21 June, 2013


I have often written about the disaster that is our National Health Service. I should stress that the problem is not a technical or funding issue but a structural one.

The latest symptom to confront us is that the Care and Quality Commission, the body established to oversee standards in the NHS and to publish any lapses in those standards, has itself been concealing information, covering up a case where several infants died unexpectedly in a hospital the CQC had approved.

Here is one example of where it needs to change: accountability. When questions are asked about what is going on up pops the Health Secretary, a politician. There should be clear managerial lines, visible, and the sole task of the Health Secretary, other than approving the budget, should be to hire and fire those managers. Instead the Health Service has become a political football, the politician expressing shock that things could be like that, but nobody questioning the managers.

And I've said it before and I'll say it again, the public gets what it deserves. Promulgating the nonsense that it is the best in the world just perpetuates the system under which these disasters happen. And the next time you hear someone say 'our NHS' they need to be vilified, publicly and noisily. It is not ours; we pay for it, of course, but it is an organisation run chiefly for the benefit of its employees.

We need to close it down and start again.

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