Food and hospitals

 

           If food companies have passed horsemeat off as beef, it is a fraud which should be prosecuted. If they have passed any meat into the food chain which is unsuitable for human consumption, that should be  a worse offence, and should also be punished appropriately.

             We now know that the standards at the Staffordshire hospital were appalling. We hear that more hospitals are being investigated. There are serious allegations of poor care, and even more serious allegations that patients died in very bad circumstances.

           The media and some of the politicians seem  to regard the food problems as worthy of far more denunciation than the hospital problems. Why should this be so, and do you agree? Surely the bad practice, the suffering of patients, and the deaths are different in kind from the food problems? The politicians have it seems to me a much bigger duty of care and need to take action over the hospitals, which are all owned and run by the state.

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214 Comments

  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    The care in hospital is a much bigger problem to solve and much more important the the food thing!
    The taboo at the heart of the NHS is you cannot criticise nurses,doctors,or paramedics,WHY its simple we are afraid that one day we will be at the wrong end of a surgical instrument!!!.
    This would not be the case if we had a choice,by that I mean we paid less tax but more at the point of service,they talk about patients I would prefer to be a paying customer!!!!

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      “you cannot criticise nurses,doctors,or paramedics,WHY”

      Because you have already paid in taxes and cannot take your business or money elsewhere – so criticising will get you no where however – perhaps even just ejected from the building as a nuisance or just ignored. Certainly not the best way to get much in the way of the treatment you perhaps needed.

      So you shut up and wait quietly for 3 hours or so to get what they finally feel like offering you. Free at the point of rationing and early death it seems.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        LL you are waiting to be seen because the staff concerned are very well mannered and have to put up with a lot of timewasters. Dr Andreeva, when out of the hospital and doing community clinics often finds most of the day wasted because people cannot be bothered to turn up for the appointment for example.

        • Deborah
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

          That doesn’t make sense. Good manners don’t take up any more time and if so many people don’t turn up, the clinincs should be ready and waiting for the people who do turn up.

        • Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

          I suggest that the NHS charges £1 cash for every doctor visit.

          A 1 pound coin.

          • lifelogic
            Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

            £20 is about right.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

            @Kenneth: What if the sick have not been able to get to the shops to obtain their £1 coin because they are -err- ill?

            @Lifelogic: It already has, it’s called National Insurance contributions…

          • Posted February 14, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

            The £1 idea was suggested to me once by a GP.

            Obviously not designed to generate revenue (could go to charity) but a way (i) getting rid of 50% frivolous cases; (ii) get people to turn up to timed appointment rather than wasting a pound.

            Just keep £1 coin in your pocket at all times. The saving to the NHS/taxpayers would be considerable I would have thought.

            The mantra “only a pound at the point of delivery” comes to mind

          • JimF
            Posted February 14, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

            You mean every doctor appointment? The £20 is refunded when you turn up. Free at the point of service but not at the point of no service.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

            Kenneth: “The £1 idea was suggested to me once by a GP.

            Oh right, so because it came from a GP it’s got to be sensible and worthy of repeat, have you ever stopped to think anything through, or indeed what might just have been said in jest?

          • Jerry
            Posted February 15, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

            @JimF: What a good idea, turn up for your doctors appointment and get a £20 tax rebate….!

          • bigneil
            Posted February 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

            pay on every visit? – shipman would have been really laughing !

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

          Well surely if many patient have not even turned up they should be able to see me more quickly.

          • Nina Andreeva
            Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

            Just to clear things up Dr A does not work in A&E or a “drop in” clinic. These clinics are for children who have been referred to a consultant by their GP. They are held in the suburbs so the mother and child are not inconvenienced by a trip into the town centre. Therefore if there is a “no show” it is not possible to see anyone else. Between appointments time is not wasted as there is still tonnes of paperwork to attend to.

            Incidentally with regard to asylum seekers and the NHS, Dr A says these tend to be more apologetic if they are late and appreciative of what is being done for them than the indigenous population

          • Bob
            Posted February 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

            @Nina Andreeva
            ” the indigenous population” ?

            Do we have an ” indigenous population”?

            Has anyone told the BBC?

          • alan jutson
            Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

            Asylum Seekers seem more appreciative..

            I bet they are, treatment at no cost at all !

            In fact, treatment at my cost !!!

            We really are the laughing stock of the World.

          • lifelogic
            Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

            @Nina Andreeva
            Indeed that is why they should charge, or at least take a deposit lost on a no show. It is not rocket science countless other businesses do it, but if it is to be run with “free at the point of use” as a religion to the fore! Waste will continue. Cut out all the pointless paper work from the system too.

            Or perhaps get a computer to ring or text them a few hours before so they can confirm they will be attending.

        • Richard1
          Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

          That is interesting – I have have heard it many times before. The simple solution is to do as happens in France – everybody pays for a visit. Those who cannot afford it can reclaim. The same applies to the extensive time-wasting in GP’s clinics by people who dont need to be there.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        I see the new Director General has appointed the former Labour Culture Secretary James Purnell as Director of Strategy and Digital at the BBC.

        Just what the BBC needs yet more of a lefty, arty, pro EU, big state, high tax, BBC think, PPE graduates (etc ed). Should be ideal for Cameron and Lord Patten to work with.

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

          James Purnell’s wiki entry make rather depressing reading.

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

          Helen Boaden promotion from Director of BBC News (The Pushing of the EU, enforced equality agenda, every bigger state, higher taxes and the great global warming swindle (the continuation of) department).

          Her wiki entry is not much more uplifting either, a Sussex, English graduate.

          • Richard1
            Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

            Sound as your views are Lifelogic, on many issues, is there a slight whiff of prejudice? I don’t suppose I would find much to agree with Helen Boaden on, but why is being an English Lit graduate of Sussex a disqualification for being in the BBC management?

      • waramess
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        It has become clear that Westminster looks after itself, period.

        Nothing at all will be done about the hospitals, other than a few condescending words until the politicians themselves are brought to book.

        Only then will we see some action. No wonder they are so keen to have control over the press. A Royal Commission indeed

    • nick
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Quite.

      The BMJ put the number of deaths at 40,000 a year, where the NHS contributes or kills the patient.

      The NHS estimates it at 20-80,000 a year.

      Compenstation? Not a hope. Bugger off you are a victim. Go home and suffer.

      Pretty much the story.

      So since its such a mess, contrast the approach.

      Horse meat? You will be prosecuted with the full force of the law.

      Kill people in the NHS? You could be prosecuted.

      You don’t give a toss about the victims.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        @nick: How many people would die if they had no health care, or were reliant on limited charitable health care, which is what used to happen in the UK before the NHS was created and still happens in some parts of the world, even technically advanced countries such as the USA?

        • Simon
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

          About the same number as die in France, Germany and Switzerland. Means tested health insurance with the unemployed being caught in a safety net. Everyone gets the same basic health care.

          • Nick
            Posted February 15, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

            Is it?

            Hospital in Birmingham, compare to London for low risk operations is running 500% the death rate.

            Ah yes, we can’t do that comparison, we have to have a willy waving competition to see if the UK kills more than another country.

        • Nick
          Posted February 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

          The false comparison.

          e.g What if we go back to the stone age?

          Why not compare the NHS with a proper system such as Switzerland?

          Ah yes, lets pull the bogey man USA out of the hat.

          Well one advantage of the USA, is that you stand to gain compensation for the errors. Not easy in this country.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 15, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

            @Nick: “Ah yes, lets pull the bogey man USA out of the hat.

            Yes let’s just ignore the fact that people are dying in the USA due to the lack of “free at the point of use” health care when ever anyone suggest that people should pay for health insurance rather than via taxes..

            Oh and compensation culture only drives the costs further, meaning even less can afford health care, you only need to see how much motor insurance has risen in the UK since the compensation culture was opened up here.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Interesting idea. Maybe it could extend to the food industries low standards in general that has led to a generation of obesity for many with their expensive to buy cheap to produce crap. There is no link between them and the seven thousand on benefits to fat to work? that beggars belief. They need tackling head on. I bought two manly pieces of sirloin steak from the local butchers this week helping the countries 25% rise in sales it is said. Cost? £16 please Sir.. Gulp! The Indian takeaway would have been the thick end of £20, but terms of taste and health nowhere near and would not last two meals. The processed food industry at another end of the scale is having a laugh at our expense like the banks. Choice? Don’t make me laugh.

        • alan jutson
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

          But Bazman you actually have to prepare and cook proper food, which is beyond the ability of many it would seem, and of course it takes far much too much effort, and far much too much time.

          Far better to go for ding meal, or get someone round on a motor scooter with one.
          Ten you can view the TV for longer whilst drinking a beer.
          The fact that it all costs more and is full of chemicals seems to pass many by.

          Amazing to sometimes look at other peoples shopping at the supermarket checkout, for some its all packages, nothing even near to being fresh (although fresh supermarket vegetables is a bit of a nonesense statement).

          Seen how the ready meal shelves have grown in number over the past few years.
          Says it all really.

      • uanime5
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        Does the number of deaths include people taken off life support because they have no hope of recovery?

        • Nick
          Posted February 15, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

          No.

          It’s avoidable deaths.

    • oldtimer
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      The NHS scandal is, on the evidence available, by for the more serious case. Politicians are happy to see the horse meat scandal as the more attractive scare story. The reason is easy to understand. They can blame someone else for it whereas the NHS scandal is their direct responsibility.

  2. Nina Andreeva
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Well what do you expect if you privatise the cleaning and catering functions of a hospital? Surely you do not expect what you got in the 70′s being a clean hospital serving “safe” food, if the contractors are constantly looking to improve their profit margin? Privatisation like on the railways does not work here, no matter how successful it has been in the world of telecoms etc. It is about a ridiculous idea as trying to privatise the police.

