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Editor’s blog Monday 23 August 2010: Cameron's plenary indulgence for NHS staff, missing Scots NHS furniture and other fun

Hello. Hope you had a good weekend.

PM David Cameron suggests to The Independent that working in the NHS would make you incapable of ever committing a crime, with his wonderful rhetorical question, "If you work in the health service, every time you go to a different hospital you have to have a new Criminal Records Bureau check. Why?"

Well, Prime Minister, while it is definitely only going to be a tiny minority, there will be one or two NHS staff who commit criminal acts, in or outside work, and who then move to try to cover it up or make a new start. Given the vulnerable nature of some of the people in NHS care, this is not exactly 'political correctness gone mad' if it were to stop an Ian Huntley-type getting a job. It is a pain in the bum for them and for their employer. It is not, however, a potential source of significant or sage savings.

In proof that localism really improves the quality of health policy debate, BBC News reports that 1,143 pieces of furniture have gone missing in the NHS in Scotland. And it's all politicians' fault, apparently.

The SUWCOTW (Sylvan Ursine Water Closet Of The Week) Award has an early contender here, with the news that the public sector is cutting its spending.

The FT's Andrew Jack reports on Astra Zeneca's drug trials and tribulations in the USA over Seroquel (quetiapine), which currently seems likely to be settled out of court. You will not be surprised to note that there is clear evidence of research cherrypicking and obscurantism of unfavourable trial results. AZ have of course decided that they are fundamentally devoid of fault, and will be paying $520 million to the Department of Justice and two whistleblowers and $198 million to patients who developed diabetes simply out of the goodness of their corporate hearts. Aaah. (Check out AZ executive Geoffrey Birkett, who characterised a review showing Seroquel's performance as showing no significant benefit against other products as “unsurpassed”: Jack notes that Mr Birkett defined "unsurpassed" to lawyers suing the company as “possibly better ... possibly equivalent”. Man's missed a career in politics.)

Healthcare Republic remind us that in November, NICE is to 'name and shame' PCTs who are not picking up use of NICE-advised technologies.