Archive for the ‘Discrimination’ category

The “Spine”

November 12, 2006

Regarding matters discussed before on NHS data security (particularly the NHS privatisers’ plans to place our medical records on a computer database, euphemistically named the “Spine”) readers may be interested in the worrying computer-related points suggested by Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at Cambridge University, as reasons for not wanting your medical records data to go on this Spine:

1. No “sealed envelopes” yet exist to limit access;
2. No on-line patient system yet exists to correct errors in the data;
3. Data uploaded may include genetic, psychological or sexual information;
4. It is intended to make your data available to social workers, researchers and commercial firms;
5. Your consent will not be asked before commencing processing;
6. Adequate criminal penalties against abuse do not yet exist;
7. Police and other agencies can gain access to a potentially unlimited range of information about you. There is abundant evidence that computer databases (including those of the Police, vehicle licensing and banks) are routinely penetrated by private investigators on behalf of clients which include media organisations;
8. 250,000 “smart” cards have been issued granting access to the Spine;
9. The Health Department threatens to withhold appropriate medical care from objectors;
10. Doctors say there is no necessity to design the Spine in this way.

You should check with your GP – you may well find that your data, like mine, has already been placed on the Spine by its jack-booted planners:

1. You can, by writing to your GP (and not the secretary of state who isn’t likely to see your letter), opt out of having your data uploaded to the Spine;
2. You can also opt out of having your address and contact details on the PDS (population demographics service – the NHS’s “address book”). If you don’t, then hundreds of thousands of NHS staff have access to your real name, address and telephone number;
3. Then you can also opt out of the NHS Secondary Uses Service (SUS), which stores records of all hospital treatments in the UK (including sensitive stuff like abortions and A&E treatments for drug overdoses). To do this you must invoke Section 10 of the Data Protection Act and state that the availability of your hospital records to large numbers of civil servants, etc, causes you distress.

I thank the very knowledgable members of the Greater London Linux Users’ Group (GLLUG) as well as to the beloved Guardian for advice and information.

Enough for now? I’ll come to the dear old Bexley PCT later …



Bexley PCT bean-counters

November 6, 2006

Friends and neighbours who’ve commented on my last blog about Bexley Primary Care Trust surprised me just a bit. In a few different ways, too. For instance, many laughed at the evident oxymoron seen in words “care trust”.

Yup, I agree. It’s so acidly funny that these New Labour Luvvy nominees use the words in the title of an organisation supposedly placed for the people’s benefit.

They don’t care and they can’t be trusted – that is evident.

As its part in the nation-wide imposition of cuts in the NHS, Bexley PCT is attempting to breach the once-held-sacrosanct relationship between GP and patient. The right of a GP to make clinical judgements in the interests only of the patient is under attack by the bean-counters of the Blair privatisation programme.

People in our streets, here in our town, need to be aware of the threat to what they once thought was safe – aware and angry at the dishonest New Labour local representatives who knew of these attacks yet did nothing, do nothing, to defeat them.

Our overworked doctors are under attack by operators only interested in personal profit.

Basically, New Labour wants to scrap the plans made during this country’s darkest hours. Our service people returned home after the war and demanded a National Health Service – and built it and kept it.

Are the children and grandchildren of those good people going to stand by and let the Blairite vandals ruin our NHS?

For the sake of future generations, I hope not …

The Bexley PCT aims to step in between doctor and consultant – with the aim of stopping some referrals. Isn’t that what private medical care’s all about? Like in America, say? No – here if they get the chance: no money? OK, DIE.


PCT pertinacity

November 4, 2006

I recently visited my GP with painful thumb joints. She said that I should see a specialist at a hospital and she asked which hospital I would like to attend. I said the nearest one would suit me, so an appointment was arranged.

Since then I have received a letter from the hospital with a questionnaire enclosed.

A couple of extracts from the letter:

“Your answers will be completely confidential. They are not linked to your patient records. The Hospital reference and Primary Care Trust reference that have already been completed on the survey will enable Ipsos MORI to analyse survey results for individual hospitals and regional Primary Care Trusts.” (What does all that mean?)

“Please return the survey as soon as possible. The survey is folded over and needs to be opened to answer the questions.” (Good job they mentioned that!)

Is this necessary?

Surely all hospitals should offer the same high standards. Why should patients have a choice which they are probably not qualified to make?

Would not the money spent on all the letters, postage, leaflets and wages for the clerical staff and fees for the survey producers, be better spent on improving the conditions in the hospitals?


The Bexley PCT hammer …

November 2, 2006

After numerous comments and complaints from friends and neighbours in Thamesmead I did some research – which, with comments, is what follows.

Basically the PCT (the Primary Care Trust – yup, a Blairite baby) is trying to prevent some medical practices in North Bexley (and surprise, surprise Bexley councillors, that includes part of Thamesmead!) from referring patients to hospital consultants. A referral that in all common sense must be within the normal one-to-one doctor/patient relationship.

The PCT is insisting that its in-house doctors scrutinise Thamesmead’s doctors’ referrals before allowing them to be sent to the hospital trust (remember, in the short-sighted Blair efficiency drive and “to-the-market” crusade, that’s a separate body).

This flies in the face of our medical profession’s professional autonomy, patient confidentiality and the famous “Patients’ Charter”. Remember? That stated that a patient has a right to referral to a consultant by their GP, and a right to a second opinion. Do you remember falling for that particular load of bull?

The New Labour Luvvies loved it …

A senior practitioner in a Thamesmead practice has advised practices that those being threatened with this restriction should ensure that affected patients sign letters forbidding this interference with their medical treatments.

The local MP has been contacted. And Blair. Both actions of course expected to bring almost revolutionary change!

However, the Blairite nominees at the PCT can expect a huge groundswell of opposition from local GPs, who feel they are “under the cosh”. Of course I don’t expect them to do anything other than cover up their leader’s misshapen faffings-about, but you‘ll know that, won’t you?



October 26, 2006

Discrimination against the Untouchable Caste was made illegal when India gained its independence.

In practice, the discrimination continued. The Daltis, as the untouchables are now known are, among other things, not allowed to draw water from the same wells as those Hindus of a higher caste.

The Daltis are now in revolt against the discrimination from Hindus higher up the pecking order. They will be converting to Buddhism in mass ceremonies right across the country later this month.

Strange that by changing religion they will have made their lives happier and command more respect. The Hindus’ loss is the Buddhists’ gain.


Old folk and the NHS

October 25, 2006

The Government has a tricky job in trying to sort out priorities in the way the Health Service spends its cash allocation. It seems to think it is the right action to take to spend £1.5 thousand million on management consultants. Maybe they are worth their pay.

The Government says that this is cost effective, but paying £2.50 per day on a drug to slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s is not.

There has been an increase in the prescriptions for anti-psychotic drugs with serious side effects to troublesome elderly patients suffering from dementia. This sedates the patients which covers up the shortage of properly trained staff to care for them.

Our politicians should think ahead on this problem, which is quite common in many geriatric wards and private care homes. One day they may need the services offered by these establishments. They should do something about it now.

Nobody will take any notice of them when they are inmates.