their party they will lose, if they stay a democratic left party the boomers and those with assets won’t vote for them as they fear socialism

Meanwhile the millennials and future generations bear the brunt of public debt created privately, and shareholder capitalism which is a race to the bottom, generation rent, and the absurd 40% of income rent costs in areas where there are plentiful jobs and opportunity epitomises the modern day surplus extraction and misery of those who have not lived among the golden age of capitalism, add tuition fees, stagnating public services (NHS), erosion of employment rights and you can see why Corbyn is confident among that 20% (of which I’m a part, ha ha ha, how funny he’s so inept ha ha ha lets all laugh at corbyn because there are so many other alternatives out there that are SO much better).

The Tories will continue their irrational, economically illiterate policy that is not running the country into the ground but causing growing social issues, and new social actors will emerge from the post 2008 age eventually tipping the balance towards something more corbyn-esque. Until then it will be the same old, same old.

Corbyn’s crackpot policies are simply outrageous! Spending a little more on the NHS and primary school education?  Providing a bit more affordable housing in the midst of a housing crisis? 

Failing to asset strip the public infrastructure? Rowing back a bit on the vast, exploitative Sports Direct-ification of the British economy?  Why, this is simply unpatriotic! How “radical” – somebody stop this crazed moderate, centre-left European-style social democrat Corbyn before my taxes end up a little bit higher and the proles end up with a slightly better quality of life!

God forbid that poorer people should ever have slightly better quality of life. Who knows where that might end? It’s better not to give people hope. It just encourages them to think. 

I agree.  Britain’s low wage, low skill, low investment, low productivity economy would be severely jeopardised by the dangerous, radical policies of Jeremy Corbyn. Sure, he’s languishing in the polls now, but the proles are a fickle lot and cannot be trusted to consistently vote for their own impoverishment. What if Corbyn dons a Union Jack leotard and starts leaping up to belt out a few verses of ‘God Save The Queen’ with gusto on the next campaign trail, waving a couple of flags about like the dickens.  Why, the proles might even be duped by this charade into voting him into office! This would leave us all at the mercy of an outbreak of half-decent working and housing conditions for the proles at any time.  This simply would not do, too much has already been invested by the Conservatives in their cooption of UKIP’s policy platform!

There was no money left. The Tories have just borrowed billions. The crash will be spectacular.

This article is high in the running for one of the worst I have read in the FT in years.  We are in the end times of Neo-Liberalism, an experiment where maybe 20% did very well, and 80% were massively left behind.

Corbyn, Trump, Brexit are consequences of a system that has failed, and a financial system that collapsed in 2008, never a crisis always a collapse.  Stevens has no understanding of the why’s of brexit or the rise of Corbyn.  The left-right paradigm is dead.  I could not find one sentence in this article that is not total ideological nonsense.

If Jeremy has got under the skin of Philip Stephens so badly he must be doing something right.

Most Labour MPs and most journalists hate Corbyn as if he were the devil.  He represents the one pole of the process of polarisation caused by the 2007-9 Great Recession and the continuing crisis of world capitalism.

Let there be no mistake. The reason Philip Stephens is so horrified is because if his buddies amongst the old Labour MPs who are career politicians, were instead people of principle and socialists, then the Labour Party would be challenging for power.

The lesson of our era is the fluidity and rapidity of change. If Corbyn is right, (and I think there is lots of evidence to back him up), if he can be seen to be a leader of masses on protests and demonstrations, this will sharply polarise politics and this may match a simultaneous collapse in Tory support.  The Labour MPs who are resigning and trying to oust Corbyn again with their endless press briefings against him are part of a deliberate coup attempt. This time a sort of coup by water torture. They will fail again. The only major criticism one can make of Corbyn is he is too soft on these saboteurs. There are times when a sword must be wielded.

The worrying thing about this analysis is, his policies weren’t even that far left, they were definitely more central than Thatcher’s. Yet the FT reports this as if he’s Lenin/Kim Jung Un etc. His biggest failing for the press is he wants a meritocracy and for companies which require state support (through the use of tax credits to prop up salaries and increase profits and bonuses) to not pay dividends, which is effectively the Government paying the rich in an indirect way. Yes he has his failings, as does everyone, but generally speaking a lot of his economic policies would work fairly well at creating a long term balanced economy.

Corbyn, and his anointed heir, need to show there is an alternative to the Conservative Creed. Perhaps he needs to lose an election to clear out the MPs who are undermining him.

Perhaps this will result in his own political demise. But if he has a suitable succession plan in place then his success will come after he is gone. With the LabouraTory MPs planked off the sinking ship, seats will be freed for real Labour candidates for the subsequent election.

