Friday, August 14, 2009

Andy Burnham's Waiting List Delusion Is a Bigger Story than Hannan

I've spent the last hour listening to the Stephen Nolan programme on 5 Live while driving into the BBC. I could hardly believe what the Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, told the programme.

"We have an NHS with no waiting lists."

This comes on top of him saying that the NHS came second in his affections to Everton FC. I wonder what Mrs Burnham made of that!

But seriously, isn't the Health Secretary telling a blatant untruth about waiting lists a far more significant story, than a backbench MEP criticising the NHS? Oh sorry, I forgot. It's August.

All this stuff from Alastair Campbell and John Prescott saying this all reveals the true nature of the Conservative Party makes me laugh. Is John McDonnell or Jeremy Corbyn representative of the Labour Party? Does Lembit Opik represent the LibDems? Every party has mavericks, people who attract controversy and who put forward uncomfortable ideas. The Conservative Party is no different.

Without such people we would have very grey and boring politics.

Do tune in after midnight...

79 comments:

Tom Harris said...

That the waiting list situation is unrecogniseable (in a positive way) compared with any period under the Tories is unarguable, but I suppose you can argue about your definition of a waiting list.

It's a bit like railway services - very few people accept the fact that punctuality has much improved since 12 years ago, because culturally, we just can't bring ourselves to accept good news.

Eduardo de Aston said...

Oh yes, let's turn the story on it's head and find another altogether easier target shall we?

What's wrong Iain, feeling a little uncomfortable?

Thought you'ld have a crack at a bit of Tory spin?

Mr Hannan and his anti NHS views a little too close for comfort?

Thought so!

This headline is a tad transparent even for those of us who still struggle to read Janet and John.

The Grim Reaper said...

Now all we need is Patsy Hewitt to come tell us the NHS is having its "best year ever" again and your weekend will be complete.

Simon Gardner said...

I don’t think it’s that small a story. Hannan - has has been demonstrated in the past here - has a substantial following in the Tory party and so do his views.

This whole affair is more than embarrassing for Cameron - of whom few doubt his commitment to the NHS. What about the rest of his shadow cabinet?

Since the American travails over universal health care are going to last well into the Autumn, so will Cameron’s troubles with the issue. They picked on Canada and now it’s us.

Barrowman said...

I think the first mistake you are making is being apologetic for somebody having an opinion that is certainly closer to the truth than the complete rubbish and hypocrisy the labour party has come out with, especially now.

too many managers said...

I wish people like Andrew Lansley would stop saying that the NHS is 'free at the point of use'. We're taxed to the hilt for the NHS ( roughly £70,000 in a lifetime) so it's only free for scroungers and immigrants. Labour have added about 400,000 non jobs into the NHS since coming to power. There are 600,000 nurses and doctors etc. There are 40,000 senior managers and the other 800,000 must be cooks and bottle washers etc.

Ideological insanity. said...

I can just imagine if A labour MP appeared on FOX news stabbing one of our most beloved institutions in the back.


Hannan's evisceration of Brown was sublime, his ideological critique of the NHS , on FOX news of all places, was profoundly misguided.

Norfolk Blogger said...

You wish it was the case Iain, but a pompous Oxbridge educated "have" telling the "have nots" that the NHS is terrible because it gives them medical care that they would be denied in the US really is the stry.

shepherdsbush said...

Iain are you seriously telling us than Dan Hannan's views are not representative of lots of Tory MPs?

You know that is not true so stop pretending.

Its telling that the only party seriously defending it now is the same Labour Party that created it.

All hail Mandelson said...

The tide is turning. Mandelson is King.

I agree with Simon Gardener. No one can be in any doubt of Cameron's sincere commitment to the NHS. However, Hannon's views are more than just a minor aberration - he has massive support and that's exactly why Dave can't discipline the man.

Now is no time for a novice (nor Brown). Cameron is in a lot of trouble here, I genuinely believe. God help us if Brown wins another 5 years.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think "Politician tells a lie" will make a big story?

And let's not overlook how dramatically waiting lists have changed, finally, after a lot of effort. Almost everybody is seen within 18 weeks.

Anonymous said...

It is a fair enough point, but Labour isn't full of members who think McDonnell is right - and a lot of them, a fairly hefty majority I would wager, remember McDonnell (as GLC Deputy Leader), Bennery and Livingstone etc. condemned them to 18 years in the wilderness and 18 years of "the hated Tories" and would repudiate them like a flash. If McDonnell did something stupid like this Labour Home and Labour List would be full of indignant types jumping down his throat.

Contrast with Hannan - Con Home is full of people saying good on ya - real Conservative principles - we only have to pretend to support the NHS because the fools support it. Helmer has jumped him to defend him.

It gives the very uneasy impression that there are a lot of people in our party who support an Americanised conservatism that is totally at odds with the Tory tradition, and that they have influence and power. In contrast no-one thinks McDonnell has any of that, or that anyone even listens to his formulaic "socialist" [sic] ranting.

