Science

Would you swallow a data-tracking Big Pharma “smart” pill?

Big Pharma is spending like never before to make sure patients take their drugs. Investors recently committed $172 million for “smart pills” being developed jointly by Proteus Digital Health and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals. After a pill is swallowed, a microscopic device within the pill relays ‘health data’ to a patch worn by the patient, then to a smartphone, and then (if the patient wishes) to doctors and/or pharmaceutical companies.

Likewise, an inhaler for patients with lung diseases to record the date and time of every use is being developed by mobile chip giant Qualcomm with heavy investment from Novartis, which runs research and development in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Drug makers lose billions annually when patients don’t fill, refill, or take their prescriptions. So, besides developing smart pills and smart inhalers that tell whether meds have or haven’t been taken, Big Pharma is also finding other ways to ‘nag’ patients into taking every pill their doctors prescribe.

Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk works with HealthPrize to reward ‘drug-adherent’ patients with gift cards or charitable donations to their favorite 501(c)3. There are also smart phone apps that remind people to take their pills, talking engagements to teach people how to take their meds properly, and even payment programs to patients willing to tout drugs personally. Biogen, e.g., pays patients to talk about positive experiences with the company’s MS drug Tecfidera.

Big Pharma is lobbying the Feds for permission to pay pharmacists to encourage patients to take their pills – no conflict of interest there! Joel White, president of the Council for Affordable Health Coverage, an advocacy group that works with the industry, says that “we’re not pushing pills here, we’re pushing adherence.” But Matt Lamkin, Assistant Professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law who has studied the issue, recognizes a financial motive.

Lamkin says that Big Pharma is using medication adherence programs as marketing tools – but instead of saying they’re boosting drug sales, they reframe that goal as “drug adherence.”

Although failure to take prescribed drugs can cause worse health conditions and drive up medical spending in the US by nearly $300 billion each year, drug taking is a complex issue, with many drugs needlessly prescribed to begin with.

Some patients don’t have the money to fill their prescriptions. Others are finding other, better alternatives to prescribed drugs. Sometimes, prescriptions simply don’t work, are painful to take, or have side effects that are worse than the condition being treated. The doctors prescribing the drugs don’t know that the drugs are failing their purpose, nor do the patients.

The manufacturers know full well, but they’re not telling. It’s part of a modern medical scandal. In some cases, the placebo effect has been found to be more efficacious than a prescription. Eli Lilly recently spent $30 million to ‘re-brand’ a drug that wasn’t working as well as a placebo!

Tom Hubbard, vice president of policy research at the pharma-oriented Network for Excellence in Health Innovation, says that drug companies in the past weren’t as likely to have strong views about telling doctors which drugs to prescribe their patients. But these days, he says, the consideration is considerably greater. Well of course, with so many billions on the line.

Consider GlaxoSmithKline’s recent tactics. The London-based drug maker has enrolled 3,000 of its employees, retirees, and their relatives in North Carolina in a pilot program to “better coordinate their health care” (i.e., take their meds). GSK’s program uses sophisticated analytics to determine who’s not taking their medication. Those individuals can get one-on-one health counseling with a pharmacist or case manager, according to Matt Rousculp, a senior director of health outcomes research for GSK.

Industry giants like Merck, Pfizer, and Sanofi, along with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, are backing a lobbying campaign to allow all manner of programs that would help push drugs on patients, from calling them directly, to using pharmacists as go-betweens.

Big Pharma will stop at nothing to make sure it keeps its power hold on the global economy. The worldwide market for pharmaceuticals topped $1 trillion in sales in 2014. The world’s 10 largest drug companies generated $429.4 billion of that revenue.

Five of the top 10 companies are headquartered in the US: Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Abbot Laboratories, Merck and Eli Lilly. Over 1,100 paid lobbyists make sure your government is doing this industry’s bidding as well.

Source:

StatNews

Via Natural Society

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Politics

Britain Ruled by Political System Built on Dishonesty, Disinformation, and Duplicity

The Tory party conference is underway after their unexpected outright win on May 7th. As usual, success always brings out the worst in right-wing politicians.

Slick presentation, propaganda and incessant spin make their own realities. At the conference there will be much speechifying about how the nation, the NHS, the young and old, Army and economy are safer under this party. Bosoms and chests will heave, faces will flush with pride.

