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Leading GP: Labour rising to challenge of unequal health

Labour is rising to the challenge of the health inequalities that have mushroomed under the Tories, says leading GP and health campaigner Dr Kailash Chand OBE:

John McDonnell has used his first major speech of the election campaign to promise an “irreversible shift in the centre of gravity in political decision making and investment” from London to the North.

Labour will commit at least one hundred billion pounds to replace, upgrade and expand our schools, hospitals, care homes and council houses to address the massive inequalities.

Public Health England pre-75yrs mortality map Nov 2019

The health of people in North is measurably worse than the national average on measures such as obesity, alcohol consumption, the number of incapacity benefit claimants with mental illnesses and over-65s in poor health, as well as in overall life expectancy.

There are stark inequalities in deprivation, gender and ethnicity. Public Health England recently mapped mortality rates across the country so that local people and councils can see where they rank for premature deaths from the four main killers: cancer, lung disease, liver disease, and heart disease and stroke. The figures show that people living in the worst performing area, North of England, are more than twice as likely as people in Wokingham, Berkshire, to die before the age of 75.

As well as inequalities when compared nationally, inequalities exist within North of England – a boy living in the poorest part of the region can expect to live 17 years fewer than a boy living in the most affluent part of North.

All my working life in the NHS has been focused on exposing and tackling inequalities in health. I have studied the circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, work,and age. These are all the main contributors of health inequalitiesrather than defects in our healthcare system.

Heart disease is not caused by statin deficiency; stroke is not caused by deficiency of hypotensive agents. I have emphasised not just the causes of health inequalities – behaviours, biological risk factors – but the ’causes of the causes’. The causes of the causes reside in the social and economic arrangements of society: the social determinants of health.

As well as inequalities when compared nationally, inequalities exist within North itself – a boy living in the poorest part of the region can expect to live 17 years fewer than a boy living in the most affluent part of North. We know health inequalities are killing on a grand scale.

Young people across North of England may die at an earlier age than their grandparents if the region fails to curb smoking, drinking and obesity – and is deprived of the resources need to do so.

We in North of England are great in innovation, research and entrepreneurship – but we are unfortunately also ‘champions’ of England in smoking, obesity and drinking.

But now Labour is rising to the challenge. The Labour party has a vision for our health and social care system under the visionary leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. Labour plans to break up the Treasury and devolve some of its powers from London to the north; but it’s not just about spending more. It’s about how it’s spent.

With decision-making devolved down to local communities, Labour will carve out part of our National Transformation Fund for a Local Transformation Fund in each of England’s regions, with funding for the devolved governments as well. And that money will be ring-fenced for infrastructure projects decided and developed at a local level, with decisions made transparently and democratically in each region about how their fund is allocated.

Regional offices of government departments overseen by a board of local county and city council leaders will be publicly accountable to open meetings of local councillors, trade unions and business representatives.

They will be supported by a National Transformation Fund unit of the Treasury – the powerful new section of the Treasury that Labour will base in the North – and Treasury ministerial meetings under John McDonnell will not be confined to London as they have been under the Tories.

Labour via the Transformation Fund will address inequalities in general and health inequalities in particular:

  1. Give every child the best start in life
  2. Enable all children, young people and adults to maximise their capabilities and have control over their lives
  3. Create fair employment and good work for all
  4. Ensure healthy standard of living for all
  5. Create and develop healthy and sustainable places and communities
  6. Strengthen the role and impact of ill-health prevention.

The Conservatives have allowed these inequalities not just to continue, but to burgeon to the detriment of people in the North. Labour will reduce and then eliminate this unfairness from the very start of its tenure in government.

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  1. The article actually does cover this issue – but it’s not about the mythical southern idea of ‘The North’ – which is actually a very diverse region that is typified as a unit only by the ignorant.

    Essentially, it’s mainly about poverty – in turn related to class, employment (or lack of) and ethnicity – a feature that the diverse region has in excess.

