Too many deaths in hospital

 

           The dreadful  news that five people have died in an NHS hospital probably owing to tampering with a saline drip has profoundly shocked me. People are at their most vulnerable when they go into hospital. They have to trust the caring staff, and expect them to administer proven treatments with high quality medical supplies.

          I am almost at a loss for words to read that probably a member of the NHS staff deliberately contaminated a drip in a way which led to so many disturbing deaths. I understand that this is a rare event, and that many NHS staff are caring and dedicated professionals.  The police are trying to get to the bottom of this case. So far no-one has been found guilty, and I do not wish to post items making allegations about individuals for obvious legal reasons.

          I was not prepared to use the very lurid language some have chosen to discuss the question of phone hacking. Whilst I like others condemn law breaking where it has occurred, and think it bad that victims of tragedy were also subject to it, the deaths in hospital put it into some kind of perspective. Surely our strongest language  is needed to talk of our shock when people die from unnatural causes in hospital?

          I think the media should also ask itself some questions about the amount of air time devoted to phone hacking compared to the amount of airtime devoted to deaths in hospital. Have they got the balance right? Aren’t most people more concerned that hospitals should be safe?

           I also think the treatment would have been very different if the deaths had occurred in a private hospital, acting under contract for the NHS or for paying patients. I can imagine the item having much more airtime. Wouldn’t interviewers have been queueing up to demand disciplinary action at the hospital, to demand resignations of management, to seek the cancellation of contracts or even the closure of the unit? Wouldn’t there have been endless denuncations of profit making models in health care? Wouldn’t this all have taken place well before the police enquiries were finished, as it is with the News International case?

             Instead, because this tragedy has happened in an NHS unit, there is a strange calm, a collective shrugging of the shoulders, a sense that these dreadful things can happen. Shouldn’t the Health Select Committee be looking into the general question of whether  NHS staff can tamper with medical supplies unobserved? Shouldn’t there be demands for tighter procedures and better controls? Shouldn’t action be taken now to reassure the patients and public?

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59 Comments

  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Oh dear! I have three comments to make.

    First of all, corrupt nurses are nothing new. My wife was a nurse way back in the 1960s. One of her colleagues used to prostitute herself on the ward at night duty – actually sleeping in a patient’s bed so she could raise the money for the fare home.

    Second, just as with the wretched Mr Strauss Kahn, the (treatment of a suspect by well known papers could be prejudicial-ed) This is just not good enough.

    Third, I think the BBC and everyone else goes into a sort of mass excitement over stuff. They did it over Libya – lots of free travel there, lots of chances for glory and honour. When this happens, everything else conveniently goes out of the window – remember the idiot who said that 9/11 was a good time to bury bad news? But you are so right about the Private v the NHS rating of scandal.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Clearly most people have only the NHS available so just have to put up with the appalling service that is often given.

    The legal system of redress for medical failures serves few but the lawyers. My solution would be to get rid of free at the point of use and give real choice so bad hospital would simply close.

    But if we are stuck with the absurd NHS then I would make patients agree to a fixed scale no blame compensation system thus getting rid or lawyers on both sides and the culture of hiding problems. Then instigating a proper compulsory incident reporting and investigation system. Designed to prevent incidents happening again rather than covering them up to avoid litigation as now.

    Similar to air accidents.

    Fewer parasite lawyers in the system, fairer compensation (without the need to spend years in court and gamble the house on it). Also fewer future accidents and less covering up.

    On the broader issue nearly all stories (the NHS, Failing Schools, the EU, the EURO, lack or Banking, lack of Growth ….) are far more important than the BBC attack on the News of the World – but these are issues the BBC seeks to divert attention from rather than towards.

    • Bazman
      Posted July 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      If it the benefits system and the NHS in Britain did not exist among the civil unrest you would see people and children in rags in this country. ‘The hospital would simply close’ and like a bad take-away and people would just choose another? Get real. Private bankings shortcomings are somehow the fault of the state? You will have to do better than that. Though I would have to agree. Being told by your bank manager that you have lost your cash is one thing, being told by your hospital manager you have lost your child is quiet another. The no fault no blame insurance schemes are very expensive. Why do you think car and house insurance is not like this?

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 23, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Clearly banks insurance and deposit taker need and supposedly had government regulation it was just incompetent. Otherwise anyone could set up and disappear with the cash.