Facetious commentary. Corbyn has inherited a mess of a party with crumbling membership and totally out of touch MPs.

Time and time again polls have shown that the public want a ring fenced NHS, working railways and better care for the elderly, sick and disabled. To finance that he has stated that he will increase funding to the HMRC so that it can go after companies that are not paying their taxes (last year’s estimated unpaid tax was £34 Billion) which is probably why this article has been written in the style it has.

People want the state to intervene if something isn’t working. The current level of income disparity is something that is directly affecting the world by creating the perfect soil for fascism. Yet no other political leader wants to do anything about it (since it will affect their careers after being an MP). 

Versus the CIA and capitalism he is the best chance we have of having a fair society

bcn2A member of one of the city’s Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Patients’ Participation Groups responds to the news of the council’s successful bid for a Rough Sleeping Grant:

“It is good to see the May Government have relaxed their financial persecution of some of the Midlands’ local authorities and are providing cash to allow us to help rough sleepers more.

“Why are Birmingham South Central and (part of) Sandwell/West Birmingham CCG not on the list (like the Cross City Group)? These two CCGs will also have GP practices which have rough sleepers who need help.”

jc-2-housing-coverLabour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s housing report points out: “Homelessness is rising: Official figures show that sleeping rough in England is up 55% since 2010 (and up 78% in London); while families in temporary accommodation are increasing too”

He sees housing policy as a top priority and lists measures needed, including:

  • Addressing the issue of out-of-control private rents.
  • Ensuring that private rented homes meet basic standards of health and safety.
  • Building new council houses and other new homes that are affordable to rent and to buy.
  • Tackling land hoarding and land speculation.

As Cheapside’s Andrew Walton writes on the Bioregion Birmingham website: ”Everywhere you walk in the city centre there are rough sleepers. This is not hyperbole. You simply cannot walk around town without seeing people desperately trying to stay warm under sleeping bags, hiding in temporary shelters beneath staircases, or pleading for change from passers-by.


“It is absurd to contrast this image with artists’ impressions of how lovely Birmingham will look; once yet another functional building has been demolished and replaced by unaffordable luxury apartments or office and retail space”.


Read the Corbyn report here: 

Read a December article in the Guardian about Birmingham’s ‘rough sleepers’.





npw-coverAllan Leighton, Chair of the Canal & River Trust, in his foreword to the C&RT’s Northern Powerhouse Waterways prospectus (cover, left), outlines the potential of the region’s waterways as a resource for all to use, a contribution to competitive, resilient and congenial cities and routes to sustainable growth.

There are proposals to provide an alternative to road freight by upgrading fifty miles of commercial waterways to the EuroClass II standard and developing the inland Port of Leeds to create a corridor from the Humber to Leeds.

With relatively low levels of investment our waterways could be brought back into use as an essential part of our freight transport network.

CRT also recognises that waterways have a significant role to play in building energy and environmental resilience and supporting the transition to low carbon economies.

Waterways can contribute to the low carbon economy. The water flowing through the City Regions via the Northern Powerhouse Waterways contains enough thermal energy to produce around 200MW of energy. This energy can be extracted using water-sourced heat pumps to provide an incredibly efficient form of heating and cooling, reducing electricity demand and balancing electricity supply.


A number of businesses now use this low carbon energy source to heat and cool their buildings. The Hepworth, Wakefield (above), on the waterfront of a length of the Calder which has been ‘canalised’, is using this energy source to heat and cool its art gallery building.

Waterways provide an important wildlife route and mitigate habitat loss, also assisting the genetic exchange of plants.

With careful design waterways can provide sustainable options for drainage from future developments that would otherwise not be viable due to flood risk concerns. The managed nature of canal water levels, and the ability of waterways to accept surface water run-off, could also assist flood mitigation measures.

Will the Midlands Engine work with C&RT to Increase the use of our waterways for commercial purposes by waterborne freight and of our towpaths and riverside paths for recreation or travelling to work? Such a partnership could make a valuable contribution to improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions – a key consideration as air quality in Birmingham is exceeding legal limits, causing chronic ill-health, loss of productivity and substantially increasing the NHS’ workload.




Smirks all round – and, as usual, blame the system’s victims


Philip Hammond in his autumn statement

“The productivity gap is well known, but shocking nonetheless,” Hammond said on Wednesday. “It takes a German worker four days to produce what we make in five, which means, in turn, that too many British workers work longer hours for lower pay than their counterparts.”