I'm afraid 4 years of pushing Cameron and hoping everyone else will fall in behind, or at least be unnoticed, still isn't working. The right have never accepted, as Labour's left has, their wrongness and why & how they contribute to Tory failure.

Allan said...

Sorry, no. Hannan is/was the great white hope of the Tories. He has 2.5 million hits with his attack on Brown, his book with Douglas Carswell is plugged all over the blogosphere. It's a bit late to describe him as being a maverick now after 8 months of him being the boy who saw through the Emperor. Sorry, but Dave's mask has slipped somewhat.

Burnhams comments do have something of the pot/kettle about them, as dimminishing waiting lists contribute in themselves to rushed and inaccurate diagnosis.

Sorry, im not listening. Im watching the Factory Story on BBC 4.

Man in a Shed said...

Dan Hannan had a point.

There's plenty wrong with the NHS - and those who try to bully people into being to scared to say otherwise don't have good health outcomes of our fellow citizens at heart (and that's the real scandal).

Labour piled billions into an unreformed NHS - mostly to win elections and keep itself in power (and haven't some of them done very well personally out of it)- the waste and the lost opportunities that represents didn't bother them at all - just the ability to scream about Tories wanting to sack every teacher, doctor and nurse in the country as Blair and Brown did to their eternal shame in 2005.

Dimoto said...

The Republican party needs to just shut up ! They put up ludicrous candidates and lost the election. Accept it. Live with it.
Time for a bit of in-depth navel gazing, maybe a purge of the looney Neo-Con rump, not yet more dirty, lying propaganda.
I predict Labour will be just the same if they lose the next election - screaming hysterically from the side-lines. They will never be reconciled to losing power.

Hannan is a seriously weird bloke, all the signs are there. He makes Redwood look down-to-earth and normal. Telling, that he is a Euro MP not a Westminster MP.
The fact that the unreconstructed hang-'em and flog-'em crowd made Hannan the "darling of the right", and their candidate for leader, tells you all you need to know about these cretins !
Eventually, Cameron will have to deal harshly with these nutjob, subversive outriders, who seem to feel thay have a license to rant.
Getting the Brown-Mandelson gang out is just much too important to allow these ravers to jeopardise it.
Meanwhile, Davis is considered "unsound" (head banging smiley).

Soho Politico said...

I have no idea what Burnham may or may not have said about waiting lists on 5 Live, so no comments on that. But he certainly didn't say that the NHS is second in his affections only to Everton FC. He said that the NHS is 'an institution I will defend to my dying day, 2nd only to Everton FC'. So unless his wife considers herself to be an institution, she has nothing to be jealous about...

Lord Elvis of Paisley said...

It is a fact the the overall waiting time under Labour has increased despite the billions of pounds they have thrown at this bloated and inefficient black hole. Fact!

Anonymous said...

The difference between Hannan and Corbyn and McDonnell, is that the Labour MPs are not feted as rising stars of the party, invited to address conference on the basis of a single speech (to an empty and disinterested EU chamber) and generally been lauded by the leadership and the commentariat until now.

Dippyness. said...

I think Hannan's remarks on the NHS were despicable.
He deliberately assists the Republicans,in their attempts to terrify the US public into getting rid Obama's Health Care Reforms.
It's the equivalent of a US Senator coming to England, and saying the Queen is talking rubbish.
Hannan had no place going on US TV as a Tory party member to discuss their domestic politics.
As an intelligent person, Ian, you of all people should understand the damage he's done to the party. Let alone how badly this has reflected on the DC/Obma relationship.
From a very disaffected, possibly former Tory supporter. @sonofmuff

..Silicon Implant!! said...

Hannan has clearly become drunk on the constant fawning of the Faux news shock-jocks. I assume (but don't know) that Hannan isn't against the principle of healthcare free at the point of use, merely against the NHS as a delivery mechanism. Since nobody in the US legislature is proposing a clone of the NHS, or even a single payer healthcare system, and since the interests Fox represents are concerned with maintaining the status quo rather than supporting any kind of meaningful reform that impacts either the profitability or the liabilities of the health insurance industry, by popping up on Fox to slag off the NHS, Hannan appeared to be arguing that the US model of healthcare is superior to the NHS.

Which would clearly be insane. Unless your only metric is some kind of 'idealogical purity test' anyway.

Is Dan Hannan a pathological free-market ideologue prepared to sacrifice the lives of random members of his electorate on the altar of ideologically pure free market healthcare?

Or is he merely unable to resist the dubious charms of Glenn Beck at his most obsequious?

Anonymous said...

