Following on from the widely-reported failues of the NHS to tackle hospital superbugs comes the news that one in three NHS trusts is struggling financially. How is this possible? The NHS now consumes around £100 billion a year, a threefold increase in the last decade.
We can only repeat that this failure is not surprising given that the NHS is run by politicians who lack management experience and detailed knowledge of healthcare and who are in their posts for too short a time to make a real difference. Health Secretary Alan Johnson is the fifth Health Secretary in ten years, and, as Patrick Barbour pointed out on ConservativeHome last week, has no experience of heathcare at all. The problems in the NHS are therefore not going to go away, no matter how much money the service continues to receive.
At the same time, the NHS's culture of secrecy shows no signs of abating. Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, which was at the centre of the recent hospital infections scandal, has just refused to disclose how much it has given its chief executive, Rose Gibb, in a payoff. This is the same payoff that Health Secretary Alan Johnson has ordered be suspended pending a police investigation into whether Miss Gibb, and other senior managers and board members in the Trust, should be charged with manslaughter over the superbug outbreaks.
What a disgrace.