  2. RH “a feature that the diverse region has in excess” yes, which as those can think for themselves know, will be made much worse by any form of Brexit!

  3. There is a land that time forgot……it’s called the South West of England aka Cornwall & Devon. Catch the train or drive down to Exeter & then nothing…….no motorway; sub standard diesel trains + areas of extremely high unemployment. Poldark was a documentary.

  4. The Torys and the libs have exploited the SWest for centurys and the grip of the Establishment has the stranglehold on the region.Lack of basic infrastructure keeps the peasants in their place and rural poverty and low wages including unemployment.Any form of workers cooperation was dealt with swiftly,like the tollpuddle martyrs.Unless the deathgrip of Tory libdem domination is destroyed then the region will remain a weekend retreat for the torys,isolated and ignored.

  5. Just turned on the box about fifteen minutes ago – about 6.08pm to be precise – put on BBC1 to see what was on the news, and low-and-behold, it’s Laura Kuenssberg on camera spouting on about ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s’ anti-semitism problem!

    1. Just turned over to ITV News, and now I see what it’s about – ie Ian Austin and John Woodcock etc! What total……….!!! Fill in space with appropriate description!

    2. Predictable. For once, I had the headlines on, but I turned over before that because of them running Austin as a ‘News’ item rather a Tory+Israel propaganda piece.

      I know you disagree, but I fear that the Party has allowed this sort of crap to run without much resistance for too long. You can’t temporise with this sort of lying propaganda – remember, there are large numbers of the Jewish community who are being cynically exploited for base political ends, as we’ve seen with the latest Jewish (Tory) Chronicle falsehoods.

      1. Yes, but the reason I disagree is because there is nothing Jeremy and the LP can do about it. If they deny that A/S is a problem or say that it’s been grossly exaggerated, then they are just condemned as being in denial and, as such, part of the problem, etc, etc, etc. Anyway, the LP should immediately begin legal action against Austin and Woodcock. And I mean tomorrow!

    3. Austin and Woodcock and their fellow conspirators obviously gave a lot of thought as to HOW they would do their ‘Corbyn/anti-semitism job AND what would get the biggest splash in the media, and the ‘visuals’ were chosen because of course you want a clip of something that can be shown on the TV News and the newspapers websites, just as with when John Mann just HAPPENED to be at LP headquarters (or wherever it was) with a film crew when Ken arrived there some three hours later after doing the radio interview with Vanessa Feltz. What a fortuitous coincidence. Not!

  6. I completely agree with Steve Richards. Devon and Cornwall are, I’ve read, two of the poorest, if not the poorest, areas of this country. I was shocked when I first read this. I was born and grew up in Cornwall and the vote was always for Tory or Liberals (at that time). It still is and it doesn’t help that Prince Charles extracts £14millon to fund himself and his family. He is a landlord and charges very high rents; no wonder they’re doing so badly. Finally, the whole country is doing badly under the Tories but with a biased media, I despair we will make any progress.
    I hope we can succeed in getting a Labour Government this time, so we can Austerity. My concern is for the people of this country who are suffering so badly since 2010, although I could go back further.

    1. It’s why I get irritated with blanket and careless assumptions regarding labels like *the* North or *the* working class. They are to often used as a bypass of clarity and thought, substituting a chant for a real definition.

      Poverty exists throughout the the UK. It is true that the geographical north has an excess of it – but that includes large rural areas as well as the smaller areas of what used to be intensive industry.

      And, yes – the south-west peninsula has pockets of severe poverty within the holiday home/retiree popular image. I thought the ITV documentary last night dealt well with that fact – in contrast to the normal cult of benefit porn.

      It’s similar in my home territory of the Cotswolds, where there is extreme wealth on show. Many villages are now taken over by second homes, holiday rentals and the London commuter belt. But in between, squeezed out of these ‘desirable’ properties, there are some locals living on meagre incomes.

      We also have become a geographically and socially divided society. Within cities, areas of relative poverty and wealth are often quite clearly separated, and, when I’m around the areas that I know well in the rural West Country, the decanting of poorer families into the towns is in marked contrast to a ‘countryside’ that is now largely the preserve of the better off.

