Friday, February 29, 2008

Am I an NHS apologist ?


Am I a BBC apologist ?

... uh ... not any more.

When the BBC interviewed a masked member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in the 1980s our PrIme Minister Margaret Thatcher went ape-shit and subsequently introduced legislation to prevent the BBC from having any contact with them.

The BBC protested in vain. I was appalled.

In the more recent past, the BBC has conducted interviews with Taleban spokespersons in Afghanistan ... you know, those guys killing ¨our boys¨. Those ones labelled as ¨non-combatant¨ and ¨terrorists¨ (and thus not POWs).

But did I hear a whisper out of Whitehall about the Beeb interviewing terrorists?

Something smells ...

Today, Thursday, at 00:01 UTC, the National Audit Office (NAO) published its report NHS Pay Modernisation: New Contracts for General Practice Services in England which examines the financial administration of the contract with the state that GPs signed in April 2004.. The National Audit Office is independent of the government but answerable to Parliament.

I haven´t waded through the whole 57 page report yet (that will have to wait until the weekend) ... just the nine page Summary. It is clear that the NAO is blaming the government for bad financial and health policy planning rather than the GPs for being avaricious.

As of writing the Department of Health has not reacted - I assume it is considering its response carefully.

But in line with the government´s Department of Health general GP-bashing spin, the BBC toed the party line without even a DoH press release as a hint, pre-empting tomorrow´s DoH reaction and twisting the NAO report to claim that GPs are paid too much for much less than under the old contract.

Or I could invent a conspiracy theory ... the DoH briefed the BBC before it issues its press release ...

And (on the BBC website) all in one sentence paragraphs. The BBC, formerly the Times, latterly the Independent or Guardian of radio and television journalism has become a populist tabloid.

The government is trying to dumb-down the NHS - it (and I am not necessarily blaming nu-Labour for this) has already dumbed-down much of the BBC. In return for regular GP bashing, it allows them to interview Taleban which, generally, we´re not particularly interested in.

Trade offs.

P.S. Friday 16:00: still no response from the DoH.

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