But look at what lies beneath and you will find double dealing, iniquity, and the planned demolition of institutions. All of this is preceded by a web of lies and deceit.

The accountability of the Executive (the government) to the Legislature (Parliament) has steadily been eroding for years. Until Parliament seriously threatens ministers’ survival when they deliberately mislead the House, secretly break unequivocal parliamentary decisions and deliberately lie to the electorate on manifesto promises, Britain is increasingly headed on the road to an authoritarian state. Lying and deception by politicians is the new normal.

The Ministerial Code is supposed to be a code of ethics and procedural guidance for ministers, introduced as a result of the first report by the committee on standards in public life in 1995, which is revised every parliament. It is based on the seven principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership – almost universally rejected by the ruling politicians of today.

It is a national disgrace that the public should have to put up with elected leaders that, without impunity, lie as a matter of course.

The Prime Minister: The revelation that the RAF is engaged in bombing operations in Syria in strict defiance of a Parliamentary vote two years ago prohibiting this, should be a matter where ministerial heads roll. The excuse given by the Prime Minister’s office is risible. The vote in 2013 was explicit that there was not to be any British military involvement in the Syrian conflict. There are ground troops and RAF bombers in action every day.

Cameron also told the Commons that the two British jihadists killed by drones, had been planning to attach public commemorations in the UK, and No.10 later specified VE Day in May and Armed Forces Day in June, long before the two men were killed in August. On that basis the killing was clearly not within the law and therefore just another lie.

Even staunch Tory supporter the Daily Mail covered a story -“David Cameron LIED his way into Downing Street” with The Mirror highlighting his lack of truths in the BBC leaders debate and another Tory media supporter – The Telegraph headlined “David Cameron ‘lying to British voters’ about the EU and immigration”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer: George Osborne faced calls to apologise in Parliament after he stated that HM Revenue and Customs was “collecting twice as much tax as before” through new measures to target super-rich individuals and multinational companies, who shelter their vast wealth in overseas tax havens.

However, it was established that Osborne was referring to merely a target of tax collection for this Parliament – one that was based on a completely different measurement from the previous five-year election cycle. Or as the News Statesman put it – “George Osborne’s economic policy is based on lies”

Secretary of State for Work and Pension: Vox Political stated that it was “deeply troubling” to hear that a government minister responsible for the welfare of millions of vulnerable people “continually misrepresents” information to other MPs.

There were calls for Iain Duncan Smith‘s resignation after the release of statistics showing thousands of people died soon after being found fit to work in disability benefit tests, when he denied knowledge of, that he was actually hiding.

Culture Secretary (2010-12) Jeremy Hunt (now Secretary of State for Health) was humiliated when the Commons Speaker ruled it was OK to brand him a “liar”. In a blistering personal attack Labour MP Chris Bryant had accused Mr Hunt of “lying to Parliament” after the minister admitted that he misled MPs about links to Murdoch’s News Corporation while looking at the £8billion BSkyB takeover. Usually MPs are barred from accusing colleagues of lying, but Speaker John Bercow let it stand.

Secretary of State for Education: A furious coalition row erupted in 2013, with the Liberal Democrats accusing Tory Education Secretary Michael Gove of ‘lying’ about a flagship policy to give children free school meals. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced £150million to to build and extend kitchens to cope with the expected demand for the scheme to give free hot lunches to every child under the age of seven. But the Department for Education claims an £80million underspend in schools maintenance budget earmarked for the work does not exist. It turns out the Lib Dems were right as free schools meals for infants is being scrapped altogether.

Home Secretary: Theresa May was famously criticised for claiming that an illegal immigrant avoided deportation because of his pet cat. She told the Conservative conference the ruling illustrated the problem with human rights laws, but England’s top judges , Cabinet colleague Ken Clarke and Human Rights organisations said she had got it wrong and it was not true. The Conservatives are to abolish the Human Rights Act during this parliament.

Nick Clegg, former Duputy Prime Minister accused Theresa May of outright lies when referring to the “Snoopers Charter” in which May blamed the coalition partner of torpaedoing the bill.  Clegg said “it is a level of outrageous information that I have not witnessed in the four and half years that I have been in this government.” Clegg demanded a written apology from May.