Whenever I feel like out political debates in the U.S. are sophomoric, I just come to blogs like yours, Conservative Home or the Daily Telegraph and read the comments. It always makes me feel better about my fellow Americans

Speaking of the Telegraph, have you seen this bit by David Millward?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/david-millward/6027945/Daniel-Hannan-is-wrong-about-the-NHS-America-has-it-much-worse.html

This guy writes a piece that is supposed to be a put down of the U.S. system and his example? Medicare! Our government run program! HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAA Talk about hanging yourself by your own petard! What a maroon.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has lived in the US for 16 years and been in the situation where I have had a) great healthcare benefits b)decent healthcare benefits but so poorly paid that I couldn't afford to make use of them and c) been uninsured and totally up the creek without a paddle, and as someone who would be dead if not for the NHS, there is a lot that I could write about the strengths and weaknesses of both and other systems, and where I would rather be if I got disease x, condition y, or functional problem z.

Daniel Hannan was right to warn the US against taking the bloated, taken-for-granted and poorly administrated NHS as it currently stands as a model, but erred in trashing socialized healthcare as unworkable. The NHS does require serious overhaul, but run correctly it could continue to be a stalwart for the sick in a recognizable form.

Andy Burnham, on the other hand, refuses to consider that the NHS has collossal, intrinsic problems that cannot possibly be resolved through political tinkering and massive cash injections.

Obama has yet another problem. He not only has to convince a hostile congress that socialized heathcare is desirable, but that it can be achieved, and not even cost neutrally. As a resident, I don't think it should even be contemplated without a commitment from the healthcare insurers and providers of a 25% reduction in actual costs to offset the uptake, in exchange for an end to frivolous lawsuits.

Elby the Beserk said...

Utter bollocks from Burnham. I had a wait of about 6 weeks for a hip op. And a wait of five months to GET ON THE WAITING LIST.

Liar.

This is all smokescreen shit. So Hannan has opinions of his own? We know Labour MPs are not allowed to have opinions of their own; and certainly, if they do, they must not air them or the wrath of Milly Molly Mandy and his MiniMe, Brown, will fall upon them.

Pathetic. UK FUBAR. End game.

Hurf Durf said...

"Stabbing the NHS in the back." I love it. Truly exposes the lunacy of your average Labour supporter. And it shows that the "compassionate conservatism" that Cameron will usher in when he becomes PM will not work either.

"From a very disaffected, possibly former Tory supporter."

Of course you are.

JuliaM said...

They are, of course, adept at wangling the figures so that they don't officially appear on waiting lists in the first place.

A friend of mine's husband neeeds to see a consultant, and has been told to ring up and book an appointment 'but not to ring before 11th September, because the system won't take bookings that far in advance'.

So he's waiting. But not officially. Good, eh?

JuliaM said...

"I can just imagine if A labour MP appeared on FOX news stabbing one of our most beloved institutions in the back."

Hmmm. 'I can just imagine if A labour MP appeared on FOX news stabbing one of my most beloved institutions in the back.'

FTFY

I've had experience of the NHS. I don't consider it 'beloved' any more than the Tube or the DVLA...

Johnny Norfolk said...

My son needs an operation. He saw his doctor and about 3 weeks later recieved a letter to say he is on the waiting list. If the NHS has no waiting lists his letter would have given him the date of his operation.
I look at the TV picture of NHS wards and they look terrible.
No one can tell me the NHS does not need to come up to date on how it runs things.

Quietzapple said...

No it isn't Iain.

And, while you and others may maunder on at greater length about redefinitions of "Waiting" - rather like a review of a surrealist play - the Big Story is Tories not being trustworthy with GB's most beloved institution.

Opinion Polls, please. (proper ones, reflecting a preference between a Labour and a Conservative Government)

http://quietzapple-musing.blogspot.com/2009/08/labour-44-or-conservative-42.html

jaybs said...

Hannan is totally eccentric and is not in line with the majority of the party on the NHS. If he was then a lot of us need to look for a new party quickly.

Yesterday I saw more anger than with the MP's expenses scandal and to think all that Hannan is just an MEP! nu labour must have got their PR Media machine fully racked up, yes they make small blunders like Burnham, but nothing like Hannan who is interested in nothing but himself and he has a small cult following who feel we can come to power without Change!

Quietzapple said...

@ Tom Harris: It is the context of the questioning which turns off our appreciation of the improvements in our standard and quality of life it seems:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/26/local-government-class-equality?plckFindCommentKey=CommentKey:e2887ff3-b3b2-480a-9e59-332fc2daa2af

Iain did sterling work distracting from the "Tories cannot be trusted with the NHS" main thrust of this story when he tried to concentrate on "Health, not NHS" and, true to his last, he persists.

Anonymous said...

i think the public now know the true labour party;
1 cant tell the truth,about anything
2 will spend their money with abandon,on their pals and quangos, with no concept of the cost.

the labour party got away with this stuff for 10 years and have convinced themselves it will work again.

it wont we are all broke and cynical.
and it is their fault.

talwin said...

Nice to be offered further hints at the private lives and priorities of our wonderful and deeply respected politicians.

Not too long ago we were hearing of Burnham's suggestion that his wife would divorce him if he didn't get his expenses (£16+k for renovations, including a new kitchen. Oh, and a bathrobe from IKEA).

Divorce him merely for not getting his exes. PDQ? No wonder he prefers Everton!

Glyn H said...

I think everyone has missed the point – surely it is a given that as we were the first to introduce a ‘health system’ there are flaws (quite apart from the wasted Brown firehose-money experiment) and later models work better. Hannan was not saying we should abandon the NHS but that starting 60 years on one would not chose to do it in a 1948 way. However one can rely on the malevolent and incompetant and dishonourable gang of nobodies who are today’s labour party to distort this, and the wall-to-wall BBC coverage tells us that as yet they have not given up the effort to re-elect a Socialist government.

golden_balls said...

your headline splash is so desperate iain. Hannan has shown a lack of judgement by going public especially on american tv but most tories agree with him.

It won't damage the tories in the polls but if labour can show theres two parties the real conservatives and the cameron conservatives its one angle that could work.

Anonymous said...

I had a terrific NHS experience yesterday. Having seen my GP on Thursday about a lump in my throat I was told to get a scan at the Royal London Hospital. So I phoned up to make an appointment, noting the "you will have an appointment within 24 hours" promise in large black letters on my referral form. After about 2 dozen attempts to get through to the correct department I was told "we can't give you an appointment over the phone as you have to be assessed first. Protocols, you see..." So I left work early on Friday (hours I'll have to make up today)to catch the scan department before it closed for the week (5pm, natch). "I'd like to make an appointment please." "Sorry love, I really don't have time to sort that out now. Leave your form with me and I'll get around to it some time next week." "I was told I need an assessment first?". "Oh no, we don't have anyone to do that. When I look at your form I'll make an appointment and sent it to you in the post." "But..." "Sorry love, I'm really too busy now."

I realised why it took me 2 dozen phone calls to get through to the department earlier - there were 3 people on reception who didn't bother answering the phone when it rang the couple of times whilst I was there, and who didn't seem to be doing anything at all. Other than telling me they were too busy to do their job and fix me an appointment.

So the scan department claims to give you a scan within 24 hours. I will not even know when my scan it to happen until "some time next week", if ever. Am I on a waiting list then? I don't even know that. All I do know is that after yesterday's experiences, first thing Monday morning I'm finding a private specialist - a lump in my throat isn't something I'm willing to risk leaving to the NHS.

This is the reality. People with any sense of customer service, efficiency or value for money will realise that the NHS in its current form is unworkable. People like Burnham and Prescott are just fantasists who refuse to deal with the problem and then, to their shame, refuse to even debate it in a sensible way.

Quietzapple said...

@ Johnny Norfolk

No doubt you will update us as to how long your son has to wait for his treatment.

I had to wait 3 days before I received the letter telling me of my appointment, and - begorra - another 3 weeks in the summer to see the quack.

As some loon waiting for attention best not divulged remarked;

"The waiting list for me to get what I want has never been up to much."

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit nonplussed as to how this argument seems to be developing.

No health system is anything like 'free', all have to be paid for.

The NHS is indeed an excessively bureaucratic mess which delivers large numbers of pointless 'lifestyle' treatments (IVF, tattoo removal) as well as providing dirty hospitals and expensive but useless government-driven IT systems. But it does, just about treat most people for most complaints. It just doesn't do it well or efficiently, nor does it in any way distinguish those who ought to be treated (taxpayers and their direct dependents and people from countries with reciprocal arrangements) from those who, rationally have worked out that this is a system which will treat them free and they might as well make use of it even though they never have, nor ever will contrinbute to its running costs.

The US health system is a mix of the very good and the pretty poor.

Neither system is as good as the better continental European systems such as France or Germany, nor as effective as smaller scale operations such as that in Singapore.

So what are the biggest problems in each system?

The US system has the virtue of making the cost of health care visible so that the delusional nonsense about the 'free' quality of the British system is not obscured. However, the cost of the US system are grossly inflated by the corrupt and opressive legal system which imposes huge liability insurance costs on medical staff and hostpitals which is also paid for by users of the system. This is, I suppose, augmented by vast numbers of unnecessary test and procedeures which have the single 'benefit' of forestalling lawsuits.

Since the Democratic party is funded to a vast degree by this corrupt strain in society there is a requirement that the Republican party, at some point, takes on the lawyers as Margaret Thatcher did the unions in the 1980s.

In the UK, the Labour party is also highly dependent on the NHS consituency for votes and is wedded to a 1944 ideology which is as irrelevant now as sugar rationing. By the usual means of extending the meaning of well-meaning (and probably relevant) statements from that era, coupled with a wilful blind-eye turning to problems and a hysterical Harman-like reaction to any questioning of effectiveness or efficiency - especially when coupled with the propaganda ministry which the BBC now is - we end up with an ever more expensive, ever less efficient system. Finally, by dodging responsibility for restrcting non-wage costs by setting up "independent" assessors such as NICE, the government washes its hands of any respopnsibility for the nastier outcomes.

