Saturday, 19 January 2008

Back to the problem...

^ Top notch article by the ever-on-the-pulse Dr. Crippen.

As mentioned in the comments, I love the Soviet tractor to NHS IT comparison. NHS IT is just one of the supposedly superweapons of the spin-obsessed Labour government of the past 10 years. The government can quote some outlandish figure of investment into the NHS, but how much of this money has actually trickled down to the healthcare professionals who would know what to do with it, and how much has fell into the stop bucket of PFI companies like SENCO failing to produce a decent information network? I could big up a pile of old Private Eye's and have a look, but stats aren't my bag.

Another one of my favourite tricks of the current administration (a good word, considering all they do is push pencils) is the old "We've employed a record number of nurses" bollocks.

No. The actions of the Tories and the early Labour fumblings scared off a large amount of homegrown nurses, prompting the 'golden return handshake' adverts years ago. These didn't bring back enough nurses, so the government had to rely on Overseas nurses, agency nurses and bank nurses. These, like PFI projects, don't appear on the balance sheet in the same way UK-trained nurses do.

A lovely little trick up the spin doctor's sleeves involved cancelling a lot of these contracts and giving the agency, some bank and some overseas personell normal NHS contracts. This took them onto the balance sheet, which in the eyes of a politician (and on an Excel spreadsheet) looks like more nurses recruited.

This might not seem like a very damaging piece of spin, if you ignore the huge political lie, but patient care would have suffered where staff were re-allocated to deal with the new contracts and infrastructures. But Labour don't care about that. They have a failed computer system to pour more money into...

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