Leader of the House of Commons: Chris Grayling’s deceptions began way back in 2007, when he was Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary. His first big whopper was his claim that “billions of pounds are being lost to fraud” in the benefits system, which was a gross exaggeration of the truth.

Grayling also claimed that violent crime had soared under the Labour Government. Grayling had deliberately chosen to ignore the change in the way crime had been recorded which led to a furious rebuke from the UK National Statistics Authority. The chairman of the authority, was forced to write to Grayling accusing him of misleading the public and risking damage to public trust in official statistics. The Independent covered the story with the headline “Lies, Damned Lies And Tory Crime Statistics”

This roll-call of politicians who consistently lie, deceive and peddle propaganda is of course nothing in comparison to the 2010 Tory party manifesto. It is nothing more than a document listing all their broken promises. They are too long to list but include;

We will balance the books by 2015

THE TRUTH: Britain still had a budget deficit of £90billion

We will pay down Britain’s debts

THE TRUTH: George Osborne has borrowed over £500billion in five years – more than Labour did in 13.

We will get net immigration down to the tens of thousands

THE TRUTH: Net immigration is almost 300,000 per year

No more top-down reorganisations of the NHS

THE TRUTH: £3billion wasted on the biggest reorganisation in NHS history

We will deport more foreign criminals

THE TRUTH: The number of foreign crooks on our streets soars 20%

 

This list has fifty lies of Conservative promises – or pledges as some like to describe them that were comprehensively broken.

As the economist Paul Krugman argued in the New York Times before the election and referring to Conservative party narrative that the labour party had bankrupted Britain and that austerity was the only way forward – “every piece of this story is demonstrably, ludicrously wrong. The crisis was started in the financial sector, the deficit only grew massively after the £1 trillion bail out was handed over to the banks. Austerity hasn’t boosted the economy, it has flatlined”

Former Conservative peer Lord Skidelsky launched a ferocious attack on the Tory manifesto. He said his former party’s claim that they had rescued the country from ‘Labour’s great recession’ was “the mother of all lies.”

Like Krugman, in a post on his website, Lord Skidelsky said: “The Great Recession was caused by the banks. Governments, the Labour government included, by bailing out the banks and continuing to spend, stopped the Great Recession from turning into a Great Depression.

Britain is ruled by a political system built on dishonesty, disinformation, distortion and duplicity. Britain’s once famed values of fairness, justice and humanitarianism will not fare so well under an authoritarian, unaccountable government such as this.

 

daily alternative | alternative news – Britain Ruled by Political System Built on Dishonesty, Disinformation, and Duplicity

via Britain Ruled by Political System Built on Dishonesty, Disinformation, and Duplicity – TruePublica.

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Conspiracy

Video: Striking Liberation: Washington Says Data Over Civilian Casualties In Mosul Should Be Investigated

The US-led coalition fighting to retake Mosul says it takes every precaution to assure civilians are not harmed in its airstrikes on ISIS militants.

Article source link : http://rinf.com/alt-news/multimedia/video-striking-liberation-washington-says-data-over-civilian-casualties-in-mosul-should-be-investigated/

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Science

Secret barometric bomb technologies, nuclear technologies, used to bring WTC towers down: Proof

(INTELLIHUB) — Although it’s now public knowledge that former Florida Sen. Bob Graham told the Tampa Bay Times that the secret 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission report are poised to be released within the next few months, one can only question what the White House’s new and urgent motive for their release is.

One thing comes to mind, right off the bat, and that is the fact that strong evidence exists suggesting that up to three thermonuclear devices were detonated at the World Trade Center site on 9/11, hence the nickname “Ground Zero.”

ground zero definition
Before It’s News

I mean, what better way than to dupe the people yet once again by slowly conditioning them, over an extended period of time, to accept the fact that criminal factions of their very own government orchestrated the Pearl Harbor-like attack onto skyscrapers, buildings, in an American city.

That’s right, when the not so secret 28 pages are actually released, in a few months, they will likely show Saudi involvement and government foreknowledge, like we already knew.

