Health

The Telegraph seems to be having push on the NHS today:

Another pay rise for GPs is not the best medicine

As we report today, the number of GPs earning six-figure salaries has increased fourfold to 16,000 in the past 10 years, since their new contract was agreed with the Labour government.

However, A_Surgeon comments below the article:

Readers need to understand that this article is not journalism. It is regurgitated propaganda. It is part of a planned campaign to demonise and demoralise GPs to force changes in primary care that will eventually lead to privatisation.

What’s the truth in it?

Be pushy with your doctor to get best drugs, says health chief

Patients should adopt “American” attitudes and be more pushy with their doctors about drugs to which they are entitled, the head of the NHS rationing body has said. Professor David Haslam, chairman of the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), said British patients should become more assertive and see themselves as “equal partners” with their doctors, with legal rights.

The Guardian also covers the same topic. However, the Daily Mail reports a different take: NICE’s new cost curb could make it more difficult for NHS patients to get vital drugs, campaigners warn.

The rationing body, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), plans to lower the cost threshold for new treatments and end the priority given to patients who are dying. The reforms are a shift to a system which the Government pledged would allow patients to ‘access the drugs and treatments their doctors think they need’. It involves changes to a complex formula, known as quality adjusted life years (QALY).

So, your doctor uses QALYs to deny you, while you get pushy to win the drug treatments!

EU

The Telegraph reports from Davos where Martin Sorrell tells the Tories that they will be re-elected if they ditch the EU vote

“We told the PM, if he were to drop the referendum he would be a shoo-in,” said Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP Group.

However, the commenters seem to have rumbled Sir Martin, such as John Highfield:

Support from multi-national companies might be a “shoo-in” but they are not on the electoral roll as far as I know.

Also the Express reports on the British Bankers Association saying: ‘We need to be CLOSER to the EU’ bankers warn David Cameron.

The “Legacy” Parties

Now, here’s a novel idea: Ed Balls: Labour will run a budget surplus

The shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, is to give a binding commitment that a Labour government will be running a budget surplus by the end of the next parliament, putting himself under severe pressure to deliver big public spending cuts if the party wins the next election. The significant move means that Labour will now face the dilemma of either raising taxes after the election or adopting a similar daunting level of cuts in day-to-day departmental spending already proposed by the chancellor, George Osborne.

With Labour’s track record, big tax rises seem to be on the cards – soak the rich (and drive them out, including our recent wealthy French immigrants) and squeeze the middle even more. The Telegraph also covers it.

The Guardian also reports on Harriet Harman who urges Labour to stop discussing possible deal with Lib Dems. At least she’s a realist – the Lib Dems will hardly win any seats – but her reasons are different:

Talking about the Lib Dems undermines the clarity of Labour’s message and actively puts people off politics, she says, and presupposes Nick Clegg’s party are anything but Tory collaborators.

So, their new found target middle-class voters who will probably get soaked for more tax?

And while we are at it on the Lib Dems, they come in for more pasting from the Daily Mail: Lembit Opik ‘called me Cinderella… then he tried to kiss me’: Schoolgirl activist’s claims heap more embarrassment on Lib Dems. Sounds like he could have been a “Cheeky Boy” then!

And the Express keeps the Hancock story running with: The sex scandal MP who’s never far from trouble.

Of course, we can rely on the Mirror to find something awful about the Tories: ‘Wake up and serve the coffee’ is the answer to unemployment from over-promoted Tory Esther McVey.

Tory minister Esther McVey reckons the unemployed should all take a low-paid job in Costa Coffee, then, in a “couple of years” they could be running “a hotel in Dubai”. Well, apart from the fact that Costa advertised for eight workers in Nottingham last year and 1,692 applicants were turned down, how thick do you have to be to think that a couple of years making lattes qualifies you for running a Dubai hotel?

One suspects most UKIPpers will not have a problem with the Costa Coffee jobs, if our unemployed could get to them before the East European immigrants do. McVey has not had to experience the School of Hard Knocks herself, from her bio.

Also, beware of Labour’s moves to lower the voting age to 16, doubtless presuming this will win them more votes, as reported in the Mirror.

Pakistan

The Independent reports on a Death sentence for British pensioner accused of blasphemy in Pakistan. A picture speaks a 1000 words:

Pakistan Blasphemy

A few words of clarification though:

Muhammad Asghar, 69, from Edinburgh, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and is unaware that he is ill following a stroke, was convicted at the end of a trial in Rawalpindi in which it was alleged he claimed to be the prophet Mohammed.

Surveillance

The Independent claims an exclusive with peers call for proper scrutiny of US military bases in UK used for drone strikes and mass spying.

Draft legislation tabled by peers from all three major parties demands that the Government overhaul the “outdated” rules under which the Pentagon’s network of UK outposts operate, following claims of UK complicity in US drone missions and eavesdropping on European allies.

They are referring mainly to the USAF base at RAF Croughton in Oxfordshire.

The Express has a different take on peers with: Uproar over peers’ plot to kill off the EU referendum law.

Ukraine

Still a tinderbox, reported in The Guardian, The Independent (police officer assassinated), The Telegraph (with the protestors who are occupying an area the size of the West End)

Teachers

A nice bit of juicy “tut-tut-tut” material for the Daily Mail’s readers: Drug-taking teachers let back into class: Official rules allow convicted users to keep job.

A criminal record for smoking cannabis, using amphetamines or shoplifting need not bar them from continuing their jobs, official guidance states. Certain gambling, alcohol and driving offences are also not enough to see a teacher removed from their post, the National College for Teaching and Leadership said.

Last night campaigners said routinely allowing such offenders to continue to teach would set a bad example to their pupils. ‘The job of a teacher is not just to impart knowledge to learners, it is to give them moral guidance,’ said David Green, from the Civitas think-tank.

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