    And for all you headbangers who want to destroy the NHS, I suggest you obtain a quote from one of the US medical insurers online to see how just expensive private cover is there (hint it probably as expensive as your mortgage) that is of course that they will offer you cover, if you have pre-existing conditions. This year’s annual increase in premiums is around 20%. Oh and another thing BUPA does not do A&E so do drive carefully!
    Full disclosure my other half is a NHS hospital doctor

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      It is clearly the hospital’s job to ensure they get the private sector cleaning they are paying and contracting for or just fire the contractors. A basic hospital management function. Can they not even do that?

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Agreed Cameron should sack Nicholson and if does not like it he can go to court and prove that he is up to the job despite his uninspiring CV

      • Bazman
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        They indeed should be sacked and a cheaper more efficient company brought in however they have probably been contractually kippered by some large multinational paying the self employed cleaners/cooks minimum wage and giving them little time, manpower and resources and themselves a fortune. Amazing as it may seem corners will be cut in these situation by the workforce doing the work despite highly trained dedicated professionals I’m sure such positions attract. The hospital managers are clearly incompetent despite their large salaries, cost saving bonuses and massive consultancy budget and a top down review should be carried out by the government at the very highest levels. The British people deserve no less than privatisation of the health service in order to combat the disgrace to the families and the taxpayers of which we are all are unless you live abroad and pay no taxes you should get a rebate for not using the services and frankly who would?

      • uanime5
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        The problem is that the cleaning service they’re paying for is poor because they’re not paying enough for a good service.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 15, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

          Often due to poverty wages and conditions and the resulting revolving door recruitment.

    • Adam5x5
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      I suggest you obtain a quote from one of the US medical insurers online to see how just expensive private cover is there (hint it probably as expensive as your mortgage)

      I call BS.
      A quick search gave me a max premium of $400pcm for the most expensive I could get (28yr old male, WA Zip code) with all the options.
      Given this translates to circa £300 pcm, this is significantly less than circa £500 pcm on a mortgage (ave UK mortgage payment pcm
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2086068/Mortgage-costs-fall-time-low-average-monthly-repayment-drops-494-month.html )

      Also fails to take into account that in the US, health insurance is generally provided by an employer as a benefit.

      For the record, I do not want to destroy the NHS. What I would like to see is a more efficient NHS, where the service is paid for by taxes and privately provided – open to competition with regularly tendered contracts with proper quality controls – similiar to the French system, which rates very highly in the WHO.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        Try running it again for NYC and I bet LL would love having the burden of providing cover for his employee!

        • Nina Andreeva
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

          Also can you disclose what the “deductible” is (what we would call the excess on a claim) and what the “out of pocket expenses” are? The premium appears to be cheap but you need to tell us how much you pay the hospital before the insurance co pays out. You are also assuming you have no pre-existing conditions too I presume?

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        Cost of the NHS per head is well over £2000 PA anyway and it does not even work well. Please the additional cost of tax collection and similar. The US system is bad too I agree. I am not pushing the US system.

        Free at the point of use can and will never work well.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          It does if you have no money and using America as some sort of example of health care? Your fantasies just get more silly. £300 a month for a 28 year old healthy male. How much for someone in less prime condition and as they are not in prime condition how ill they get the premium together if they can even get insurance? More right wing fantasy that we are supposed to accept as truth. Ram it.

          • lifelogic
            Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

            Health care in America is far from perfect, I agree, but rather better than the UK. But far better systems than both can be found/designed or copied.

          • Bazman
            Posted February 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

            Better than the UK? There are tens of millions without any healthcare! Maybe tea at the Ritz is better than the local cafe’ or starving? A big fat cushion protects you and should this cushion deflate it would be interesting to see how fatalistic you would be then. Not very I suspect..

          • Nick
            Posted February 15, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

            And the NHS is the envy of the world is left wing fantasy.

            40,000 killed a year.

          • Posted February 16, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

            Why compare with the US – why not France, Sweden or the Netherlands?

            Everyone gets treated, everyone gets insured (with the State coming in as a backstop for those not insured through work, church or trades union affiliation).

            Obamacare (copied from Mitt Romney) may mean that even comparison with the USA makes us look dangerous, unaffordable – and worse.

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      I thought it was the clinical staff that were failing at the Staffordshire NHS Trust for failing to look after the patients and feed, clean and give them water. Were the caterers and cleaners also in the report. If so who were the contractors? Who was paid to supervise/manage the contractors work? This should be easy to resolve, easier than dealing with public sector workers. If a private sector contractor is failing they usually get their contract cut without a backward glance.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        Indeed.

    • Peter Davies
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      The responsibility sits with the hospital to ensure they specify the cleaning and catering contracts correctly with adequate penalty clauses if they don’t comply, in general if a contract says “you will deliver x at y specification” that’s what a contractor will do, no more no less – its not difficult, its just a methodical process that needs appropriate commercial governance and good due diligence by the supplier so that they fully understand the requirements.

      We use contractors to build and maintain nuclear subs for goodness sake – surely simple outsourcing and ensuring they do things as they are obliged should not be beyond the remit of a few highly paid NHS managers.

      I’m afraid this sits with the NHS Trust who have the responsibly to scope things out and ensure adequate penalty clauses when they don’t comply.

      Given what we hear about the conduct of healthcare professionals the problem in this case was far deeper than that in any case. Funny old BBC yet again – if its public sector, give it an easy ride, if its to do with commercial provision of any kind, jump all over it……

      • Credible
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        You would hope that the private cleaning companys would want to clean properly in a hospital knowing the importance of what they are doing. They should enforce high standards on themselves. They cut corners to make more money. Knowing that they can get away with it because the checks aren’t good enough isn’t acceptable.

      • uanime5
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

        You’d think that since all NHS hospitals are run to the same standard that there’d be standard contracts specifying exactly what the cleaners need to do and check lists that the hospital could follow to ensure this was being carried out.

        • a-tracy
          Posted February 15, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

          unanime5 Do you have evidence that there aren’t specific cleaning contracts? Was there evidence in the report that the cleaners and caterers were failing?

    • Timaction
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Perhaps if we limited the patient care to native Britains or those with valid medical insurance to cover costs or were charged the service would improve.
      I see that David Cameron wants all the students from India to come here and stay here after qualifying. What is wrong with this man? We are full. We do not need any more immigration and with 6.5 million economically inactive and 1 million young people unemployed perhaps he should consider our own or his position!

      • forthurst
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        “I see that David Cameron wants all the students from India to come here and stay here after qualifying. What is wrong with this man?”

        “Though this be madness, there is method in it”. David Cameron’s ‘Mainframe Computer’, Oliver Letwin is extremely keen on (inviting in workers from overseas-ed). It seems pretty clear to me that in the same way that the Labour Party has ditched the English working class and imported their replacement, there is a plan afoot to replace the English middle class with (people from abroad-ed). This is well advanced in the NHS as the current state of the NHS clearly demonstrates. As an Englishmen I do not regard this as a poor policy, but as outright treason which will inevitable lead us to become a third world country, no doubt with special people like Oliver Letwin running the roost.

    • nick
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      I suggest that you ignore the US, and look at Switzerland.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        Similar to Britain but more expensive.

        • Nick
          Posted February 15, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

          Nope, a different league altogether.

          So what’s the cost in the NHS, and the cost of insurance in CH? Put some evidence on the table.

          What about the level of quality?

          • Bazman
            Posted February 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink
          • stred
            Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

            The Swiss system is about 15% more expensive than the NHS, last time I looked, but because the currency is so strong they all earn about twice as much. Therefore, relatively it is less expensive for the user. They are helped by having a legal system which does not encourage claims lawyers and they make fewer mistakes anyway and don’t pay so much compensation.

          • Bazman
            Posted February 17, 2013 at 12:25 am | Permalink

            Have you a reply to this because we are all tired of yours and many others right wing opinions? If you do not have any then shut up fantasists. (etc)

        • stred
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for the kind remarks Baz. Hope your governer is on.

          Here are the figures. I could not find the Telegraph costs and you are right that the Swiss healthcare cost is actually 5600 against 3200 for the NHS. Whether compensation and gagging costs are incuded is not given. The ratio is therefore 1.54.

          However the average net salary in Switzerland is $5600 as against $3200 in the UK- one of the lowest in Europe. This ratio is 2.43. Re Wiki.

          The cost to a Swiss person relative to take home pay compared to a British is therefore 0.63, much lower, as stated in my fantasy contribution. Hope this doesn’t tire you even more.

          • stred
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

            Sorry figure for salary UK should have been $2303. Wiki.

    • P O Pensioner
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      It is clear that the major problems in the NHS are due to poor management.

      Today the newspapers and BBC report that a “whistleblower” was paid £500,000 of taxpayers money to stay quiet about the problems at United Lincolnshire Hospitals that could cost lives.

      The person who is accused of ignoring these warnings is Sir David Nicholson the current Chief Executive of the NHS. The same David Nicholson who was previously head of the regional health authority responsible for Stafford Hospital.

      (calls for action over Sir David -)

      • Jerry
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        In the light of these latest, new, revelations perhaps all those who gave me a hard time over the Mid-Staffs report the other day might like to offer their apologies?…

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        I still find it amazing that the head of one of the biggest organisations in Europe only has a polytechnic history degree

    • Simon
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Why do you have to look to the US as an example. Look closer to home in the EU.