So tell us something we didn’t know; like the fact that a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Department of Energy, study found high trace levels of tritium inside the WTC complex after the attack. Not only were abnormal levels of tritium found inside the WTC complex, in the basement of “WTC 6” and the “storm sewer,” but they were also found in the water.

tritium wtc
Study of Traces of Tritium
at the World Trade Center (Oct. 2002)/U.S. Department of Energy

“Tritium is an important component in nuclear weapons. It is used to enhance the efficiency and yield of fission bombs and the fission stages of hydrogen bombs in a process known as “boosting” as well as in external neutron initiators for such weapons,” according Wikipedia; meaning that the only way it would be present in high trace levels is if a nuclear device (or three) detonated within proximity. Additionally it’s important to note that tritium is “extremely rare on Earth” and again — should not be found in at levels reported to be ’55 times higher than normal.’

And just to be clear, I am not saying that micro nukes were solely responsible for bringing down the towers — IMO micro-nukes were likely only used at the base of Towers 1 and 2 and possible the base of building 7, three in total, and were likely strategically placed 50 feet below street level, somewhere in the basements of the buildings or subway access tunnels. This would also explain numerous eyewitness reports of “large” explosions in the “basement” or “lobby” of the towers.

It has also been proven that Nano-thermite was used and was present in dust samples, less than 2 microns in diameter, that were taken from the WTC site after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks as pointed out early on by Richard Gage of the grassroots organization Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

Moreover there are also signs that advanced barometric bomb technology, which uses triggering devices derived from the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Program, was also deployed in the attack — technology which incorporates gaseous elements in a “yellowish, brownish combustible mixture” and uses Aluminum Silicate Red Oxide and other ingredients” that would have surrounded and permeated the air around key structural columns on all floors before being triggered by a “specific high-voltage pattern” which the element combination is responsive to.

One bomb specialist, who wanted to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, can be seen in the proceeding video, testifying to the existence of such technology and said:

“[The high-voltage pattern] produces sort of a stairway pattern in the molecular structure of the cloud. Part of that pattern is a hydro-dynamic power generator, energy source, permeating the cloud which is then energized with another energy source and then is detonated. This causes the cloud itself to explode in such a fashion that if the cloud is circulating around the pillar — then it crushes the pillar from all sides and turns that pillar literally to dust and leaves only the rebar behind. So if you’ve got this cloud permeating all the way around the first floor, wherever it is, anything within its path gets crushed, imploded, to dust instantaneously. And when that happens of course there is nothing left to hold up the upper floors above, so bang, they come down like a pancake.”

This also explains why an eyewitness by the name of Kenneth Summers, who was in the lobby of tower 2 at the time, actually saw such a gas-like substance mixing with the air just a “tenth of a second” before the witness was blown back out the lobby doors. Kenneth Summers told NBC what he saw just before being eject from the lobby by a massive explosion and stated:

“All of a sudden it seems like the whole lobby, the door I was in, filled up with a yellowish, brownish, combustible mixture. It didn’t really smell any different, but was so quick to happen, it was like a tenth of a second.”

Summers testimony starts at 5:08 into the following video:

On Oct. 14, 2001, the NY Times reported:

Mr. Summers’s story is one of survival. It is also one of compassion. As Mr. Summers wandered aimlessly, bloodied and badly burned, hundreds of people fled past him in those confused and harrowing moments right after the attack. But one man, a stranger named Steve Newman, stopped and led Mr. Summers to help in New Jersey and stayed with him for an entire day until he was safely in the care of burn specialists.

”I spend a lot of time thinking about how you thank somebody like that,” Mr. Summers’s wife, Nadine, said of Mr. Newman. ”You can’t ever thank anybody enough for something like this. Words just can’t do it.”

Mr. Summers, a technical analyst for Empire Blue Cross, had taken the 5:22 a.m. train from Bay Shore into the city just like any workday that Tuesday and had been at his desk for more than an hour when he decided to go downstairs to mail a letter. It was just as he stepped outside that a plane crashed into the building.

To escape the falling debris, he turned around and was inside a revolving door when he noticed the lobby fill with a yellowish haze.

Keep in mind this very same technology was “used to take down a high-rise apartment building in downtown Beirut […] in 1984,” according to former Pyrotronics-Hercules bomb specialist Michael Riconosciuto, whom also identified the technology’s signature in the Oklahoma City Bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah Building on April, 19, 1995.

Look, all I know is the actual impact from the alleged passenger planes did not cause the collapse of the WTC’s towers 1 and 2 that stood proud above the New York skyline, nor did the jet fuel fires or random fires burning throughout the buildings. In fact we can clearly see that this was not the case, because the tops of the buildings actually started to collapse first, dustifying themselves in mid-air as reported by Dr. Judy Wood who conducted an independent investigation.

