I could easily insult Patricia Hewitt until the cows come home, however not wanting to sink to her depth I shall instead take apart her responses to parliamentary questions point by point.
1.“Martin Horwood (Cheltenham) (LD): We are still waiting for two things: first, an apology from the Secretary of State and, secondly, an unambiguous answer to the question that the hon. Member for Norwich, North (Dr. Gibson) asked about quality assurance, which is one of the safeguards available to anyone who introduces new systems, however much they are needed. Will she give an unambiguous answer? Have the final MMC and MTAS systems been subject to formal quality assurance—yes or no?
Garth: MTAS has not been validated or piloted or quality assured. A small flawed study in 2005 showed that long assessment centres were a good selection tool for GP trainees, however there is no evidence anywhere to back up the MTAS short listing process.
2. Hewitt“On the issue of MTAS, let me quote the independent PMETB:”
Garth: The PMETB is hardly independent; it’s head is appointed by Patricia Hewitt herself and its board is largely appointed by her.
3.Hewitt:“A similar system has been operating successfully in the
4.Hewitt: “My hon. Friend is right. A great deal of development work, quality assurance and so on went into the MTAS process and, more broadly, into modernising medical careers. There have been real problems this year, as I said in my statement, which is why we are working with the review group to sort them out and learn further lessons for round 2, and for next year.”
Garth: Stretching the truth again. Where is the evidence of the quality assurance for MTAS?
5.Hewitt: “Gentleman speaks of introduction being rushed, but work on modernising medical careers and on its implementation has gone on since about 2003. That could not possibly be described as rushed.”
Garth: I think Hewitt’s logic of saying something has not been rushed because it has been going for four years is hardly compelling. It is a rather large project and it can very easily be claimed to have been rushed in this context.
6. Hewitt: “In a sense, the hon. Gentleman’s suggestions have already been considered by the review group, which has received evidence and listened to representations from a very wide range of people.”
Garth: Has this really happened? The 'independent review group appears to have listened to no one other than pro-MMC cronies and the DoH (are they the same thing?)
7. Hewitt:“It has always been the case under the new system that when applications are submitted, the full CV and portfolio can be, and generally are, attached.”
Garth:This is a complete falsehood. The CV and portfolio cannot be attached to the application.
8. Hewitt:“The hon. Member for
Garth: Why was this system absurd? It’s how all other jobs in the country are applied for! Either everyone else is absurd or maybe Patricia herself is.
9. Hewitt:“I have heard others suggest that some candidates’ applications were lost in the process—and I understand that that too is untrue.”
Garth: I think evidence may come to prove her wrong here.
10.Hewitt: “The hon. Gentleman asked whether there would be 8,000 jobless doctors. There will be nothing of the kind.”
Garth: Does Patricia not know that 29,000-22,000 is 7,000 unemployed or is she just a bit dim?
11.This question posed: ‘will a majority of the review panel be composed of people who did not set up the original scheme?’
She does not answer this as she knows the panel is very much 'dependent'.12.Hewitt: “I do not think that the hon. Gentleman has been following the discussion. He assumes that thousands of doctors will be out of work, but the applicants—more than 29,000—who are currently working in the NHS will continue to be needed in the service, whether they have moved on to run-through training programmes or are working in staff and other NHS jobs. Those jobs will continue to be needed, because those doctors are at the heart of the NHS.”
Garth:Again, 29,000-22,000=7,000. Patricia is one thick politician. Just because doctors are ‘needed’ won’t make jobs magically appear!
Overall a rather nasty new labour specimen gave several wrong answers and a very compelling case could be made that she did in fact lie to parliament on more than one occasion.
The one thing that stood out was her complete refusal to even apologise to those who have been affected by these weeks of turmoil. She even tried to take credit for the 'success of MTAS' in her final statement.
What merits resignation from the new labour front bench these days? Surely downright incompetence should be enough? But then again, just look at the man in command of this lot and it then becomes abundantly clear that these people have no morals, no shame and no respect for the people they claim to serve.