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Sunday 21 April 2013

Smearing Stafford Hospital

Yesterday afternoon, there was a march from the centre of Stafford to the town’s hospital, in support of retaining a full range of clinical services there, including A&E and Maternity. This may not sound significant until the numbers are considered: at least 30,000 turned up, which is one in four of the borough’s population. The Town Square took 45 minutes to clear as the march departed.
What the f***'s wrong with going private, c***?!?

The struggle to retain Stafford Hospital in its current form has potential ramifications for many other towns across the country, even in the capital, as has been seen with the controversy over attempts to downgrade Lewisham Hospital, one of those local issues which contributed to London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson getting such a hard time at a nearby Q&A event recently.

The idea of a town having access to its own hospital, however, cuts no ice with the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre at the Mail, especially as most of them go private and are therefore easily susceptible to being used to kick the NHS. Dacre’s ideal model for healthcare is that from the USA, because he spent some years there, and in his eyes it can do no wrong.

But the Mail does not allow this to intervene, as it refers to Stafford Hospital as “scandal-hit” and then follows up with the news that it has been put into administration, without telling why. Nor is any space given to the problems the locals would have if services were transferred to Stoke-on-Trent, Cannock, or Wolverhampton, which is what is being proposed.

And nor is any space given over to discuss other moves to move facilities, or force patients to travel further for treatment, or even to access A&E. With Lewisham just a few miles’ trip across London, one might expect even the Mail to be able to spare the time of its staff to do some real investigative journalism, but on this subject they have been silent. At least they are consistent.

That consistency of approach is to treat the NHS as something to be demonised, with anyone disadvantaged by reorganisation ignored, unless and until they become useful to the Mail to push its “private good, public bad” agenda. So there’ll be more attempts to scare readers from going near hospitals, while the clear message from yesterday’s march is dismissed as inconvenient.

Then Dacre wonders why his pundits get laughed at. No change there, then.

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