For obvious reasons he fails to mention the causes of higher productivity in Germany:

  • their industrial democracy, recently spurned by Theresa May
  • better education
  • better healthcare
  • better housing and
  • efficient transport

And of course no admission is made of the condition of productive workers on whatever type of British ‘shop floor’:

-the huge income disparity between them and the parasites who are highly paid for directing – and misdirecting – them,

-the corporate political nexus which has allowed the wealthiest to escape due tax payment

-and the poorer social services, education, healthcare, housing and transport provision.

Many will expect most of Mr Hammond’s investment fund for housing, infrastructure and innovation projects to find its way into the pockets of the usual suspects – corporate beneficiaries.


Radical change is needed – and advocated by many, including Steve Schofield, in a new website,  to address these “grotesque inequalities”.




A Solihull reader alerts us to an award-winning Pulse magazine report that medical practices are facing delays as patient records and supplies are missing and payments made late. Alex Matthews-King, who wrote the article, reports on the situation using data published in April 2016 – two years after the private company Capita won the £330m contract to provide primary care support services, with a budget cut of 40%.


In 2014 Dr Robert Morley, the Birmingham and Solihull representative on the BMA General Practitioners’ Committee (GPC), anticipated problems when it was announced that NHS England was outsourcing primary care support services to save money.

A Pulse survey of more than 500 GPs and practice managers revealed the full administrative challenge practices are facing; GPs report:

  • missed referrals,
  • delayed care
  • delayed supplies
  • a major backlog of unprocessed records
  • cancelling clinics due to patient records not being available
  • new NHS numbers not being issued quickly enough
  • practice payments are delayed.

In one case a practice was reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office for being unable to provide records, while another could not fulfil a court order because two patients’ records were missing. Another had to wait 15 days for a violent patient to be removed from its list.

The BMA’s General Practitioners Committee (GPC) passed a vote of no confidence in Capita in July, its chairman stating the problems are ‘putting patients at risk’ and causing ‘serious disruption’ to practices. Even NHS England says it is ‘disappointed’ in the service, and is ‘vigorously holding Capita to account’.

However, to date, problems with medical supplies have persisted; 33% of GPs and practice managers told Pulse their practice was experiencing delays, forcing them to ‘borrow, swap and beg’ supplies such as FP10 prescription pads, needles and sterile cups. And 18% of all respondents said patient care had been affected.

Capita says it is improving its systems, now moving records within three to six weeks, fulfilling ‘more than 90%’ of clinical supplies orders placed in August and all new registrations will be completed by the end of the summer.



A Jamaican correspondent – africanherbsman1967 – alerts us to a post on his wingswithme blog.

He opens:

“Remain for me.

“Not an easy decision despite Cameron’s lackluster campaign.

“David Cameron’s “we’re all doomed” led Remain campaign, should have emphasised that the UK will survive whether in or out of the EU; but would benefit and influence far more if we remain part of the EU”.

Remembering his days working in Britain, our correspondent states that the last Labour government ‘messed up the immigration strategy’ when the EU accepted former Soviet bloc nations such as Poland and Slovakia:

“They ignored the warnings of some of my former colleagues in Whitehall on the immigration impact of such regional changes. Immigration is important to any country’s development. But it has to be measured and beneficial to both host & visitors. British governments should have lobbied harder to get more EU funding to cope with the impending immigration growth.

“Some of the issues raised by the Leave campaign are of importance to all British residents. Especially immigration or – to be more specific – the density of immigration in major towns. The decade plus long increase in the number of EU migrants from Eastern Europe to especially England has been monumental, added to the numbers coming in from wartorn countries.

“This growth has impacted pressures on jobs, wages, public services in particular social housing. Many Brits have waited decades for access to social housing only to see some immigrants gain access to such homes ahead of them. Registering to a local dentist or doctor’s practice 15 years ago was a straightforward exercise. Today you are likely get turned away due to significant growth in immigration.

“Some say that by leaving the EU they’ll get their country back. But in honesty few areas of large private enterprises are owned by UK citizens or taxpayers. Whether it be real estate, manufacturing, technology or even football clubs. Those foreign investors are from the Middle East, Far East, Africa, US and yes, Eastern European. So saying no to immigrants and yes to billions in foreign investment looks a bit lopsided. We need to strike the right balance.

“I feel that remaining in the EU will allow the UK to sustain such foreign investment as foreign investors prefer using the City of London as their financial hub for EU business.

“As a former civil servant I have collaborated with hundreds of public and private sector bodies across the EU for nearly 14 years. I saw first-hand where such collaborations benefited the UK on issues such as reducing bureaucracy, customs reform, national security, anti narcotics, crime & policing, health, information technology, customer services and other front-line services. And on issues such as human rights, privacy laws and worker’s rights, thank heavens we have had the EU to counter some of those policies devised by Tory and Labour governments.

“But I accept the EU project must do better for the UK.



Read the full text here: