back to article Brocade wrongly sacked award-winning salesman who depended on company insurance for cancer treatment

Brocade sacked a former Sales Manager of the Year who was suffering from cancer when the company was bought by Broadcom – a decision that led to the man's health insurance being cancelled. The details emerged when former sales engineer Mr M Richards won his case for unfair dismissal against Brocade. Reading Employment Tribunal …

  1. Loyal Commenter
    Unhappy

    A timely reminder

    We should all be worried about the government's ongoing stealth privatisation of the NHS, lest we end up in the same situation a few years down the line; relying on expensive private health insurance for vital life-saving cancer treatment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A timely reminder

      This case is in the UK, however it seems it is still the case he was getting better (or at least, more timely, which can be important) treatment privately.

      A friend was also wrongly dropped from the UK branch of an international company during a minor reshuffle after they developed a serious medical condition. Was not based on performance, and they also won a settlement, discrimination of this kind seems to not be uncommon.

      1. Loyal Commenter

        Re: A timely reminder

        This is exactly the stealth privatisation that I'm talking about. The NHS is underfunded (the government habitually gives budget increases that are below the increase in demand, and often below inflation, whilst crowing about "record funding"), so private health care is going to be quicker. Demand outstrips supply in the NHS to such an extent that "outsourcing" of things like routine scans is often done to private establishments by necessity. This takes money from the publicly funded NHS and transfers it to private hands. That's a nice little earner for those who invest in the companies providing the privatised healthcare. You won't have to look very hard to find their connection to government.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A timely reminder

          There is a fundamental flaw in medical provision worldwide, but particularly for state-funded medical care like the NHS, in that demand will always outstrip resources.

          There will always be new, innovative and often expensive treatments coming down the line which could benefit patients.

          And where there is an increasing population, there will always be more potential patients.

          Although I'm not defending below inflation funding of the NHS, in particular, it must be seen that you cannot put an ever increasing percentage of the country's GDP, and more importantly, it's government's income, mainy derived through taxation, into the healthcare system.

          So, you have to put limits on the spend. And if there are limits, there will always be people who could benefit from new treatments, but who won't and who will feel like they've been discriminated against.

          Unlike some countries, in the UK, private medical insurance is not seen as a replacement for the NHS, but as a way of getting quicker and possibly more comfortable treatment. So losing company health insurance is not the death note for people that it may be in other countries. There is always the NHS to fall back on (although I have a cautionary tail that I won't share here).

          This is good and bad. Good, it allows people who have the resources to be seen more quickly. But bad, because the medical insurers and providers know that they can drop some expensive conditions like a hot potato, and concentrate on the more lucrative, cheaper and more profitable treatments. This has the effect of the publicly funded NHS losing some of the easy care treatments, but being left with the complex and expensive treatments, which skew the spending per patient statistics.

          If the NHS becomes an insurance funded service, as some people state is going to happen, things can only get worse, so instead of the clinical commissioning groups being in control of the budgets, it will end up being the insurance companies, who have a profit motive. This must be avoided.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: A timely reminder

            >There is always the NHS to fall back on...

            This applies more literally than many people realise. Let's say you've taken advantage of your private medical insurance to get slightly faster access to treatment. If you were to suffer a severe reaction to that treatment then in all probability the next step for your private health provider is to call an NHS ambulance to come and pick you up and take you to A&E.

            Private healthcare is only profitable because they choose not to do the hard and unprofitable parts.

          2. Binraider Silver badge

            Re: A timely reminder

            When basic services under NHS terms are routinely unavailable e.g. seeing a GP because they spend 30 minutes filling in forms in response to a 5 minute appointment... Is it any wonder there is a shortfall?

            One cannot help but think that "poor" services are a by-product of an organisation hell bent on destroying the system for their own financial gain.

            The NHS employs about 1-in-20 staff in the UK, direct or indirect. How many of those are manglers, versus frontline personnel? (Quite a lot).

            Eliminating red tape and undoing mistakes of successive blue and new-red governments; establishing effective procurement practises (instead of a dozen NHS trusts doing disparate things, badly) would go so much further. And let's be honest, if the private sector did step up to fill this function instead of the NHS, what I describe is EXACTLY what they would set out to do to make themselves profitable.

            I am resigned to the fact that we are going the way of the US where an aspirin will cost $100 in the not too distant future. Turkeys have to wake up to what they are facing to choose a different direction.

            1. BurnedOut

              Re: A timely reminder

              It's probably difficult to establish exactly how many NHS staff are "manglers", but the NHS is the largest employer in Europe and its own statistics report a headcount of more than 1.3 million (about 1.2 million full time equivalent), which I think excludes GP practices (which are separate businesses contracted by the NHS). Of the 1.3 million, it appears that just over half are professionally qualified clinical staff, so one way or another there are around 600,000 employees who are not clinically qualified.

