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Saturday 17 January 2015

Mail NHS Mardy Strop Continues

When Hinchingbrooke Hospital, near Huntingdon, was placed in special measures following a damning Care Quality Commission (CQC) report, and its private sector operator Circle Health threw in the towel, this left the Daily Mail with egg very firmly on face: the Mail had previously run an article showering praise on the place, and especially on Circle. The legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre would not let this one pass.
What's f***ing wrong with kicking Labour on the NHS, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay

And so today the Mail ran a characteristically thundering front page headline, “How Left sabotaged NHS success story … LABOUR’s PRIVATE HOSPITAL STITCH-UP”. This supposed series of revelations, by the happiest of coincidences, confirms the earlier Mail story, published just after news broke that Circle were quitting Hinchingbrooke, which made heavy hints that there had been some kind of “stitch-up”.

Sadly, though, this is another in the series of nudge-and-wink hatchet jobs which reached its nadir with the bizarre assault on David Bell just before the Leveson Report was published. He had been an advisor to the process. And one look at the bullet point list from the Mail story reveals an equivalent level of desperation: “A doctor employed by the hospital is the area's Labour MP candidate”. Er, hello?

Labour’s candidate for Crewe and Nantwich, Adrian Heald, is a doctor at Leighton Hospital. So what? Does being a doctor forbid one from having opinions? The body of the article shows the same desperation: “Individuals who helped draw up the CQC’s damning report have close ties to the Labour Party and unions which oppose NHS privatisation”. Drink in the same pub? Wear red ties? Walk on the cracks in the pavement?

There’s more: “The watchdog’s lead inspector, Dr Jonathan Fielden, was previously a senior member of the doctors’ trade union, the British Medical Association, and has warned of the dangers of privatisation”. Got any evidence of malpractice? No, thought not. Try again: “A second inspector, Dr Nigel Sturrock, has been associated with the Keep Our NHS Public group”. Still no evidence of malpractice, then.

MPs whose constituents include hospital staff and patients are urging the Health Secretary to begin an inquiry into the inspection”. Wrong on two counts: it’s one person, and it’s an MEP, not an MP. Then comes the casual innuendo: “I can further reveal … equally rum … some experts smell a rat … Who might these people with agendas be?” Oh I dunno, how about Daily Mail hacks trying to make facts fit their editor’s diktat?

We even get a “Read into that what you will”. Much of the text is guarded by quotation marks. We hear from “a source”, who is not identified. Readers are told that one of those being smeared “popped up in the Guardian”, a heinous crime in Daily Mail land. And there is the all-knowing nudge-nudgery of “We must take them at their word”.

This is just another lame attempt, ordered by Paul Dacre - and supported by Daily Mail Comment, his authentic voice - at self-justification. It’s lame, it’s crap, and it won’t work.

1 comment:

ashie said...

It's just them covering up their embarrassment at that ridiculous puff-piece they ran last May.