When Weasel Hunt challenged
Stephen Hawking on Twitter
A row blew up
Upshot was Hawking was given permission to challenge a government health policy in the High Court – probably not what Hunt wanted especially as it’s going to cost the NHS
Hawking and others will pursue a judicial review against Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS England over plans to create ACOs (accountable care organisations).
‘In a preiminary skirmish, the judge has just found against Hunt and NHS England’s attempts to make NHS campaigners liable for potentially some £500k of legal fees.
Instead Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb has found in favour of the claimants Profs Stephen Hawking, Allyson Pollock et al as ‘meeting the statutory test of public interest, brought by responsible and public-spirited individuals’ and has capped (limited) their costs liability. A great relief.
What’s it all about?
ACOs are the latest ‘initiative’ from the Dept. Health (should be known as the Dept. for Silly Walks). The idea is that these are to act as partnership bodies incorporating hospitals, community services and councils.
As if hospitals aren’t doing this already – if left alone to get on with it. They don’t need more verbose paperwork to wade through and stop them from doing their job. As if the NHS hasn’t wasted enough time and money in the past with more and more initiatives emanating from jumped-up Ministers.
The NHS is desperately short of money, and a major cause is the ridiculous ideas for change that come spewing forth from Minister of State after Minister; each desperate to show they have a grip on the situation, yet unable to see that their efforts only serve to waste staff time, demoralise morale and take funding away from healthcare with the time it takes for endless meetings to discuss Minister’s ideas and change methods – never a good thing.
When Dept. Health (DH) came up with the idea of putting some NHS services out to private organisations, remembering the excellent care I had received from private hospitals, I welcomed it. More single rooms (I thought) to cut down infection risk; more nursing staff; shorter waiting lists, etc.
What I didn’t realise is that DH had no plans to put services out to current private hospitals with their excellent record. No, this was ‘jobs for the boys’ with a vengeance, and their mates were busy cobbling together ‘private’ healthcare companies set up to cut and cut costs, but make a profit. The only way to do this – cut care standards.
So things got worse.
Latest money-saving idea means NHS England wants hospitals, etc. to work closely with GPs and social care services to look after more patients in their communities rather than in hospital. Forget the fact that they are over-stretched.
In some areas, these groups are developing into ACOs, which will hold contracts to provide services. Critics argue that this could pave the way for privatisation of parts of the NHS and that Parliament has not legislated to allow the process to happen.
Has anybody asked the PBP (poor bxxxy patient) what they would like?
What Doctors say
In a letter to The Guardian, a group of doctors wrote “As NHS doctors we have been closely following the exchange between Stephen Hawking and the secretary of state for health over the past week (Why won’t Jeremy Hunt come clean?, 26 August). Since Professor Hawking delivered a momentous speech to the Royal Society of Medicine exposing the policy-driven reality of NHS underfunding and moves towards a US-style insurance system, tensions have mounted.
The profound irony of Jeremy Hunt claiming that a world-renowned professor, an academic pioneer who has dedicated his life to generating scientific evidence, is spreading “pernicious falsehoods”, or that his appraisals are “misguided”, when Jeremy Hunt himself has been unreservedly criticised for misuse of evidence for political expediency, is not lost on us. In fact, so audacious a claim is this that we have asked ourselves what could have prompted such a zealous response?”
So Hunt will waste even more NHS money going to the High Court to ‘fight’ the case. Doctors, NHS staff and supporters have had to set up a fighting fund to pay expenses for this monumental waste of time and money
Has come through that costs have been capped. A judge has found against Hunt and NHS England’s attempts to make NHS campaigners liable for potentially some £500k of legal fees. Instead Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb has found in favour of the claimants Profs Stephen Hawking, Allyson Pollock et al as ‘meeting the statutory test of public interest, brought by responsible and public-spirited individuals’ and has capped (limited) their costs liability. A great relief.
There is still some funding needed, so if you fancy contributing See crowdfund page: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/jr4nhs-round3/