      • stred
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        In the US, politicians who want no change in their system point to the British NHS to scare people. Here they do the opposite. The continentals following this must think thw Anglo Saxons are a bit weird.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 15, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

          @stred: Well yes, the continentals (by which I assume you mean Europeans) do seem to be a lot more comfortable having a mixed free-market/planned-society or economy, whilst both the UK [1] and USA only ever seem to think in terms of one or the other.

          [1] certainly since 1979 in the UK, before that we were more like European continentals

      • Nick
        Posted February 15, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Because they are trying to scare you. Distract you with some horror story so you don’t consider the deaths in the NHS>

    • Nicol Sinclair
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      “Well what do you expect if you privatise the cleaning and catering functions of a hospital? Surely you do not expect what you got in the 70′s being a clean hospital serving “safe” food, if the contractors are constantly looking to improve their profit margin? ”

      Oh, how I agree with you. Get rid of the bloody contractors and return to ‘in house’ catering. The Army is the same. The standards have plumetted (your spell check only offers plummest!) since these feeding problems were contracted out…

      “And for all you headbangers who want to destroy the NHS, I certainly do not want to destroy the NHS. But I wish it to be better – MUCH BETTER.

    • HJBbradders
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      You don’t have to go as far afield as the USA. Why not just go to Germany, France, Spain; then you will find systems that are far superior to the UK: privately funded through insurance companies, which must make a profit, otherwise they wouldn’t do it.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Simple, one is in the state sector run, in effect, by the government and the other is private sector. The government does not wish to criticise its own management too much. It is largely government by the state sector for the state sector. One law for them another for you.

    The other 80% of workers are just cash cows and potential victims for the NHS. The state sector is 50% better paid and pensioned than the private, they take more sick days and have better terms and condition too – so you might have expected better quality staff as a result.

    The NHS does indeed have a few superb individuals working there. But the system is one that, in general, treats its victims with total contempt. After all, they have your money already, the patient are just a nuisance.

    I see France, Germany and others are to go ahead with the idiotic financial transactions tax which has been much pushed by BBC types, lefties and lovies. Cameron just abstained why on earth not a veto or no never?

    You say Osborne/Cameron and the Tory Party did not lie on the clear £1M IHT threshold promise.

    Well if I had made such a serious promise I would have made sure I kept it and made sure I could keep it before I making the promise. The tax raises just £2.9B a year and he clearly could easily keep it if he wished to. It seems pointless windturbines, PV grants, HS2, gift and soft loans to the PIGIS, payments to the feckless and the EU are far more important to him.

    He has not made any attempt to keep this promise whatsoever. Ditching it without any resistance at all. The mad HS2 alone will cost £30B. No doubt it will be nearer £100B in reality. He even fails to promise it in 2015, not that they will ever be re-elected having made the electorate poorer than they were in 2010.

    Reply Cameron did veto the tax as an EU tax. Of course the other member states are entitled to impose their own tax. We cannot, should not, and do not want to be able to veto that.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      To reply – well perhaps not if it pushes business to the UK, but does he not want to save the Germans and French from their absurd folly?

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Now we have Jeremy Hunt on Newsnight saying raising the IHT threshold was “not a coalition pledge”, No well there were no pre-election coalition pledges were there Jeremy?

      It was a very clear pledge by the Tory party, Osborne and Cameron to the electorate. They are now Prime Minister and Chancellor so dam well deliver it. They have not even tried to deliver it or defend it and even said it will not happen after 2015.

      This line is an even worse fig leave than the “Lisbon Treaty is now not a Treaty but part of EU law” drivel.

      How can they expect any respect or trust in anything they say in future?

      Reply: The Coalition made a series of pledges on formation to which he referred. The Lib dems would nto accept the higher IHT threshold.

      • Deborah
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        When the Conservatives formed the coalition we were led to believe it was for the benefit of the country, to get to grips with the financial problems.
        - But the Coalition has failed to get to grips with the financial system. It hasn’t really tried anything different. It has continued to tax and spend like the previous Labour government.

        Pre-election, the Conservative leadership pledged to do lots of things which we were led to believe they considered important.
        - But post election the Conservatives reneged on those promises, using the Coalition (that has failed in its primary purpose) as an excuse.

        So in forming a coalition the Conservative leaders lost their convictions, reneged on their promises and failed to get to grips with the finances. What did they get? To be in government.

        What did we get? Completely let down.

        • alan jutson
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          Deborah

          Exactly.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        To reply: How hard, if at all, was it pushed? Not at all I suspect. You should have let them keep there silly University fee promise – with a graduate tax in return. The loan scheme is virtually that anyway.

        The libdems had to go with the Tories as Labour did not have enough MPs to give clear majorities anyway. And why IHT now frozen until 2019 not 2015?

        The Libdems were used as a fig leave to cheat the voters.

        Still it does not affect me as I have left for good and have good tax planning. It just makes the country less attractive to money and the wealthy.

      • Bob
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        @lifelogic
        ” The tax raises just £2.9B a year”

        So a fraction of the four billion pound increase in foreign aid spending then.
         
         
        “I see France, Germany and others are to go ahead with the idiotic financial transactions tax which has been much pushed by BBC types, lefties and lovies. Cameron just abstained why on earth not a veto or no never?”
         
        These taxes are introduced using the much favoured “thin end of the wedge” method, and once established they will increase at each successive budget and the UK will come under continuous and increasing pressure to sign up to it, especially if Labour get another turn at screwing up the economy.

        Why do you think the Tories have put us into a position where we are dependent on the French navy?
        If we ever need to borrow an aircraft carrier then Tobin Tax could be one of the attached strings.
         
         
        @Mr Redwood
        “Reply: The Coalition made a series of pledges on formation to which he referred”

        - Was homosexual marriage one of them?
        - Was constituency boundary changes one of them?

        Reply: The Coalition Agreement promised boundary changes but not gay marriage. I was not myself party to the Coalition document.

        • Bob
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

          “Reply: The Coalition Agreement promised boundary changes but not gay marriage.”

          So how come we got gay weddings but not boundary changes??

          Reply: That’s a long story!

          • stred
            Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

            It was a LibDem Minister Mrs Featherstone who lobbied the Council of Europe for Gay weddings, behind the backs of the European voters. This must have been known about by Rubberducky. They met in Brighton and the agenda followed with a timetable to have it in place by June this year. Any objection was therefore ignored in the UK and France and rubber stamped by Europhile MPs.

          • lifelogic
            Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

            Tory incompetence. Not that I am even against gay marriage, but hardly a priority, unless you are looking for distractions from your economic incompetence, slight of hand and broken promises.

          • uanime5
            Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

            The Lib Dems and Labour supported one but not the other.

      • ian wragg
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        What about boundary changes. They didn’t keep to the agreement then. We seem to have a LibDum government with which Cameroon is happy.

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

          Someone who is happy to appoint Lord Patten to the BBC will clearly be happy with the Libdems. Why did he join the Tories – because he wanted power perhaps?

    • Bazman
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      Or potential victims for private hospital management companies owned by hedge funds and and advised by MP’s for over 46k for a little ten hours a month according to the members interests records. I would be reasonable to presume that hedge funds are in it for the money and not the interests of medicine. Profit would it not be their first priority would it not lifelogic? The nurses, doctors, firefighters, cleaners and cooks being at the forefront and receiving the blame for errors especially in any large scale incident. Do tell us how the profits will improve these standards from a tax haven? Ram it.

  4. Steve Cox
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    While I agree with your sentiments John, as any caring person ought to, I personally feel that the differing levels of attention are merely another reflection of the moral bankruptcy of this government and indeed of the majority of MP’s. Where is the moral outrage among MP’s at QE, ZIRP and high inflation, all of which are causing misery to many older and retired people? Yet the moment that a young family with 2.4 children can’t get its foot on the property ladder, MP’s of all shades are declaring it unacceptable. In a similar way, the health care scandals have mainly affected the elderly and inform, who are evidently somewhere close to the bottom of most MP’s priorities, whereas eating horse meat might affect that all-important young family with a mortgage and 2.4 children. It’s no wonder that the government is in such a mess when it appears to have inherited its moral compass from Gordon Brown and his party of economic and social wreckers.

    • Bob
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      @Steve Cox
      “It’s no wonder that the government is in such a mess when it appears to have inherited its moral compass from Gordon Brown and his party of economic and social wreckers.”

      Well, six more journalists were recently arrested over phone hacking.
       
      And how many NHS employees have been arrested over the needless deaths of 1,300 people? – NONE!

      But I suppose the NHS staff weren’t involved in exposing the MP’s expenses fiddles. Could that have something to do with it?

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        I think it might. What does David Laws think on the issue or Chris Huhne one wonders?

  5. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Yes, I do agree. I am 73 and the thought of being shunted into a death ward to die of starvation and lack of water frightens me silly, I must admit.

    • stred
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Yesterday, we visited an old friend who had to approve the ‘turning off’ of her older brother in a regional hospital, her only remaining relation. He had been admitted to have a simple heart operation and had been given anti- coagulant,s as standard practice. The hospital was the same one where our friend had been admitted 2 years ago and we found the nurses could not speak good english and had the wrong name and records on her bed.

      This time all the staff were very good and standards appeared high. On Saturday he was feeling better and seemed set for a good recovery. My partner is medically qualified and saw that his haemoglobin level was half normal. On Sunday his urine became very discoloured through bleeding and he dad deteriorated drastically. Our friend alerted the nurses who said they would take the matter up with the doctors.

      However, it is a teaching hospital and the doctors were inexperienced. The consultants are no longer are available at weekends. The conference had to wait until Monday. By then it was too late. We have advised her not to bother making a complaint.