              I don't see why you would think that the UK would ever end up with a healthcare system like the USA, when there are so many better systems throughout the world (e.g. most European countries, Australie, NZ, and it's interesting to look at Israel).

            2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

              Re: A timely reminder

              Well, seeing as the government are employing executives from US health companies to run the NHS, this isn't surprising.

              USA health companies already buying up GP surgeries: https://keepournhspublic.com/us-health-insurers-are-coming-for-the-nhs/

              MPs with links to private insurance companies: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/selling-nhs-profit-full-list-4646154

              https://weownit.org.uk/public-ownership/nhs

            3. parlei

              Re: A timely reminder

              Just don't eliminate all the support staff. Which is resources beast spent: having an specialist MD fix his own printer issues or employing an admin assistant or IT tech?

            4. Mike Pellatt

              Re: A timely reminder

              Have you seen the bureaucracy involved in a predominantly private insurance funded system? By comparison, the NHS is a model of administrative efficiency..

              And don't forget, much of that bureaucracy is devoted to finding ways of not paying out.

              1. Binraider Silver badge

                Re: A timely reminder

                I agree. The point I made is that the NHS with appropriate leadership (I.e. much smaller, and much more experience) could be a lot more efficient in some of its most wasteful areas. Hiring yet another consultant (looking at you, Capita) is not the solution.

                This frees up either cash for frontline or for taxpayer. A private outfit would do the same to cut out red tape.

                However, as you rightly say, a private outfit would also do its damned worst to do evade paying for anything.

            5. LybsterRoy Silver badge

              Re: A timely reminder

              I almost agree with you, and will wholeheartedly support you IF you can point out any mega organisation where things are both centralised and efficient.

          3. Loyal Commenter

            Re: A timely reminder

            There will always be new, innovative and often expensive treatments coming down the line which could benefit patients.

            This is true, but wait until you see how eye-wateringly expensive old, non-innovative, and otherwise cheap treatments can be under private provision. When you provide the same product or service, but add in the means to extract profit from it, it is always going to be more expensive if provided privately, rather than publicly. Just try being diabetic in the US.

            1. heyrick Silver badge

              Re: A timely reminder

              "how eye-wateringly expensive old, non-innovative, and otherwise cheap treatments can be under private provision"

              When my mother went to hospital in the US in the 70s (I had a bad headache), she was charged $80 for an aspirin for me.

              The bill was broken down as $0.25 for the pill, $5 for the cup and water, $20 for accounting, and $54.75 for a candystriper (in other words, untrained) to hand it to me.

              I think they pick ridiculous prices and then try to devise excuses to justify those prices.

          4. Loyal Commenter

            Re: A timely reminder

            ...oh, and what you are describing is basically the function of NICE, which is effectively the safety valve which weighs cost vs benefit within the NHS. They are responsible for working out whether that expensive cancer treatment that might extend your life for six months is worth not funding an entire obs and gynae ward for a month.

          5. BurnedOut

            Re: A timely reminder

            I don't know whether it's the result of some sort of insidious propaganda over the many years since the NHS was formed, but there seems to be a widespread belief that all medical insurance is a matter of profiteering and that by definition it cannot therefore provide as good a service as a publicly owned provider. In fact, in many cases health insurers make no profit (try looking at how the Israeli system with its 4 health providers works - they are not-for-profit entities). BUPA is another example - it has no shareholders and any profits are reinvested.

            There's also the small matter of whether competition and profit result in a poorer result for the customer/patient. The state-owned British Leyland didn't make a profit, but it's vehicles weren't notably cheaper or better than those sold by more successful and profitable manufacturers. Would we get better food and pay less for it if the givernment nationalised the supermarkets?

            1. Cederic Silver badge

              Re: A timely reminder

              re: "there seems to be a widespread belief that all medical insurance is a matter of profiteering and that by definition it cannot therefore provide as good a service as a publicly owned provider"

              I think it's easy to provide evidence that medical insurance is a matter of profiteering - just ask any American.

              What is seldom claimed is that it can't provide as good a service as a publicly owned provider. Indeed, the claim is usually that private cover provides better care - if you can afford it.

              It's that financial gatekeeping combined with the profiteering that makes purely private healthcare an unattractive proposition at a population level. As much as I hate NHS waste I really do not want it privatised.

            2. The Rope

              Re: A timely reminder

              I think there is a strong case for moving the NHS to be a not for profit organisation. It needs to develop to provide the healthcare the country needs and this would be a way ensuring it stays as efficient as possible.

          6. Claverhouse Silver badge

            Intrigued

            although I have a cautionary tail

            .

            Do tell.

            1. cyberdemon Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: Intrigued

              Are you a cat with a piece of black/yellow hazard tape tied around your rear appendage?

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Intrigued

              OK. I'll spend some time, and will expand, but don't expect names.

              My mother was suffering from arthritis in both knees, at a moderately young age. My father had been paying for private medical insurance, so they decided to go for knee replacements through the insurance to make my mother's life more bearable.