        No fault no blame does not have to be expensive if payments are kept to fixed fairly low levels people could top up with insurance options if they wished like travel insurance when they are admitted. Also you get rid of the destructive lawyers, expenses and the culture. Often people in medical negligence just want the truth and to be sure it is less likely to happen again.

        • Bazman
          Posted July 23, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

          Yadda Yadda. Report it to your Mum.

          • lifelogic
            Posted July 24, 2011 at 11:46 am | Permalink

            Don’t worry my Mum is quite clever enough to have worked it out for her self already.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted July 23, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        I must confess I cannot follow your argument fully.
        I have lived in places where the NHS does not exist and you make your own arrangements. Above all, you do not go to the doctor or hospital unless you have to. If you lose your job (I did), then you leave – or starve.
        But when I walked down the street, I held my head high. I was a self sufficient man and proud of it too.
        And, yes, the losers were in rags too. Just as they are today. Please watch Jeremy Kyle.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 23, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Why should patients be forced to accept your scheme? As hospitals are the ones at fault they should admit their errors and offer suitable compensation, rather than stonewalling and dragging things through the courts.

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 23, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        Because it offers the most good and the least harm, on average, to the patients and gets rid of the not productive legal costs, the culture of defensive medicine and the cover ups and it improves the ongoing service that is actually delivered to patients.

  3. mathu
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    The incident involving the NHS appears to have been tragic, but an isolated, rare occurrence the full extent of which can hardly be expected to involve more than a cople of hundred people (including families of those involved) and probab;y a single culprit.

    The phone hacking is likely to involve several thousand people inclusing dead schoolchildren and 9/11 victims and the culpability may extend to the very echelons of our media, our police, royal protection officers, lawyers, politicians and possibly even further. It is clear that some have been trying to cover this up for years.

    The two are not comparable, although both pale into insignificance alongside the scandals of Europe and the cover-up over “catastrohpic man-made climate change”.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted July 23, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Can we just give this phone ‘hacking’ thing a miss. It consists of phoning people up and if they don’t answer, when you are shifted to voicemail, you type in the default number, 1234 or 0000, and access their voicemail messages. No hacking involved, just sheer luck in hitting some twerp who hasn’t inputted a security code.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 23, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      It is a serious matter but not as serious as very, very many other things like the wars, the EU the climate exaggerations and many others.

  4. Electro-Kevin
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Of course NHS medical staff can tamper with medical supplies unobserved – as can train fitters tamper with brake systems unobserved. Our society is built on trust and huge amounts of it given to the most lowly; it couldn’t possibly operate otherwise.

    (para removed re named individual)
    Regarding the news coverage, it does all seem to be topsy-turvy. We’ve had MRSA outbreaks which seem to have been accepted with a shrug. Unlike the free press which tries to draw attention to it, the NHS is a sacred cow and can do no wrong.

  5. lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Perhaps now is the time to air again the question of whether a health service that is “free at the point of consumption” is the best model. It isn’t really free – if you factor in prescription charges, hospital car parking charges and transport (especially when your local hospital has a waiting list and you have to go elsewhere).

    And there is the old consideration that “he who pays the piper calls the tune”. If we paid even 10% of our hospital bills, we might be treated as proper customers rather than “things” whose time can be wasted.

    The NHS is a nasty Stalinist monopoly who time has gone – long, long, long gone.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      If we had to pay 10% then the poor would suffer the most. This is why free service is vastly superior.

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 24, 2011 at 6:37 am | Permalink

        Some provision is clearly needed for those who are “genuinely” unable to pay.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 23, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Indeed

    • simon
      Posted July 23, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      NHS Stalinist?

      Please explain.

      I think the media coverage has looked at what the majority of people are concerned about. They need to attract viewers and sell print.

      All in this together?

      Some Police, Politicians and Media perhaps a little more “in it together” than the rest of us?

  6. Javelin
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    (Comments re a suspect removed-ed)
    The recent change allowing women to check in their partners criminal records seems to be portrayed as a law protecting women from potential male murders. I think what (other) case(s) (involving female criminals and suspects-ed) tells me is that law makers cannot make these laws gender specific.

