Coming just a few days after the superbug scandal at the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Hospital NHS Trust and the admission that 20 hospitals have worse infection rates than Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells is the lastest in a series of revelations about the sub-standard level of care in the NHS.
The Healthcare Commission has just published its Annual Health Check, and the findings make grim reading. As the Times points out, the report finds that one in four hospital trusts across the country is still failing to meet basic standards of hygiene and infection control.
On ConservativeHome, Patrick Barbour rightly argues that political management has failed the victims of superbugs. He writes:
"Imagine if a care home in the private sector had over 90 deaths due to negligence. But will anything happen here, where the NHS is run by ever-changing politicians, who lack management experience and knowledge of healthcare?
"The Secretary of State, the three Ministers and two Parliamentary Undersecretaries have made up the top three levels of the NHS over the last 10 years. Yet they have virtually no management experience, no in-depth knowledge of the NHS and they frequently change their jobs.
"Alan Johnson, the current Secretary of State for Health, is typical. Before becoming an MP he worked in the Communication Workers Union, a position for which no healthcare expertise was needed. Since he was first appointed to a ministerial position eight years ago he has been a minister at the DTI and at the DfES and a Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the DTI and the DfES before moving to the Department of Health. That’s more than six jobs in eight years, in four very different departments. How does any of this equip him to run one of the largest and most complex organisations in the Western world? It doesn’t.
"We will continue to have a Health Service which is ranked as 18th out of 19 developed countries by the British Medical Journal as long as politicians continue to manage the Health Service."