              The first knee was done at a private hospital, by a surgeon who split his time between NHS and private work and was, apparently successfully. But after a few weeks, the expected swelling did not go down, and she could not put weight on the leg or walk properly.

              They engaged with the private hospital, who did tests and decided that it was not an infection, and they said was not caused by the surgery, but could not find a cause.

              They went to the GP who referred them back to the local NHS hospital. Unfortunately, the surgeon who had operated on my mother was a senior consultant there, and made it difficult for them to see another consultant, and refused any treatment because there was nothing wrong in his eyes, which must have been severely blinkered, because the swelling was incontrovertible.

              They tried to get a second opinion, and found that there was no point at the local hospital because of the Old Boy network, with junior doctors and consultants not wanting to cross their senior colleague.

              Eventually managed to get an out-of-area appointment, but even here the 'Old Boy' network was operating, and no fault or blame was found, and again they could not find a cause.

              They went back to the insurance company, who said that they would only take action if they could prove negligence on the part of the surgeon, and that remedial action would not be funded by the insurance company. Went to the GP, who told them that the NHS beancounters would not fund treatment because they judged the problem as being the fault of the private care provider.

              While trying to prove something, anything at all, my parents went to a solicitor, who told them that NHS medical records were available under a FOI request, but the same was not true about private hospitals and treatment. Eventually, the solicitor wrote a threatening letter to the private hospital asking for a copy of the notes for the procedure.

              Surprisingly, after much to-ing and fro-ing, they got something back! But on trying to read the copy of the notes, they found that the photocopier that was used had the contrast turned right down, making the notes all but unreadable, and even then it was apparent that there were pages missing.

              The next step would have been an escalation of the legal action, but it was clear that all my parents would do if they went down that route would be waste a lot of money, and they would probably either lose or run out of money.

              And the irony is that they did get to talk to a slightly more sympathetic consultant colleague of the surgeon, who told them strictly off the record that had they had had the initial operation on the NHS, complications like the ones experienced would have had led to a replacement of the prosthetic with another different one with almost no questions asked.

              My mother's quality of life was very poor as a result of this right up to the point where she passed. My father never forgave himself for using private medical insurance, and was very bitter about it right up to his death.

              So the result of the cautionary tail is check what will happen if it goes wrong, as the private healthcare system is ultimately not working in your interests.

          7. parlei

            Re: A timely reminder

            Also: once the well off and influential rely on their private medical insurance they will gradually see less reason to fully fund the public option. Long waiting times will be seen as acceptable since "everyone" has private medical insurance anyway. And the slippery slope got just a little bit steeper and slippier.

            1. David Nash Silver badge

              Re: A timely reminder

              yes, like the people who don't watch much BBC and therefore think they should not contribute.,

          8. Mike Pellatt

            Re: A timely reminder

            A good exposition there.

            What it misses is the conclusion that healthcare has to be rationed. The debate over how to do that has never properly been had (much like how to pay for long-term care) but at root there are 2 methods being tried.

            One is rationing by ability to pay - the inevitable end-point of a wholly private insurance based system with some state intervention for the most needy.

            The other is rationing by cost-effectiveness trying to balance clinical need with cost and outcome of treatment. This is the role of NICE - unfortunately people understandably don't like it when the treatment they hope for is denied or delayed.

            Of course, political decisions about NHS funding (and purpose) determine where the rationing line is drawn....

            1. Adelio

              Re: A timely reminder

              Unfortunately, it does not matter how much money is spent on Public (or private) health. It will never be enough. I hate to say it but that means that some treatments will either be not available or very expensive.

              I am just glad I am NOT American, a more broken healthcare system you are unlikely to find.

              Where you get private hospitals shipping patients by taxi to public hospitals and dumping them outside (In hospital garments) to save themselves money.

              Obviously in Private hospitals, patients are just a cashpoint for the hospitals. Be sure to have your credit card handy when you go through the door!

            2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

              Re: A timely reminder

              I think you missed out option 3. Rationing by screaming in the media.

          9. Insert sadsack pun here

            Re: A timely reminder

            "There is always the NHS to fall back on (although I have a cautionary tail that I won't share here)."

            If you had insurance you could have gone private for a tailectomy.

          10. JohnMurray

            Re: A timely reminder

            The governments income depends upon a citizens income.

            The NHS funding comes from the people.

            The ever-increasing-amount-of-GDP put into the NHS is also an income stream for many people and companies. Unless you give it to foreign companies, where that money stream goes to foreign shareholders.

            And that's the "household-budget" economics-theory.

            Don't get me onto MMT.

            I *strongly* suspect that the main hatred of socialised medicine is that it fails to charge sick people several fortunes and spin that money into politicians pockets/foreign-bank-accounts.

            Spending on health, as a % of GDP is slightly over 7%.

            While the spending on health has risen in real terms, expressed as a % of GDP it has risen only very slightly, a few tenths of 1%.