Micro-nukes exist and have for a long time

According to Wikipedia:

The Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM) was a family of man-portable nuclear weapons fielded by the US military in the 1960s, but never used in actual combat. The US Army planned to use the weapons in Europe in the event of a Soviet invasion. US Army Engineers would use the weapon to irradiate, destroy, and deny key routes of communication through limited terrain such as the Fulda Gap. Troops were trained to parachute into Soviet occupied western Europe with the SADM and destroy power plants, bridges, and dams.

The project, which involved a small nuclear weapon, was designed to allow one person to parachute from any type of aircraft carrying the weapon package and place it in a harbor or other strategic location that could be accessed from the sea. Another parachutist without a weapon package would follow the first to provide support as needed.

The two-person team would place the weapon package in the target location, set the timer, and swim out into the ocean where they would be retrieved by a submarine or a high-speed surface water craft.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the United States developed several different types of lightweight nuclear devices. The main one was the W54, a cylinder 40 by 60 cm (about 16 by 24 inches) that weighed 68 kg (150 lbs). It was fired by a mechanical timer and had a variable yield equivalent to between 10 tons and 1 kiloton of TNT. The W54 nuclear device was used in the Davy Crockett Weapon System.

Now do I have your undivided attention?

On 9/11 there is no doubt that multiple bombs were detonated inside the WTC complex — this fact can not be disputed and is clearly documented in hundreds of videos and backed up by many eyewitness testimonies, including highly credible first responders and firefighters. In fact, seismic readings from that day indicate that at least 3 large man-made explosions, possibly nuclear by signature, took place underground inside the WTC complex. Could these be the actual blasts that took out the cores of buildings 1, 2 and 7? Is this what the U.S. government has been hiding all along?

Interestingly, previous tests have been conducted by factions of the U.S. government in which they used micro-nukes to demolish rather large buildings and the results were astonishing to say the least, almost a perfect mirror of the collapse of buildings 1, 2, and 7 that took place in Sept. of 2001.

The use of micro-nukes in the WTC complex on 9/11 – the smoking gun

It’s safe to say that high energy releases have a distinct look.

Dr. Ed Ward has documented what he believes is the use of micro-nukes on the World Trade Center complex attack that took place in September of 2001.

One of the smoking guns in this case is that over 5.3 billion pounds of steel was instantly turned into 2 billion pounds of dust, but that’s not all — massive steel beams were bent like pretzels as the towers collapsed.

One video shows the penthouse on building 7 being demolished on the roof just before the building comes down. This proves that a top-down demolition process was being utilized, otherwise the buildings might have just twisted and naturally would have just fell over themselves. But perhaps the most startling revelation that nuclear devices were used is the fact that vehicles that were found up to a half mile away from the WTC looked incinerated — not to mention the tens of thousands of tiny body parts that were found on the rooftops of neighboring buildings which is not indicative at all of a gravitational collapse.

The fact that many of the first responders are now dead, if not very sick, does not sound like the byproduct of a falling building, but rather sounds more like they got a massive dose of deadly radiation. Most of the responders have died of blood cancer and Thyroid cancer, consistent with heavy radiation exposure.

Other red flags include:

  • Cars not hit by falling debris yet totally destroyed far away from the towers
  • Molten metal was seen in and around the debris of the WTC for months, indicative of nuclear fission.
  • There is also the fact that the debris field was substantially low for the magnitude of buildings that were destroyed, thus signifying that most of the debris was incinerated upon the demo blast.
  • Massive craters under the WTC complex were formed, likely from the detonation of micro-nukes, as the rock was even melted smooth. Later after the site was fairly cleaned up and the craters were excavated, the city of New York Port Authority continued to wash down the cavities with hoses daily for years as traces of Tritium were found, signifying that radiation was present.

Additionally the fact that the WTC buildings were pulverized into a fine dust cannot be ignored. This is a tell-tale sign of a high energy release typical of a nuclear explosion. Eyewitness accounts and personal testimony indicate that people were thrown an entire city block from what was described as a warm wind just as the towers begin to collapse.

