144,659 members

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


Migrant chickens blamed for NHS crisis


Blog headlines

  • Link of the week: National Cholesterol Month
    23 October 2020

    Every month or week of the year seems to be an awareness week, October has more than its fair share.

  • New redeployment service offers talent pool of motivated, work-ready individuals
    15 October 2020

    People 1st International have shared some of the work they are doing to support people displaced from industries due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There is an opportunity for health and care services to benefit from this workforce.

  • Link of the week
    9 October 2020

    Article published in the BMJ looking at the ability of the health service to quickly bounce back to pre-Covid levels of activity and considers if it is desirable.

  • Virtual Consultations– the patient perspective
    2 October 2020

    This week Jessie Cunnett, director of health and social care at Transverse has shared this article.

  • Virtual Consultations– the patient perspective
    1 October 2020

    This week Jessie Cunnett, director of health and social care at Transverse has shared this article - Virtual Consultations– the patient perspective.

  • Celebrating innovation in eye research
    24 September 2020

    This week Julian Jackson from VisionBridge has shared a report on eye research.

  • Link of the week: Comprehensive Spending Review and Covid-19
    24 September 2020

    This week we are sharing a blog that outlines the funding pressures and uncertainties faced by the health and care system

  • Risk stratifying elective care patients
    10 September 2020

    This blog has been shared by MBI healthcare technologies. As services are starting to treat routine patients those on waiting lists are making enquiries as to where they are on the list, and if they are still on the list.

  • Link of the week
    4 September 2020

    This week the link we would like to share are reflections from physiotherapy students on placement at Alzheimer Scotland https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/

  • Link of the week
    28 August 2020

    This week we would like to share a blog published on the Mind website about being a BAME health worker in the pandemic.

  • Remote clinical triage model
    20 August 2020

    This week we are sharing how a remote clinical triage model was implemented at Tollgate Medical Centre. This has been shared with us by Sarah Portway, a Nurse, and Clinical Services Manager at Tollgate Medical Centre.

  • Can the Community Pharmacy become the gateway to integrated care in the NHS?
    13 August 2020

    The NHS is a continually evolving innovative demand led public service the role of the Community Pharmacist is becoming the public face on a journey to the more responsible public engagement in the personal care of individuals and their family. There are currently over 11000 Pharmacies many are single or small chain service providers, while multiples occupy the urban shopping centres and more densely populated conurbations, the value of the rural High Street can’t be understated.

  • Crunch time for patient involvement
    7 August 2020

    There are new challenges for primary care, which could really do with patient input. Mike Etkind, chair of a PPG and founding member of his PCN’s patient group, recognises the size of the task clinical directors have managed over the last few months but identifies two particular issues where patients have a necessary and valuable contribution, that need to be addressed now – the 2020 vaccination programme and primary care from a distance- total triage, remote consultations, and the use of telemedicine.

  • Link of the week - Visionbridge
    31 July 2020

    The link we are sharing this week was submitted by Julian Jackson, Visionbridge.

  • Links of the week
    23 July 2020

    This week we are sharing two articles with you.

  • Link of the week
    21 July 2020

    The blog is from the perspective of the Company Chemist Association's Chief Executive Malcolm Harrison.

  • Link of the week
    9 July 2020

    This week we are sharing a blog from the NHS Confederation’s “NHS Reset” looking at the work of Healthwatch, the role of volunteers in supporting patients being discharged from hospital and the importance of the community.

  • Virtual education sessions on spinal cord injury from Spinal Injuries Association
    2 July 2020

    This week Karen Mikalsen from the Spinal Injuries Association shares some information on their work and events for healthcare professionals.

  • Guest blog:Karen Chumley
    25 June 2020

    Thank you to Karen Chumley for a second blog –this time on the local use of an Electronic Palliative Care Coordination system during the Covid-19 pandemic. Karen is the Clinical Director and Deputy CEO at St Helena.

  • Link of the week
    19 June 2020

    This week's link of the week is article by Yasmin Khanagha published in Nursing Times – Why we need to open the conversation about racism.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Migrant chickens blamed for NHS crisis

Migrating chickens have been blamed for delays in discharging people from hospital – a situation that NHS bosses say will only get worse.

