Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


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UK state-sponsored death plan to be scrapped

nhs deaths

A story at the weekend which was eclipsed by Prof Sir Bob Keogh’s report (to be published later today) into 13,000 unnecessary deaths in 14 NHS Trusts was the Government’s decision to scrap the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), dubbed the death plan for its sole aim of killing off patients at the end of their lives to free up NHS hospital beds.

The LCP was promoted by doctors and nurses as a programme to give terminally ill patients a dignified death. It was nothing of the sort. NHS Trusts were incentivised with money to put people on the death plan and the more who were killed off through its use the more dosh the NHS Trust got their bloodied hands on.

The Department for Health ordered an inquiry into the LCP, it’s practices and the experiences of patients placed on the plan and their relatives. Liberal Democrat health minister, Norman Lamb (who I’ve always had a lot of time for, especially his work on the credit card industry), branded the LCP “a national disgrace”, which is an understatement considering the evidence collected from patients’ relatives.

People placed on the LCP were refused water to the extent some were seen desperately sucking at wet sponges. Nurses (yep, those “wonderful” nurses again) involved in the implementation of the death plan were described in the LCP review report as “uncaring, rushed and ignorant” and of using “brutal or callous language” with the word ‘futile’ scrawled in big letters in one patient’s notes who had been placed on the death plan. There were several reports of doctors and nurses passing the end of patients’ beds saying loudly “Oh, is X still with us?

Once patients were placed on the LCP, there was no course of appeal. That was it. The only exit was death. Some patients, desperate for water, were heavily sedated to shut them up. Where relatives could, they gave them the water they were crying out for only for nurses to scream at them from across the ward to not given them a drink because they were on the LCP. There were multiple accounts of this behaviour from nurses.

The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) was basically a doctor’s order to starve a patient to death with even junior doctors in the middle of the night giving the order the patient should die. This is the UK in the 21st Century not Hitler’s Germany but it might as well be.

Thankfully, the LCP is being scrapped and to be replaced with a system (yet to be explained by ministers) whereby patients who are at end of their lives are treated as individuals with their own tailored care plan. I could have told them that before the LCP was implemented nationwide by the state health care system (which even those who can go private have to use). This is what socialism looks like in the raw: a killing machine.

Today Jeremy Hunt, the current Health Secretary, will address Parliament on the Keogh Report into the 13,000 needless deaths, which are on top of the LCP deaths where it was deemed “legal” to kill.

The NHS is not fit for purpose and in many cases doctors and nurses are acting like guards in Auschwitz rather than caring health professionals in the seventh richest country on Earth. We need words from the Health Secretary today explaining what he is going to do about this catastrophe in our hospitals but we also need visual action: nurses and doctors taken from hospitals in handcuffs might be a good start.


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New NHS killing fields uncovered

NHS logo

Let’s stop pussfooting around. Let’s wake up and smell and see the great big elephant in the room: the NHS is not fit for purpose.

The Francis Report found 1,200 patients were killed by doctors and nurses at the behest of top-down management targets set from Whitehall. This sentence sounds like something from Stalin’s Russia or Hitler’s Third Reich. But it happened in Staffordshire, England between 2005 and 2009 at Stafford Hospital.

And now we find Stafford was not a one-off.

Another 13,000 people needlessly died since 2005 at 14 NHS Trusts.

The NHS is not a place of care. It is a slaughter house.

After the Francis Report was published in February, Prime Minister David Cameron ordered a report into “excess deaths” across the entire NHS. Report author Prof Sir Bruce Keogh investigated the 14 hospital trusts with the worst mortality rates over the past two years. The report will be published on Tuesday.

I asked in February how many more have to die before the NHS is broken up and a new form of healthcare, proven abroad, is introduced into one of the richest countries on Earth: the United Kingdom. Is 13,000 enough Jeremy Hunt?

This crime, and it is a crime which the police are investigating in Stafford (clink, clink doctor!), has been allowed to happen because of the perverse thinking of the British public, egged on by all political leaders, that the NHS is the envy of the world, the best healthcare system ever invented by man. Well, if the NHS is the best healthcare there is, I dread to think what the worst is.

The political party that gave birth to the NHS was Labour and frankly it was them who caused these deaths with their top-down target driven culture imposed on the NHS during the final five years of their reign from 2005 to 2010: from the Secretary of State for Health (Andy Burnham, you have blood on your hands) in Whitehall down through the former Strategic Health Authorities and Trusts into the wards and corridors, which at Stafford Hospital and Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals resembled killing fields rather than centres of care.

Only 51% of doctors and nurses at Basildon and Thurrock said they would be happy for their friends and relatives to be treated at the Essex hospital.

David Cameron can wipe the smirk off his Eton face. Nothing will have changed in our hospitals in the first three years of his Coalition Government, mainly because the first thing he did when he became Conservative Party leader in 2005 (as elderly women in hospital were drinking from vases because they were so thirsty) was fall prostrate and pay homage at the sacred altar of the NHS. “NHYes”: remember that.

Current Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Current Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt

We are promised a statement from the current Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, in the House of Commons on Tuesday. Let’s hope this time he does better than his boss, Mr Cameron, who when the Francis Report was published, went out of his way not to criticise the Labour ministers who presided over the slaughter between 2005 and 2009. The Health Secretary at the height of the killing in 2009 was one Mr Andy Burnham, who is now the Shadow Secretary State for Health, and has had the audacity to say the 14 NHS Trusts investigated in Sir Bruce’s report have been allowed to “deteriorate significantly” since the Coalition came to power in 2010. Hold on, what about the thousands of deaths on your watch in 2009 Mr Burnham? I suggest you get your own house in order and legal case before looking to deflect blame elsewhere.

Now is the time to point the finger at who is to blame for this catastrophe: the Labour Party, Patricia Hewitt (Health Secretary 2005-2007), Alan Johnson (Health Secretary 2007-2009), Andy Burnham (2009-2010), Sir David Nicholson (Chief Executive of NHS England and Head of Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust during the slaughter at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2009), the doctors and nurses at whose hands the patients needlessly died and all other politicians who say how “wonderful” the NHS is, including Prime Minister David Cameron.

The time even for debate about the NHS, which has never been able to take place, shut down by politicians of all sides in case our “wonderful” doctors and nurses are offended by pointing out they are killing patients, has now passed. The NHS is entirely unfit for purpose. We learn today that more soldiers have killed themselves back in the UK than have been killed in total by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The woeful lack of care for our veterans is summed up by reports it is taking a year and a half for a former soldier to see a psychiatrist in the NHS. That’s not a service, that’s an insult to the taxpayer and a system which is killing in our hospitals, on the bridges and the paracetamol poisonings up and down the land.

It’s time to bring the killer to book and for the NHS to be broken up with a Netherlands-style healthcare system put in its place.