14 April 2007

NuLab's NHS

Have you seen the report in The Times about the hospital in Birmingham that has been reusing dirty bed sheets instead of giving clean linen to every patient in a bid to reduce its annual laundry bill?  Bringing the vast saving of just 0.275 pence for every sheet re-used, the hospital recorded 36 cases of MRSA in the nine months to January.  Talk about penny-pinching – yet, this is the kind of lengths that professional doctors and nurses have been driven to by ten years of incompetence and mismanagement under NuLabour!  Lengths that, once again, are directly putting people's lives at risk.

You may recall the story last month about a crisis in maternity care that has caused a record number of women to die or be harmed as a result of childbirth.  Well, the NHS Blog Doctor picks up the story with a lot more detail.  Commenting on Patricia Hewitt's response to a recent article in the Guardian on maternity care, the blogosphere's Dr Crippen notes, "That a Cabinet minister, responsible for one of the most important government departments, should be replying personally to articles in a newspaper is a sign of desperation. That the reply should be so breathtakingly duplicitous both demeans her office and calls her probity into question. I suppose we should be used to it by now."  It's quite a long post but worth the read.  He concludes:

Patricia Hewitt’s reply might be acceptable from a government which had been in power for ten weeks. They have been in power for ten years. The time has passed for more promises of more action to be taken in the future.

After ten years, the people of this country are entitled to ask not what will be done, but why it has not already been done.
We are desperately short of midwives

We are short of medically trained obstetricians

We are short of maternity units.

We may be doing better than Chad, but more mothers and babies are dieing during or shortly after labour since this government came to power.

This truly is new labour.
Sunday UPDATE: A Royal College of Nursing report, Our NHS - Today and Tomorrow, is also warning that the NHS debt crisis is "real and entrenched" and claims that 22,300 health jobs have been lost in the last 18 months and almost three-quarters of newly-qualified nurses have been unable to secure jobs. When's the rot going to stop?