        2. msknight

          Re: A timely reminder

          There is no stealth privatisation of the NHS. It's been happening under everyone's nose, by dictate of EU policy that required contracts to be offered to all member states. As a result, somewhere between a third to two thirds of the NHS is already privatised, depending on where you draw the lines on numbers.

          It even got so bad that Beardy took the NHS to court and got a reported 2 million settlement out of the NHS when a contract was not renewed. https://davidallengreen.com/2020/05/when-virgin-care-sued-the-nhs-and-how-virgin-have-since-misdirected-and-misrepresented-about-what-happened/

          Actually, leaving the EU does give the ability to reverse the NHS privatisation... not that the government will take that opportunity however. There are also long standing worries that the EU itself will undergo a centralisation of national health and privatisation of its own. This article is worth a read - https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/the-staggers/2013/12/how-eu-making-nhs-privatisation-permanent - and demonstrates what was going on nearly a decade ago.

          This isn't stealth anything.... it's happening right in front of your eyes.

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: A timely reminder

            There is a difference between the outsourcing of the provision of healthcare, and outsourcing the funding of healthcare.

            In this case, it's the funding that's the issue.

            The outsourcing of the provision, particularly parts like operating the buildings, cleaning, equipment supply, and employment of non-medical personnel is already well established.

            In NHS hospitals, I believe that most clinical personnel are still directly employed by the NHS trusts.

            1. msknight

              Re: A timely reminder

              It's not as simple as that, unfortunately. Clinicians split their time between NHS and private practice (varies) so you could argue that they're contracted by the NHS rather than directly employed. The NHS also uses bank staff from private agencies and that is another issue again - https://www.england.nhs.uk/2018/08/nhs-could-free-480m-limiting-use-temporary-staffing-agencies/ - even some cleaners are a mix of NHS and private with a pay argument looming https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-60188438 it's all too complicated to get an easy handle on, and differs between trusts. You'd have to look at any particular trust, in detail, to find out what the exact situation is.

            2. Warm Braw Silver badge

              Re: A timely reminder

              In fact, a significant chunk of the NHS has always been run by private businesses. Pharmacies are private businesses, as are (most) GP surgeries and dentists. The issue is making sure the private interests are subservient to the public interest.

            3. Mike Pellatt

              Re: A timely reminder

              And of course general practice was privately provided forever.

              GPs were historically independent contractors to the NHS, not employees.

              Not the same as megacorp contracts, I'll grant.

          2. Loyal Commenter

            Re: A timely reminder

            It's been happening under everyone's nose, by dictate of EU policy that required contracts to be offered to all member states.

            This is the first time I've heard NHS privatisation being blamed on the EU. Can you point to the actual relevant regulations that state this, and the acts of parliament whereby they were brought into UK law, or is this entirely hearsay?

            Of course, if it is the evil EU to blame, then our current government would be reversing that privatisation as a benefit of our glorious brexit utopia, n'est-ce-pas?

            1. msknight

              Re: A timely reminder

              The legislation is basically the EU competition rules

              https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1415180510261&uri=CELEX:32014L0024

              https://www.bma.org.uk/media/1344/bma-brexit-briefing-competition-and-procurement-2017.pdf

              https://corporateeurope.org/en/power-lobbies/2017/06/creeping-privatisation-healthcare

              ..."Healthcare is a national competence, not the remit of the EU. Right? Yes and No. Rulings from the European Court of Justice, and the European Commission’s policies of recent years, mean that “Services delivered by national health systems are, as a rule, now considered as an economic activity”.1 For a long time, member states argued healthcare is not an economic activity, as most providers do not intend to make a profit.2 But its treatment as one means EU rules on the internal market (free movement of goods, persons, capital and services), public procurement and state aid, in principle apply to healthcare services."... etc. ... it's been the case for a while.

              http://www.caef.org.uk/d97frnt.html

              https://fullfact.org/europe/does-ttip-mean-privatisation-nhs/

              It is a heck of a rabbit hole, being honest.

              1. kat_bg

                Re: A timely reminder

                Where is actually written in that piece of document that NHS should be privatized? It refers to how public procurement should be handled (and that is helpful at least in my country where the public system would be fleeced by politician unless those rules are in place)

          3. katrinab Silver badge
            Megaphone

            Re: A timely reminder

            No, if you put things out to tender, then you have to follow EU rules, which would have prevented for example the £9bn lost in fraudulent PPE contracts. But you don’t have to put things out to tender, you can do them in-house.

            1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

              Re: A timely reminder

              101 Logistics, British Army, embedded in the NHS under Brigadier Phil Prosser, was the solution to the PPE debacle.

              They actually got on with shit, instead of being bureaucratic parasites ("bureausites").

              Likewise, the vaccine taskforce binned PHE/NHS's vaccine distribution for ultra-cold Pfizer, instead just using the existing (and _working_) distribution arms of companies used to distributing cold-chain medicine, eg Boots and Superdrug.