      Last month, we leaned that a friend at work, who is also medically qualified, managed to arrange for advanced keyhole surgery for his father. This treatment had been denied in his home town. He came to one of our leading teaching hospitals in London and was operated on by one of the best surgeons in the country. It was a success but he was unable to eat or drink, owing to post operation sickness. Both his son and daughter in law- doctors- asked for him to be given rehydration. The junior doctors and nurses said they would take the matter up but were not worried about his condition. They waited until senior staff were available and did nothing. He died of dehydration. The surgeon was disgusted and complained that all his work had been undone by simple lack of care.

      If you go in to an NHS hospital, take a medically qualified guardian with you. And don’t worry about eating a bit of a donkey. In France they have donkey sausages- boudains- and perhaps they are served in hospitals, but at least the managers have staff available to keep you alive.

      • nina andreeva
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        Stred if this happened to one of my mates (i.e. death by dehydration) I would be at the medics concerned throats until something happened. I really do not know why people roll over and accept crap like this. Perhaps you might like to contact Public Interest Lawyers to see if they will take this further. You will remember they sorted out Cait Reilly’s beef against Poundland recently on a pro bono basis

        http://www.publicinterestlawyers.co.uk

        • stred
          Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

          Nina. I don’t think the relations are suing. We think it just makes a lot of money for lawyers and doesn’t bring the dead person back. It puts up the cost to the taxpayer and next patient. If the patient had been injured by treatment and needed care it would be necessary to sue.

  6. Duyfken
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Both are extremely important issues and neither should be played down by politicians, the media or others. However, the duty of care to which you refer should be seen as an absolute quality, and it is not something which should be seen as bigger/smaller, or for that matter that one of the two should be given a higher/lower priority of attention. That the NHS is state-owned should not be a factor.

    • Deborah
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      That the NHS is state-owned should not be a factor.

      True. But it is.

    • nick
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      The problem is that with the NHS, regulator, insurer and supplier are the same.

      Now work out the conflicts of interest.

      Insurer – post code funding. If you need it you can’t get it because the insurer won’t fund it.

      Regulator – we will cover up the deaths. After all compensation for 40,000 killed a year would bankrupt us. Lets pay off the whistle blower.

      Supplier – We’ll cover up, or our personal insurance goes up.

  7. colliemum
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    We all should know by now that the one ideological point which must never be questioned, according to our media and to a huge number of politicians, not all Labour, is that the NHS is ‘the best in the world’, populated entirely by angels and saints.

    The NHS has in truth become a Holy Cow, which drags herself along the road, ill and enar dying – but nobody dares take her out of her misery, because: “Holy Cow”.

    The food scandal again fits the medi narrative of ‘bad capitalists’, ‘bad global companies’, so the bashing will be huge. Throw in that the minister responsible is a Tory, so that’s an added bonus for more bashing.
    Oddly, we won’t hear much about the EU facilitating this whole scam.

    So no, it is not right, but it suits the media because it’s bashing-Tories-time.

    I bet that there will be people in prison, after trials, who are involved in the meat fraud, long before even one of the MidStaffs managers, never mind (the top brass-ed), will have seen the inside of a Court.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Indeed a holy cow that needs a real final solution not more plasters.

      David Cameron with more pre election nonsense (like the Cast Iron G’tee and IHT promise):- “Tony Blair explained his priorities in three words: education, education, education,” he told Tory activists in Bournemouth. “I can do it in three letters: N H S .”

      Delivered like a hammy actor, talking rather slowly to dim seven year olds
      It makes me feel rather sick just listening to the socialist drivel he comes out with. Can he not deliver some action and fewer slow, moronic sound bites?

    • Peter Davies
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Indeed the tick box Exec that was responsible at the time in Staffs is now at the top of the NHS

    • colliemum
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      OT: Thanks for the (ed.), John!

      Note to self:
      Do not comment on John’s diary before a sufficient level of caffeine has been ingested!

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      NHS is ‘the best in the world’, populated entirely by angels and saints. Indeed the BBC is always telling that the BBC and the NHS are the best in the world so it must be true. Even all that lefty guff at the Olympics opening ceremony.

  8. Adam5x5
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    The politicians have it seems to me a much bigger duty of care and need to take action over the hospitals, which are all owned and run by the state.

    Yes, but the food companies are privately owned and therefore evil, whereas the NHS is infallible as it is state owned and therefore must be perfect. Just look at the opening of the Olympics if you don’t believe me…

    It is similar to the politicians lambasting the oil companies over petrol prices – even though we have the second cheapest fuel in Europe before tax. They are totally incapable of seeing any fault with their policies or institutions.

    Plus the government seem to be running scared of the unions all the time. We need another Thatcher to really pull their teeth, privatise (while publicly funding a la the french health system) the NHS and other services to provide better value and quality.
    But we won’t get that any time soon – politicians too afraid of a strike, even though most people wouldn’t support a strike as they realise the public sector is far better paid/pensioned than the private already.

  9. Michael James
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    The problem is that we fear that serious reform of the NHS will undermine treatment free at the point of use and bring in the US system of private payment and private insurance. The special interests in the NHS and their ideological supporters perpetuate this myth, and politicians are too cowardly to challenge it by insisting that treatment free at the point of use is compatible with competition between providers, even though successful examples of it exist.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      “free at the point of use” is the problem. The US system is bad and expensive abused by insurance companies, drug companies and the medical profession. It can be far better than the US or the NHS if someone has the courage to get rid of “free at the point of use” after all food and water are not free at the point of use why should ten minutes with a GP be?

      • Bob
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        @lifelogic

        How does it work in France?

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

          The only time we used it in France if was fine, no three hour wait, as in in North London twice – we had to pay but not very much. People pay but then get a refund of about 70% I understand. Life expectancy is higher than the UK – this despite their driving style and death rates.

          Mind you for life expectancy you need good maternity facilities, wider inoculations, fewer smokers, low drug abuse, less alcohol, gentle exercise, less food and less obesity.

          Then you need far less health care anyway.

          • Bob
            Posted February 15, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

            @lifelogic
            “People pay but then get a refund of about 70% “

            I presume therefore that health tourism is not a problem?

    • nick
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      What’s needed is universal coverage.

      Don’t think US, think Switzerland.

  10. MickC
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Nothing will be done about the appalling case of Mid Staffs because the politicians are ultimately the people in charge and to blame.

    The man in charge at Mid Staffs now runs the entire NHS-nothing will be done about that either despite him having been responsible. Utterly disgraceful-but its what we expect now.

    Far better to divert attention to food.

    • zorro
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Former communist and COMMON PURPOSE ……

      zorro

      • zorro
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        Whistle blower doctor has one out and said that he was gagged…… Targets must be achieved, no matter the cost…….. ‘One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic’ (Joseph Stalin)

        zorro

        • zorro
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

          come out

        • sm
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

          Why is the NHS allowed to gag its employee’s, using contracts of employment? This kind of information should be in the public domain and NHS should be facilitating whistleblowers where this is done for the general public good.

          • zorro
            Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

            Whistleblowers throughout the public services are threatened with losing their jobs if they uncover negative practices. It’s very subtle and they are sidelined to cover over incompetence. The legislation is designed to make the whistleblower declare him/herself to senior management. There should be another route.

            zorro

  11. Mark W
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    JR I’m surprised you don’t understand the difference. Whilst in reality the meat situation is insignificant in the light of the hospital scandal one happened under this government and the hospital scandal under Labour. Labour are naturally wonderful and Tories evil so how could the media focus on the hospitals. It spoils the narrative.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Certainly the BBC is largely the voice of the state sector and the state sector unions.

  12. Ben Kelly
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    On a completely unrelated note how much would the 40% tax threshold have to be lowered in order to reintroduce a 10% starting rate?

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      No lowering of the 40% tax band is needed at all – they just need to stop the endless waste on the PIGIS, the EU, the feckless, the energy religion, HS2, the counter productive wars, the dis-functional NHS and the 50% more state sector employees (50% over paid too) than are actually needed.

      Then they could lower taxes for all and create real, long term jobs and growth and keep their IHT promise too.

      But not under Cameron and Osborne it seems.

      • nick
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        Not under any of them.

        They have hidden the 5,300 bn state pensions debts off the books.

        • Bob
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          @nick
          “They have hidden the 5,300 bn state pensions debts off the books.”

          That’s a contingent liability.
          Contingent on whether the NHS can kill off sufficient numbers of us before we reach the ever moving goal posts.

    • Acorn
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Ben get your calculator out!
      http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/expenditures.htm .

      The second table down is probably most useful to you. The great thing about these tables of “loss of income” for HMRC, demonstrates the huge affects of vested interests lobbying Westminster MPs. Those little changes to legislation, that can get them a nice little directorship when they cease to be MPs or Mandarins.

      • Ben Kelly
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        Thank you I shall keep that pinned to my wall.

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      The middle band tax rate was also lowered from 22% to 20% at the same time that the 10% band was removed so any reintroduction would probably have to affect middle band earners too.

      • Bob
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        @a-tracey
        Re-introduction of the 10% band could be funded by a reduction in on foreign aid spending or removal of the ring-fence around TV License income, instead of wasting it on the BBC.

        • a-tracy
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          I believe that Labour today are promising to reintroduce the 10p tax rate (not sure between which bands as from April this year the personal allowance is going up to £9,440 – £235 pa more than planned) and instigate a mansion tax to fund it.

  13. lojolondon
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I know exactly why – the Biased BBC considers the NHS to be a blessing and a public institution and will protect it as far as they are able. Even though exposure of these sad facts many years ago would have saved many lives and improved the NHS, the BBC will always sweep the many, massive failings under the carpet.
    Similarly, any mention of phone hacking gets top billing for weeks, because to do so is a strike at the hated and feared (by the BBC) Murdoch empire.

