UK Column News [31 July 2017]
Recruiting for the NHS
"The NHS is going to recruit 2,000 more GPs, they say, from abroad as it meets its staffing targets. That`s according to Simon Stephens who`s the head of NHS England and this is in addition to 500 already planned. He said that an industrial scale recruitment programme from abroad is ... needed. And the government has set out a target of recruiting 5,000 GPs by 2020. "
"Nobody really thinks they`re going to manage to meet that target. ...Well first of all Mr Stephens he said although there`s some good signs of progress on increasing GP training nevertheless there are real pressures around retirements. So people are leaving; people are retiring; they can`t fill those gaps. So the conclusion we`ve come to is in order to increase the likelihood of being able to have 5,000 more doctors in general practice we`re going to need a significantly expanded industrial scale international recruitment programme. We intend to launch that in the autumn. "
"So despite Brexit, this is part of the reason I believe they are particularly concerned about immigration policy, and so on, and the notion of not having any cliff edges."
Recruiting for Mental Health
"Jeremy Hunt said that `The NHS needs to recruit doctors and nurses from all over Europe and that is going to continue after we leave the European Union.` Well that`s pretty good because today he`s also mentioning... 21,000 additional staff required for mental health programmes - for mental health care in this country. And they aren`t going to be able to source those people from the UK because they haven`t put the training in place in the last number of years."
Brian Gerrish: "This is the key bit they never talk about, Mike, is why we haven`t got these people. And on one hand we`re saying we haven`t got people within this country who are trained to do these jobs and on the other hand we know we`ve brought in people particularly from the European Union who can`t speak English with enough clarity to do their job within the NHS anyway. So what we see is this chaotic situation and let`s remember that those Tory MPs a couple of years ago were actually saying that the Conservative party planned to introduce a period of what they said was being called `constructive chaos`. That seems to be the period that we`re in."
Mike Robinson continues: "But anyway as I said Jeremy Hunt talking about the big expansion of mental health services in Europe. They need 21,000 people. This is the softening of Brexit once again but the focus being on mental health."
Recruiting for the Department of Work and Pensions
"Absolutely. Well let`s follow through on this. We`ve obviously got the BBC headline here on this: Mental health staff recruitment plan for England. But the other place that is going to be using mental health staff - and it would appear that some of these are going to be their own trained people - is the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). So if we go back, this is March this year; interesting headline from the Independent: DWP`s fit-to-work tests `cause permanent damage to mental health`, study finds."
"So we`re recruiting more mental health professionals but the DWP is not only recruiting more of these people itself they`re also using them on the ground and on Friday I had a particularly interesting report from a lady who had recently gone to DWP up in the Midlands area and she was horrified to be asked a whole series of questions about her mental health. She said she took great delight in realising that there was something very dangerous going on here and so in every box she put down how exceptionally well she felt and that resulted in the professional there - she didn`t know whether the gentleman was qualified in mental health or not - but he questioned her as to how she could be so happy while she was there in the DWP."
Mike Robinson: "So of course... people go there for benefits, for advice on employment, and so on, and suddenly they`re getting some kind of mental health screening."
"Well they are, and let me just read a little bit of this. This is from that Independent report. This says: the government`s fit to work tests for access to disability benefits have caused `permanent damage` to some claimants` mental health from which they are not recovering. The research conducted by academics at Edinburgh`s Heriot-Watt and Napier universities found that the work capability assessment experience for many caused `a deterioration in people`s mental health which individuals did not recover from`."
"So what they`re really saying is that the stress and the aggressive way which the DWP is using these mental health tests on people who are already under huge pressure, because they haven`t got jobs - presumably they`re short of money; maybe they`re having trouble housing or feeding themselves - the pressure of those tests was causing them harm - not just harm that they were recovering from but permanent mental health [harm.] So this appears to me Mike to be an attack on the individual. We`ve got the mental health field; we`ve got psychology, psychiatry being used to attack people instead of support and help them."
Mike. Robinson: "So if you`re creating a new mental health profit centre for potential future privatisation within the NHS, of course, you`ve got to provide the feedstock for that perhaps. Maybe that`s a hard phrase to use but I`m using that because that seems to be the way these people are viewing ordinary human beings."
Brian Gerrish: "Follow the money. So let`s just do that."
The charity business
"I did a little bit of work on just one of the charities that was providing advice on that Work Capability Assessment and this is Rethink Mental Illness. Of course this is a charity that advertises itself for doing great work for people with mental health problems - but they`ve had to produce this little article advising people how to go about dealing with the Department of Work Capability Assessment. So it must be stressful if Rethink Mental Illness has had to provide some advice."
"Let`s choose another one and I`ve gone to this one here MQ. It says it`s transforming mental health through research and this is one of the quotes from that website: `With the help of our supporters and the brightest scientists we will uncover breakthrough findings and illuminate our understanding of mental health...`So it says that they are going to achieve the breakthrough and why do they want a breakthrough? So that they can understand mental health. Nothing to do with actually helping people on the ground."
"So I thought it would be good value to have a look at MQ and who`s supporting them."
"So let`s bring them in and the first thing we find on the website is Wellcome Trust and we`ll come on to them in a minute. They are then claiming they`re supported by business but the only organisation that is listed is Q5 which says it`s there to achieve change in every quarter. Of course the change is not defined. They say that their expertise is in organisational change, helping to build better businesses across the world. So this is all corporate Mike. This is all about leadership and change. We don`t see a lot about compassion and people. Let`s have a look at who they work with. Well now we`re getting into the meat of it. We work with Barclays, British Airways and Dow Jones. So that`s all good stuff."
"But let`s remember that Wellcome Trust up there, the big W. And if you`re not aware of this organisation you need to be. This is their website and here`s the history about the founder, Henry Wellcome. He got very interested in pharmaceuticals. He got very interested in research about what products could apparently help people`s health but this ballooned and basically the organisation then became a billion dollar organisation which was eventually sold on to GlaxoSmithKline. So we`ve got a research organisation which is hand in glove with one of the biggest pharmaceuticals in the world, interested in what?"
"So we follow the charity. Who do we find behind the charity? We find big business which of course needs the sick people in order to use the pharmaceutical products."
"This is going back to Q5.. I just chose one of the people. Rick is managing director of Q5, based in North America. He has executive-level experience across industries and consulting roles with leading companies such as Accenture, Pfizer, Bank of America, Citi Target, News Corporation and Dow Jones."
"But apparently all these people are interested in helping individuals with mental health problems."
Mike Robinson: "Renowned philanthropists."
"Indeed. Apart from GlaxoSmithKline sitting there in the background."