The British Health Secretary, Conservative MP Matt Hancock, has chosen peak pandemic chaos as the best possiple time to reform the entire health service.
This is rather like browsing a furniture catalog while your house is on fire, or flicking through Auto Trader while your current vehicle is being crushed in the scrap yard (with you inside of it). So why might he decide this is the best moment to announce a huge reform programme?
Well, to be honest, it smacks of a poorly judged PR stunt, to dodge and deflect the many incoming bullets of accusation (here shown as bullet points):
- Nurses need a pay rise.
- PPE is still not sufficient.
- Not enough doctors, nurses or resources generally.
- Failed to deliver any election promises.
It’s that last point which grates so badly. Now, it’s time to wheel out the old reminder from 2019:
It is fair to say the NHS section of the Tory manifesto hasn’t aged well, given the current situation it’s more than a little uncomfortable to know that not one brick has been laid in the 40 new hospitals, an there are less GP appointments available than ever. And let’s not get started on the £350m per week, which might’ve been rather handy about now.
Actually, you know what, do get me started. Let’s dig into the detail of those manifesto promises;
£33.9 billion more for the NHS
Upgrading 20 hospitals and building 40 new ones
Making sure the NHS has the staff it needs
Investing in the people at the heart of our NHS
50 million extra GP surgery appointmentsConservative Party Manifesto promises from the 2019 election
There has been no action whatsoever toward delivering any of these. So when the Health Secretary, in willful ignorance of his party’s NHS promises, decides instead to announce widespread new reforms, he has seriously misstepped. He hasn’t even mentioned the key points they’d promised to address, or tied his reforms to the manifesto pledges.
It is, though, classic fascist Tory diversion and distraction, from the Boris Johnson playbook. Nevermind the elephant in the room, look everyone there’s a cuddly giraffe in the garden!
Why doesn’t he instead get on with delivering what was promised? There is no appetite for reform, there is however a desperate hunger for the things that were pledged to the NHS already, and which have not even come close to delivery.
I’m not sure if mandatory doorstep-clapping is part of Hancock’s proposed reforms but nothing would surprise me any more! It seems to have taken the place of pay rises for now.