Article Published in the Sunday Post – Same Info Presented Without the Anti – Scots Spin by an Accredited NUJ Reporter

 

 

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2014 Scottish Independence Referendum Campaign – Scottish Press Shows Its Hand

Towards the end of April, (less than 6 months before the September referendum) the BBC and Scottish press relentlessly bombarded Scotland with distrorted information designed to ensure the Scottish electorate would turn away from the “Yes” campaign in favour of retaining the “status quo”. Deprived of any form of rebuttal Scots had to soak up a barrage of patronising mis-information and mind shaping, wearing down any opposition to the views of the Westminster controlled BBC and american owned press in Scotland. The article below appeared in the Sunday Post and provides example of my earlier assertions. The second article presents the same information mindful of a journalists sworn “code of conduct” which appoints them as “guardians of the truth” and protectors of the public.

 

 

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27 April 2014: Scandal of vanishing NHS beds

Hospital beds in Scotland are disappearing at a faster rate than in almost any country in the western world. The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development has looked at the number of hospital beds per person across 34 developed countries. It revealed that in England and Wales there are 2.95 beds per 1,000 people, compared with 6.37 in France, 7.65 in Austria and 8.27 in Germany. While the report didn’t include data for Scotland, the Scottish Government’s own figures show the ratio here is 4.67. But that is 21% down on 2004. It means Scottish hospitals have got rid of beds at a faster rate than almost anywhere else, with more than 5,000 disappearing in just seven years. Critics have raised fears hospitals are being stretched to breaking point.

In 2004 the average number of staffed beds available in Scotland was 29,886, which worked out as 5.88 beds for every 1,000 people. Three years later, when the SNP came to power, the number had shrunk to 27,735, or 5.2 beds per capita. The downward spiral has continued during their tenure, with the statistics for 2011 showing almost another 3,000 beds had been lost, leaving just 24,760 spaces at a ratio of 4.67. According to the OECD, only Finland and Ireland have seen bigger decreases.

Jackson Carlaw, Tory health spokesman, said: “There is no doubt that an increasing lack of acute hospital beds in Scotland would put patients’ lives at risk. “What really matters however, are the actual health outcomes from hospital. “It is critical that those who should no longer be in hospital are encouraged to go home and, where necessary, provided with the continual support that they may need.

Labour’s shadow health minister, Neil Findlay, agreed the Government’s record wasn’t good enough. He insisted: “The health service has struggled to cope with the growing demands on services as the SNP have systematically cut bed numbers, which means patients are left on trolleys in corridors for hours or treated in cupboards.

However, the Scottish Government insisted their health policy was on track. A spokeswoman said: “Care patterns have changed over the years, with more care delivered in the community, shorter hospital stays and more same-day surgery without the need for any overnight stay, which is good for patients. We know that the number of beds should vary throughout the year to reflect demand. “Since 2006/7 inpatients and day cases have increased by more than 10%. That is why we are developing an evidenced-based bed-planning toolkit to help Health Boards ensure they have the right number of beds in the right place and at the right time.”

The OECD report also showed that, in 2011, 84% of NHS beds south of the Border were full at any one time above the OECD average of 78%. The ratio for Scotland in the same year was 80%.

Nearly 40 elderly Scots a day are being hospitalised after suffering a fall. Research by the Scottish Conservatives shows there were 14,346 emergency admissions among over-75s last year.
The alarming haul is up from last year’s 13,355 and significantly up from a decade ago when the tally was 10,924. NHS figures also show there were 574 deaths in over-75s as a result of a fall. Around half of the falls occurred in the home, the data revealed.

Jackson Carlaw MSP, Scottish Conservative Health Spokesman, warned the figures are a sign of the strain the NHS faces from Scotland’s growing elderly population. He said: “While it’s extremely welcome that people are living longer, there are problems emerging within that. The fact 276 people aged 75 and over are being rushed to casualty every week as a result of a fall is extremely worrying. Unless we take action, this number will only increase as our population ages. “As we know from these figures, a fall at home for a frail person can be fatal, but it can also leave a lasting impact for the rest of a person’s life. Our NHS is already stretched to the limit, so if we can reduce these admissions, that would allow nurses to focus on other challenges.”

In February, Health Minister Alex Neil admitted the level of bed-blocking, where patients ready to leave are not discharged because there is nowhere for them to go, was “unacceptably high”.
Almost 135,000 days’ of hospital bed space was lost because of the problem in the last three months of 2013, an increase of 10,000 over the same period in 2012. A survey also found 254 patients had been waiting to leave hospital for more than four weeks in January, 2014, a spike of almost 50% on January, 2013.

Dr Neil Dewhurst, (outgoing president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh) claimed the number of hospital beds being occupied “commonly exceeds” what is regarded as the maximum safe level. Replying the Health Minister said: “the current level of delayed hospital discharges is 68% lower than it was in 2007, but this is still unacceptably high and shows there is still much to do, one person inappropriately delayed is one too many.” The hospital bed crisis is having devastating consequences and leaving a trail of unanswered questions.

https://www.sundaypost.com/news/scottish-news/scandal-of-vanishing-nhs-beds/

 

 

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The same information presented without spin, (compiled by an accredited NUJ reporter)

 

 

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27 April 2014: Hospital beds are disappearing at a faster rate in England and Wales than in almost any country in the Western World.

