ourNHS

The A&E blame game

Clare Gerada, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, wonders who is going to get the blame for the A&E crisis next.

Clare Gerada
5 June 2013

Interviewed on the Today programme yesterday I was rather taken aback that - having spent two weeks defending GPs against the unfair accusation that we are responsible for the recent increase in pressures on Emergency Departments - the debate had now moved to blaming immigrants. I accept that some new immigrants - especially those from countries without a tradition of General Practice - use the Emergency Department as a first point of contact with healthcare. But this is not the reason why we have seen around a 1.8% year on year rise in attendances to Emergency Departments, nor the recent sudden 5% increase (5%) reported by the Kings Fund.

I found myself wondering who would be blamed next - the poor, the sick, the elderly? Rather, we need to stop back, examine the facts and see if we can develop a solution - as the Health Select Committee is trying to do. Paradoxically I went from BBC studios to give evidence at the Health Select Committee and had a much more reasoned debate and question time with parliamentarians from all parties. It’s exhausting having to do the background work to keep informed of all the machinations coming GPs way - but I have to in order to be able to debunk myths and tell the great British public what is actually going on.

 

 

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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