Home > Socialism, Terrible Tories > Tory hypocrisy and the reality of NHS care

Tory hypocrisy and the reality of NHS care

Here’s top Tory knob Iain Dale revelling in the fact that the quality of care in the NHS, which a previous Conservative administration did so much to destroy through its ‘managerial’ approach, is not as good as it should be:

‘All this is the result of the tick box mentality which Labour has instilled into NHS managers. As long as boxes are ticked, a hospital can be classified as ‘good’, even if standards of cleanliness and patient care leave a lot to be desired.’

This is the same Iain Dale who was recently railing against nurses having degrees, and displaying both a rank ignorance and a crass arrogance about nursing while doing so.   It’s to be noted that, while he’s happy to talk crap again on the subject of the NHS, he hasn’t had the courtesy to respond to the informed comments on his original post, from frontline nurses like Anne at Militant Medical Nurse who actually know what they are talking about, and who set out, for example:

‘Hospitals with a higher proportion of degree educated nurses at the bedside rather than health care assistants have a lower mortality rates. It’s been researched to death.’

So let’s be clear.  Dale is stupid and wrong when he whines on about it being Labour’s ‘tick box mentality’ which leads to dirty wards and patients receiving inadequate care. 

Certainly the audit culture that has grown since the 1980s does nothing to resolve the problems, but the MAIN REASONS for problems in wards are:

a) the wards are chronically understaffed, with not enough trained nurses per patient;

b) the terms and conditions of cleaning staff have been reduced to such an extent that cleaning of wards is not as good as it was, because they have less time.

The audit-based, target-driven excesses of New Labour are nothing more than a variant to the managerialism driven through the NHS under the Thatcher and then (more notably) the Major governments.  At the root of both of them is the exploitation of the NHS workforce, and a disregard for the reality of what happens on the ward. 

Dale’s hypocrisy, and the logic of his position, is spelt out by one of his commenters, for whom the solution to the latest revelations is not better staffing ratios, but to:

‘privatise the NHS’.

If people like Dale are actually interested in patient care, rather than just revelling in a new bad news story for Labour, they could do with listening to and engaging with people who actually do the caring and the cleaning, and who’d actually quite like to do more of it.

Note:  I’ll be coming back to these issues in more detail, but in the meantime I do highly recommend Anne at Militant Medical Nurse, who calls it as she sees it and does it very well.  Start with her most recent post on changes on ‘Why Nursing Care has changed’ and go backwards.

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Categories: Socialism, Terrible Tories
  1. November 29, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    It’s rich for the Tories to be yammering about a tick box mentality don’t you think?

  2. November 30, 2009 at 1:04 am

    I spent a little over two months in hospital this summer, in three different hospitals. I’ve no complaints about the two I was in the longest (one of which was excellent in every way I can think of), and a lot of the problems with the other one were linked to nursing and so on. The big difference between it and the others (or at least the only one that I noticed – I wasn’t really in a state to do much in the way of careful observation) was that there were obviously less nurses on the ward in the hospital with issues and a lot of the ones on at the weekend were from agencies… and the staff that weren’t qualified nurses often ended up doing work that, in the other two hospitals, qualified nurses did.

  3. November 30, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Thanks for the plug!!

    “At the root of both of them is the exploitation of the NHS workforce, and a disregard for the reality of what happens on the ward.”

    Wow you summed up my whole blog in one sentence! Awesome.

  4. December 1, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Thanks Anne @3. Dave (my blog comrade) and I are dead impressed by your blog and were thinking that if you wanted to post the occasional thing here, you’d be most welcome. Might widen your coverage, though you seem to have a pretty decent readership anyway. Let us know if interested. If not, no worries. Just ignore.

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