It’s come to writing provocative, if not inaccurate, headlines to try to keep the death scandal in the National Health Service in the public conscience.
I was speaking with a Conservative activist at the weekend and she was relaying how when her father was in hospital he was left lying in his own faeces for hours, that she and her mother had to give him a bed bath (that’s now far too beneath “our wonderful nurses“) and my friend was even forced to find the linen store to fetch a change of bedding and then came back to the ward to change her father’s bed. My friend’s mother was also forced to sleep under her husband’s bed to ensure he was able to get the care he needed.
This happened not in Stafford Hospital – infamous for killing 1,200 people over four years – or even one of the five hospitals where between July 2010 and June 2012 another 3000 people were killed unnecessarily. This happened at Ipswich Hospital.
Although I was shocked to hear my friend’s recollection of the dreadful care her father received at the hands of nurses in the NHS, it didn’t entirely surprise me as the Care Quality Commission wrote a critical report in 2011 on Ipswich Hospital after an unannounced visit. The CQC found the care was so poor at Ipswich it was illegal with patients not being given enough food and water and nurses not treating them in a dignified way.
Sadly, my friend’s father is now deceased at the young age of 60. I am not suggesting the terrible care he received at Ipswich Hospital led to his death but it certainly didn’t help in his treatment.
The most shocking part of these stories from the NHS killing fields is the deafening silence from our mainstream political parties. I can understand Labour not wishing to draw attention to the fact thousands of unnecessary deaths happened on their watch but David Cameron in his statement to the House of Commons last week seemed to be bending over backwards to shield former Labour Health Secretary Andy Burham and also agree with the report’s author Robert Francis QC that their should be ‘no scapegoats’.
What perverse world do with live in that when a massacre takes place in our hospitals our politicians turn the other way and hope it will pass over? Former Chancellor Nigel Lawson famously remarked that the NHS is the nearest thing in this country to a state religion. Why? Are we really that stupid and uninspirational in this country? Or have Labour politicians cynically tapped into the natural fear people have to be worried what will happen to them or their loved ones if they fall ill? From what we have learnt over the last week, I’d be very worried of ending up in an NHS hospital.
The state religion was cemented when David Cameron and the Cameroons fell over themselves to pay homage at the NHS altar in the incorrect assessment it would win them a General Election. It is Mr Cameron’s campaigning tactics which will lead to even more deaths as no fundamental overhaul of the NHS will take place for at least another decade, especially as Ed Miliband will take the keys to Number 10 in 2015.