Monday, 23 April 2007
Patricia Hewitt answered a few readers questions in the Independent today, it was a rare 'public outing' for the much maligned minister; you'd think she was hiding from the public given her low profile these days, can't think why that might be. Here are a few golden nuggets that I have extracted from her words:
"Thousands of people at risk of a heart attack are alive and well today because of the new contract."
It is more than a little nonsensical to claim that the new GP contract has saved thousands of lives; doctors keep up to date with changes in preventative medicine and hinting that the contract is the driving force for these medical developments is a pretty misleading.
"It is simply not true that 12,000 doctors will be without posts."
We've already discussed this one Patricia, unless you are going to start counting VSOs as posts then you may struggle to live up to your promises.
"Eight out of 10 patients tell us they're happy with their local out-of-hours service"
It seems to be a recurring theme that she relies on small DoH surveys of opinion to get herself out of rather large holes, it's hardly impressive that 20% of patients are not happy with their local out of hours service.
"But where the independent sector can help give NHS patients better, faster care, we will use it."
Wrong again Patricia, the DoH has no evidence that the independent sector can give better or faster care, so I really don't know where you have plucked this from. In fact the independent sector has been shown to be more expensive and slower than the public sector in providing quite a few services, there are also several examples of shoddier care from independent providers.
"Talk to the consultants who are already using the digital imaging system (Pacs). They love it. No more time wasted, waiting for delayed or lost X-rays; GPs and specialists able to view images simultaneously; more accurate, faster diagnosis for patients. As for PFI, we couldn't have built or refurbished over 100 new hospitals without it."
I think the NHS IT scheme is a little more than just PACS! As for PFI Patricia, several trusts wouldn't be laying off staff if it wasn't for them having to service huge PFI contracts.
"I agree. It's the responsibility of the employer - hospital, primary care trust or GP practice - to ensure their employees can speak English well enough to care for patients properly."
This is a very limp answer when asked about the need to test EU doctors as regards their English speaking ability, it is simply not good enough to leave the responsibility with the employer.
Again Patricia Hewitt has the same old dodgy record grinding out the same old dismal tune, it really is getting a little tiresome. Given that recent opinion polls have shown that rather large numbers of people think that all the political parties are offering no decent strategies as regards the NHS and that a majority of people want to see politicians removed from the day-to-day running of the health service, Patricia Hewitt's very selective use of dodgy opinion polls convinces no one except possibly her dimwitted-self. Patricia Hewitt could do a lot worse than reading Dr Rant's brilliant NHS manifesto, I just wish that the public had a choice over the way they wanted the NHS to go; as things currently stand we have no choice and all the major parties are fundamentalist believers in the ridiculous 'internal market'.