Saturday, 7 July 2007
According to today’s Evening Standard..
“Four times as many Labour supporters have been appointed to run the Health Service than Tories, it has emerged. The figures, released under freedom of information laws, prompted fresh concern about a culture of cronyism in public appointments.
They showed that 312 people with declared affiliations to the Labour Party have been appointed to local health trust posts and other NHS appointments, compared to 77 Tories and 53 Liberal Democrats.
In 2001, the then Health Secretary Alan Milburn handed his power to directly appoint members of NHS boards to a new NHS appointments commission.
The Government was forced into the move after an independent assessment concluded that health trust boards were being packed by Labour politicians, appointed on the basis of their loyalty to the party rather than ability.
But the new figures suggest there is still a huge bias in NHS appointments. Particular concerns have been raised in Hull, where the primary care trust includes two former Labour councillors and two serving Labour councillors.
In Cambridge, former Labour MP Anne Campbell was appointed chair of the board of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust in October 2005, just six months after losing her seat in the last General Election.
Health minister Jane Kennedy was sacked from the Department of Health last year after opposing the appointment of Labour's former Liverpool council chief executive Sir David Henshaw as a local health authority chairman.
Miss Kennedy, who has just be reappointed to the Government as a Treasury minister by Gordon Brown, claimed a Downing Street adviser told her Sir David would be a "really good" appointment.
She said: "It was made clear to me that as a minister I had absolutely no influence at all, and my opinion should not even be expressed, on the appointment.
"That view was put to me by a special adviser in Number 10, who has open access to the chair of the appointments commission and thinks this a really good appointment.
"So I was being told the appointments commission, rightly so, is independent of political influence, but then the penny dropped that only certain political influence gets through."
So we have had heatmaps drawn up in No.10 to determine where possible service cuts could have a detrimental effect on the Labour vote in key marginals (with the obvious implication that if there isn’t a Labour seat to lose then the cuts go deeper).
We have Labour apparatchiks parachuted in run the service (with the obvious implication that the service is being run with an eye to the electoral fortunes and the benefit of the Labour Party).
And now we have our ‘new’ secretary of state stating that ‘we can only develop a robust social partnership between patients, practitioners and policy makers when it is truly underpinned by trust, honesty and respect’.
Well as long one honestly trusts and respects the Labour Party no doubt!