Ian Birrell on the NHS:
A whiteboard in the corner of Jeremy Hunt’s Whitehall office symbolises a struggle over the soul of modern government. It details “never events” that have taken place that week in hospitals. Three items were written there by Monday morning: a foreign object left in one patient’s body, the wrong implant in another and one of those terrifying incidents of “wrong site surgery”, such as when the wrong leg is chopped off.
This board of blunders shows how the health secretary sees his role as patients’ champion after the fallibility of the NHS was exposed by cruel care scandals. Hunt has also phoned hospital chiefs to quiz them about accident and emergency targets. Yet the Tories took power pledging to devolve power to an unprecedented degree, even removing political accountability for NHS provision. Instead, a senior minister monitors individual surgical mistakes and intervenes in the minutiae of hospital admissions.
Well, left to their own devices, they lie, cover up and persecute the whistleblowers.
They can’t be trusted.