Neither system is 'the best', outcomes demonstrate this. The USA at least has some outstanding treatment but delivered at massively lawyer-inflated cost. The NHS is little more than a bloated vote and propaganda factory for Labour where the truth is regarded as something to be suppressed in a mass of lies, smear, intimidation and propaganda.

Which is better? Dr Johnson, in another context said "Sir, there is no settling the point of precedency between a louse and a flea."

Both are bad, both need fundamental reform, both need active and open discussion, and not on the terms being thrown about today.

Anonymous said...

This post is just a bit desparate - it demonstrates that your loyalty is to defend Hannan and take the heat off cameron). BUt what you could say is "Dan Hannan is clearly wrong - his right wing, free market approach to healthcare is not appropriate, his views are clearly abhorrent to the vast majority of the British public, who support the basic principles of the NHS, and Mr Cameron should withdrawe the whip from him"
The fact that you dont - probably indicates that Mr Hannan's views are not so eccentric as Mr Cameron would have us believe. Cameron can deal with this now - withdraw the whip from Hannan - failure to do so just shows how frit he is of the wider conservative party and the right wing in his ranks.

JMB said...

"Every party has mavericks, people who attract controversy and who put forward uncomfortable ideas."

At least the Conservative Party does not make them Deputy Leader!

Neil A said...

I am a little sick and tired of left-leaning contributors telling me that "most Tories agree with Hannan" and "most Tories want to abolish the NHS". On what basis do they make these claims? Because a self-selecting sample of a dozen right-leaning contributors refuse to completely denounce Hannan? I assure you that the vast majority of normal Tories in this country support the NHS. They may grumble about aspects of it, and certainly don't see it as perfect, but Tory support for free healthcare is absolutely rock-solid. Cameron's statements on the NHS are not just PR, they reflect the settled will of the bulk of his party.

It's a bit like saying "don't vote Labour because most Labour supporters secretly want to abolish the monarchy". There is certainly a lot of republicanism in the Labour party, and a massive amount of sniping and moaning about the Royals, but the bulk of Labour supporters are rock-solid behind Her Majesty.

norman said...

I would have believed anything Jeremy Carbyn says had he not sent his sons to a selective grammar school in Barnet miles away from his home. He gives an excuse that his wife lives separated from him and lives in Barnet! What a hyprocrite!

norman said...

Andy Burnham when he says there are no waiting lists in NHs should be referring to the kidney stone key hole treatment that Lord Sleaze received the very next day of developing the pain. Burnham is saying ,if I norman, develop the same pain, Lord Darzi would arrive to examine me, drive me to St Mary's Hospital for check up and arrange a key hole surgery the very next day.

Anonymous said...

My only real experience of the NHS is when my sister got cancer, and my mother Altzheimer's. In the first case NHS waiting lists would have been terminal, and in the second case the lavishly funded (and correspondingly arrogant) GP has never even paid a visit.

I do however recall a medical secretary ringing me (when she had a suspected stroke) to say it was a long time since he had seen her and so he was not going to speak to me.

It is tempting to resent being forced to pay the wages of such useless bastards, but tax payer funded BBC journalists on private health schemes urge me to vilify anybody who criticizes the NHS, so I am guessing the system works for them.

Then again the Left have always rejected free speech and individual choice. Just keep paying them and be grateful for what you get in return seems to be their motto.

Allan said...

Anonymous (15/8 - 9:30am)-

"Since the Democratic party is funded to a vast degree by this (ambulance chasers) corrupt strain in society"

And the Republicans aren't funded by the healthcare companies desperate to preserve the status quo, which has devivered them hansome rewards.

You are right though, no system is perfect. Ours after 30 years of tinkering by free marketeers (like er... Hannan most of the Blair ministers) and who believe if it's big and in the public sector it is obviously bloated and unmanagable, and needs to be cut down to size, regardless of whether it was working perfectly well or not.

Hannan horror said...

Reality bites. Hannan attacked a great British institution on a foreign news channel. If he attacked our armed services would you not feel compelled to respond or would you hide behind teh same unconvincing rationalisations and peevishness? Have you people no sentiment? No backbone? YOu really feel nothing when the likes of O'Reilly and Beck diss our country for thei rown ends? Shame on you.

I loathe Brown and the Labour Party. I think he's borderline insane but what Hannan did was despicable and cowardly.

Thank God Cameron gets it.

norman said...