The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) recently reported on the number of hospital beds per person across 34 developed countries. The survey revealed that in England and Wales there were only 2.95 beds available per 1,000 people. The report did not include data for Scotland, but the Scottish Government’s own figures showed the ratio to be much higher at 4.67. Bed availability in comparable countries was: France 6.37, Austria 7.65 and Germany 8.27.

In 2004 the average number of staffed beds available in Scotland was reduced to 29,886, which worked out as 5.88 beds for every 1,000 people. Three years later, in 2007, when Labour handed responsibility for the NHS in Scotland to the SNP this had shrunk to 27,735, or 5.2 beds per capita. A further reduction of 2151 beds in only 3 years

In the years since 2007, bed availability in Scotland had reduced to 24,760 (3000 or 0.53), a quite remarkable record since the 2008 financial collapse brought with it a severe cutback in financial allocations to Scotland from Westminster. In the same period bed availability in England and Wales reduced to a dangerous and unacceptable 2.95 per 1000 people.

Jackson Carlaw, Tory health spokesman in Scotland, said: “There is no doubt that the increasing lack of acute hospital beds in England puts patients’ lives at risk. It is critical that those who should no longer be in hospital are encouraged to go home and, where necessary, provided with the continual support that they may need.”

Labour’s shadow health minister in Scotland, Neil Findlay, agreed the Westminster government record wasn’t good enough. He insisted: “The health service has struggled to cope with the growing demands on services as the Con/Dem government has systematically cut bed numbers, which means patients are left on trolleys in corridors for hours or treated in cupboards.

The Scottish Government insisted their health policy was on track. A spokeswoman said: “Care patterns have changed over the years, with more care delivered in the community, shorter hospital stays and more same-day surgery without the need for any overnight stay, which is good for patients. We know that the number of beds should vary throughout the year to reflect demand. “Since 2006/7 inpatients and day cases have increased by more than 10%. That is why we are developing an evidenced-based bed-planning toolkit to help Health Boards ensure they have the right number of beds in the right place and at the right time.”

The OECD report also showed that, in 2011, 84% of NHS beds south of the Border were full at any one time well above the OECD average of 78%. The ratio for Scotland in the same year was 80%.

Research by the Scottish Conservatives showed there were 14,346 emergency admissions among over-75s in 2013 (up from the 13,355 incidents in 2013) A decade ago the figure was a much lower, 10,924. Figures also show that there were 574 deaths in over-75s as a result of a fall an around half of the falls occurred in the home. This vindicates the SNP government’s recent announcement of a transfer of finance and staff to “Care in the Community” starting 2016/17.

Jackson Carlaw MSP, Scottish Conservative Health Spokesman, was concerned the figures were a sign of the strain the NHS faces from Scotland’s growing elderly population and in support of the SNP government said: “While it’s extremely welcome that people are living longer, there are problems emerging within that. The fact 276 people aged 75 and over are being rushed to casualty every week as a result of a fall is extremely worrying. Unless we take action, this number will only increase as our population ages. “As we know from these figures, a fall at home for a frail person can be fatal, but it can also leave a lasting impact for the rest of a person’s life. Our NHS is already stretched to the limit, so if we can reduce these admissions, that would allow nurses to focus on other challenges.”

In February 2014, Health Minister Alex Neil, further stressed the urgent need to bring about change improving “care in the community” greatly reducing the level of bed-blocking, where patients ready to leave are not discharged because there is nowhere for them to go. Almost 135,000 days’ of hospital bed space had been lost because of the problem in the last three months of 2013, an increase of 10,000 over the same period in 2012. A survey also found 254 patients had been waiting to leave hospital for more than four weeks in January, 2014, a spike of almost 50% on January, 2013.

Dr Neil Dewhurst, (outgoing president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh) also supported Health Minister Mr Neil stating that the number of hospital beds being occupied beyond their need “commonly exceeded” the regarded maximum safe level, (bed blocking.)

Replying the Health Minister Mr Neil said: “the current level of delayed hospital discharges is 68% lower than it was in 2007, but this is still too high and shows there is much to do, one person inappropriately delayed is one too many.”
Which report truly reflects the information?

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Urban Regeneration – New Labour – Billions Frittered away – The Tories – Billions Transferred to Their Financial Cronies – The Plebs Lose Out Again

 

 

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Natural Selection

Almost all of the towns and cities in the UK evolved meeting the challenges of the nineteenth century industrial revolution. But whilst the intensity and types of industry has changed markedly, in recent years the location and size of the vast bulk of UK towns and cities has not. One notable exception is London which is an ever expanding city state and financial capital of the World.

Gauging success by outcomes alone indications are that interlinking cities, feeding London will provide a more secure future but this will be at the expense of towns and villages which will decline as services and smaller industries are withdrawn in favour of their larger neighbours.

