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A small item in a recent edition of the British Medical Journal unintentionally revealed the state of modern England.

When MP’s asked the Chief Executive of NHS England, Sir David Nicholson, how many managers had been made redundant and then rehired as a result of the latest reorganisation of the NHS, he replied:

In terms of on NHS England, as far as we know – and we employ
over 5000 people – no one has been rehired after taking a redundancy
package by NHS England.

He admitted, however, that no one would know exactly how many people had been made redundant and then rehired somewhere in the NHS as a result of the reorganisation,

‘CCGs [clinical commissioning groups*] do not collect that information in the same kind of way. I don’t have that information.’

In fact he doesn’t have it approximately, let alone exactly, because no one has an interest in knowing it; everyone, rather, has an interest in not knowing it.

Everyone who has worked in the NHS is familiar with redundancy payments to managers as a prelude to their promotion elsewhere in the service, irrespective of whether or not a reorganisation is taking place. (Reorganisations are necessary before the failure of the last reorganisation becomes incontrovertible.) Ever since Mrs Thatcher introduced general management into the NHS, it has been inexhaustible well for bureaucratic looting and self-enrichment.

Asked to comment on the remarks of Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the NHS in England, that ‘some’ of the highest paid bureaucrats in the NHS deserved their salaries, with the obvious implication that many or most did not, Sir David said:

We are talking about some of the biggest and most significant
transformational change that the NHS has ever seen and we do
need really good, top drawer people to lead that. If we constantly
denigrate and criticise them, it’s hardly surprising that they respond to that.

Would a man with both a clear mind and a clear conscience use such language, which is both defensive and imprecise? Would a man with nothing to hide say, ‘There was a system set up by government (not by me)…’ Are we not entitled to expect that the highly-paid chief executive of an organisation employing so many people at such great public expense should be able at the least to speak clearly, concisely and to the point?
Alas for England, le style est l’homme meme. One might go further: the style is the country itself.

*Ed Note: Clinical Commissioning Groups are nationwide committees of doctors and bureaucrats who decide what medical services the NHS

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