  14. Bill
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I imagine the NHS scandal would be more difficult to handle. I don’t suppose records are kept of the failure to give drinking water to dehydrated patients or dirty bed linen. In a ward with many nurses coming on and off duty, it would be hard to blame all of them and pin murder or manslaughter on them all.

    It seems to me that the people who should be questioned are the managers who ignored abnormally high death rates in their hospitals. I think that is where the police should start their enquiries.

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Good point.

      I wonder how many wards in the hospital were failing? Was it only the geriatric care wards? How many wards does each manager look after? How many staff were employed to function on this ward each shift, what was the payroll bill for nursing care each week and if the cleaners and caterers were also judged as failing how much they were paid to provide their services. If staff were off work was cover provided? I personally can’t judge the responsibility and accountability unless I know the situation in full and that, if anything, is what I’d like the media to investigate on our behalf as the public sector governors don’t seem to want to do this.

    • Deborah
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      What rot.
      A nurse coming on duty should check the patients. If she doesn’t notice that they are lying in their own excrement or dying of thirst, she cannot simply blame it on the person who just went off shift. Once on the ward she is responsible for her own actions or inaction.
      There may be degrees of culpability to recognise, for example, that it is difficult for a junior nurse to sort out a failing ward. The question is who did and who did not try?

      Yes, the managers should be held to account, but do not try to excuse those “doctors” and “nurse”s who simply walked on by.

      • uanime5
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        What if the nurse reports that the patient is lying in their own excrement but the person who is meant to clean the patient does nothing. Then the nurse reports to her manager that the person who should be cleaning the patients isn’t doing their job but nothing happens? Is it the nurse’s fault even though she was trying to do her job but other people weren’t doing there.

        • a-tracy
          Posted February 15, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

          Then I would expect the nurse to clean the patient and write a formal report of complaint to deal with the under-performance of a colleague.

    • zorro
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Nuremberg defence…….

      zorro

  15. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    JR: ” The media and some of the politicians seem to regard the food problems as worthy of far more denunciation than the hospital problems.”
    I would say most politicians rather than ‘some’. Many contributors have already stated the differentiation between the approach to criticising the public sector and the private sector. The politicians do have a duty of care and need to take action over the hospitals but I see no enthusiasm to accept the former or act on the latter. Once again our elected representatives are letting us down.

  16. Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    The BBC has underplayed the deadly effect of poor care in the NHS, not just throughout this episode, but for decades.

    Ministers, as always, take their lead from the media and the BBC in particular.

    Thus our priorities are topsy-turvy and we probably see families prematurely bereaved as a result.

    During the phone hacking coverage, which, from my recollection received more coverage (2 weeks of blanket top headlines) than the Hungerford massacre, the BBC’s political correspondent, Nick Robinson who was standing in as chairman on ‘Any Questions’ BBC Radio 4, 22nd July 2011 said this:

    “Maybe this is my opportunity to say I have lived and I have learned and I apologies for the excessive coverage”.

    This BBC apology has had no lasting effect. Phone hacking is scandalous as are food scandals. However it cannot get much worse than people dying through neglect in hospitals.

    It is a tragedy that the one thing we cannot have a public debate about is the affect of the BBC on our society and our country.

    • Bob
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      “It is a tragedy that the one thing we cannot have a public debate about is the affect of the BBC on our society and our country.”

      Well said Ken!

      “phone hacking coverage, which, from my recollection received more coverage (2 weeks of blanket top headlines)”

      I would rather have my phone hacked than die of thirst in an NHS bed!

  17. a-tracy
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I think that the public will judge the failings of the food industry and remove their business if they are concerned about products contents, then the food industry will have to get its act together to protect their businesses and give us a kite mark of guaranteed meat that it says on the label.

    This is not possible in the NHS you can’t remove your business when you need treatment.

  18. wab
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    “The media and some of the politicians seem to regard the food problems as worthy of far more denunciation than the hospital problems.”

    This is a paranoid right wing view of the world. Mr Redwood evidently picked this non-story up from another right wing blogger, who was pushing the same line yesterday. The BBC and the other media (e.g. Channel 4 News, far more left wing than the BBC) spent plenty of time on the Staffordshire hospital story. And every couple of weeks there are reports in the media about failings in the NHS.

    If Mr Redwood and certain other right wing bloggers were running a TV station then no doubt we would have 24 hour coverage of the glories of global capitalism and the evils of government. But oddly enough, Mr Redwood does not seem to mind picking up his government pay cheque every month courtesy of the tax payers.

    If Mr Redwood is so concerned about the failures of the NHS then he should have words with Tory ministers on the subject. After all, they tell us that the NHS is safe in their hands, and Mr Redwood evidently believes that this is all just Tory spin (surely not).

    Reply: I did not pick this story up from some other blog. I have long felt there are double standards, and do think the trobules in some hospitals are far more serious than some of the private sector scandals that have had so much airtime. Where are all the difficult interviews with those responsible for the mis management of these large public sector institutions?

    • Bob
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      “Where are all the difficult interviews with those responsible for the mis management of these large public sector institutions? “

      Exactly Mr Redwood.

      BTW, if you were to divert the money that goes to the BBC to long term care for the elderly, I would buy a TV License tomorrow.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      Where are all the difficult interviews with those responsible for the mis management of these large public sector institutions?

      I suspect they’re not being conducted because this would reveal that they’re still working in the NHS, including one person who’s currently running the NHS.

  19. nick
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Payment protection insurance? A few grand in most cases.

    Killed off a relative?

    Just wait until the claims companies start pushing that angle.

  20. Chris
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    The meat problem is an EU problem (we gave over “competence” in this to the EU some time ago) and it is apparently the “dead hand” of the EU in just having a tick box paperwork system relying on trust, as opposed to proper and adequate physical inspections and testing, that has been at the root of the problem. Owen Paterson is to be applauded for getting the EU to take steps to radically overhaul its inspection system. The relevance of this to your question, Mr Redwood, is that the EU is ultra sensitive, I believe, about failures in its system, particularly with a eurosceptic public here and a referendum possibility. They want to be seen as acting quickly, and certainly do not want to be portrayed as one of the key causes of the horsemeat scandal. In contrast, the NHS issue has not attracted as much ire as it should have done, but I believe that is because of the ingrained belief that many still have that the NHS can do nothing wrong, and the fear that if one supports Conservatives in condemning the NHS then that will lead down the route of Tory dismantling of the NHS. They would rather have the devil they know.

    Back to the horsemeat scandal: for an authoritative update by Richard North see link below, which describes the intricate network, rather than a food chain, that exists, and how attention is now focusing on a Dutch trader:
    http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=83625
    “When the dust has settled on this issue, there is going to have to be some serious re-thinking about how we manage our affairs. The dead hand of he EU is creating the problems. It is going to be the power of the nation states that solve them”.

    http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=83623
    “Horsemeat scandal: they’ve noticed – at last!
    After a week or so of Owen Paterson telling everybody who would listen that food safety is an EU competence, the Daily Express has finally woken up to the fact that food safety is er … an EU competence.

    The most worrying part of the whole [horsemeat] furore, it laments, “is what it reveals about the powerlessness of those to whom we grant a mandate to run the country”.

    “We are unable to hold our elected representatives to account for the horsemeat scandal because they have passed responsibility over to officials at the European Commission”, it wails. “There is no point in urging Environment Secretary Owen Paterson to ‘get a grip’ because he is not the person in charge”….”

    For general background on the scale of food fraud and the EU’s apparent lack of action on this see:
    http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=83616
    “EU regulation: food fraud and the EU
    Inadvertently, the perpetrators of the beef adulteration with horsemeat have brought into high profile the issue of food fraud, which is currently being discussed further in the House of Commons. What is not generally appreciated is the scale of the problem, illustrated by a recent question in the European Parliament, which noted that the FBI and the World Customs Institute had dubbed food fraud “the crime of the century”, earning perpetrators $49 billion annually. …”

    • lojolondon
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Again – you will look in vain for a reference to the EU in terms of this horsemeat mess up, unless you see that they are belatedly going to test. The Biased BBC completely glosses over the fact that the EU takes responsibility for food quality, and countries are not supposed to ‘duplicate’ their good work.

      Similarly, Starbucks is NOT evading tax, they are paying tax in the EU territory of their choice UNDER EU TAX LAW. But you will never hear or see that in the BBC and general media coverage – it is extremely dishonest!

      • Chris
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I thought maybe that was what was behind the Starbucks issue, but hadn’t researched it!

      • uanime5
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        How exactly is the EU to blame for a Romanian company claiming that horse meat is beef? Surely it’s the fault of the Romanian company for lying about their products or the French/Dutch companies for not checking them.

        • stred
          Posted February 15, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink

          The EU has designed a system which relies on paperwork, which can be altered at any point of exchange. It appears that the Romanian abbatiors were large, modern and in one case only produced horsemeat. They had no advantage in altering the labelling as they were not doubling the price, but others along the way.

          The system also insists that buyers in any EU country have to allow any food manufacturer to tender for the work, even though countries have different taboos about meat. It allows manufacturers to process meat which can easily be identified as from a different animal, and label it as another, unchecked.

          It allows animals to be slaughtered in a country where they are not eaten. However, it can insist that only one meat or another is sold of 100% purity, even though processed through the same machines and the buyers regularly eat the different meats and would not notice the difference or have any objection to the individual meat.

          Bit of a balls up all round really.