The NHS ayotollahs of Labour Party
are howling in protest. The next they will blame Tories creating 2-tier system forgetting that they are creating 2-tiers in all possible ways. I do not drive, my neighbour a NHS ayotollah who supports Labour party drives his Merdedes, I sent my son to local school and he sent his to a selective grammar tens of miles away, I do not subscribe to Sky TV and he has his subscription, I live in a flat and he in a semidetached house, I walk for my exercise, he has his subscription in an expensive gym, I read when I have leisure and he owns a horses in a Herts stable and rides them. He sneers at me because I have private medical insurance!!! That is Labour supporter for you.

John Green said...

Anyone disatisfied with the NHS can opt to pay for private treatment.

Can't understand why all you moaners don't have private health insurance.

What's that, can't afford it?

Tough luck. Just have to keep on moaning and whining then.

Keep on spewing out misinformation and expecting others to accept it as fact.

Quietzapple said...

Amusing that Cameron's idea of a reprimand is to describe Hannan as "eccentric" while the EPP-ED Euro-Parliamentary faction to which the Tories formerly belonged expelled him for a bit of disrespect a while back.

Hannan writes leaders and blogs for the Daily Telegraph, and together with Douglas Carswell has some influence in the Tory Party.

I suggest that Cameron would not dare . . .

trevorsden said...

As a couple of posters have pointed out there are still waiting lists and so Burnham is talking bollocks. There is no such thing as a free lunch and the downsifde of the NHS is that there probably always will be waiting lists of some kind and the sensible thing would be to accept that as a small price to pay.

Hannan has a following - no; people enjoyed his public attack on Brown. That does not mean he has a following, before the EU parliament speech no one had heard of him.
I enjoyed his speech - I deplore his foray into American politics - it shows him to be an idiot, a loose cannon.

Re - free at the point of use and tax.

It is free. You do not pay proportional to the cost of service. You could have a cut finger stiched or undergo years of chemotherapy - no difference in cost and no charge.

In effect you pay an insurance premium and lets face it you pray to be healthy and never to have to use the service. If you had insurance and then had a hear bypass or some such - just watch your premiums go up.

So please get your facts straight. Anyone can have an opinion and an argument - but it is facile if you do not base it on facts.

It is fair enough to have an opinion on the NHS but when as many do it becomes a proxy for other things (from the left and the right) it becomes sickening.

Anonymous said...

Hannan is correct.

The NHS is crap. The idea of an NHS is good, the coalface workforce of the NHS are good but the NHS as a whole is CRAP.

Why we defend such a CRAP health service beggars belief.

davidc said...

'It's a bit like railway services - very few people accept the fact that punctuality has much improved since 12 years ago, because culturally, we just can't bring ourselves to accept good news.'

railway punctuality has improved by, for example,extending the period between when arrival is timetabled and when 'lateness' starts from 5 minutes to 10 minutes and rescheduling the timetable so journeys now take longer than 100 years ago

other examples are ambulances held in car parks so the 4 hour a & e admission/treatment time is not
exceeded,waiting times only starting after seeing a consultant not when first referred to a consultant by a gp and describing trollys as beds.

Bedfordshire Beacon said...

A much bigger story was in the Express though completely missed or ignored.

According to the Express: Squads of officers will carry out door-to-door interviews to weed out potential threats to the Labour Party Conference in Brighton next month.

Home owners and workers will have to produce passports, birth certificates, driving licences, proof of employment, and even provide the names of referees to show they are of good character.
They will also be quizzed on their religion to see if they have connections with Muslim fanatics.

Senior officers say the exercise, codenamed Operation Otter, is necessary at a time of heightened international security. But it has been met with outrage from local residents.

During the conference, from September 27 to October 1, police will seal off a secure “island site” around the Brighton Centre, Hilton Metropole, Grand Hotel and Russell Road car park.

Letters have already been sent to businesses and homes which will be affected.

Superintendent Grenville Wilson of Sussex Police said: “It’s so we know who’s living within the area.”

Why did no-one think this was a big story?

Anonymous said...

As Dan seems to have gone to ground, perhaps you'd like to comment on this?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/the-brutal-truth-about-americarsquos-healthcare-1772580.html

Anonymous said...

Elby the Berserk & JuliaM, I can concur with your experiences. I am recovering from a knee op. Officially, I waited a mere 8 weeks. In truth, I waited 8 months; the figure quoted during the Daniel Hannan interview on Fox. After 4 months, I returned to my GP, incredulous that I was back to square one. He merely laughed. That's how the NHS operates, he said. Interestingly, on my first visit, he gave his diagnosis & predicted the date of the operation with complete accuracy. It's all lies & spin. The NHS needs an overhaul but Labour are incapable of doing this. After all, they've had 12 years to do so. I voted for them in 1997 with such high hopes. What a disgracful bunch they have proved to be.

Anonymous said...

As a tory voter who uses the NHS I must admit that it is so much better than years ago.I also believe the targets that are set for operations and a&e are correct. Does that make me a socialist?

JuliaM said...

"A much bigger story was in the Express though completely missed or ignored.