There were also multiple reports of “hanging skin” or “melted skin” on victims around ground zero. This was a common occurrence in the Hiroshima blast. Major hot spots were also reported in and around the debris at the World Trade Center complex and were prevalent for up to six months after the attacks. This type of activity, seen with the hot spots, is commonly referred to as “China Syndrome”, where nuclear material will continue to undergo fission for a period of time, generating massive heat plumes.

To no surprise, videos obtained via Freedom of Information ACT (FOIA) requests, captured on and after Sept. 11, 2001 near the WTC site, have had sections, clips, of the video and audio removed, especially during the beginning of the collapse of the towers. However, the explosions can be heard on many independent videos, now floating around the web and can all be accounted for.

Related: CIA insider says something was brought in to the buildings before attacks and also stated that the attacks “were imminent” and that she had foreknowledge of what she was told would be a “thermonuclear strike […] on the World Trade Center.”

Related: WTC South Tower powered down for 36 hours just days before attack, security deactivated on floors 50 and up, many suspicious workers seen coming and going during blackout

Related: 9/11: Declassify the 28 pages now!

Not to mention the hijackers, some of which have still been proven to be alive, were recruited by the CIA, as can be seen in the following video:

On April 13, 2016, Press TV reported:

15 Saudi men were ‘patsies’  

“We know that the 15 hijackers who were Saudis, the alleged hijackers, because they were not on those planes – not one of the 19 hijackers, or any Arabs, were on any of the four planes, according to the passenger list, and according to all of the evidence that would be there if they were on the planes, but has not been produced,” Dr. Barrett said.

“So these 15 Saudi patsies, who were set up to take the blame for 9/11, were in fact CIA agents. We know this – I had this confirmed directly by a CIA source that these 15 Saudis entered, and repeatedly reentered on these supposedly – they call them employment visas, but there’s a special number for employment visas that are only given to CIA assets as a reward for their service to the Central Intelligence Agency, and this visa allows them to come to the US. Typically they’re paid for their work for the CIA in Saudi Arabia, and then they are given this special kind of visa which is disguised as an employment visa but it’s of particular type,” he stated.

“And all 15 of these guys had that visa. That shows that they were in fact Central Intelligence Agency agents.  Some of them were living with FBI people in California. So these 15 Saudis were not working against the United States government, they were working for the United States government, and they were set up so that Saudi Arabia could be potentially blamed for the September 11 attacks, which were actually perpetrated by Israel and its American assets,” he pointed out.

“The purpose was to make sure that Saudi Arabia didn’t leave the American orbit, as the king had threatened in August of 2001. Similarly Pakistan was also set up. The ISI chief was tricked, ordered, or whatever into sending money to Muhammad Atta. And then that was broadcast in an Indian newspaper. Pakistan likewise was threatening to leave the American orbit in 2001,” he said.

“Now the Zionist dominated imperial apparatus here in the United States didn’t want nuclear Pakistan, and oil-rich Saudi Arabia to become independent countries. So, it used 9/11 to herd them back into the imperial orbit, among other things,” the scholar observed.

The truth is out there.

Intellihub is currently involved in a full-scale investigation into the events of 9/11.

Shepard Ambellas is a journalist, filmmaker, film producer, radio talk show host and the founder and editor-in-chief of Intellihub News & Politics. Established in 2013, Intellihub.com is ranked in the upper 1% traffic tier on the World Wide Web. Read more from Shep’s World.

Image: slagheap/Flickr

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Politics

How The DWP Is Drafting In Doctors To Promote Iain Duncan Smith’s Warped Ideology

Are you working hard enough?  Are you sure?  What if you get sick, or have an accident?  Are you prepared to go to work anyway, even if you don’t think it would be good for your health?  What if your doctor and boss agree you could do something other than your usual job instead of malingering at home?  Like making cups of tea all day, or cleaning the bogs, or any form of work your empoyer can dream up to force you not to take time off.  Because that is now the chilling reality as the DWP attempts to inject Iain Duncan Smith’s warped ideology into the NHS.

fit-note-guidance

Last week the DWP issued patronising new guidance to GPs on when they should issue a Fit Note.  Doctors are warned of the dangers of ‘worklessness’ and told they must consider “the vital role that work can play in your patient’s health”.  According to the department, “the evidence is clear that patients benefit from being in some kind of regular work”.

