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By 999 Call for the NHS, Apr 26 2020 02:58PM

According to the website the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) is

responsible for ensuring that timely and coordinated scientific advice is made available to decision makers to support UK cross-government decisions in the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR). The advice provided by SAGE does not represent official government policy.

The membership of SAGE depends on the nature of the emergency but it typically includes leading experts from within government and leading specialists from the fields of academia and industry.

So the recent press discovery that so-called “advisor” to the Prime Minister - Dominic Cummings - has been sitting on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies Covid19 meetings has raised yet more alarm and questions about the decision-making and logic of the government’s response to the pandemic. He’s not a scientist and he’s certainly not independent.

What has caused most alarm is the fact that the experts present at meetings and the evidence they have been presenting and gathering has not been made public. The Government are refusing to be open about it. So again... what is the political advisor doing at the SAGE meetings and what influence is he having there?

At the beginning of April current Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance claimed the decision not to disclose its membership was based on security advice from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) itself a rather flash government agency headed up by MI5 Chief Andrew Parker. Apparently those attending the meetings were possible targets of death threats.

What the hell were they discussing?

Despite MPs callling on the government to publish details of those attending the SAGE meetings the government has rejected the demands. Yet this week the Government’s own Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty plainly said that he and SAGE Chair, Sir Patrick Vallance, had “no objection (in principle) to details of the membership being disclosed”.

But it appears Sir Patrick Vallance was sticking by his statement to the Science and Technology Committee that there were no plans to reveal the identities of the other Sage members. He said: 'Once Sage stops convening on this emergency the minutes of relevant Sage meetings, supporting documents and the names of participants (with their permission) will be published,'.

Vallance used the word “participants” and the press should take note. The use of the word “members” - which suggests a regular secretive group - might be a trap to avoid. SAGE is not a members committee. SAGE is called when an emergency occurs, pulls “experts” in and sits beneath the other emergency group COBR - the Cabinet Office Briefing Room.

Past SAGE attendee Professor Sir Ian Boyd, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) from September 2012 to August 2019 told the Press Association how the voluntary SAGE process worked:

“There’s a pool of experts, and those people from within that pool, who are relevant to a particular topic will be called on at any particular time. What happens is that you get an email through or you get a calendar invite through which is a calling notice that says there’s going to be a SAGE at a particular time you’re invited to attend, and here’s the agenda.”

So are the press, like Matt Hancock, ramping it up for dramatic value? And are we - campaigners and angry confused public alike also falling for it? Yes a little. Drama is addictive and we are all reacting to the beat of theatrical drums. We need to try and suck the air out of overblown drama and identify where the real threats, real wrongdoings lie. SAGE is not a secret group with dark advisory secrets. But the refusal to publish the attendee list makes it appear so and justifiably arouses concern and anger. So quite rightly we should call the government out for their repeated (polite) mistakes and mishandling of the crisis.

At a time when a nation needs to feel that the leaders can be trusted - trust is totally lacking.

Time and again promises have been made at the 5pm Press Conference only to reveal that there was never any possibility of the promises being kept or completed. Personal Protection Equipment, weeks waiting and still failing according to many NHS workers; testing still nowhere near the promised targets and chaotic in its distribution not to mention the complete lack of a plan to act on the testing results (contact tracing and tracking, quarantine, cordon sanitaire (isolating areas) etc.)

Andrew Neil took to witter telling everyone to ‘get a grip’. Gladly Mr Neil you pompous oaf but...

Trouble is get a grip of what? Nothing is clear in the mis management of this public health crisis.

Cick on THIS LINK to see the leaked list of the 23rd March SAGE meeting. It is worth taking a look.

The supposed mystery and skullduggery of Cummins and his Vote Leave algorithm sidekick Ben Warner being present at the 23rd March meeting - the list leaked by someone - is yet one more step into the never ending labyrinth of confusion designed by this government’s apparent willful contempt, misuse and abuse of political infrastructures. It’s probably one more DEAD CAT for us all to get our knickers in a twist over.

