Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Darzi Report, Government Spin and the Media

Lord Darzi’s interim report for the government’s consultation exercise “our NHS, our Future” has been published – a week earlier than scheduled. Its publication was cynically criticised by the political opposition as a measure taken prior to the Prime Minister’s weekend non-decision to not call a non-snap election (and yes, you can call my triple negatives into doubt!). They really missed the point.

I am somewhat surprised that Drs Rant and Crippen have not provided us more of their feelings about this report … maybe they are still fuming, maybe they are lost for words, maybe they are far too busy (on the golf course clearly) …

I will not attempt a detailed analysis of Lord Darzi’s informed report, the result of numerous public consultation meetings to which the Great British (and Northern Irish ?) public have had to be bribed to attend. Surely, Drs Rant and Crippen and many other heathcare professionals are far more qualified than I …

However, and subjectively, without a detailed media analysis, I observe that many of the issues on which our National Health Service needs to improve mentioned in Lord Darzi’s report, have been the subject of Department of Health press releases and thus media reports (if the BBC is anything to go by) over the last few months – mixed-sex wards, the supposedly hospital-transmitted infections of MRSA and C. difficile for which the DoH new and seemingly unproven “control” regulations were issued before the publication of Lord Darzi’s report, etc etc.

Last week our local hospital’s maternity unit, a modern building, was temporarily closed due to a cockroach infestation. Our daughter, receiving treatment for a immuno-depressed disease, is in a hospital constructed before Florence Nightingale, of which there are concerns regarding infection, of which there are concerns concerning cockroaches but maintains itself impeccable in the face of these challenges. The public sector trade union Unison claims 85 percent of NHS cleaning staff are overworked and underpaid.

Are such statistics in the Darzi report?

But perhaps the government’s biggest spin has been against General Practitioners’ (lack of) Out-of-Hours (OOH) service … regardless of the fact that recent DoH-commissioned surveys show the vast majority of the Great UK Public are satisfied with their GP services and that the government committed itself to provide OOH.

I am concerned that all this government spin has been to influence the Great UK Public, bribed to attend “our NHS, our Future” consultations who then regurgitate the government spin to Lord Darzi and his team and thus to the DoH and the government, who then make it policy!

And all over the country we are up-in-arms about the closure of our local services! But Gordon Brown and Alan Johnson won’t listen! Quality of Life is as important as Quantity of Life! Go read about Josie Grove and Davo. I hope you guys (and Patsy) get fuckin’ cancer … but of course your families all have flash cars to flash down to the nearest Centre of Excellence and can stay in a nice nearby hotel.

This week the government/DoH has finally but quietly admitted the failure of the Modernising Medical Careers-MTAS scheme by announcing new procedures for the recruitment/employment of trainee doctors, leaving the senior doctors, rather than the managers, to evaluate the junior doctors … and most importantly it will not involve a national online IT system that does not work.

But even this has a sting in its tail as the DoH announces a review of the employment of non-EU doctors, pandering to their own spin at the beginning of August which was designed to pander to the racist and bigoted opinion of some elements of the Great UK Public.

Yours disgusted.

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