  21. Richard1
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    It is incredible that the horsemeat fraud – which is what it appears to be – is getting more coverage than the appalling scandal of the Staffs hospitals. (Imagine if the mid-Staffs scadal had happened in a private hospital!) People in the NHS, especially in geriatric care, will tell you that what happened in Staffordshire was not unusual and has been and is being replicated up and down the country. Leftists and lovers of the Big State – which clearly includes the BBC – are embarrassed and uneasy about this terrible failure of the NHS. The same attitude is visible in Labour politicians. It is time urgently to recognise that offering free healthcare does not mean we need the provider to be a monolithic state bureaucracy with a highly unionised workforce. Until there is customer choice and competition between providers in the NHS we must expect bad service to be the rule not the exception, as it is in every other sector of the economy where such conditions have prevailed, in every country where its been tried.

    • Bob
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      “People in the NHS, especially in geriatric care, will tell you that what happened in Staffordshire was not unusual and has been and is being replicated up and down the country.”

      This I know to be true.

      As for the hamburger meat issue, it couldn’t have happened at a better time to divert attention from the NHS scandal.

      Our politicians have become very adept at burying bad news.

      • Chris
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Bob. Also I think people were still very much concerned with the gay marriage issue, with that very much dominating the media.

  22. Alte Fritz
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    This must be the first time ever that an NHS scandal has not been blamed on inadequate funding. The NHS is too big to manage, is not properly managed and exists primarily for the benefit of its employees. Day to day its treatment of too many patients is lamentable. There are centres of excellence and vast areas of inadequacy and worse. If private care homes fall down on the job, the screams from the media are (rightly) deafening. Why not here?

    The horsemeat scandal is a scandal which should be vigorously addressed. It derives mostly from heavy price pressure which is much to do with supermarket and consumer greed.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      The outrage regarding the private care homes scandal and NHS hospital have been much the same; the media reported them extensively, then moved onto another story.

      Also I wouldn’t say that cheap food is due to consumer greed but rather that their budget is getting more limited due to inflation and falling wages.

  23. Peter Richmond
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I certainly do agree with you. However we still see that government are more than likely afraid to take on vested interests in bodies such as the the Health Service, teaching and the police. True there is much that is fine and good here but the services themselves do seem incapable of reforming themselves from within and change is sorely needed as indeed was made clear this morning by Stephen Dorell when speaking on the today programme. But it is always far easier to bash outside bodies such as the food industry and the press where these vested interests cheer from the sidelines.

  24. Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    The very point that I made in my own blog a couple of days ago. I’m glad that you raised the matter.
    We’ve had two meat summits with the manufacturers and ministers, inspectors are testing meat everywhere, MPs are raising the matter in Parliament on a daily basis. Police are making enquiries about possible criminal offences. Yet nobody, as far as we know, has been harmed by what has happened.

    Something like 1200 patients died unnecessarily at Stafford Hospital, and another dozen or so Health Trusts are being investigated for statistically abnormally high death rates in what seems to me to be a rather dilatory fashion. The Health Minister hasn’t summoned all NHS Executives to a meeting in Downing Street, the police aren’t carrying out any investigations, no-one seems to care. The NHS has become a sacred cow which must never be criticised under any circumstances. Can you imagine what would be happening if, instead of the Staffordshire NHS Trust it was Staffordshire Private Health PLC? Can you imagine that MPs, police,watchdogs, pressure groups, etc would be remaining silent and inactive as they are now?
    It’s a strange country where we are more concerned that we may have eaten a bit of harmless horsemeat, than we are about deaths in hospitals.

  25. Iain Gill
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    you are correct.

    large numbers of deaths and so on in the hospitals is a much bigger deal, people have and will be dying in large numbers after all (which hasnt been happening so far in the food scare).

    i think its partly the dominance of the bbc and its inbuilt lefty bias, dominance of arts grads, and so on (and the rest of the media in the uk has a similar although not so extreme makeup).

    its also the status of the NHS as a “national religion” these people have been telling us for so long “its the envy of the world” (it is not) that is permiates all layers of society and they dont know where to go with the reality of poor substandard care etc

    the “left” in all its guises should be standing up if for nothing else for the poor people subjected to sub 3rd world care in the NHS but it seems they would rather preserve their sacred cow.

    “The NHS is a system that fails to allow for the disciplines of choice, diversity and competition which can help to ratchet up standards” David Laws

    • Bob
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      @Iain Gill

      If the NHS is not the envy of the world, then why do we have so many health tourists?

      • Iain Gill
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        cos its free to someone with no money from outside the uk. if you can manage to get here on a student, or work visa you get free nhs. hence if you need a 10 K operation its often best economically to pay for a uni course here come in as a student and get the operation on the NHS. hence many london NHS hospitals being full of (people from overseas-ed)… which Cameron has just said he wants to see more of…

        (allegation removed-ed)

      • HJBbradders
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        Because it’s free.

      • alan jutson
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        Bob

        “Why do we have so many health toursits”.

        Because for them it is free ! Simples.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        Because its free!

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Yeah and I am supposed to take a lecture on “standards” from David Laws

  26. Liz
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Mid Staffs disaster had pricked the bubble that the NHS is the envy of the world – in fact for many medical conditions it is way down the international list for successful outcomes. The police and BBC are obsessed with the phone hacking – and one gets the impression that the BBC would really like all other news outlets, other than itself closed down. A truly Stalinist scenario. There are several things that need to be done, aside from prosecuting some of the worst offenders in Mid Staffs. The disaster of the reorganisation of nurses’ training needs to be addressed. Having them all graduates and getting rid of the SEN’s has been a catastrophe. The role of the Department of Health in demanding statistics – by the hour – as is reported needs to be looked at and as a result the management of hospitals needs to be in the hands of qualified medical staff not bureaucrats without even a first aid certificate between them. This is something that Jeremy Hunt could have set in motion – but hasn’t. There is a report today of a NHS whistleblower being paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to keep him/her quiet – this is a misuse of public funds and is something again which Mr.Hunt could look into.
    The owners of a private mine where there was an accident with 4 casualties are being prosecuted for manslaughter – but then that is the private sector isn’t it? These double standards are poisoning British life.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      There’s a specific reason why the police are obsessed with phone hacking. Particularly the part about officer receiving money for information.

      Regarding the mining incident corporate manslaughter is a very difficult case to prosecute because you have to show that the director’s actions were a direct cause of the deaths and that the directors were aware of this. There’s a reason why corporate manslaughter charges have only resulted in convictions against very small companies where the director/owner is also an employee who was on site when the deaths occurred.

  27. Man of Kent
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    There’s an excellent summary of different Health Care Systems in ‘The Plan’ by Carswell and Hannan.
    The US insurance system is ferociously expensive at 16% of GDP ,but is amazingly efficient as I have seen on a number of occasions.
    The Singapore system is much cheaper at ,I think 5%, very efficient and involves the patient in all spending decisions. [Must be good if Mugabe goes there regularly]

    Our NHS ,from personal experience ,delivers excellent surgery but very indifferent nursing. While coming to after one op a very pleasant lady volunteer explained to me that the chances of catching c-diff or other infections was about 11% and that I should ask doctors and nurses alike if they had washed their hands before allowing them to examine me.

    My befuddled reply was along the lines of : ‘my job is to get better,I am not prepared to do a straightforward management job too.And were I to do so I would be sidelined without eye contact ,rather like a diner mentally placed down the queue by a supercilious waiter. So sorry to disappoint you’

    The problems of nursing are purely down to management and that is why the Head of Stafford NHS [ now the Head of the NHS ]should be sacked, preferably before a criminal case is brought against him.

    • Man of Kent
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      I should have added that my NHS experience was 10 years ago and I’m still around!

    • Chris
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Regarding hospital acquired infections, the advice to me (when questioning the proposed very short stay of 2 hours or so after birth of first baby) was along the lines: “Well, you don’t want your daughter in hospital any length of time what with these superbugs around”. That was the advice from nurse/health adviser at GP practice in Cornwall.

      • Bob
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        @Chris
        “you don’t want your daughter in hospital any length of time what with these superbugs around”

        Was this before or after Gordon Brown ordered a “deep clean” of all NHS hospitals?

        • Chris
          Posted February 14, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          Last year!

    • stred
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Man of Kent. But David Cameron and Alan Johnson think he is an excellent commissar!

  28. Peter Davies
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I have visited (not as a patient) German hospitals in the past and never came across or was made aware of any of these types of debates.

    As I understand it, 80-90% of all German hospitals are privately run, subsidized by the state and individuals have compulsory insurance taken from their salary to pay for health care though in reality it doesn’t cover the cost hence the states role.

    If you are unemployed this forms (I believe) part of your benefits.

    As far as I am aware they don’t have dirty neglected hospitals they just do a good job. Why on earth can’t we just move over to a system like theirs?

    • stred
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      There was a medical conference in London last month about the best way to allocate resources for trauma cases treated in A and E. One of the speakers told the audience that the provision for this in Germany was 8 times that of London, per head of poulation.

  29. MajorFrustration
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Its all part of “Bent Britain” Whats important is gay marriage

  30. MajorFrustration
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Interesting point Adam5x5 – strange tho that if the NHS is so good that you dont see many MPs bunking off to join it when they retire – no its off to the private sector.

  31. Electro-Kevin
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    The NHS keeps Labour close to power. The BBC is biased towards Labour. That’s why meat features above the NHS in the news.

    I think the biggest thing being missed here is the true rate of inflation.

    What would it have been without the market being flooded with cheap substitutes masquerading as the real thing ?

    • Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      I agree. The raid on savings and the pay cut we have all had to take through intentional inflation has affected all of the population. If you consider vegetarianism I guess that affects even more people then the meat problem.

      Yet hardly a mention on the news.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        Kenneth – Expect further increases in food inflation because of this crisis as the supply of beef is obviously lower than we thought.