  7. Just came across THIS, posted two hours ago (on the BBC News website):

    Labour candidate in Aberdeenshire quits in anti-Semitism row

    A Labour candidate in Aberdeenshire has quit following a row over anti-Semitism. Kate Ramsden stood down in the Gordon constituency after the Jewish Chronicle highlighted a blog post from her. It said she compared Israel to an abused child who becomes an abusive adult.

    And further on in the article it says:

    Ms Ramsden has published an apology for her blog.

    She said: “I have taken the decision to step down as Labour Party candidate for Gordon, following criticism of a blog written at the height of the bombardment of Gaza by the government of Israel.

    “I can see why many Jewish people have been hurt by my words.

    Yeah, and a hell of a lot of people have been ‘hurt’ in Gaza, and live in a constant state of fear and intimidation, let alone the conditions there. But she had no choice but to apologise of course, because to NOT do so would just bring down additional condemnation and vilification, not only of her, of course, but of Jeremy and the LP.

    And there’s another aspect to the story as you will see from the article – ie false accusers still working in LP headquarters. She voiced an opinion, and phrased it in a particular way, and it was of course completely legitimate. And it was NOT remotely anti-semitc!

      1. Just came across the following Jewish Chronicle article re Kate Ramsden, posted yesterday, and written by Lee Harpin and with the following headline: EXCLUSIVE: Labour officials accused of covering up MP hopeful’s antisemitism. And in a sub-headline it says:

        The JC has seen evidence appearing to show Kate Ramsden was told she could remain a candidate if she deleted a blog

        Hmm……”appearing to show”. And I wonder just how the JC came by the ‘document’ (TWO documents in fact, as you will see when you read the…. er… article). But I’m getting ahead of myself. The reason I came across the JC…. er… article, is because I was doing a search to ascertain when Kate was selected as the LP candidate, and I came across an article in the Evening Express (which I assume is obviously a Scottish newspaper) posted on the 16th of October, and with the headline: Trade unionist to stand for Labour in next General Election. And it was Kate Marsden of course. So THAT was THREE weeks ago, so is it really feasible that someone working at LP headquarters just suddenly decided a couple of days ago to do some further checking – sweeping, as they describe it – on Kate’s social media AND that it hadn’t been fully checked weeks ago! But if you wanted to do maximum damage to Jeremy and the LP AND to the LP in Scotland, well what better way to use the ‘chestnut’ you came across weeks ago – knowing that a GE was immanent – and then make out you only found it AFTER the GE has been called. And – just coincidentally of course – on the very same day as Ian Austin and John Woodcock ‘perform’ their media stunt. I mean it’s just too good to be true….. for the saboteurs, that is, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was all co-ordinated. And I strongly suspect that it WAS! Anyway, the Jewish Chronicle article begins by saying the following:

        ‘Labour Party officials are facing damning new claims of a cover-up of blatant antisemitism by a candidate selected to fight next month’s general election. Evidence shown to the JC confirms that staff in Labour’s compliance unit told a candidate standing for election in the Scottish seat of Gordon she could remain if she deleted a blog comparing the actions of Israel to those of a child abuser.’

        Well only Kate can confirm whether or not that is the case, but if it IS the case (and it sounds more plausible that they would have come across it several weeks ago, if not BE£FORE, and you can be absolutely certain that the CAA and the JLM and LAA are thourally checking out candidates as soon as they are selected AND especially if they are on the left AND pro-Palestinian activists), then it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if she was hoodwinked. And thinking about it again, it seems most unlikely that LP staffers wouldn’t have thourally checked her out prior to her being short-listed.

        Anyway, further on in the JC article it says:

        A Labour source, who spoke to the JC on the condition they remained anonymous, said they were “sickened” by the blind eye turned towards antisemitic posts made by “more than one candidate” now representing the party on December 12.