  7. Chris
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    The absence of important news items from the BBC website has really now become crystal clear. I do not watch the BBC news on tv so cannot compare the two systems for content, but it has been quite shocking to see the amount of space given over to the Murdoch-zone (as someone else cleverly put it on another blog this week), rather than the euro-zone or indeed other issues such as the hospitals.
    One has to suspect deliberate suppression by the BBC, to feed the public with juicy scandal as a distraction from the serious matters. It really needs hard questioning; why should we be forced to pay a tv licence for this stuff? About time the public objected en masse and withheld the payments, even if it is “illegal” to do so.

    As for the hospital issue itself, yes it is very serious because saline drips are used in many, many situations. It affects millions of people. Laboratory procedures may be at fault here, in the sterilisation processes of the saline fluids. I don’t know where hospitals get their saline bags from, are they prepared “in-house”? If it’s not the lab procedures then someone is deliberately contaminating the saline……and that’s even more serious.

    • forthurst
      Posted July 23, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Saline bag, insulin ampoule, syringe, um?

  8. Alison Granger
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    What about the hundreds that have died that have died due to NHS incompetence? Wilfully neglecting patients is nearly as bad as outright killing them, just a bit easier to pass the blame.

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    The media treatment would have been different if Murdoch and/or News Corp. had had any connection in any way to the hospital or the suspect. The non News Corp. media is out to destroy the “Murdoch Empire” and nothing will deter them from their own self-serving pursuit.

  10. Norman Dee
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Nothing new here, the BBC tampers with the news, nurses tamper with medicines, MP’s tamper with expenses, Government tampers with our freedom, the EU tampers with everything.

  11. oldtimer
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I, too, detect a double standard in the reporting of unsavoury events. The level of condemnation seems to be much greater when the word “profit” can be associated with the description of the offender than when “public service” is involved. The BBC is particularly strong on this aspect of its reporting.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 23, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Indeed radio 4’s stand line of attack is something like “and people are allowed to breath and go the loo without any formal training, qualifications or even a government licence”.

      Then later the usual hiding behind lack of funding when the state sector has been hugely incompetent yet again – like baby P for example if only they were paid lots more they might do their jobs.

  12. StrongholdBarricades
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Maybe the committees should actual go and “work” in the units and see just how much “management” there actually is.

    If even the BBC can find out stuff then it must be pretty rife

  13. English Pensioner
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I think that the NHS has almost become a “religion” in this country. Its decisions are always right and it must not be seriously questioned nor can it do any wrong. It is a law unto itself and makes “live or die” decisions about people on an administrative basis. It tells you what you should and should not do in life (Don’t smoke, don’t eat salt; eat five fruit and veg; get exercise, etc). It is just like the medieval church which tried to govern every aspect of people’s lives!

    A typical example of NHS arrogance is highlighted in today’s Daily Mail where a lady had been in agony for five years and had to pay £5000 to have an operation privately because it was “not available on the NHS”. This is the same NHS which provided all sorts of non-essential operations and treatments to people because it is their “Human Right”

    In due course the NHS will hold an internal enquiry at Stepping Hill, and, at best, we will be told that “lessons have been learnt”. No one at senior level will be held responsible, although possibly someone at senior level will be given a huge severance payment and retire from “stress”, only to be employed by another NHS trust at an even higher grade within a few weeks.
    I would have thought there is a good case for the police and H&S authorities should be investigating the failure to safeguard dangerous materials (ie drugs) would would seem to be an offence under H&S regulations and call for prosecutions at management levels.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      Oh laws like that are never used against the state sector it is always.

      1. Too early to speculate
      2. Cannot comment until the official enquiry reports
      2. It is now a very different system to the one in place at the time – manny lessons have been learnt at all levels.

      Then back to one again.

      Remind me how many in the MP’s fees office lost their jobs? Or in any other NHS/local authority incompetence. Even if they do they are usually paid off.

  14. Edward.
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    A pertinent and vexing question Mr. Redwood, this is a truly shocking case and I am not about to start apportioning blame to any individual.

    What is a constant concern for me, my mother has a very bad hernia, it needs an operation, her GP advised her not to have the op’ because he feared secondary infection would be the end of her.