        People may suggest that there is nothing wrong with horse meat and cite the French diet. They don’t settle for old nags from eastern Europe though. So switching to horse meat as long as it is stated on the packet won’t do anything to alleviate costs either.

  32. MajorFrustration
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Good point Adam5x5 although I suspect there is a degree of tongue in cheek. If the NHS is so good its suprising that so few if any MPs join it when they retire. No its off to the private sector for them.

  33. Wilko
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    NHS systems are widely-regarded as failing. New ideas are needed. NHS users between them should be able to identify, assess, fault-find, improve and gradually perfect a solution to satisfy themselves. Here is an intentionally raw concept solely as a start:

    Govt could allocate a Medical Chest of £x per citizen per year to spend on NHS healthcare, from birth to age 60.

    The Chest would be topped up each year. Costs of medical treatment would be paid from the Chest, shown on a personal annual Medical Statement. Citizens with a positive balance in their Chest at age 60, could receive it as a Pension.

  34. Neil Craig
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    All part of the way the state owned broadcasters propagandise, and the rest of the media obediently copy them.

    1,200 killed by the state in Staffordshire – minor story
    0 killed or injured by horsemeat in free market – major story – but with the role of the EU in making us have to accept foreign certification of meat cansored
    50 killed in the last 20 years in windmill accidents in UK – no reporting whatsoever
    (claim I do not know about removed-ed)
    21,000 killed by Japanese tsunami – fairly important story
    0 killed or injured in subsequent Fukushima meltdown – massive story
    Kosovo (atrocities not properly reported-ed)

    If there is an explanation other than censorship in the State and Luddite causes I would be interested in hearing it?

    (I have previously censored Kosovo claims because I do not know enough about it or have any evidence – ed)

  35. Jerry
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    John, you miss out an important word – Knowingly – it is just as possible for a food company to have been subjected to a fraud as anyone else, for that reason it would be netter if poeple would use either the phrase “supply chain” or “food chain”.

    As for your question regarding the media and food problems vs. hospital problems, both are as serious as the other but let’s face it most people do not spend time in hospital, everyone bar vegetarians and those lucky enough to be self sufficient will likely be buying meat products from trade or retail outlets, thus far more people are involved in this food scandal.

    What I am feed up with is, not the media, but the opposition shadow RE&FA minister, whilst the government and everyone else is busy tackling the current problems she seems to think it is time to make hay – cut the grass by all means but the hay can wait until sunnier times! :(

    • Bob
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Food companies could conduct a simple test to verify the presence of horse or pig DNA in meat products.

      They showed it on channel four news last night, quick and easy. You place a solution of the product into a test tube with a chemical testing solution and if any pig or horse DNA is present the solution turns pink.

      The Irish Food Standards Agency warned our FSA about the issue in November last year.

      Our FSA costs the British taxpayer £3,269,000 per week. If it were a private contractor I would be arguing for their invoices to be put into dispute for non-performance, à la G4S.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        @Bob: Of course they could, and probably will be from now on! But until this pork/horse meat scandal what you suggest is a bit like you getting your cars sump oil checked after the garage service, to make sure that it corresponds to both the grade and make that the garage has invoiced for (and perhaps even the “next change due” label placed under the bonnet), I think the word used to be “Trust”…

        • stred
          Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

          Why are people in the UK worried about a bit a pork in the beef mince? We eat pigs here. Anyone who is a strict Kosher or Halal fan buys the unstunned meat anyway. I often mix minces in sauces and they taste better. The health inspectors are wasting time on a non health issue.

  36. London Exile
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Spot on John. The problem is that far too many people with influence regard the NHS as above criticism. Many Tories do not say very much for fear of being branded anti-NHS. This is exemplified by the attitude of Polly Toynbee and friends who lose no opportunity to demonise NHS naysayers. Not sure what the solution is, but it will take political courage to put things right.

    • Bob
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      @London Exile
      “Not sure what the solution is…”

      Change the payment method from “cash in advance” to “cash on delivery”.

      Dead patients don’t pay bills.

      • uanime5
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

        Don’t expect those who are likely to die to get any treatment if you implement that system.

  37. Pleb
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    The fundamental problem with modern nursing is how the traing now starts.
    Nurses used to start on the wards and then after a time they would attend a college. In 2000 the training was altered so that they first of all went to university. So after university the nurse suddenly is put onto the ward and finds that she isn’t really interested in care after all. With the eairlier “start on the ward” system, those that didn’t like it were weeded out at the begining.
    That is the core problem in todays nursing.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

      Another problem is that the role of nurse changed so they performed tasks similar to junior doctors because they were cheaper than junior doctors. As a result nurses were less willing to do menial tasks that didn’t utilise their skills.

  38. Normandee
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    The clue is in the title, NATIONAL Health Service, this means eventually the blame finds it’s way back to the politicians. That of course is to be avoided, so lets create a smoke screen and barbecue the food industry

  39. Chris
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Back to food and horsemeat: James Forsyth is very much following Richard North’s line about how the EU is in control of our food industry – a “competence” which we have handed over. The fact that Owen Paterson has been honest about this has apparently irritated some Cons MPs who apparently would rather the electorate did not know the extent to which the EU rules our lives:
    http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnists/politics/8844521/the-horsemeat-scandal-shows-the-true-extent-of-europes-power-in-britain/
    Ironically, it is Paterson, the most Euro-sceptic member of the Cabinet, who has been left to explain repeatedly that food labelling is a ‘European competence’. Watching him these past few days, I’ve been reminded of an interview he did with The Spectator in December 2011 in which he warned that this country can’t even ensure EU-wide fair dealing ‘on the egg industry’.

    Paterson’s frankness about the extent to which the EU is in charge has irritated some colleagues. There are many Tories, including ministers, who think that admitting how much control has passed to the EU is impolitic and only helps Ukip. But it is farcical to suggest that British ministers should pretend to have authority over matters that they do not.Tellingly, the environment secretary has had to seek permission from Brussels for many of the steps he is taking to deal with this crisis. He had to consult with Commissioner Ciolos, a former Romanian agriculture minister, and the Maltese health commissioner Tonio Borg, whose predecessor resigned in a corruption scandal, about the extent to which this country could randomly test meat being imported from the continent……Eurosceptics are easily mocked for claiming that almost any issue is really about the EU. The problem is, they are often right: much of our government is now based in Brussels….”

    Reply; We cannot have honest politics n or a realistic debate about the EU unless Ministers are straightforward in explaining hmow limited their powers are in many areas. Agriculture is mainly run under EU policy, and food labels/inspection/trade are EU competences. That was the point of my latest speech in the Commons (video version now available here as download.)

  40. Nicol Sinclair
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I absolutely give up. I had what I thought was a strong support of Nina Andreevna. The bloody site has lost it and I have f***ing given up. Such is the vagary of the bloody internet…

    JR. Go on. Moderate me… However, it’s your site at fault not me… :-(

  41. Chris
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    It is of very great concern that these two issues (“food and hospitals”), which are both of very great importance, are “running together”. The NHS scandal deserves urgent and full attention, with dismissals of key staff being the starting point. The horrors of “care” in the NHS were rife in 2002, together with high levels of unnecessary suffering and deaths being brought about by superbugs. One problem at that time was that the role of superbugs was not properly acknlowledged/was hidden as many hospital trusts failed to record them as contributory factors in deaths on the death certificate. We had a very lengthy battle with the Norfolk and Norwich University Trust Hospital over years to get a response (an unsatisfactory one) to a formal complaint, but, with the help of the MP, eventually got them to issue an amended death certificate, rightly acknowledging the role of MRSA in the death of our family member. The situation in some of those wards was disgraceful then, with infection rife, and this was a so called flagship new hospital. If hospitals do not record these infections on death certificates, where they have been a contributory factor to the death, then the true scale of the problem is swept under the carpet, and there is no hope of getting the resources needed to target the problem.

  42. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    If the NHS is a success story and the envy of other countries, can anyone please identify another nation that replicates the UK model of health care?

    • zorro
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Cuba….. :-)

      zorro

      • zorro
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        probably North Korea too……

        zorro

  43. Barbara
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    The NHS is working and has done good things like saving lives. including mine. Yes, it needs to be looked at, but we should look to the people who run it not the system it’s self. Then we should look to who accesses it, are they British citizens or foreigners using and abusing it for free. Managers have now got so much influence its they who have created the culture of targets to save money, patient care as been left behind. They will all land up like Stafford if this allowed to continue. Its managers which should be culled, and consultants who should be listened to. I’ve worked and trained in the NHS have seen the good work they do, and one must ask what will the alternative be? Many simply could not afford private care, the collective system of health care works, and others like in France have deep divisions in care provision. The other side is not rosy at all.
    Changing how nurses were trained, changed the way wards worked, to the detriment of the patient. In house training got our nurses a good world wide name, they learnt on the job, now it’s school; you don’t need a degree for nursing, its another game for higher salaries that’s all. We didn’t have these sort of scandals in the 60s,70s, so one must ask if degrees are so good, why now? Its obvious, back to ward training and block, the good old way is better, and the sooner we revert back the better, there would also be more hands on deck if we did this.

  44. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    You are not allowed to talk like this about the NHS as it is not part of the lefts/BBC agenda to say any bad things about them. I think it is shocking that the left/BBC are just wanting to put it on the back burner. Why is the BBC not doing a full investigation.
    The NHS is rotten to the core but with a communist leader what do you expect. I would never do for the BBC to investigate its own.