        Anyway, I have little doubt it was all a set-up, and perfectly timed as such, if for no other reason than the ‘legitimate’ staff at party headquarters KNOW that there are traitors/leakers amongst their number – and that the CAA et al will have found anything ‘juicy’ – so it seems highly unlikely that any ‘legitimate’ staff member would risk a major negative and damaging incident occurrring in the run up to a general election and, as such, tell Kate that if she deletes her ‘blog’ etc. Interestingly, the quite lengthy JC article finishes by saying the following:

        “We took immediate action to have Kate Ramsden’s candidacy reconsidered in light of the material that we found,” a Labour party source insisted on Thursay.

        “Staff in Labour HQ found these posts when conducting extra due diligence checks. Staff immediately alerted Scottish Labour, who informed the Scottish Executive Committee, which decided to re-interview Kate Ramsden about the new posts.

        “Kate Ramsden stood down as a candidate and is therefore not a Labour candidate in the election. The party took swift and robust action on this matter.”

        The Labour Party ‘source’ WASN’T responding to the allegations made in the JC article, as such, and so the JC obviously didn’t put them to the LP, which seems very odd, but it will of course – in the light of what’s already been said in the article – look to readers as if they – the LP – are/were lying. Yes, it’s very convoluted trying to unravel it all, but then it so often is. Anyway, there’s a classic black propagandist line in the article, so I’ll finish with THAT (and it is of course referring to Kate Marsden):

        She wrote scathingly: “I heard yesterday that almost 90 per cent of Jewish Israelis support their government.”

        Yes, Lee Harpin is psychic, and Kate DEFINITELY just expressing surprise at the fact.

        NB And so they managed to make TWO headline stories out of it, the first one reinforcing the belief that the LP – under Jeremy – is infested with anti-semites, and the second one reinforcing the belief that the party machinne IS coving up incindences of A/S.

      2. That SHOULD have read:

        Yes, Lee Harpin is psychic, and Kate DEFINITELY wasn’t just expressing her surprise at the fact.

    1. I just this minute checked out the general election results for the Gordon constittuency, and the LP were way behind and, as such, Kate stood no chance whatsoever of winning, but what is quite amazing is that the Tories went from third place with just a 12% share of the vote in 2015, to FIRST place in 2017 with a 40% share of the vote. Quite extraordinary:

      1. There were a lot of strange results in Scotland at the last election.

    2. Afterthought: As for Kate comparing the actions of Israel to those of a child abuser (which is how the JC framed it) – and I’m not sure that a ‘comparison’ is the same as an ‘analogy’ anyway – Israel has in fact killed hundreds of babies and toddlers and children, and no doubt maimed and crippled thousands more, and left many others without one or other or both of their parents, let alone the fact that they are growing up in the biggest open-air prison camp on the planet.

      I know that’s not the point Kate was making, but that IS the reality, and the Israeli state ARE child abusers, as such. Child murderers, in fact (and ditto the British state and the American state etc, etc).

    3. “But she had no choice but to apologise of course”

      … which is where I disagree with you, Alllan. An apology adds to the false narrative perpetuated by such as the Jewish Chronicle by essentially agreeing with it. This only perpetuates that narrative of lies.

      To take it apart, three questions arise from the analogy she makes :

      1. Were Jews abused in the past?
      2. Is the Jewish state now an abuser?
      3. Are the two linked?

      Obviously, the JC isn’t objecting to the first. So it must be the second and third propositions that are objected to.

      Well – the second is clearly supported by evidence, no matter how much the Israel lobby denies the reality. The third is more contentious, but is actually adopted in the *zionist” case for the existence of Israel – i.e that such a state is a necessary defense against the recurrence of past atrocities. Without that piece of argument, the case for Israel is based solely on mythical belief.

      So nothing said is in the least ‘antisemitic’ – it’s all about the state of Israel, not a blanket condemnation of Judaism.

      So – what does an apology do other than simply confuse the facts? It’s the equivalent of a punishment beating extracting a confession.

      Propaganda 1 – Rationality 0

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