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The times we are working in now need a great deal of accelerated change and there must be no negotiating that down. So my mission statement for this part of my consultancy career is to be clear that there needs to be and will be a lot of change from the work that I do with individuals and organisations and if organisations don’t want that, then it is probably best to go somewhere else.

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Why doesn’t the Secretary of State have anyone to warn him about doing such stupid things?

Filed Under (Hospitals, Secretary of State) by Paul on 23-11-2011

Now I’m not saying that when I was advising new Labour Ministers on health reform that we didn’t sometimes do the wrong thing. Of course we did. But generally when someone came up with a really crazy idea someone would say “Hang on – let’s just think about that for a bit longer shall we?” A warning bell would go off in somebody’s head – and we would all calm down.

It is perhaps a measure of the trouble that Andrew Lansley is in that when he said, “ I have this great idea of playing a continuous loop of me on every TV in all the nation’s hospitals”, that everyone around him appears to have said, “Great idea Andrew – lets do it!”

I really find it quite difficult to imagine the conversations that must have taken place before this was allowed to happen.

Nobody apparently said to him, “Weren’t we elected to stop the micro management of the NHS by politicians? Yet now you – a politician – thinks it’s a good idea to appear on every NHS TV while patients are trapped in the bed in front of it?”

Nobody can have said “Andrew, people will laugh at the idea. You will become a figure of fun”

So because everyone presumably said it was a great idea, he has now become a figure of fun

Those patients who are not quick enough to turn off their TV are greeted by the Secretary of State for Health saying:

“Hello, I’m Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary. I just want to take a few moments to say that your care while you’re here in hospital really matters to me. I hope it’s as good quality care as we can possibly make it and I do hope you’ll join me in thanking all the staff who are looking after you while you’re here.”

All I can say in mitigation is that at least his face is not shown to those in accident and emergency, or intensive care wards.

Nobody can have warned him that the former Labour Health Secretary, Alan Milburn, would joke that Mr Lansley’s hospital appearance was his “secret weapon” to cut hospital waiting lists.

“He wants to prevent people getting into hospital – what a deterrent – and he wants to get them out quickly – what an incentive!”

Unsurprisingly Alan Milburn never suggested that he should have his face on patient’s TVs saying this sort of stuff. But if he had everyone around him would have taken the micky out of him for the rest of the year.

The good news is that the current Secretary of State has a way out.

A spokeswoman for Hospedia, which provides the service, says Mr Lansley’s message could easily be removed.

If Mr Lansley asked for the video to be removed, we would of course accede to his request,” she said.

Let’s wait and see if anyone has the nerve to tell him.


2 Responses to “Why doesn’t the Secretary of State have anyone to warn him about doing such stupid things?”

  1. You might be pleased to know that I agree with you 100%. The thought of Mr Lansley on a continuous loop would be a ‘good idea’ is clearly made by people who have lost all vestiges of common sense.

    There is a competence and humanity lack at the highest levels in the NHS/DOH and it is the likes of me that see it every day.

    This is one of the reasons why we despise the DOH and politicians.

    You must be pleased to have left your role as SpAd in the DOH, so at least you can see how irritating these people are.

  2. Although Andy Milburn might not have been on the TVs, his predecessor Andy Burnham was… This politician-on-hospital-tvs thing has been going on for a couple of years by the way!

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