We need a medical professional

in charge of NHS – not politicians

It’s all coming out now – thanks to 100,000 leaked WhatsApp exchanges, showing that the then Health Minister, Matt Hancock, rejected official guidance from Prof. Sir Chris Witty (the Government’s own Chief Medical Officer), to test all patients going into English care homes for Covid-19. With horrific consequences.

Which poses the question, who had time to send all those messages?  My back-of-an-envelope calculation shows these must have taken thousands of expensive Ministerial hours to compose – what was Hancock doing with that time (er… carrying on an affair?).

No doubt these revelations will mean the official coronavirus inquiry will be minutely scrutinised;  I for one would like to know just what Ministers do with their time when they should be doing their job.

Somehow, instead of trained health professionals running our health service, we have ended up with career politicians.    For the record, since 1999 these political  Ministers in charge have been:  Alan Milburn, John Reid, Patricia Hewitt, Alan Johnson, Andy Burnham, Andrew Lansley, Jeremy Hunt, Matt Hancvosk, Sajid Javid,  Steve Barclay, Therese Coffey, and Barclay again; 12 changes of Minister.

How on earth can anyone be expected to run such an enormous and important service as the NHS if you are in post for 2 years or less? And how can a politician parachuted into this top job be expected to grasp the complexities of today’s healthcare overnight?

Currently, Hancock is fighting claims that whilst serving as Health Secretary, he rejected advice to give coronavirus tests to all residents going into English care homes,

His spokesman said a report claiming he rejected clinical advice on care home testing was “flat wrong” because he was told it was “not currently possible” to carry out the tests.

The aide alleged the messages leaked by journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who was handed them by Mr. Hancock while she worked on his “Pandemic Diaries” memoir, have been “spun to fit an anti-lockdown agenda”.

Which begs the question, when Oakeshott was writing a book, which presumably would benefit Hancock’s (and her) income, surely she should not have been allowed. access to government papers?

It’s all developing into a horrendous nightmare and only goes to show that politicians can’t be expected to run a nation’s health service if they treat supposedly secret documents in such a cavalier fashion.  Imagine the scandal if a Consultant used 100,000 patient records to help a ghostwriter write their autobiography.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Sir Keir Starmer said  “Families across the country will look at this, and the sight of politicians writing books portraying them as heroes will be an insulting and ghoulish spectacle for them.”

And the book?

I confess I refused to add to Hancock’s income so haven’t bought it.  But others viewed it as an attempt by Hancock to rehabilitate his reputation after he resigned as Health Secretary over breaching social distancing guidance by kissing a colleague.

Last year, he said he t would not be standing as an MP at the next general election, after receiving criticism for flying halfway across the world and taking time out to take part in the reality TV show ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’  One wonders how he found time to carry out his MP Constituency work.

Now, dirty linen is being hung out all over Whitehall, and one dreads what the next revelation will unearth.  Once Politicians, like doctors, were supposed to be ethical and abide by a code.  Today, it seems anything goes.

We even have Boris Johnson, along with others, claiming they didn’t know the laws about lockdown – when they had set them. These laws meant families could not go into care homes to see elderly relatives, whilst Whitehall officials partied in Downing Street – but pretended they did not know they were breaking the laws they set.

What’s next?

Never let it be said the Dept. Health overlooks a chance for self-colorful blue, purple and white balloons isolated on white - Photo, Imagepromotion, and a party,.

The NHS’s seventy-fifth birthday ‘will be celebrated this year (translation = any excuse for a celebration – oblivious to the fact, ‘party’ is probably on the list of banned words, these days.
As the NHS guru Roy Lilley says, “… as part of ‘the celebrations’, the NHS are giving the kiss-of-life to initiatives and ideas. Some that emerged from the Covid pandemic. Including; … a range of volunteer activities that will be introduced to support health and care services and improve patient experience.’  (Er – wasn’t the volunteer rpogramme a bit of a damp squib?)
The idea is as Check in and Chat’ service.‘… volunteers will provide a listening ear and, where appropriate, help patients explore positive changes they could make to their lives, for example, to connect with others, become more physically active or learn new skills or volunteer, and  signpost to other services and support in the community.’
Er – \I thought that Social prescribing was what this was about – and it seems to have been an expensive no-no.
In its inimitable fashion, the Dept. Health has managed to overlook the NHS’s glaring problems, such as waiting lists, etc. etc. Most patients would rather see get an appointment, anf won’t be cheered by photos of a politician ‘celebrating’ in front of a group of medics.
I think Nadra Ahmed from the National Care Association speaks for many, saying she was” Incandescent with rage …….. we’re living with their mistakes”.
Surely it is about time that Whitehall did something, and we taxpayers changed the way the NHS is run?