              1. sabroni Silver badge

                Re: the solution to the PPE debacle.

                The solution to the PPE debacle is to find out where the billions went and get them back then vote out these self serving, greedy pricks. (I won't hold my breath.)

                The army stepping in to help after the government ignored the infectious disease experts is not something to be proud of and is only a solution to short term supply chain issues.

                1. Peter2 Silver badge

                  Re: the solution to the PPE debacle.

                  The "army" (ie; Royal Logistics Corps) were called in because the NHS logistics operation had a warehouse of PPE, but didn't know what was in the warehouse because they didn't have an inventory system, they didn't know what was in the boxes because they hadn't ever been marked, and didn't have a plan for getting the PPE out of the warehouse and distributing to where it was needed, or for checking things like if the PPE in storage was age expired. It wouldn't be unfair to say that their system had completely collapsed under the weight of it's own incompetence.

                  Hence they called in the RLC, whom posses logistics experts, and have access to prodigious quantities of manpower for doing things like opening boxes, adding them to a logistics system and then getting them in trucks for distribution, using army trucks if suitable numbers of vehicles couldn't be hired in. This does not strike me as being unreasonable, in fact far from it.

                  Frankly, a better plan than handing the job back to the people responsible for that mess would appear to me to create a civil branch of the Royal Logistics Corps under their direction and training and progressively take over any Government logistics operation with performance below theirs; the government already has the expertise inhouse, even if it's the "Crown service" rather than the "Civil service". Why waste the expertise and do things more inefficiently?

                  In terms of the headline ~8.7Bn loss on PPE, £4.7 billion is a book value writeoff as the cost of PPE has fallen since it was bought and another billion quids worth of PPE didn't end up being used before it's expiry date as the estimated requirement was much higher than the actually level required before looking a, which knocks that total down to £3 billion before you start looking closely at things like the NHS suing suppliers for supplying equipment not to the spec in the contract.

                  I'm not sure it's as bad as is made out by the Daily Mail or the Guardian.

                  1. anothercynic Silver badge

                    Re: the solution to the PPE debacle.

                    @sabroni makes an important point though... it shouldn't have gotten as far as getting the RLC out to do the logistics. Movianto who held the contract had their own issues (amongst those fighting with the developer of their new warehouse, getting sold to someone else, etc), and clearly did not prioritise the NHS.

                    Stocks from that warehouse expired (and that shouldn't ever have been allowed). Emergency stocks should be rotated out so that the warehouse always contains up to date stuff. I believe there were some dramas with FFP2 and FFP3 materials that 'had expired' and had been 'life extended' (i.e. the expiry dates were extended), but to what extent, no-one knows. NHS front line staff were too busy trying to save lives.

                    I wonder where DHL would've done a worse job than Movianto if the contract had remained with them. But given KFC-gate (when KFCs across the country ran out of chicken) was down to them taking over the contract from someone else, and having a bit of... trouble with reorganising things, who knows.

                    1. katrinab Silver badge

                      Re: the solution to the PPE debacle.

                      The problem with DHL there is that they only have experience of doing room temperature distribution, not the refrigerated distribution that is required for chicken.

                      1. anothercynic Silver badge

                        Re: the solution to the PPE debacle.

                        Indeed. That was the problem with them. At least they learned... KFC no longer has that problem. :-)

          4. kat_bg

            Re: A timely reminder

            Membership in the Eu had nothing to do, so stop blaming it (see how many member state have public run healthcare systems with no interference from EU). That ship has sailed for UK. Any problems of the NHS are self inflicted. Maybe you can ask Boris and Farage where are the weekly 350 million pounds that were supposed to be transferred to NHS once Brexit was done. It was written on their campaign red bus cruising the country afterall.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A timely reminder

          " Demand outstrips supply in the NHS"

          You can ration by price or ration by scarcity (i.e. queues). Pick one.

          Hint: always chose price.

          1. Loyal Commenter

            Re: A timely reminder

            You can ration by price or ration by scarcity (i.e. queues). Pick one.

            Actually, like most things in life, this is being presented as a binary choice where it is not.

            The NHS has NICE, which weighs the cost/benefit ratio of individual treatments / medications and decides which can be afforded, essentially rationing by price.

            A&E departments triage people, depending on the urgency and seriousness of their conditions, and so on, essentially rationing by urgency.

            GPs offer appointments on a mix of first-come-first-served and seriousness, to fill their capacity, which is kind-of rationing by scarcity.

            The NHS is not one big homogeneous blob that does everything the same way.

          2. parlei

            Re: A timely reminder

            So, better/quicker medical care for the wealthy?

            1. anothercynic Silver badge

              Re: A timely reminder

              No, but amongst other things telling people to not run off to A&E when they could, well, put a plaster on it, or seek assistance from their local minor injuries department.