One thing is clear though. Even if and when this government has a decent plan no one would believe it. And that is a terrible place for a country to be in.

A public looking to the leadership with a complete lack of TRUST.

By 999 Call for the NHS, Aug 4 2019 12:27PM

A reaction to a Guardian piece today. A prime example of why we should keep our BS ALERTS handy at all times... 999 comments in bold.

Boris Johnson promises (fingers crossed) £1.8bn to boost the NHS

Boris Johnson is to inject £1.8bn into the NHS as part of his pledge to upgrade 20 hospitals across the country, it has emerged.

Which twenty hospitals? and of these which are upgrades - physical building improvements, equipment maintenance - and which are 'sell-off the rather nice old building and build a modern centralised services hospital designed to support the removal of all good localised support services in a region'?

The new prime minister has used a boost in health funding as part of an attempt to build a domestic agenda beyond Brexit, with his team well aware that they could be forced into an election this year.

That is key. More “bullshit central” to sway tory dissenters.

But experts have already warned that the fund may not be enough even to cover the upgrades Johnson has already promised. Full details of the plan are set to be revealed on Monday, but it is understood the new funds will be directed straight to the front line for new beds and updated equipment. So keep your eyes peeled for that. Standby to contact your local ccg/stp and ask them where the money has gone.

It is also set to include upgrades to wards and some building repairs. Oho so definitely one to check...and what sort of beds will they be? Fully NHS funded or reserved for self-funding/private paying patients?Interesting to note that Simon Stevens, CEO NHS England, recently said that NHS England had cut too many beds – forgetting that now that NHS Foundation Trust Hospitals are required to make income to survive they actually need beds to do just that! SIMON SAYS...

The money is set to be made available immediately, though Downing St has not revealed where it will come from. Sigh... It comes from the public money the government can quite easily create if it wants to.

Johnson has already made clear he is willing to spend more money on public services, using the so-called “fiscal headroom” created by the previous government’s spending plan.

Pardon? So now the damaging cuts of so-called austerity are being described as the the saviour mechanism that is going to let this new prime minister spend “piggy bank coffers” on the nhs? The headroom was supposed to help the economy in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

A source said: “The prime minister has been clear since day one that the NHS is a top priority. This money will be felt by frontline services , by the doctors and nurses whose hard work is invaluable, and by the patients they care for.”

It will be interesting to see where on the “frontline” it is felt and how - more low level assistants? More funds for volunteer support?More funds to promote the idea of community care? Let's be clear there is always money when a government decides it needs it...

The Vote Leave campaign controversially argued that funds sent to the EU would be used to fund the NHS instead. Dominic Cummings, the Vote Leave strategy chief now overseeing Johnson’s Downing St plans, said such a pledge should have been one of the government’s first moves after the Brexit vote. Because manipulation is all... Keep politics simple and emotional and people will be swayed.

Researchers at the Nuffield Trust thinktank have suggested that Johnson’s promise to upgrade 20 hospitals would cost at least £3.2bn, based on an assessment of hospitals two years ago.

“Based on the conservative £160m cost estimate per trust, the total cost for upgrading all NHS services would be around £33bn,” tweeted Sally Gainsbury, a senior policy analyst at the trust. “That wouldn’t all need to happen at once – it takes time to build a new hospital wing after all. There have been calls to double the NHS budget for NHS investment – including from the NHS’s own regulator NHS Improvement. That would take investment to around £14bn next year.”

What’s needed is longterm vision and a belief that the NHS is worth having - morally, socially, economically. And - stating the bleeding obvious - all very well pumping money into the system but right now it’s like pumping air into a rubber dingy with holes in it...

Even if this media piece has some truth in it, any money pumped in now will head straight to the providers and do nothing but support and promote the restructuring and reshaping moves to the two tier American style Accountable Care system we are witnessing in our local areas.

The NHS needs proper funding and it needs to be reclaimed as OUR NHS - a publicly provided, owned and delivered health service for all. #NHS4ALL

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