Critics say that increasing numbers of chickens “coming home to roost” are causing a shortage of hospital beds, queues at A&E departments and long waits for appointments at doctors’ surgeries.

Attempts by successive governments to shoo them away or wring their necks have failed, they argue.

The chickens’ union said so-called “bird blocking” was a symptom of systemic problems.

“My members need to get a bit of kip after a hard day scratching for a living. Cuts to local authority budgets mean there’s nowhere else for them to go but the nearest hospital or GP surgery,” a spokeswoman said.

No free range option

A leading think tank said it had been warning the government for years that underfunding of services would cause a build-up of chickens in the system.

“Without investment in IT, premises, workforce, training and viable alternatives to hospital care we shouldn’t be surprised that the NHS is struggling to cope,” a spokesman said.

Only “genuine roosters” should be allowed to use public services, according to a government spokesman. “Obviously we sympathise with those who are fleeing oppressive regimes in the countryside, but that doesn’t mean giving an open ticket to anyone who just fancies a more comfortable place to perch at the UK taxpayer’s expense.”

Frequent flyers

The government has announced a strategy to deal with the crisis. It includes:

  • £10m to pay PR people to write press releases and come up with a catchy name
  • £5m for strategic acronym development and leafleting
  • Foxes to patrol hospital car parks
  • Bird scarers at the entrance to A&E departments and chicken mesh for GPs
  • Training to help primary care staff identify frequent flyers.  

Brexit campaigners are promising an immediate ban on the cross-border movement of poultry if Britain votes to leave the EU later this month.

Leave supporters say that chicken migration will increase under EU plans for ever closer union. “If Brussels gets its way we’ll be the roosting capital of Europe,” said one. “It’s only a matter of time before we have Turkey to contend with as well, which could overwhelm our public services.”

The Remain camp remains adamant in its view that the chicken problem can only be solved by pan-European cooperation.

“They may be horrible noisy creatures with limited intelligence and disgusting habits, but they are also our European neighbours and we need to work together,” said a Remain spokeswoman.

No resettlement settlement

In a statement the Department of Health said it was in talks with chickens’ representatives and stakeholder organisations to negotiate a deferred roosting agreement, under which the chickens would postpone mass migration.

“We’re confident that the chickens will play their part in helping us address the financial challenge by suspending non-essential roosting activity until the chancellor has balanced the books, the NHS is living within its means and global prosperity has returned,” said a spokesman.

Poultry editor: Julian Patterson


Carol Munt
Carol Munt says:
Jun 10, 2016 08:07 AM

Shouldn't that be 'breggsit campaigners'?

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Jun 10, 2016 09:43 AM

How did I miss that? :)

trevor jenkins
trevor jenkins says:
Jun 10, 2016 08:51 AM

Any Ornithologist (not a Clinical Speciality) will tell you that chickens don't migrate. They do fester up Flu virus and can transmit it to birds that do migrate. So your article may in parts be indirectly scarily close to a potential reality! But we have medicines to prevent and treat Influenza and Pandemic Flu and sequelae, so no worries. Death may be cost-effective in the NHS even if it doesn't do much for Society and social structure and function.
There are too many Cluckers in the NHS. Other terms are available.

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Jun 10, 2016 09:46 AM

Precise as ever Trevor. "Migration" is a rather broad interpretation of "ooming home to roost". They don't fly too well, either.

Judith Wardle
Judith Wardle says:
Jun 10, 2016 09:16 AM

One of your best -- thanks for the much needed laugh. I had been wondering what creatures we, the patients, would become under the "transformation" plans. In Oxon it appears that BOB might know.

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Jun 10, 2016 09:52 AM

Thanks, Judith.

Emma Self
Emma Self says:
Jun 10, 2016 01:06 PM

Your blog always ends my week with a smile, I especially love the strategy!

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Jun 10, 2016 01:24 PM

Thank you, Emma.

petrina trueman
petrina trueman says:
Jun 14, 2016 03:32 PM

"Turkey to contend with"! wonderful. Nearly fell off my perch!