The skills mix of the working population will also change at an ever increasing speed. Manual work will be reduced in favour of white collar and service industries. Youngsters entering the jobs market will need to possess a range of formal qualifications or risk a life dependent on social service support, (which will be strictly rationed).

The “New Labour” government identified the challenges facing the country and committed huge amounts of finance aimed at Urban Regeneration which, if successfull would greatly improve the smaller towns and cities to the North of London, Wales and Scotland. “Education, Education Education” was the mantra driving the changes. But “New Labour” failed to make any significant impact and the education gap (10-20%) between London and the South and the rest of the UK remained. Companies in London and the South East of England needed to meet the many demands on their services and embarked on a massive recruitment bender taking in well qualified students from Europe and the Far East. What was feared might happen has occurred. London has moved on but without any significant input from the North.

 

 

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Urban Regeneration in England and Wales and Scotland

I have extracted information about Urban Regeneration programmes in England and the impact of the current recession on these. Scotland also suffered (through the Barnett formulae) as regeneration funding was reduced forcing the Scottish government to cancel or defer programmes and projects or transfer revenue to capital (potentially adversely impacting on committed expenditure.)

 

 

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Capital Expenditure and Urban Regeneration

In the period (1997-2010) Westminster politics was dominated by Labour Party ministers representing poorer urban areas in England. The Cabinet comprised -– Jack Straw, Blackburn; David Miliband, South Shields, Tyne and Wear; Jacqui Smith, Redditch; Harriet Harman, Camberwell and Peckham; Hazel Blears, Salford; Andrew Burnham, Leigh; Hilary Benn,Leeds Central; Alan Johnson , Hull West and Hessle; Ed Balls, Normanton, West Yorkshire; and Yvette Cooper, Pontefract and Castleford.

Inevitably these ministers were committed to urban regeneration and it is no surprise that spending on urban renewal increased in the last seven years of the decade. The rise in spending under the Labour Government is comparable with the rise under the Tories in the late 1980s. But while the Tories were responding to an obvious rise in urban problems caused by a sharply changing industrial structure, Labour spent more simply because it chose to and spending from choice rather than necessity can be reversed, but at a cost.
Westminster – Capital Funding in Billions:

1997: 2.4
1998: 2.1
1999: 2.5
2000: 2.0
2001: 1.7

2002: 2.8
2003: 3.2
2004: 4.0
2005: 5.0
2006: 5.5

2007: 6.0
2008: 6.2
2009: 2.0
2010: 1.5

Note: Data based on government spending with explicit urban regeneration objectives (excludes transport, housing and industrial policies unless part of a regeneration programme.)

Data includes:

Urban Programme, Urban Development Corporations (including Docklands Light Railway and Jubilee Line Extension), Enterprise Zones, Urban Development Grant, Urban regeneration Grant, Derelict Land Grant, City Grant, Estate Action, Inner City Task Force, City Action Teams, English Partnerships, Housing Action Trusts, City Challenge, Coalfields Areas Fund, Objective 1 and URBAN II European Funding, Single Regeneration Budget Challenge Fund, Manchester Olympic/Commonwealth Bids, Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Coalfields Enterprise Fund, Regional Development Agencies, New Deal for Communities, Neighbourhood Support Fund, Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder, Sustainable Communities Plan (without housing costs), Local Environment/Liveability Fund, Community Empowerment Fund, Thames Gateway, London 2012 Olympics.

 

 

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Finance

In 2010, at the start of the Tory/LibDem coalition government’s tenure finances were in a parlous state. and something had to give. The government tried to save money by staging pay awards but the political fallout was costly in terms of the adverse publicity it attracted and any move to cut public sector pay, nurses, doctors, teachers, police was ruled out since this would be an electoral disaster for a government, which might not serve a full term. The decision was taken to cut urban regeneration funding, which being project based was a soft target and funding was only released for projects that had enjoyed the support of large swathes of voters.

This was very bad news for many urban regeneration towns. Additionally a cost and benefit analysis indicated that urban regeneration spending had not worked, since the towns had not been regenerated. What had been achieved was a raised standard of living, since it was impossible not to derive some benefit from a spend of billions of pounds.

Withdrawal of financial support resulted in towns, (already slipping down the approval queue) falling even further behind. Cancellation of regeneration works also further adversely impacted on the personal incomes of those living in poorer urban areas. So, after nearly ten years of recession the rapid decline of many towns has been exacerbated and the salary gap between the have and have nots of society has been elevated markedly. Lessons from history indicate that even when the good times return, (if ever) the decline of towns and wages gap will not be reversed which does not bode well for the future.

 

 

 

The David Lloyd Complex - images courtesy of Drone Stock Scotland

Leith Docks Project

 

 

 

 
Scottish Independence

If or when the opportunity arises for another Scottish independence referendum Scots should reflect on the foregoing (since the direction of an economy run by Westminster is recession after recession and an ever widening earnings gap between the richer and poorer members of society.) and vote “Yes” taking Scotland away from the madness of the Westminster elite

 

 

 

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