    I talked to a former senior nurse whilst on holiday, we talked about the fact that disinfectant [she said which kills MRSA] is banned from being used in NHS hospitals, why?
    I have recently been a regular visitor to Hospitals, I observe the dilatory way the wards are cleaned and am dismayed.
    NHS: too many chiefs.
    Too much adherence to dogmatic stultifying nonsense and not enough cleaning, once, a visit to a hospital would mean the assault on ones senses as soon as you entered the building – of astringent and it’s familiar aroma.

    Overarching health and safety culture and PC madness, yes, there are most certainly some truly wonderful nurses, doctors and specialists working in the NHS.
    But they would do their jobs far better if the top heavy [PC lunatic] management was amputated, it is killing the NHS as surely as a metastasizing cancer eats away at the human body.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 23, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Maybe this disinfectant is being banned because it’s harmful to humans. You can’t move patients out of the ward while you clean it.

      Also if you use scentless cleaning products it’s no surprise that a hospital doesn’t seem like bleach.

      So the health and safety is stopping hospitals being cleaned? That’s the exact opposite of what health and safety is for. If a hospital isn’t being cleaned this is due to too little health and safety, not too much.

      • sm
        Posted July 24, 2011 at 12:13 am | Permalink

        Being in hospitals and visting them is a risk! Infection by MRSA/CDiff and or others can be difficult for those who are below par to fight off. I suspect this is less newsworthy, except when Politicians invade hospitals for photo-ops.

        Cleaning in hospitals should be ongoing 24/7 and with much more thought going in at the design stage: to allow for quick/deep cleans as each patient is moved out. Sister should run control the continual cleaning on their wards. Imagine if the nurses and cleaners got a bonus when infection rates dropped!

        Just think door handles and the number of patients/visitors/staff! Maybe they should be automatic or cleaned every 15 mins. Steam/alcohol/UV

        Possibly we rely on antibiotics too heavily and should move to higher infection control cleaning standards.

        I suspect the drive to get patients out quick is also to prevent the risk of cross infection and push these stats down.

  15. Matt
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Had the hospital been private, union leaders would have queued up to denounce low standards, profit motive.

    Puts phone hacking into perspective, yet its spawned lots of inquiries.

    How in the heck did the top policeman, head of anti-terrorism get stuck reviewing an 11,000 page document into hacking? Spending (only?) 8 hours reviewing it

    At the time weren’t we on Critical alert? Attack imminently expected
    We’ve got servicemen if Afghanistan supposedly to take on terrorists in the front line.

    If there had been an attack in the UK at that time – this could have been a cause of sackings.

  16. Alan Redford
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I was rcently in hospital with a fractured bone. I spent 24 hours on a trolley in the Potakabin that was casualty. Then I was put on a drip the next evening prior to the operation in the morning. In the early morning I awoke with a dreadful headache and noticed that the drip had not been turned on. I was dehydrated. I turned it on myself. Just before I was discharged 2 days later, the duty Doctor order my canula (the plastic needle in my wrist) to be re-inserted – I was going to have an immediate blood transfusion. My query was met with disdain: ‘Have you got a problem with that??’ It was the Orthopaedic consultant who happened to overhear and ordered a check, to find that ‘the wrong box in the blood count had been ticked’. A blood transfusion would have killed me. Being fit, I was back on my feet in a matter of weeks.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted July 23, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      My good lady was in hospital a few years years ago. I literally had to frogmarch a doctor, kicking and screaming to her bedside. I was threatened with security, I countered with threats of legal action for neglect. She was treated eventually.

      Oh, I had to take all her food in as what was on offer was, shall we say, not all that one might hope. And also clean the room daily with detergent and anti-bacterial stuff I bought in a supermarket. And also googled the treatment and when the junior house officer could not adequately answer my questions re treatment, the consultant was called and guess what…. Google 1, JHO Nil.

      This model has failed and is broken beyond repair.

  17. forthurst
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    “Surely our strongest language is needed to talk of our shock when people die from unnatural causes in hospital?”

    What about neglect? Dehydration, starvation, infected bedsores, falls, cross-infection, MRSA etc. Take a bow, the NHS and private nursing homes run by spivs. Then of course there are the numerous cases of patients dying as a result of the failure of doctors, far too frequently, ‘qualified’ abroad, who fail to attend sick patients or fail to diagnose conditions covered by the syllabi of British medical schools.