This is an outright lie.  What the evidence says is that on balance most people might be better off working but the beneficial health effects depend on the nature and quality of that work.  In the report on which the DWP’s claims are based – a paper incidentally commissioned by the DWP themselves – the authors actually warn that “a minority of people may experience contrary health effects from work”.

This study – called Is Work Good For Your Health and Well Being (pdf) – has formed the basis of government policy ever since the Labour administration launched the despised Work Capability Assessment for out of work sickness benefits in 2008.  It features a reasonably wide-ranging review of the evidence of the health risks and benefits of work and concludes that work, on balance, is better for most people’s health than unemployment but with important caveats.  These findings have been consistently misrepresented by politicians who have used them to claim that any kind of work is good for health, and that this applies to everybody.

The study found that in some cases – possibly 5-10% – unemployment can lead to improved health and well being.  It warns that negative health impacts of unemployment are “at least partly mediated through socioeconomic status” – meaning it is not work that is good for you, but poverty that is bad for you.   The review points out that whilst the evidence is conflicting, shift work and long hours could have a weak negative impact on health.  It also finds that school leavers who move into ‘unsatisfactory’ employment can experience a decline in their health and that economically secure people who retire early may experience beneficial effects on their health.   Even if this report is taken at face value – and it comes loaded with assumptions about the social and moral imperatives of work – all it shows is that work can be good for your health – but only if it’s a good quality well paid job.

If you are in low paid or insecure work then what your GP should tell you – based on the existing evidence – is to take a few days off if you aren’t happy or feel unwell.  Perhaps they should warn that you might be one of the 5 or 10% of people who are healthier if they are unemployed, despite the loss of income.  A more recent study carried out in Australia, and quoted on The Conversation, found that people “who moved into poor-quality jobs showed a significant worsening in their mental health compared to those who remained unemployed.”

What the new guidance to GPs is intended to do is impose workplace dicipline via the healthcare system.  Much like a seven day NHS is a health service for bosses, not patients, and likely to lead to pressure on workers not to book medical appointments in working hours, the Fit Note scheme is designed to bully people into the workplace even if they are sick.  That is why the guidance states that if GPs consider their patient could do any work at all, regardless of their usual job, then they should tick a box suggesting amended duties, or workplace adapatations rather than issue a full Fit Note.  And if doctors are too squeamish to treat patients this way then they are instructed to refer them to Maximus – the shadowy US conglomerate brought in carry out health assessments under the new Fit For Work scheme.

To help doctors decide what is best for their patients, or more correctly their patient’s employers, the new Fit Note guidance features case studies, with recommended courses of action that GPs should take.  They include an example of someone diagnosed with anxiety disorder who says that her work in customer services is giving her panic attacks and that she is too distressed to carry out her duties.  According to the DWP her doctor should first warn her that working is important for her mental health and “remind her that there are still other things that she can do – for example, physical tasks or back-room duties.”  This will help her feel more positive according to the department.  Then she should be referred to Maximus who will develop  a plan with her boss, such as sending her on a course to learn coping techniques, or doing quieter shifts.  And of course bosses, being always right and always reasonable, will not abuse this new power to force sick employees into the workplace.

Yet even the most bullying of bosses are to be accommodated according to the DWP.  Another case study features someone – a woman again – who complains that a poor relationship with her manager is causing her severe stress.  She says the manager has been ‘really horrible’ to her and she feels unable to cope.  Rather than raise any concerns about what seems to indicate workplace bullying however, her doctor is instructed to declare she does not have a health problem and she should speak to her human resources department, or union rep.  She should not be issued with a Fit Note and her GP should explain that they are “acting with her health interests in mind.”  It is better for her health to be bullied and abused in the workplace than be workless, even for a short while, according to the DWP.

The introduction of this guidance makes it clear that the scroungers vs scroungers narrative is now impeding on healthcare even amongst those who are not on benefits.  It is not hyperbole to suggest that the credibility of doctors is now at stake.  For too long the entire healthcare sector has remained silent whilst scientific evidence is distorted to further the ideology of modern capitalism and increase the power of employers over their staff.  Any GP who believes in evidence over rhetoric should tell Iain Duncan Smith to stick these guidelines up his fucking arse.  Anything else is a betrayal of the role of doctors as guardians of our health and well being.

 

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