  45. Posted February 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you John. It’s the mis-labelling that is fraudulent. Over here in France they breed horses for consumption so it is fite for consumption.
    The hospitals are a different matter!
    They have lost their way with NHS Trusts. It’s all about “management” rather than “tlc” (tender, loving care). Bring back Matron – a.s.a.p. All is forgiven!

  46. Obamacare
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    There is much nonsense spouted about US health care. In brief form, anecdote and evidence suggests Medicare and major medical insurance is considerably preferable to the NHS. By contrast, Medicaid, versions of Medicaid Plus being offered on the embryonic state insurance exchanges and, of course, Russian roulettte with no health insurance at all appear considerably worse than the NHS. It is a very unequal system, all would agree. It is telling however that so many people being coerced into second class health insurance object and would rather take their chances on paying large amounts for first class private care if they really need it.

    • nina andreeva
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      Obama just so everyone is in the clear about the “superiority” of the US system, please can you verify just how poor you need to be to get Medicaid and confirm that Medicare only becomes available when you have retired. You might also like to comment on how much long these programs can last before the government cannot afford them. Finally how much work do trial lawyers pick up from malpractice cases?

      The only thing the US gets right is it treatment of foreigners who turn up at its hospitals. At a Kaiser Permenante hospital in San Francisco I only got into the trauma room after I had handed over my passport, credit card and travel ins doc.

  47. Muddyman
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    The medical profession is a closed shop , judge and jury to its failings, dependent on others for its successes . All advances have been the result of external developments, the basic health care has not advanced in generations. If, as an example , the electronics industry had advanced at the rate of the medical – we would now be contemplating the telephone and communicating by telegraph.

  48. Barry Sheridan
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood, I find it staggering that the callous indifference towards patients, attitudes that caused the death of considerable numbers of people, are not the focus of criminal investigations.

    As an aside I note there are voices commenting here that suggest there is a right to the national political spectrum. There may indeed be those whose fundamental beliefs lean that way, but in general public policy in Britain is almost exclusively left leaning, all three of the main parties being essentially socialist. The idea that the word Tory carries some impact as a pejorative is ridiculous, it makes no difference who runs affairs.

  49. Mark B
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    True story.

    My mother was admitted to our local hospital with a broken hip sometime ago. I visited her regularly and every day I asked her what she had to eat. The food was not particularly nice and would leave the food, so I brought some from home. One day they never brought her any food. When I inquired as why this was so, they realized that they simply had forgotten her. As the kitchens were closed, all they could offer her was, a cream cracker, a knob of butter and and a piece of cheese.

    The staff were very apologetic and I have to say the treatment and care she received for someone in her seventies was first rate. She has also attended other NHS hospitals in our area, and has found problems regarding hygiene (dried blood on the floor) etc.

    When we have complained the management and staff were quick to act.

    The problem from my perspective is that, whilst the care and professionalism of the staff, from ambulance drivers too administrators’ is good too very good, the standards shown by those in the private sector serving the NHS is nor so good. Particular reference to catering and agency staff.

    I could go on, but do not wish to leave people with a negative image of those who try their very best and save lives.

  50. Credible
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Lots of people on here are singing the praises of France. Never thought I’d see the day. Absolutely brilliant!

  51. Credible
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I don’t really understand the crazy reaction to horse meat either compared to some other things – like the number of people in the world who go without food altogether. Maybe it is because the horse-owning set don’t like the idea. (Perhaps that’s why the isolated fox attack was a huge story compared to the many dog attacks every day.) It does show that parts of the private sector will do anything to make money and regulation is vital.

    The NHS issue is more important than horse meat – although both demonstrate an ‘I can do what I like’ behaviour that needs to be controlled before it gets out of hand. Things do need to change and there does need to be better management and monitoring in the NHS. However, using the problems as a way to demonize the NHS to get more of a private foot in the door isn’t going to help.

    I’ve had many experiences of extremely good treatment in the NHS. I’ve also experienced unprofessional and even callous behaviour too. I also know someone who nearly died on the operating table of a private hospital because it didn’t have the expertise and equipment to deal with an unusual turn of events.

  52. forthurst
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    In a NHS hospital, what is the chain of command? What is the role of various nebulous boards? How are administrators being fingered for Mid Staffs? In the bad old days, hospitals were run by the senior consultants. Have they been replaced by people without medical qualificiations? How can non-medical staff safely direct the activities of those who are medically qualified?

    It seems to me that a medical director working with the senior consultants should have overall responsibilty for patient care including nursing services, and that administrators should stick to managing the facilities under the direction of the medical director. Then medical staff could be held directly liable for failures of patient care. If anyone suggested that a school were run by the bursar rather than the headmaster, they would be considered certifiable.

  53. Roger Farmer
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    John, do you want a Honda, fit for purpose NHS service or are you content with the Red Robbo Austin Allegro type service that has developed in seemingly many parts of our health service.If the former here is a suggestion on how to achieve it.
    Go to the experts who run and audit ISO 9000 and QS 9000 and commission them to create a series of programmes tailored to the various component services of the NHS and at the same time ensure that all those who provide goods and services to the NHS are ISO /QS 9000 compliant. I should point out that this system that has sorted out the car industry and many other parts of industry requires a lot of continuous input from all those who work in the particular industry..It should not alienate those who work in the NHS because they will be a very strong part in the creation of a working, evolving , and dynamic NHS in which the customers can have every faith.
    As a first step go along to Honda at Stratton St Margaret near Swindon and find out what QS9000 is all about and how it ensures that the Honda you buy causes you the minimum of grief. When you understand what it is all about do not let any civil servant anywhere near the process of creating a solution for the NHS because in the time honoured “Yes Minister” way they will bury it. I look forward in your column to hearing how you progress.

  54. alan jutson
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Just thought I would run a recent case of (someone-ed) who has been in hospital recently (in fact 3 weeks ago)

    Admitted for removal of their bowel (previous cancer operations)

    Original op seemed to go well, but then after 48 hours internal bleeding diagnosed, but not until 2 litres of blood had been lost and major organs were shutting down.

    Prognosis dire, intensive nursing in intensive care for 5 days after being opened up twice more for further investigation patient stabilised, transfered to normal ward for 3 days with morphine for pain relief.
    patient then sent home with paracetamol for pain relief with no follow up for wound dressing.

    Patient goes to see own Doctor as in pain and needs wound dressing,
    Wound dressed and morphine given for pain relief by local surgery.

    After 10 days patient now dehydrated (told to drink sports drinks) but off of their food and not coherent as well.
    Ambulance called, patient admitted to A&E then into Intensive care as dehydration confirmed as is internal infection.
    450 mls (1 pint) of fluid drained from body.
    Yesterday patient moved into general ward as recovery was in progress again.

    Was patient discharged too early, why no pain killers, why no district nurse to dress wounds, why no follow up at all.

    Cost of all of these complications ?

    John aware you perhaps may not want to print this as you cannot conform above, but I can give you further details and the names and telephone numbers should you wish to verify.
    Thus I have not outlined the hospital concerned publically.

    Reply: I cannot comment on this case as we do not know the medical view – if you (with permission of patient)or the individual are concerned then there are procedures to discuss it with the responsible staff, or to lodge a formal complaint. The patient’s own MP could help.

  55. Iain Gill
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    So we have arrests in the horse meat scandal, but no arrests in the mass killing of patients in the NHS? funny priorities the police have too…

  56. Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    MSM takes its cue from the BBC, which hates criticism of the public sector, in this case the NHS. Pity Maggie never privatised these two unaccountable Stalinist monoliths. Still, there’s time….

  57. Jon
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Its tick box spreadsheet management. If it can’t be numbered on a spreadsheet then its not part of managements agenda to discuss. Maybe if some people are prosecuted for the Trusts failures it might force more managers to think that there is stuff beyond a spreadsheet.

  58. audun sigurdsson
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    As a surgeon who has worked for 25 years in the NHS I am cinvinced that the NHS can not survive in the current form. It should focus on delivering acute care, complex expensive traetments and then act as a quality assurance and oraganistion for sate funding of health care, where appropriate, delivered by the independent sector in a competitive market.

  59. uanime5
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    I suspect the politicians don’t want to discuss the Staffordshire and other hospital problem because it will lead to people asking why the Government isn’t preventing them, why are whistle blowers being silenced rather than helped, and why isn’t the Government punishing those who were involved (some of whom have now been promoted to important positions in the NHS). By contrast politicians aren’t responsible for private companies selling horse meat as beef so they can discuss it as much as they want.

    In other new Miliband did make some good points in his one nation speech. One important one was that the UK has high skilled, high paying jobs and low paying. low skilled jobs but very few jobs in the middle. As a result it’s difficult to go from low paid jobs to high paid jobs ever if you work hard.

  60. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    You are absolutely right. The State should devote more time to NHS problems.

    One of the problems with the NHS is that it wastes peoples’ time. I was recently two minutes late for an appointment with a nurse at my GP centre. The next in line took my place and I had to wait for completion of that appointment plus the nurse’s coffee break. Fair enough. Contrast that with my appointment as an outpatient at an NHS hospital. I was on time but the doctor was an hour and a quarter late. That delay increased my car parking charges, which were £4 for less than 3 hours.

    You get the picture. If I am late, I pay (wasted time). If the NHS is late, I pay.

    To avoid delays in appointments, more doctor time is needed, which will involve competition, abolition of the application of the European Working time directive to junior hospital doctors, and non-taxation sources of revenue.

    It would also help if more old wrinklies died at home and didn’t block hospital beds. Indeed, lower State spending PER CAPITA on the over 65s is one of the big challenges of the next 20 years, when the proportion of over 65s will be high. A complete rethink will be necessary by about 2020, the next election but one. For example, what is the point of prolonging your life so that you get Alzeimer’s.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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