              It seems that everyone runs off to A&E when they have a medical issue, whereas A&E stands for Accident & Emergency. Not everything is an emergency. That's why A&E runs triage, and yes, those with minor injuries progressively remain at the back of the queue (no matter how loud they shout about how unfair it is). True emergencies are dealt with quickly and expeditiously, and that's what the NHS is goddamn good at.

              Running off to A&E because you got a blister or an insect bite or something could certainly be chargeable. The German healthcare system works like that to a degree. You have your minimum 'co-pay' (in US healthcare-speak) that you pay for, everything above that is covered by your mandatory healthcare provider.

              1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

                Re: A timely reminder

                We don't have an A&E, we have a minor injuries unit - which is exactly where you go with things like crab bites and sprained ankles. The A&E is 30 miles away.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: A timely reminder

                I know they're not insects, but getting a bite from a horse or deer tick, which is the major cause of Lymes disease is actually a real reason to go to A&E, as can bee stings for people with anaphylaxis.

                For me, with ITP, even getting a nosebleed that won't stop is a serious cause for concern which I've been told to go to A&E for.

                There's no one action that fit's all people.

        4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: A timely reminder

          the government habitually gives budget increases that are below the increase in demand, and often below inflation,

          False. NHS spending increases have been consistently above inflation since the mid 1950s, under all parties except for a brief glitch under Callaghan's Labour government in 1978. It's about 7% of GDP today, compared to 3% in 1955.

          The real problem is that medical treatment has evolved spectacularly over the past 50 years, and costs have gone through the roof. When the NHS was founded, noone could have anticipated treatments for a single person that cost tens of thousands of pounds per week, yet today the NHS is expected to fund them.

          1. fnusnu

            Re: A timely reminder

            ^^^^ taxpayer is expected to fund them.

            1. Potemkine! Silver badge

              Re: A timely reminder

              "Taxpayer" being the one that gets finally the benefit of it when he/she needs such treatment to continue to live.

          2. Loyal Commenter

            Re: A timely reminder

            Yes, I forgot to mention per capita in that equation; obviously the total cost is going to rise quicker than inflation if the population is also rising. Add to that the changing demographics, with an ageing population who tend to have more complex and expensive healthcare needs. Ironically, it is the "boomer" generation who are now costing us the most, whilst at the same time being the generation that has all the capital, locked up in property, and pension funds. The working tax-payer is the one paying for them. The government could just as easily tax capital as much as income, but they choose not to, putting the burden of paying for healthcare squarely onto the workers and not those whose income comes purely from capital. This, of course, widens the gap between rich and poor. The "boomer" generation aren't to blame for this, but they are the ones most likely to vote for the political party that worsens the problem.

            1. Potty Professor Bronze badge
              Thumb Down

              Re: A timely reminder

              " Ironically, it is the "boomer" generation who are now costing us the most, whilst at the same time being the generation that has all the capital, locked up in property, and pension funds."

              As a Boomer myself, I take exception to this generalisation, due to my wife's ill health and subsequent demise, I now find myself deeply in debt, and living in rented accommodation since being forced to sell my home of 35 years, and still not being able to clear all that debt. I am now faced with a long and difficult treatment of my own ill health, which will eventually lead to my demise at some indeterminate point in the future.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: A timely reminder

                The post ww2 brigade created the NHS with the best of intentions. Boomers benefitted off free university education; ample jobs, DB pensions, availability of land etc.

                And an awful lot of boomers vote conservative; by definition, because we’ve had conservative or conservative-light government for over 40 years. The very outfit that has systematically priced out future generations and done it’s damnedest to reverse the post ww2 innovation.

                While I sympathise with the personal circumstances it is clear you weren’t in the 50-odd percent that benefitted from being in the right place at the right time from the “system”. Now imagine a society that conspires against everyone in a manner you describe. Folks won’t have houses to sell because of broken markets.

                People are fucking terrified of socialist ideas and now Britain is in a death spiral unless we change. And no, that is not an advocation of communism. Socialist govt in France, Denmark, Sweden etc all get a good balance. What do we get? House buying at 50; child poverty; bad jobs, bad pensions and worst of all, absolutely no ambition or hope for the future.

                So forgive the flippant remark; but when Tory voter number reductions are more or less synonymous with the death rate you will understand that those “Without” are fucking desperate for some change. That change can be planned and smooth, or balls to the walls anarchy. Which do we want?

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: A timely reminder

              @Loyal Coimmenter

              You forgot to mention that it is us Boomers who have paid the most into the "system".

            3. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

              Re: A timely reminder

              The boomers were once where you are, and you will one day be where the boomers are. And there will be young whippersnappers complaining about how they're paying for you when you have all the assets.

          3. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            Re: A timely reminder

            Yup - see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-57776754

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A timely reminder

          Last year I had a pacemaker fitted. I chose to go privately. The consultant asked me if I minded having it done in a NHS hospital because that way, not only could I get it done quickly but the NHS hospital could make a profit and not have to pay for the device. My insurance paid, the taxpayer didn't and the hospital profited. That's an example of NHS privatisation.

