Shut up Camoron

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

Call Me Dave Camoron has declared the Conswervatives “the party of the NHS” and pledged to fine cash-strapped hospitals for every infection case they have.


The rise in “superbugs” in hospitals is down to a change in the way wards are run and cuts in cleaning and maintenance budgets because of the woeful underfunding of the English NHS.  Cleaning staff half-heartedly push a sweeper around the floor and nursing staff rub some anti-bacterial gel into their hands from time to time but that’s not enough.

Even 20 years ago you wouldn’t have seen stains on walls and ceilings on a ward or peeling paint in corridors.  You wouldn’t have seen dust on radiators and other flat surfaces.  Patients wouldn’t have had the same bedding for more than a day and you certainly wouldn’t have seen stained sheets on a bed.

The problem is down to money.  The NHS is under-funded but it still costs a fortune.  Every penny has to be accounted for and justified and performance targets are set to make sure that the money they get can provide a tangible benefit for the next election campaign.  All this bureaucracy, form filling and creative accounting requires batallions of managers, admin staff, bean counters and PR gurus.  Most of them don’t know the first thing about nursing or surgery and so they have to get the doctors and nurses to do their bean counting and form filling for them.  The introduction of so many new targets and the criticality of appearing to hit them in order to get more funding to cover costs means that managament of hospitals becomes more centralised with dictats being handed down from consultants, managers and directors instead of decisions being made on wards according to the needs of patients and staff.  Budgets are getting tighter, all the bureaucracy is costing more and costs need to be cut.  Nurses are no longer responsible for keeping their wards clean so contractors are brought in.  Money is tight so the cheapest bid wins.  It’s cheap for a reason.  Wards aren’t cleaned properly and the number of patients getting infections in hospitals goes up.  Patients are treated with antibiotics leading to the evolution of drug-resistant “superbugs” which end up killing patients.  Wards are closed, hospitals are sued and the budget gets even tighter.  You can see where this is all going …

The solution is to give the NHS the money it needs to provide a proper service but this doesn’t mean just giving them more money.  Money is wasted on unnecessary bureaucracy and the internal market.  Cutting down on the targets and centralised micro-management of the health service will free up resources to provide proper medical care.  The internal market – where hospitals buy services from other parts of the NHS as if they were seperate companies – should be scrapped.  It is a ridiculous concept that different parts of a public service should treat each other as if they were private companies and even aim to make a profit from each other.  It doesn’t encourage better financial management or better accountability – it just creates more pointless bureaucracy.  The NHS, like the state, needs to be scaled back significantly.  Waste and bureaucracy breeds more waste and bureaucracy.

Anyway, back to Camoron.  Fining hospitals every time they get a case of infection will deprive the NHS of much-needed cash compounding what is already a big problem for our under-funded hospitals.  Camoron really just needs to shut his trap because he clearly hasn’t got the faintest idea what it’s like in the real world.  He had a privileged upbringing, went to the same prep-school as Princes Edward and Andrew, went to Eton and Oxford University and then went into politics.  I very much doubt he’s ever experienced the NHS first-hand and he’s certainly never had a job as a “doer” rather than a “thinker”.  Politicians – particularly those born with silver spoons in their mouths – need to keep their noses out of the NHS and let medical staff get on with their jobs.

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  1. Aaron (72 comments) says:

    Come now, come now. All this Ca’moron’ business is a little immature, no? And I never really got the whole “call me Dave” business. Not like the same hasn’t happened elsewhere, Anthony “Tony” Blair, and Menzies “Ming” Campbell. Not really sure I buy into your doubt of him having had any “first-hand” experience of NHS either, considering the severe disabilities of his eldest child. What I’ve seen certainly suggests that they’ve used the NHS at least some of the time, rather than private treatment.

    But anyway. Back on topic.

    I totally agree, and that was my initial reaction when I read the story. The intention of ‘encouraging’ trusts to do better with the risks of fines is fairly understandable, but just like fining the police, the fire brigade, schools, whoever, it doesn’t work in practice. These problems are down to poor funding, and removing further money from the accounts of the offending organisation(s) isn’t going to help them improve, is it? A cock-up of Labouresque proportions, this one. It’s the targets, and the middle-managers and accounts employed to regulate these targets, which are the drain on resources, financial or otherwise. The sooner someone realises this, the better.

  2. peter whale (7 comments) says:

    To fine any govenment department is absurd for it is only taxpayers money moving round the system.Hospitals, pensions and all government services will only get better when MPs,civil servants, and all local government workers and all their immediate family are forced to use the public services and pensions the same as everyone else with no optouts allowed. The change then would be impressive.

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