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National Health Service breakdown and privatization: "Sustainability and Transformation Plans"

I'm deeply concerned that in the build up to the General Election there has been little discussion about the disastrous changes to the NHS being proposed by the local Sustainability and Transformation Plan, the "North West London STP" which covers 8 boroughs from Westminster to Hillingdon. These plans for the 44 "footprint" regions of England and Wales have been made in a secretive manner, with very little public information and are nothing more than plans to slash, trash and privatise our NHS.           But most worrying are large private healthcare companies and their lobbyists, such as Virgin Care and American healthcare companies including UnitedHealth, the previous employer of Simon Stevens CEO of the NHS, which will chase the UK's expenditure through the NHS using the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This pressure will inexorably lead to the American model of healthcare management which causes 50% of personal bankruptcies each year in the US. All the STPs call for "Accountable Care Organisations/Systems", a term which Americans recognise only too well. This system with low fixed budgets will be screwed down so that it does not meet the public need and it will turn the health provision in England and Wales into a two tier health system where the rich will pay and the rest of us will be left with a very poor, minimal NHS, like the American Medicare/Medicaid system.         I would urge all readers to contact their candidates and let them know that the public will not stand for the destruction of the NHS and all MPs must reject the STPs and reject the move to Accountable Care Organisations. These "new models of care" will end the NHS as a comprehensive service that provides the full range of care to all who need it, free at the point of need and fully accountable to the public (private companies will hide their waste as well as their profits).               Readers can find their candidates on the website. www.whocanivotefor.co.uk/elections

Una-Jane Winfield ● 1126d0 Comments ● 1126d

Wahaca and our dysfunctional hygiene inspection system

The closure of Wahaca recently after an outbreak of sickness among staff and customers at their restaurants brought to mind a conversation I had a while back with a local restaurant owner.His family owned business had been inspected by H&F staff and been given a mediocre rating. There was no problem with hygiene per se but their record keeping was found to be inadequate and therefore they received a low score. This man is in the kitchen of his restaurant every night of the week and is obsessive about cleanliness. His staff are mainly relations and share his desire to see the restaurant do well.Although he speaks English well it is his second language he finds the form filling very onerous and really struggles to do what is required.At Wahaca they have a high turnover of staff who are all employees of company based somewhere else in the country. People come and go on a regular basis and, although they are probably professional enough in the main, they don't have the emotional commitment to the restaurant that you would see in a family owned business. They almost certainly have at least one employee in the firm whose sole responsibility is to ensure that the restaurant's paper work is uptodate for inspections. So naturally they sail through every time with 5 stars.Whether the sickness that led to the closure of Wahaca was bad luck or bad management, it seems to me that the current system of inspections doesn't actually do that much to protect customers from poor hygiene at restaurants. What it is tending to do is give a big and unfair advantage to chain restaurants over family owned independent ones. The latter are already under severe pressure in the local area and if we lose more we risk becoming a characterless chain town with no interesting places to eat.

Andy Jones ● 1326d0 Comments ● 1326d