Monday, 24 September 2007
None so blind…
I don’t want to go into a great in depth analysis of our ‘Master’s’ address today at Bournemouth.
I have a self imposed editorial rule that essentially dictates that;
i) There are the occasional exceptions (Usmanov) but I feel that generally there’s little point in me covering an event / story that loads of other bloggers are commenting on. There are some serious politico bloggers who will do a much better demolition job on any given target than I will.
ii) Stick to the stuff that you know or at least can bluff half convincingly about
However as the ‘Dark Lord’ wishes to discuss the NHS I kind of feel I have an in here.
“Our great ambition now: a National Health Service that is also a personal health service.
And we now have to make big practical changes to set a new standard of service”.
By closing lots of DGH’s! Specialist centres are fine but it’s access to general emergency and maternity services that people worry about. And it’s these that are getting slashed People are going to die!
"MRSA and C-Difficile are this century's hospital diseases which every modern country is now having to root out.
And to make sure every hospital is clean and safe, following best practice around the world, there will be new funds direct to every hospital for a deep clean of our wards".
Which is a smashing idea, pinched from Michael Howard’s manifesto at the last GE.
But the problem is that once you have established a high level of cleanliness you have to also have the measures to maintain it. Don’t forget we all carry these bugs around on us, they don’t just lurk under beds waiting for the opportunity to carry off elderly Tories. Spend a skip load of money per hospital on a deep clean if you want to but that’s not going to prevent people five minutes after completion bringing in a whole new batch of nasties on their hands is it?
"We will more than double the number of hospital matrons to 5,000. We will give matrons and ward sisters in all 10,000 wards the powers to report cleaning contractors and safety concerns directly to hospital boards and a stronger health care commission.
And I can announce that matrons will have the power to order additional cleaning and send out a message - meet the highest standards of cleanliness or lose your contract".
Blah, blah, blah. It depends on the specification within the tender documents, the measurements of performance and the remedies available to the contracting parties. If a cleaning company (or any company for that matter) is in material breech of their obligations then the contract may be terminated anyway, not just because Gordum said so! Some private contractors are pretty shoddy but an equal responsibility lies with the NHS Trust forming the contract to monitor its delivery and measure its performance.
.And just because a cleaning contractor is from the Private Sector does not mean that they are incapable of providing a decent level of service. It’s how you set the arrangement up in the first place. Offer, acceptance, consideration and the intent to create a legally binding relationship – Fisher Price ‘My First Contract Tool Kit’ I do this for a living so do take my word for it!
"I want an NHS: personal to you" (a comment repeated several times in several contexts including Radiology, Breast Cancer, colon cancer – obviously the election buzz phrase for the Dark one in relation to the NHS).
Smacks of personal finance or tampon adverts. How much is this going to cost? I agree that we all have busy lives but let’s be practical and understand the limitations of a service funded by general taxation. For Simpson’s aficionados ‘The garbage man can’ springs to mind.
"I can also say that, following the review by Professor Darzi, my aim for the next stage of an NHS ‘personal to you’: for every adult a regular check up on the NHS".
Oh please, a gift for the printers of snazzy leaflets to be sure but what about ‘an NHS built on personal responsibility to yourself’. Those who attend will be those who care about their health and probably don’t need a check up anyway or members of hypochondriacs anonymous. The target section of society who genuinely need support won’t turn up. I know of many ‘middle-ish’ class parents who use every facility the ‘Sure Start’ scheme can provide whilst again the poor little blighter's who really do need the help never get the opportunity because of parental indifference.
"And why do I believe so strongly in the NHS?"
Because you think we all vote for you?
"When I was at school it was football, rugby, running, sports: these were what I did all the time and so I was fitter then".
I could ride a bally rocking horse like Zorro!
"But when I was sixteen, when I was playing for my school rugby team against our former pupils, someone accidentally kicked me near my eyes… I spent a lot of time in hospital as the NHS worked to save my sight".
"It was the skills of a surgeon, the care of wonderful nurses, the attention and yes, the love and care of the NHS staff that managed to save one of my eyes.
And it is because of the NHS that I can see the words I read today".
Lucky the kick wasn’t slightly further down and requiring the services of an NHS Dentist. Well in England at least.
"I won’t let you down".
Stable doors, horses and bolted spring to mind.