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Basic Hygiene at Risk in Debt-Stricken Greek Hospitals

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This is from CNBC health.

This soon will be American hospitals under Obamacare.

The Greeks and the British have dirty hospitals.

Their healthcare system is similar to Obamacare.

Greek hospitals are in such dire straits that staff are failing to keep up basic disease controls such as using gloves and gowns, threatening a rise in multi-drug-resistant infections, according to Europe’s top health official.

Greece already has one of the worst problems in Europe with hospital-acquired infections, and disease experts fear this is being made worse by an economic crisis that has cut health care staffing levels and hurt standards of care.

With fewer doctors and nurses to look after more patients, and hospitals running low on cash for supplies, risks are being taken even with basic hygiene, said Marc Sprenger, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

“I have seen places…where the financial situation did not allow even for basic requirements like gloves, gowns and alcohol wipes,” Sprenger said after a two-day trip to Athens, where he visited hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

“We already knew Greece is in a very bad situation regarding antibiotic resistant infections, and after visiting hospitals there I’m now really convinced we have reached one minute to midnight in this battle,” he told Reuters in an interview.

Sprenger said the situation means patients with highly-infectious diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) may not get the treatment they need, raising the risk that dangerous drug-resistant forms will tighten their grip on Europe.

Greece spends 11 billion euros ($14.4 billion) a year on its healthcare system – accounting for just over 5 percent of its total economic output. The government says the system is around 2 billion euros in debt and spending must be cut drastically.

Many health workers have lost their jobs and others say they have not been properly paid for months. A banner hung up by doctors outside Athens Evangelismos hospital in October said simply: “The health system is bleeding”.

Exhausted doctors at Greece’s 133 state hospitals cite a lack of staff as well as basic supplies such as cotton wool, catheters, gloves and paper used to cover examination beds.

Panos Papanicolaou, a member of a doctors’ union and a neurosurgeon at Athens’ Nikea General Hospital, said staff cuts mean as many as 90 to 100 patients a day wait in corridors with many unable to get treatment. In the chaos, some go untreated or come back again when they are far more seriously ill.

He said overworked nurses often treat twice as many patients as before and confirmed that the shortage of basic items such as disposable gloves meant corners were having to be cut.

“If a nurse has to see 10 patients instead of five without disposable gloves it’s certain that the transmission of infections will rise rapidly,” he said.

Greece could soon face even more problems with its health care system if it runs out of money to buy drugs.

Another health official who asked to remain anonymous said a senior Athens hospital worker had told him there was no budget left for supplies at that hospital, so all its drug purchases were on credit.

Germany’s Merck KGaA said last month it was no longer delivering its cancer drug Erbitux to Greek hospitals , and Biotest, which makes products from blood plasma to treat haemophilia and tetanus, stopped shipments in June because of unpaid bills.

Roberto Bertollini, the World Health Organisation‘s chief scientist and representative to the European Union, told Reuters he too was worried about the rate of hospital-acquired infections in Greece. He said cuts to resources and staff only make it harder to adhere to infection control and hygiene rules.

“Countries have to be very careful when … choosing what to cut and what to keep,” he said. “This is a very serious business which might impact the health of the population much more in the medium term, thus increasing rather than decreasing costs.”

Greece’s problems with drug resistant infections predate the economic crisis: Greece is Europe’s highest user of antibiotics, and health experts say overuse of them is one of the main causes of drug resistant disease.

Sprenger’s ECDC warned last month that infections caused by a bug called K. pneumoniae and resistant to the very last line of antibiotics is “high and increasing in some EU countries”.

“It’s no longer a risk, it’s already very bad – the challenge is to turn that around,” Sprenger said. “But you can only focus properly on this if you are not overloaded with patients.”

 

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Obama May Levy Carbon Tax to Cut U.S. Deficit, HSBC Says

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This is from Bloomberg.com.

How many jobs will this tax destroy?

The Obama tax increases will just keep coming.

 Personally I say screw Europe and their dumb ass tax schemes. 

 

Barack Obama may consider introducing a tax on carbon emissions to help cut the U.S. budget deficit after winning a second term as president, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.

A tax starting at $20 a metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent and rising at about 6 percent a year could raise $154 billion by 2021, Nick Robins, an analyst at the bank in London, said today in an e-mailed research note, citing Congressional Research Service estimates. “Applied to the Congressional Budget Office’s 2012 baseline, this would halve the fiscal deficit by 2022,” Robins said.

