Envy of the World Update

Jeremy Hunt is currently giving a statement to the House on today’s independent report investigating a hospital in Morecambe Bay. It found:

  • 11 unnecessary deaths at Furness general hospital between 2004 and 2013
  • “a culture of denial, collusion and incompetence”
  • maternity unit was “seriously dysfunctional”
  • midwives behaviour so reckless they were nicknamed “the musketeers”
  • “a series of failures at almost every level”
  • “clear evidence of distortion of the truth in responses to investigation”
  • “inexcusable” and “unprofessional” collusion by staff
  • “repeated failures to be honest and open with patients, relatives and others raising concerns. The trust was not honest and open with external bodies or the public”

The report concludes: “Today, the name of Morecambe Bay has been added to a roll of dishonoured NHS names that stretches from Ely hospital to Mid Staffordshire”. It was not a one-off…

NHS Used to Lure US Tech Firms to Britain

us tech companies

The government is trying to attract US tech companies to the UK by tempting them with the prospect of being treated on the NHS as part of the “expat experience”. Alongside access to free healthcare, US companies who take advantage of the UK Trade & Investment’s HQ-UK project are being offered exclusive perks such 24 hour processing for visa applications, a complete concierge service to manage the transition of the company and a relationship manager to help newly-arrived firms get connected. Whether the lure of waiting in a NHS walk-in centre is enough to tempt the yanks away from Ireland’s 12.5 per cent corporation tax rate is yet to be seen…

Quote of the Day

Alan Milburn says Labour’s scaremongering campaign for an unreformed NHS will not win election…

“It would be a fatal mistake, in my view, for Labour to go into this election looking as though it is the party that would better resource the National Health Service but not necessarily put its foot to the floor when it comes to reforming. Look, reforms are not easy, but the Labour Party is not a conservative party. It should be about moving things forward not preserving them in aspic. You have got a pale imitation actually of the 1992 general election campaign, and maybe it will have the same outcome. I don’t know.”

WATCH: Angry Burnham’s Newsnight Nightmare

Andy Burnham’s car crash with Newsnight’s Kirsty Wark is well worth a watch:

A very tetchy Shadow Health Secretary began the interview by admitting “there is a role for the private sector”, then piled into the Tories for putting “all services” at the hands of the market. As Kirsty politely pointed out, only 6% of NHS services have been outsourced to the private sector, and the vast majority of that was done by Burnham’s Labour government:

When Wark asked for “a straight answer” on how much Labour would allow to be outsourced – “a number, a number please” – Burnham refused, saying: “I’m not going to put a number on it” and that responsibility for this was at local level. The Tory outsourcing so aggressively decried by Burnham is just 1.5% more than he implemented, and he won’t even commit to reducing it. 

Perhaps Burnham’s bad mood was something to do with this morning’s front pages, which report Labour figures have responded to his big speech yesterday by laying into the party’s NHS strategy.

As Miliband centres Labour’s election campaign on the NHS, public satisfaction is at an all time high

 

Exclusive: Massive NHS Network Failure: “Most Users Affected”

nhs

Another day, another NHS crisis. TechnoGuido can reveal there has been a massive internal IT failure causing chaos in hospitals across the country. The NHS internal broadband network known as N3 has gone down with most users affected nationwide. The N3 network connects over 1.3 million NHS staff and supports both the Electronic Transmission of Prescriptions and the NHS Care Records Service. It is also the means by which NHS staff connect to the internet.

An NHS source tells TechnoGuido the problem “seems to be nationwide and most users are affected”There are rumours NHS staff are resorting to fax machines…

Cameron: “Disgraceful” Miliband “Did Say Those Words”

Time and time again Miliband refused to tell Andrew Marr if he used the word “weaponise” to discuss cynically politicising the NHS. The PM isn’t going to let him forget it:

“I heard that Ed Miliband had used this remark about ‘weaponising’ the NHS and that is why I put that to him in the House of Commons because frankly I think it was an appalling thing to say. The NHS is not a weapon… Having watched that exchange on Andrew Marr where he was wriggling like an eel, it is absolutely clear to me that he did say those words and that is why he wouldn’t deny it. And I think in one moment we learned more about Labour’s attitude to the NHS than we’ve learned perhaps for five years. They just see it as a political weapon and frankly I think that is disgraceful.”

Ed has to do better than “I can’t recall”…

Ex-Shadow Health Minister: NHS is our Best “Lethal” Weapon

Diane Abbott – who was appointed a Shadow Health Minister by Ed Miliband – was moonlighting as ever on the BBC last night, and discussing her party leader’s toxic ‘weaponising the NHS’ quote. Ed has yet to deny he used the unfortunate turn of phrase, and dear old Diane went in with two left feet:

“The NHS has the power to harm Tory MPs. It is lethal because the public understand it. And it is actually now our best card.”

Remember how Andy Burnham sobbed and accused others of politicising the Mid-Staffs. Well this is how former members of his team discuss peoples lives as a political weapon…

Hinchingbrooke Hospital Was Privatised By Burnham

What of Labour’s response to this morning’s news that Circle in Hinchingbrooke, the first privatised NHS hospital, wants to exit their contract. Despite Andy Burnham’s repeated attempts to distance himself from the hospital, he made the decision to put the contract out to tender to private companies when he became Health Secretary in 2009. Circle themselves sayit was clear by the end of 2009 that Hinchingbrooke would be run by a private company”. Hinchingbrooke hospital was privatised by Labour…

That said, Circle’s record at delivering value for taxpayer money has not been bad:

“Since Circle took on Hinchingbrooke in early 2012, the hospital has been transformed. Hinchingbrooke faced closure. It was described as a ‘basket case’.  We invested in the quality of care, in staff and in facilities. Now, it has won a number of awards. It consistently hits the most important outcome measures, including low mortality rates, excellent patient feedback, and meeting all major waiting time targets. In the first two years of the franchise, Circle made financial savings significantly above the NHS average. We have saved the taxpayer approximately £23 million.”

Circle were losing money, that is unsustainable for an enterprise mutual or otherwise. Companies will always fail in free markets, the difference is they foot the bill rather than the taxpayer…

Envy of the World Update

nhs

36 hours after the Tories launched their election campaign, these are the headlines in the popular press. It could hardly come at a worse time for the Sun to inform its 2 million readers that under Cameron:

  • A&E waiting times

[…]

Miliband’s New Year Message Seems Familiar

Seems like Team Miliband have decided to play soundbite bingo for their New Year message:

“We have the chance- all of us together- to fight for a new plan that cuts our deficit responsibly, without threatening our NHS or short

[…]

Osborne’s Kwasi NHS Spending Pledge

Kwasi Kwarteng isn’t backing down from his comments splashed in the Indy that NHS spending will have to be cut to clear the deficit:

“My general point was that if you’re going to have a serious debate about deficit reduction,

[…]

Red Prince Vows “End to Tory Privatisation of NHS”…
…But Takes Donation From Boss of Top Private Contractor

“We have a chance to stop the Tory privatisation in its tracks,” Will Straw told voters in Rossendale as he launched a petition calling for “an end” to private firms making profit in the NHS. Labour’s Red Prince even invited […]



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Quote of the Day

Andrew Neil on the dying Dead Tree Press

“I read more bloggers now than mainstream columnists, because they’ve got more interesting things to say. Too many columnists today make you think, ‘Yeah, I think you’ve said that 10 times before and I’ve just noticed your column has not go a single fact in it’”.

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