    I am not sure that this episode may be used as a sales pitch for private for profit healthcare. However, the NHS comes out poorly in comparison with our continental neighbours, as does the USA, in terms of overall outcome performance.

    Nothing run by the Whitehall bureaucracy works efficiently or well. Hospitals, schools, you name it. The problem with the civil service is that it mistakes the issuance of doorstoppers with good management and, of course, politicians get bees in their bonnets about diseases they have heard of or other matters, or the need for ‘fairness’ in various categories, thereby perverting the priorities presented at the coal-face.

    We need to recognise that the model of the USA is a disaster where doctors charge far too much and intervene far too much and cause considerable bankrupcy amongst those too ill to work, but that the continent offers models which could well be adopted in preference to the monolithic NHS.

    Reply: As an MP I could spend much of my week attending meetings lobbying for particular drugs and types of care for individual conditions and diseases.

    • forthurst
      Posted July 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      It would be interesting to hear an insider’s view of the importance of lobbying and political donations on the process of policy formation. Some of us plebs are totally bemused by the priorities of HMG; we do not see a correlation between our interests or that of our nation and what is done in our names.

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 23, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        The correlation in policy is between the interest of the bureaucrats and MPs not the interest of the voters.

  18. JimF
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    This is the subject which actually worries me more than banks failing, the Eurozone collapsing or the Murdoch family. Seriously, if you are in your 40s or 50s, with your own house, business, money in the bank, and good health then, worst case scenario, you could lose all except the last of these with a financial collapse. To lose your health, then to be cast into the cruel sea of the UK healthcare sector, is a fate which I would wish on nobody, having seen my parents subjected to this over the past few years. I say the healthcare sector rather than the NHS as I believe that the prevailing dogma and attitude within the NHS is actually now mirrored in many private resdiential and nursing homes. Patients in private homes now also have other issues, such as there being no lifetime right to residence for your relative with dementia when your “friendly” nursing home company goes bust and the ownership reverts to a remote landlord. This, despite the fact that moving a patient with dementia from familiar surroundings will hasten their death.

    In this topsy turvy world now, we have signs next to hot water taps which warn totally adequate people about scalding themselves. We protect ourselves from trailing leads and computer screens at the wrong height in the workplace. People are warned about conkers falling from trees. Yet nobody warns us about a health system which is unfit for use, and is actually deadly dangerous.

    Vulnerable patients are dying through total disorganisation both in the NHS and in private care homes. There is definitely a producer-comes-first mentality in the UK healthcare sector which puts protection of the supplier of services, be they a GP, nurse or cleaner, ahead of the interests of the consumer, or patient. Whilst there are many earnest, well-intentioned and dedicated folk in the healthcare sector, the over-riding momentum is one in which the incumbent’s job and well-being comes above that of the patient. Responsibilities are shuffled between disciplines and strata, and to nail down one person and say “this is your patient, you are responsible for them” is anathema.

    My wife and I have just returned from a short cruise on a luxury cruiseliner. We were fortunate enough to be waited on hand and foot by courteous Filipino and Indian staff. Amazing food, fantastic accommodation. Brillinatly organised entertainment. Many passengers were disabled, elderly, in wheelchairs and needed assiatance. Staff ran to push wheelchairs up gangplanks onto the boat. This cruise cost the same, per day, as a very UK basic residential home for the elderly.

    This just doesn’t square up, does it?

  19. Javelin
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Id like to add a comment about the Norwegian massacre. First to say how awful it is. My sister lives there. Second that dont expect Norway to introduce gun controls. Up until 10? Years ago there was national conscription all fit men under 35? had assault rifles lockedup in their basement. There were never problems. Hunting and guns are part of their culture. The men act responsibly in Norway – far more than any other culture I have experienced. I think the reaction in Norway will be to reintroduce men to rifles. National service had the effect of weeding out the crazies. I think this will be a very harsh lesson that guns and responsibility need to go hand in hand.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted July 23, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      I watched the coverage of the massacre this morning, flicking between Sky News and BBC 24 News. As the Police leaked info about the culprit to the media, the two channels took differring stances as to his political leanings. Sky said the arrested man was linked to right-wing extremists, taking a more considered view of the info coming their way. The BBC described him as merely being right-wing, a deliberate attempt to smear anything they perceive to be right-wing with this terrible massacre. They also repeatedly linked him to Christians. These are the very people who complain about other media linking Islam to Islamist extremists, doing exactly the same thing.

