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June 05, 2006

Quote of the Day

Jackie Ashley:

Labour women have been much mocked by the media but they have screwed up far less than the men.


Patricia Hewitt. "The NHS has just had its best year ever".

June 5, 2006 in Politics | Permalink


Tessa Jowell?

Posted by: Tim Newman | Jun 5, 2006 9:38:57 AM

What's your disagreement with Patricia Hewitt's claim? I don't know enough about it to know, but I don't see why it's self-evidently wrong - surely NHS output was the highest ever?

Posted by: Matthew | Jun 5, 2006 10:38:41 AM


I can categorically tell you that this years chocolate ration is the beiggest ever.

Posted by: AntiCitizenOne | Jun 5, 2006 11:17:13 AM

I'm not sure I fully understand you, but if you mean that there are lies, damned lies and government statistics, then of course you are right.

However I've seen loads of very anti-state sites such as Samizdata say productivity is falling by 1% a year in the NHS, and if expenditure is rising by more than that then output must have gone up.

Posted by: Matthew | Jun 5, 2006 11:51:50 AM

Estelle Morris deserves some respect. Haven't the other female ministers proved to be dross, sometimes sleazy dross?

Posted by: dearieme | Jun 5, 2006 12:21:05 PM

Let' not forget Margaret Hodge, too.....

Posted by: JuliaM | Jun 5, 2006 1:03:59 PM

Tim, which year do you think was the best ever for the NHS?

Tim adds: 1945 when we could still dream about how wonderul it was going to be.

Posted by: Jim | Jun 5, 2006 1:30:54 PM

Given that the "Best ever year" in terms of hospital waiting lists was a year when my uncle dropped dead of a medical condition which he was on a waiting list to see a consultant for, then personally I'd view it as a bloody awful year for the NHS, and I imaging a large number of other people will say the same. This may of course just be a case of perspective (in the same way you don't notice your health until its gone), but any politician worth their salt should know this.

So to come out with the comment that Hewitt did on the radio wasn't just a case of spinning, it was a case of not even spinning well.

Posted by: Dr Maybe | Jun 5, 2006 1:52:58 PM

"1945 when we could still dream about how wonderul it was going to be."

Oh I see, you're not actually basing it on any facts or anything like that. Right, so what was your point again?

Posted by: Jim | Jun 5, 2006 1:57:16 PM

"Tim, which year do you think was the best ever for the NHS?"

That's like asking "which part of having your nuts in a vice did you enjoy most".

Posted by: The Weasel Bearder | Jun 6, 2006 7:39:44 AM

"The NHS has just had its best year ever".


"Scores of trainee consultants are stuck without jobs because of the NHS's financial crisis, Britain's most senior surgeon warns today. The £1bn deficit means hospital trusts cannot afford to employ surgeons who have passed their consultant exams and are conducting a 'vacancy freeze', says the president of the Royal College of Surgeons, Bernard Ribeiro.

"As a result, 37 cardiothoracic surgeons, 12 neurosurgeons and 35 ear, nose and throat specialists (ENT) are facing unemployment and having to consider retraining - at a huge cost to the taxpayer. It costs £237,000 just to get a student through medical school. They then need 10-12 years' training to consultant level. 'Trusts are not employing new surgeons because simply the money is not there. The net result is that there are 37 cardiac surgeons who are qualified to be consultants who have not got a job; 12 neurosurgeons; and in ENT, 35 specialists who have no jobs in the UK. All have their certificate, all are available for a job - and there are no jobs for them' he said."

Well done, Patricia Hewitt.

Posted by: Bob B | Jun 6, 2006 8:12:54 AM

Addendum: NHS news gets worse by the day:

"NHS trusts are being made to pay multimillion-pound penalties to computer suppliers because of a clause in contracts for the health service's £20bn IT scheme. Arrangements disclosed today by the magazine Computer Weekly show the government committed trusts to provide 200 staff to work with the computer companies to devise the best possible systems. In southern England the NHS was unable to meet an obligation to second 50 full-time employees to the Japanese-owned Fujitsu Corporation. The trusts will now have to pay Fujitsu £19m.

"Last week Lord Warner, the health minister, said the NHS's IT programme was at least two years behind schedule, but trusts are not benefiting from any penalties imposed on suppliers. He said the programme would cost about £20bn over 10 years - much more than the £6.2bn previously mentioned by ministers as the cost of procuring systems to hold patient records, transmit medical data and book hospital appointments."

Posted by: Bob B | Jun 6, 2006 10:52:13 AM