According to the Express: Squads of officers will carry out door-to-door interviews to weed out potential threats to the Labour Party Conference in Brighton next month.

Why did no-one think this was a big story?"


I read that, and like you, expected it to be made more of...

Alan Douglas said...

It is even more "unpatriotic" to foist these lies on the British public - The NHS is the envy of the world, etc.

Don't the Brits deserve something that really IS the best ? Not just spin claiming it so ? Reminds me of John Hurt in "1984".

Alan Douglas

norman said...

John Green

"Anyone disatisfied with the NHS can opt to pay for private treatment.
Can't understand why all you moaners don't have private health insurance.
What's that, can't afford it?
Tough luck. Just have to keep on moaning and whining then"

I have private insurance for my family with a non-profit insurance company with its HQ in Tunbridge Wells. We are not rich. We joined when the company waived all pre-conditions as a promotion 20 years ago. The premium increase is about 12% per year and it costs 3 of us about £2000 per year. We save this by not eating out,not taking foreign holidays and watching other expenses. for consultations and treatment, that is in London and we have a choice of all private and NHS hopsitals. No treatment so far has been refused. My GP is particularly happy with this arrangement as it does not put pressure on him in relation to referrals under NHS, and he feels that he can give us better care which he does. When my son was a child and was treated in a famous children's hospital in London under NHS, our consultant there looking at list for the emergency diagnostics and in-patient admission asked us to go private using our insurance freeing the space in the list so that he could move another child up the queue. That child and my son both were benefitted.

Anonymous said...

Waiting times have been improved because you are taken in and then lie on a urine drenched trolley in a corridor staring at the blood splattered floor wondering whether you should have put up with the broken arm for fear of dying from MRSA.

Thre NHS is not a sacred cow. It costs a hell of a lot of money - 'free at point of contact' - just paid for in advance and ever after!

Morale is at all time low in the NHS as it is elsewhere because of such poor management.

We are bankrupt, education standards are worse, the gap between rich and poor wider, MANY more people not in work, the Union Jack dragged through the blood and sand of the Midlle East and they have the nerve to say 'Everyting is fine - waiting lists are down'.

I don't know if it's possible to explode with hatred without explosives but I must be getting there.

Little Black Sambo said...

Tom Harris: "punctuality has much improved since 12 years ago" - just remind us, Tom, what happened 12 years ago that improved punctuality so much. What are you hinting at?

Quietzapple said...

Amusing that anyone gives credence to the Daily Get Much Worse in the week in which they admitted they made some story or another up, AND they paid the McCanns libel damages and Greenslade has pointed out their fundamentally deceitful nature:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2009/aug/12/richard-desmond-express-newspapers

The NHS around here isn't much like the horror story people trouble to peddle on some blogs.

Not really all that dramatic, but then we don't all hallucinate Express stories first thing on a saturday.

Anyone remember the story where the Express owned up this week?

Oh, and Iain, will you be featuring the Cherie Blair libel succes at all?

Bristol Geezer said...

When I hurt my back not long ago, I received an appointment for a scan within no time at all. This was followed within 2 weeks by an appointment at a pain clinic to see a pain specialist. I had excellent treatment that I cannot fault in any way.

I have worked in Germany, and used the healthcare system there. My treatment in the NHS campared favourably.

genghiz the kahn said...

According to the Mirror Brown has been to a private dentist for 20 years - see article from March 12 2007.

MRSA and New Labour working together to cut hosptial waiting lists.

norman said...

For those Kirkcaldy Brown sympathisers ( he spent a lot of money seeing a private dentist. If he can see a private dentist what is the problem if I see a consultant privately?), the bog story is when the Home Secretary Johnson said (sic) " I do not lose sleep on the numbers of immigrants coming in". Hannan is a backbencher and Johnson is the Home Secretary and the numbers who are coming in have impact over public services, includin NHS. Not all of them pay taxes.

Hurf Durf said...

Most Labour members deep down are mouthbreathing Marxists who, if given the chance, would nationalise everything nailed down and seize all my money and hand it over to the Gallagher family. Gordy Brown also already kicked higher levels of income tax to 50%. Why should I risk my prosperity? Clearly, my vote should never ever be with Labour.

Hurf Durf said...

"great British institution"
"most beloved GB institution"
Etc etc. The amount of fucking hubris about something with the same status as Royal Mail and the DVLA is just cringeworthy. "Envy of the world" they say, which is why no one else has copied it. The worst fucking part are the idiots who say it's Britain's "greatest contribution." Not parliamentary democracy or free trade or the world wide web or the tank. Unbelievable fucking hubris for the party of not just envy but now fear. Fear, fear, fear. We can't do fuck all right in terms of governing but oh those nasty Tories. Never mind you've had 12 straight years to do something.

But of course, it has nothing to do with public care. There's still a heavy Attleeite-Socialist bent of the party that wants to suck up everything and regards the NHS as their precious jewel in a crown long since melted down. If the NHS is ever altered in anyway, Labour has no legacy. They will have had fifty years of bugger all and failure.