      The BBC’s editorial stance, even on breaking news items, is institutionally biased towards the Left.

      • uanime5
        Posted July 23, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        Given that Sky described linked him to right-wing extremists isn’t this an example of right wing bias if the group wasn’t an extremist group?

        • Winston Smith
          Posted July 24, 2011 at 12:20 am | Permalink

          no, because the BBC also described him as a christian fundamentalist. He’s clearly an irrational extremist, so why continually refer to him as just right-wing? An editorial decision to smear all they deem right-wing with this tragedy.

  20. John C
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    “Shouldn’t the Health Select Committee be looking into the general question of whether NHS staff can tamper with medical supplies unobserved?”

    There are many rules covering this area. The problem is ensuring that the rules are observed by the staff. Apparently, in this hospital, an internal report identified instances of cupboards left unlocked etc.

    I last had dealing with the NHS about 2 years ago when I visited a relative in hospital. The nurse often left the drugs trolly to go into individual rooms open and unlocked. Even i knew this was in total breach of the relevant legislation and guidelines.

    The problem with having far too many policies and procedures is that the very important ones get lost in the tick box culture. Also, breaching the rules is rarely punished.

  21. Bazman
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Lets face it SKY did not ignore the phone hacking story much and it would be interesting to see how the hospital deaths would have been reported in a private hospital, but you could be sure there would have been some cost cutting involved in the deaths. The privatisation of cleaning contracts in the NHS did little to help the death rates, and that is what would make the story. Everyone knows about the railways fiasco, the banking rip off, the utility scam and the rest of the privatisation fantasies. Most people are not going to tolerate the same with the health system one of the few benefits of living in this country and also one of the few levellers. Private healthcare will level upwards? Pure fantasy. It will be a human version of Banking. To imagine anyone on national minimum wage having spare cash for health insurance and medical bills is naive some would say. I think they want a race to the bottom and are frightened to say this. Come out from under your stones. NMW, which many are against, = £5.93 ph to pay for food, pension, rent/mortgage, road tolls, health insurance, medical bills, money when unemployed, children. etc Not real. Money would have to be spent on keeping this underclass down, but that would be seen as money well spent and with the right taxation could be forced to pay for it themselves after all they are the undeserving poor and as they use the services should pay for them. The banking scandal opened many peoples eyes to what the rich elite and politicians in this country are all about and to think the majority of the population are going to have nothing and be happy with it whilst the rich become super rich and tell is all how to live from abroad will only be tolerated so far.
    What next? I’ll tell you what’s next. How socialist ideas and high prices in Norway fuelled extreme right wing ideas and Christian fundamentalism leading to the attacks. Many blame Norwegian state TV.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted July 23, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      I am sorry, I cannot really follow you argument.
      Are you honestly saying that all bankers, tories and rich people are crooks? And that the Socialists are Good?
      There are a lot of very fat cat socialist lawyers, civil servants, bbc executives and friends of the tennis court……. and there always have been.
      Are you honestly equating Christian Fundamentalism with “extreme right wing ideas”?

      If only life were that simple…….

      • Bazman
        Posted July 23, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        Tories are crooks. Is that simple enough for you?

        • Bazman
          Posted July 23, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          Had to read this again.
          Are you honestly equating Christian Fundamentalism with “extreme right wing ideas”?
          Yes. This is exactly what I am saying. The two go hand in hand.

          • Winston Smith
            Posted July 24, 2011 at 12:29 am | Permalink

            what do you believe to be extreme right wing? National socialism? Why are many Islamic fundamentalists aligned with the far left? Don’t we get back to the origins of far left and right within socialism?

  22. Martin
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Please be careful that you don’t fall into the “something must be done” trap and add (for the best of reasons) even more paperwork to the NHS.

    Re the media – it is interesting that a prison breakout would cause a media froth demanding the Home Secretary be pelted with whatever and then fired. Hospital deaths thankfully are not personally blamed on the Secretary of State for health.