        6. BOFH in Training Bronze badge

          Re: A timely reminder

          Am not in the UK.

          With that said, maybe the law should be that all politicians must use the NHS for any medical needs.

          That will probably get your NHS working well and fast.

          If the leaders are forced to use a service, you can bet that that service will be working fast and smooth.

          1. Tilda Rice

            Re: A timely reminder

            Most the benefit of UK private health insurance, is skipping the queue and getting better post op sandwiches. The people performing the ops are often/mostly NHS consultants anyway.

            You're paying for expediting and a nicer room not ward. You can also be selective on consultant.

        7. Tilda Rice

          Re: A timely reminder

          why did you have to bring in the NHS and your anti gov waffle on this?

          thats not even getting into the debate of private/public performance and value.

    2. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: A timely reminder

      What privatization? It has not happened despite decades of bleating it might, in fact now we are out of the EU it is actually less likely to happen, the EU were looking at forcing privatization of health (health insurance is private in Germany for example) and if they had done one of their infamous directives the civil servants would have immediately started looking for whichever US based health company gave them the best back pocket returns

      1. Alan Mackenzie

        Re: A timely reminder

        > "Health insurance is private in Germany for example".

        Whilst that may be true, it is a grossly misleading way of stating it. The monthly fees you pay to a Krankenkasse in Germany are determined solely by your income and circumstances. OK, that's simplified a lot but is true in essence.

  2. Cereberus

    Make the company pay

    The company should be made liable for any and all ongoing costs for medical treatment.

    If he is unable to get cover himself because of the condition which was covered at the time of employment, and he is unable to reasonably replace that cover then the company should pick treatments costs up, or pay any health insurance payments (regardless of how excessive ) to provide him with the same level of cover.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Make the company pay

      >The company should be made liable for any and all ongoing costs for medical treatment.

      The company will probably point out that there are not any ongoing costs for medical treatment, as he is fully covered by the NHS, which will be providing the same (or probably higher) standards of care than his local Nuffield. His insurer will likely have made the same point when they jettisoned him from the plan and his care provider will have said exactly the same thing too.

      The NHS will not hesitate to continue to execute the care plan established by his private specialists, to exactly the same timelines, because they're working to exactly the same standards of care.

      Because the NHS is an institution we can be proud of and depend on, not one that needs the consent of your employer to try and save your life.

      1. BurnedOut

        Re: Make the company pay

        Perhaps you didn't read the part of the article that quoted the tribunal as having stated: "As a result of the dismissal, the claimant lost his access to private medical insurance. This has affected the treatment he receives. He has longer waiting times for diagnosis and treatment and less continuity of care than previously. This has caused him increased pain and worry and has had a significant impact on his quality of life and overall health."

    2. oiseau Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Make the company pay

      The company should be made liable for any and all ongoing costs ...

      +1

      On reading this article it came to my mind that someone should have gone to have a quiet chat with the ... unnamed "senior manager for global benefits" within Brocade ... and ...

      But that would be wrong.

      It is just a side effect of my utter indignation.

      But as the world is round, we can expect that whoever decided to cut off the life-extending insurance policy for this poor chap will hopefully receive equal treatment from someone else at some point in their life.

      If not, just get run over by a #$&*+ bus.

      O.

  3. DeathSquid

    Psychopath

    Psychopath (n.)

    1. A person with a personality disorder indicated by a pattern of lying, cunning, manipulating, glibness, exploiting, heedlessness, arrogance, delusions of grandeur, sexual promiscuity, low self-control, disregard for morality, lack of acceptance of responsibility, callousness, and lack of empathy and remorse.

    2. A member of the HR team.

    1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Re: Psychopath

      To be fair to HR, they simply do what they are told to do.

      I can't imagine they like it much.

      The real bastards are the ones in senior management for whom Legal & HR (née Personnel) are merely means to satisfy their whims / yearly targets / whatever you want to call it.

      1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

        Re: Psychopath

        To be fair to HR, they simply do what they are told to do.

        I can't imagine they like it much.

        The real bastards are the ones in senior management for whom Legal & HR (née Personnel) are merely means to satisfy their whims / yearly targets / whatever you want to call it.

        That is the Nuremberg Defence.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superior_orders

        https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Nuremberg_defense

        Both the order-giver and the order-taker are culpable for the illegal act, unless certain extenuating circumstances apply to the order-taker. The extenuating circumstances are unlikely to apply in this case.

      2. MrBanana Silver badge

        Re: Psychopath

        "To be fair to HR, they simply do what they are told to do.

        I can't imagine they like it much."

        You obviously haven't been on the shitty end of an interview with HR. After screwing me over on commission payments they were smirking when I was in the first interview to ask them what was going on, then positively gleeful when they told me that my appeal had been denied. It was only legal action that got them to reverse their decision, the outcome communicated to me over email. Clearly couldn't look me in the eye to admit their mistakes. Fuckers, the lot of them, at all levels.

      3. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Psychopath

        If they didn't like it they'd get a job that didn't involve hurting people.

  4. baka

    Hock Tan is a heartless asshole

    I know Broadcom is well viewed by investors because Hock Tan is a heartless asshole that demands these kinds of actions, but man, I wish some of these investors would personally understand how ruthless he really is. I was in a company that was acquired by Avago/Broadcom, and during a company-wide all hands meeting, he basically said I bought this company for this division directly, the others either don't have a great roadmap that shows growth, or I'll find an idiot willing to take this other division off my hands. Those of us who were in the divisions he was either going to close or sell off were shocked that he was so apparent and smirking about it. Needless to say, once he found a taker for my division, we were gone and had to be out of the building the day the sale was announced.

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Hock Tan is a heartless asshole

      Not met him but definitely met someone similar.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hock Tan is a heartless asshole

      Stock price goes to the right and up, while individual contributors ignore their morals and ethics.

  5. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Broadcoms UK HR dept.

    This group leaves a lot to be desired, not the first people to be made redundant and then have their termination terms changed as they were illegally selected

    1. sreynolds Silver badge

      Re: Broadcoms UK HR dept.

      HR only do what is in the best interested of the company. They usually impeded hiring, meaning most people just get a contract gig because of the loopholes and hurdles put in place by HR>

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Devil

        Human Remains

        HR people usually start out their careers as wide-eyed cuddly 'caring' types who love hiring, love to help people, and have never had to fire anyone.

        But as they get more "experience" they quickly learn that this is not a "caring" profession - quite the opposite, and their job is to be heartless, soulless bastards. The role of HR is to protect the company from its employees. Nothing more.

        And what happens when you take a "cuddly caring person" and make them shoot puppies and drown kittens over and over? You turn them into psychopaths. That's what big corporate HR is, and is the reason that I only work for small companies whose HR are still (mostly) human.

  6. Kev99 Silver badge

    You sure this happened in Reading, UD and not Reading, Pennsylvania? Sounds like something a US company wouldn't think twice about doing.

  7. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Flame

    First, it is absolute shame someone has to rely on private insurance for cancer treatment. It's inhuman and disgraceful. The first of the human rights is the one to live, the Nation as a would must ensure this utmost basic right is assured.

    Next, it's sad that the "senior manager for global benefits" isn't named. One could only wish him to get the same fate than the one this so-called "manager" applied to this man.

    1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      But does one person's right to live mean others can be forced to provide without compenaation? Do you support compelling others to ensure someone can live? Where does the personal responsibility to care for oneself fit into this? It's one thing to feel compassion for others, but quite another to forcibly take resources from one person to provide for another. The only exception I see to this are children, and the first to be compelled should be the parents. Once you turn 18 it's on you to provide for yourself (with very few exceptions) and that's the way it should be.

      Now if you feel orherwise, you can lead by example - sell everything you own, drain all of your personal accounts, and head on down to the local clinic to start paying for those treatments!

  8. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Having been through the takeover/redundancy mill a few times, I can confidently state that the so called consultancy about the redundancy is utter bullsh!t and not worth the time it took to legislate for it. Once it has been decided by whomever that you are to be made redundant, that is it. After that HR jumps through the hoops and crosses the i's and dot the t's but the decision does not change. On a few occasions HR screw it up which results in cases like this, but mostly not.

    Employment in the UK is getting more and more like the USA, which is good for the companies and their investors, but awful for employees. Personally I am glad I'm towards the end of my career. I feel sorry for those just starting theirs and advise them to save every penny they can, because there is no more "job security" and soon companies will be allowed to get rid of you with 1 weeks notice because they feel like it.

    1. Adelio

      Here, here. Have just retired (at 62) and I am glad I am off that treadmill.

      One house back in the office (after working over a year from home) and I had decided that I have had enough.

      My wife and I both sent our notices in that month. I was 62 1/2 and my wife 61.

      Now every day is a "Saturday".

      1. Binraider Silver badge

        I'd be with you, however as a decidedly still mortgaged up early gen Y type we have some time to go.

        The crazy thing is one is already planning how to get in the right place to get VR on favourable terms in mid-50's.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunate title image for the Pi people

    Article says nothing about Raspberry Pi, yet their logo is resplendent at the top of the article...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, the American system is utterly broken if an employer gives you a crappy insurance company, or you are not on enough hours to get health cover - a favorite ploy of a lot of employers over here. And if you have pre-existing conditions many insurers won't give you any cover at all ...

    e.g. I have two auto-immune conditions, one of which requires a $10K+/month *per refill* if you don't have insurance per a google search. And, two days before a cancer treatment I was informed of being laid off - yes my manager was aware.

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