Hurricane Sandy sparked discussion on climate protection in the election after presidential candidates focused on other debates, HSBC said. A continued Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives means Obama’s scope for action will be limited, Robins said. Cap-and-trade legislation stalled in the U.S. Senate after narrowly passing the house in 2009.

North American discharges fell 1.3 percent last year amid slowing economic growth. In China, the world’s biggest emitter, greenhouse gases from fuel use rose more than 9 percent in 2011, according to BP Plc (BP/) statistics published on June 13.

“Cap-and-trade has been demonized” and Obama probably won’t seek to install such a program in his second term, Richard Sandor, founder of the world’s biggest carbon trading exchange in Europe, said today at the presentation in London of his book titled Good Derivatives.

New carbon trading programs in California, China and Brazil may encourage U.S. lawmakers to introduce greenhouse gas trading by about 2020, Sandor said.

‘Moral Authority’

“We’ve lost our moral authority in the U.S.,” he said. “You haven’t here in Europe.”

Prices in the European Union carbon market, the world’s biggest by traded volume, dropped to a four-year low in April on surging supply and flagging demand.

Obama and the U.S. Congress should consider a carbon tax to help meet the government’s looming need for revenue, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions in Arlington, Virginia.

The tax would not necessarily add to the economy’s total tax burden, according to Elliot Diringer, executive vice president of the research group. Such a tax may free up space for reductions in company taxes that dissuade employment, for example, Diringer said in an interview from Arlington.

“We have lots of need for new revenue to address our challenges,” which include priorities for conservatives such as extending tax cuts, avoiding deep defense cuts, reducing the corporatetax rate, reforming tax territoriality, and deficit reduction, the group said today in an e-mailed statement.

“While Sandy’s lessons are still fresh, the president should be clear about the urgency of cuttingcarbon emissions and strengthening critical infrastructure to protect Americans against the rising costs of climate change,” the group said yesterday in a separate statement.

 

 

EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration

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This is from the U.K.Telegraph.

This is a prime example of what is wrong with Europe today.
What next will the E.U declare fires will not put out a fire?
Will the last sane people in Europe please turn off the lights as you leave.
 
EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.
Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.
Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.
“The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true.
“If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it.”
NHS health guidelines state clearly that drinking water helps avoid dehydration, and that Britons should drink at least 1.2 litres per day.
The Department for Health disputed the wisdom of the new law. A spokesman said: “Of course water hydrates. While we support the EU in preventing false claims about products, we need to exercise common sense as far as possible.”
German professors Dr Andreas Hahn and Dr Moritz Hagenmeyer, who advise food manufacturers on how to advertise their products, asked the European Commission if the claim could be made on labels.
They compiled what they assumed was an uncontroversial statement in order to test new laws which allow products to claim they can reduce the risk of disease, subject to EU approval.
They applied for the right to state that “regular consumption of significant amounts of water can reduce the risk of development of dehydration” as well as preventing a decrease in performance.
However, last February, the European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) refused to approve the statement.
A meeting of 21 scientists in Parma, Italy, concluded that reduced water content in the body was a symptom of dehydration and not something that drinking water could subsequently control.
Now the EFSA verdict has been turned into an EU directive which was issued on Wednesday.
Ukip MEP Paul Nuttall said the ruling made the “bendy banana law” look “positively sane”.
He said: “I had to read this four or five times before I believed it. It is a perfect example of what Brussels does best. Spend three years, with 20 separate pieces of correspondence before summoning 21 professors to Parma where they decide with great solemnity that drinking water cannot be sold as a way to combat dehydration.
“Then they make this judgment law and make it clear that if anybody dares sell water claiming that it is effective against dehydration they could get into serious legal bother.
EU regulations, which aim to uphold food standards across member states, are frequently criticised.
Rules banning bent bananas and curved cucumbers were scrapped in 2008 after causing international ridicule.
Prof Hahn, from the Institute for Food Science and Human Nutrition at Hanover Leibniz University, said the European Commission had made another mistake with its latest ruling.
“What is our reaction to the outcome? Let us put it this way: We are neither surprised nor delighted.
“The European Commission is wrong; it should have authorised the claim. That should be more than clear to anyone who has consumed water in the past, and who has not? We fear there is something wrong in the state of Europe.”
Prof Brian Ratcliffe, spokesman for the Nutrition Society, said dehydration was usually caused by a clinical condition and that one could remain adequately hydrated without drinking water.
He said: “The EU is saying that this does not reduce the risk of dehydration and that is correct.
“This claim is trying to imply that there is something special about bottled water which is not a reasonable claim.”

 

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