  23. Bernard Otway
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    To JimF,those people who you describe as middle aged,home owning ,money in the bank and middle class,my advice to them is SELL UP and emmigrate,either Australia or New Zealand
    the health care there is excellent,plus the way of life is better and warmer.In Aus If the ABC
    were to dare to be like our Bolshevik BC all the other channels would continually rubbish it
    especially Kerry Packer’s.The other commenter who said he switched between Sky and bbc
    coverage of the Norwegian massacre and saw the bbc BIAS,I do it all the time except I am very lucky in that a very clever nephew has connected via the computer the coverage and I can watch it split screen with sound through the TV and the HIFI ,then you can REALLY see and HEAR the BIAS,in fact it is like listening to and watching Lord HAW HAW/Tokyo
    ROSE [the BBC] and it’s own PREDECESSOR during WW2,funny that I compare the bbc of NOW to those RIGHT WING organs of the past,as I have also said in the past the whole
    LEFT project in this country since 1951 is a MIRROR image of the BROEDERBOND in South AFRICA another Irony,both lots were totalitarian,except that the South African lot could never eradicate in any shape the FREEDOM loving BOERS [farmers] who positively
    HATE the state.Even under the new state farmers can do whatever they like on their land
    NO planning consent,yet common sense prevails,after all who is going to build a 25 story
    building unless there is use for it,and you don’t do anything without CONSULTING your neighbours or them you ,if you dam your part of a river and deny your downstream neighbour your upstream neighbour might do the same to you.

  24. Bernard Otway
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Can I ask a simple question John what is the reason for all the EDS that you do,it seems to me you want to shut down discussion and knowledge,I expect it of conservative home now because they did it so much to me,I now don’t comment on their site.Censorship is the death of free speech.All you will spawn is sites like ‘Fred on everything’ who though commenting on the USA lives in Mexico and they can’t shut him down.Actually I am very close to persuading
    a very good friend of mine to comment on events and issues here [Who is English] alongside his very famous internet column overseas,then what will you all do.After all Khomenei
    orchestrated the fall of the Shah from a cottage on the outskirts of Paris ,and Castro started
    in Mexico.

    Reply: I have no wish to close down discussion, but I do delete all potentially libellous statements about individuals and companies to protect the blogger and the site.

  25. pipesmoker
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Hospitals and doctor’s surgeries are the most dangerous places on Earth and to be avoided!

  26. lojolondon
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    The BBC is not a ‘news’ organisation, it is a propaganda organisation.
    The BBC knows that competition is ‘a bad thing’, so Murdoch gets all the bad headlines they can manage.
    The BBC believes that the NHS is a ‘good thing’ – so ignores any bad news about the NHS if at all possible.
    One can only imagine how different the coverage would have been if a white, male, member of any ‘right wing’ organisation had murdered 5 people. Then you would have had plenty of coverage.
    We need to remove the licence fee and make the BBC answerable to the viewing public, in the same way that Sky is, by charging a fee for access to entertainment. Only then will their lavish lifestyles and champagne socialism stop.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 23, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Indeed perfectly put.

  27. Kenneth
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    I agree with every word of your post and especially you irritation with the media’s priorities but I do question your timing when the investigation is still ongoing and people may still be in peril. Also I suspect that the staff at the hospital are very upset right now, not to mention the families of the bereaved and affected.

    I know you are ‘media savvy’ and therefore I am surprised that you are risking the having some media outlet (which may want to have a go back at you) label you as uncaring when I am certain this is far from the truth.

  28. Vanessa
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    My feelings exactly – I was horrified and disgusted that something so utterly wrong could be virtually swept under the carpet. The NHS is not fit for purpose and the stories coming out of some of the hospitals is exactly why Hannan’s comments were so right. The NHS should be broken up (dismantled) and the equivalent of cottage hospitals brought back so somebody IS accountable for these awful stories which should make people sick to read about. With Chief Executives getting paid strataspheric salaries the patients are being ignored. Where is our media? – stuck up its own bottom!

  29. Winston's Black Dog
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Greenery is the new religion being foisted upon us by Cameron via his Masrers in the EU.

    Darwin is the pin up boy of Greenery and advocated “survival of the fittest.”

    Christianity is derided and only one religion escapes too much criticism for reasons of political correctness. A decline in religion leads to a decline in moral standards, specifically the sanctity of human life.

    Hence pro euthanasia programmes via the State Broadcaster (aka BBC) and an essentially utilitarian approach to healthcare.

    (Followed by a series of allegations about deaths in hospitals without evidence to back them up -ed)

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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