Labour can suck my nut all night long.

King Athelstan said...

What a load of crap! I Know the steaming brownies are desperate defunct and delinquent, but this kind of cack is fooling nobody. Everyone has their own experiences of the NHS ( Mine are largely positive, but many people down the road in Stafford will tell you a different story,)on this they will base their opinions. To suggest that an MEPs comments mean the tories will abolish the NHS is plumbing new depths.

sickened said...

You guys are craven, Hannan toadies to Fox news , dissing his own country and stabbing its institutions in the back and and you just take it? What on earth?

In case you're totally oblivious here's proof positive of what a flake Beck is:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-august-13-2009/glenn-beck-s-operation


I'm proud of my country and resent uninformed foreigners and blowhards belittling us. YOu lot are spinless quizzlings.

And I WILL be voting for Cameron. He's a great and sane leader, far superior to Brown , and a patriot,

JuliaM said...

"Labour can suck my nut all night long."

I doubt they could manage to even get that right, do you?

Paleo said...

No waiting lists eh? So why 18 months later am I still waiting for a NHS dentist then?

It doesn't add up... said...

Patriotism is the last refuge of defenders of the NHS.

Unsworth said...

@ Hurf Durf

Excellent.

One small query - 'nut' or 'nuts'? Or are you some sort of NHS Victim? And, despite the stunningly pretty Mr Burham's blandishments (or cretinous assertions, take your pick) there are quite a few of those.

Flemingcrag said...

With all this sudden interest in the NHS you would have thought the Mid-Staffordshire hospital that saw 400+ of its patients die in what has been described in a report as disgraceful confusion and neglect would have got a mention.
This seems to have been air-brushed out of history but, against the might of the State and an indifferent NHS management, the relatives of the victims who were so badly treated in this monolithic organisation that Gordon Brown tweeters so favourably about fight a lone battle for truth and justice.

My safe bet is none of these relatives have been twittering favourable comment about a hospital that was so obsessed with ticking boxes to acheive the sacred cow of Government bestowed Trust status that they neglected and abused their patients, many to the point of death. The irony, despite the many avoidable deaths Mid-Staffordshire got their much cherished Trust status.

Thatsnews said...

12 years of Labour and we get THIS
http://www.curethenhs.co.uk/site/content_home.php

Stafford General Hospital.

Auntie Flo' said...

"the waiting list situation is unrecogniseable (in a positive way) compared with any period under the Tories is unarguable" (Tom Harris)

It's unrecognisable alright:
45 weeks to 48 weeks wait for hearing aids, without which a profoundly to severely deaf person like me can't live or work. You call that an improvement, Tom?

I waited around two months for my first two NHS hearing aids under a Conservative government. The service was excellent. Now the wait is almost a year on average and some deaf people wait well over a year. Deaf people just don't exist for your government do they?

That's why so many deaf people like me are now forced to pay up to £5000 for two hearing aids from private audiologists, because we have no choice.

I strongly support our NHS, that's why I want a government running it who can begin to sort out the mess it's in now.

Nigel said...

It doesn't really matter what Hannan's actual views on healthcare are - and it's clear that many of those commenting here don't even have a very clear idea of what he said in the US interviews, let alone the details of the Singapore model which he favours.

But going on Fox in the middle of a bitter US debate on healthcare policy, in which the NHS has become something of a political football, making disobliging comments about the NHS, and then going off on holiday, amount to an act of exceptional political stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Messing with the NHS is political suicide. If the objective is to win the next election then there needs to be unequivocal and unambiguous support for it from the Tories.

When I read various Conservative blog sites thats not the impression I'm getting.

Ditching a loon like Daniel Hannan to win am election is a tiny price to pay I think, because this issue has all the potential to backfire on the conservatives in a massive way.

Anonymous said...

The Tories are complicit in the deceit. They also speak about "the NHS" knowing full well that the UK Parliament only decides upon health matters for England.

Tories, Labour and Lib Dems care more for their filfthy careers than they do about the health of their own constituents.

Do MPs have subsidised private health insurance, like BBC employees enjoy special private health insurance rates, which ensures they get similar health care benefits the Scots receive at English taxpayers' largesse?

There is now the Scottish Health Service, the inferior English Health Service, and the Welsh Health Service.

In the case of Welsh patients, the English pay for treatment for the Welsh in English hospitals that is denied to the English, because the Welsh Assembly refuses to cough up for the bills.

The Tories will continue to disadvantage and mislead the English, for the sake of terminally ill 'Union'.

Gary Elsby stoke said...

If I could have one wish before the run in to the 2010 General Election it would be:

Fox Hunting.
Grorge Osborne.
Daniel Hannan.

I'm not asking too much but this is a polite request for loyal Conservatives everywhere, to keep these stories on the boil.

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaase!