Posts tagged with Privatisation

Owen Hits the Fan

Today, the Lords had a once in a lifetime opportunity to demonstrate, beyond reasonable doubt, that they are the peoples’ friend, the rock in the British system that stands against the tides of party politics – and they blew it. By allowing a second reading of the Health and Social Care bill, and failing to vote for significant amendments, they have, in effect, given free passage to the Bill and its inevitable consequence – the fragmentation and in due course destruction of our national health service.

This callous disregard not just for the will of the people, but also for the utterly overwhelming weight of professional opinion against the Bill, will cost the Lords dear. Familiar arguments that the Upper Chamber is a repository of the great and the good, of noble minds engaged on perfecting the interests of our historic nation and its people, are now revealed as hollow blandishments, the cries of hollow men and women. The British people – and Dr No says British, because although it is the English who will bear the brunt of pain, there has been remarkable solidarity from those less affected – will not forget this betrayal.

NHS – The Apprentice

Opening Titles: Camera swoops across London teaching hospital rooftops – St Thomas’, Guy’s Tower, the cruciform Royal Free. The second half of Mars from Holst’s The Planets throbs loudly. Cut to UCL’s Accident & Emergency entrance at night. A large NHS blue Roller, Registration Mark NHS 1, arrives, with what appears to be a Belisha Beacon in the back seat. The door opens, and Lord Sugar steps out, looking very grim. He points at an Ambulance Paramedic.

Sugar: You’re Fired.

Paramedic: Thank you, Lord Sugar. (walks off, trailing a defibrillator trolley on wheels, towards a waiting taxi. The Belisha Beacon gets noticeably oranger).

Voiceover: The NHS. A decayed, inefficient state monopoly that consumes money as a waterfall does water. Waste is everywhere, and indifference is rife. Even nice Gerry Robinson couldn’t fix the NHS. Lord Sugar has had enough.

Sugar (to camera): It’s a shambles, a bloody disgrace.

The Tory Party at Work

Just as the Church of England is the Tory party at prayer, so is the Medical Profession the Tory party at work. Doctors, for all sorts of reasons, are natural conservatives.

But they tend – they are doctors after all – to be a particular type of conservative. They tend to be ‘One Nation’ conservatives. And that allows them to be both conservative, and, at the same time, as most doctors do, value the principles, if not the day to day practicalities, of the NHS, and all that it stands for.

A Christmas Carol

Once in Royal London’s City
Stood a queer new government
Tory toffs had jump’d into bed
With Lib Dems of Con intent
David was their Premier
Niklaus Clegg their poodle dear.

They came to us from the big banks
Where shiny dollar is king
Their deep pockets soon they would line
And their mates make a killing
While the poor and sick and lowly
End up in a mess most unholy.

It Really Is About The Money

Believe it or not, Dr No is not a natural cynic. Indeed, when you think about it most doctors are not natural cynics. Much of our professional work requires the triumph of hope over experience. We have to see the best in people, and be optimistic about what we do: otherwise, our world, and then our minds, would fall apart.

Nonetheless, whether we like it or not, we doctors live in the real world, a world in which cynicism does play its part. If we want to understand that wider world, it behoves us to relax our optimistic blinkers a little, and at least allow ourselves a glance at life through the cynical telescope. We may not like what we see, but if we do not make that glance, we risk being blind to the full reality of the wider world, blind to large tracts on the tapestry of life, and blind too to the grim march of the Seven Princes of Hell across those darker tracts.

Today Interviews Bennett

Once again, the BBC proves how far ahead it is of the competition…not to mention Al Jazeera…


Scene: The Radio Four Today programme studio, on air. HUMPH sits at a desk, chewing a carrot. JIMBO sits on a bean-bag, reading an upside down copy of the King James bible. He is muttering to himself.

JIMBO: You say Naughty, I say Kno’ch’oty. What’s in a name? Quite a lot, I suppose, if you are that b*rstard H*nt. F*cking ar…

PRODUCER (within): Shut it, Jimbo.

HUMPH (on air): Earlier today, Jimbo talked to Dr David Bennett, the new Chair of Monitor, the NHS Regulator.


Those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first send to the King’s Fund. The current Chief Pongo at the Fund, an academic cove who was publishing papers when Dr No was still in cap and shorts, has spent a life-time studying health policy and management at a variety of red-brick institutions. The trouble with studying health policy and management is that it is so dull that it addles the brain. Over a period of years, a selective memory loss sets in, leaving victims unable to recall what happened last time the NHS was re-jigged. The condition, known as hamnesia after the eponymous Professor, is progressive, and has no known cure.