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Editor's blog Wednesday 10th March 2010: Mid-Staffs legals; and better Telegraph debate

‘Ello. You may remember that I wrote that we should expect legal action over Mid-Staffs - this may be about to happen. The Stafford Sentinel is reporting that over 200 people may be going to claim compensation.

Elsewhere in today’s news, you may have had a wry smile to see that the aspiring next leader of the Conservative Party dislikes public-private partnership financing, denouncing it as "looting".

Telegraph debate improves
After yesterday's the pros and cons of PFI hospitals, including the excellent good sense of Professor Alan Maynard of this parish, pointing out that private debt is always mofre costly than government borrowing. Maynard's core point is that the only success could have come with better management, “but there is simply no evidence of that. There is no data. There have been no studies.”

It also quotes James Barlow, Professor of Technology and Innovation Management at Imperial College, London, and a Director of the Health and Care Infrastructure Research and Innovation Centre (HaCIRIC), as saying, “one mistake was in risk-sharing, we’ve learnt that when risk is shared equitably between all parties involved in construction, you get more innovation. In PFI, the NHS wanted the private consortiums to take all the risks. So new ideas weren’t being tried".

The Conservatives' Lord Darzi figure, Professor David Kerr writes the second, which makes several good points on localism, patient-centricity and data. However, it also broadly echoes the government's extant policies. Plus ca change?

The third article, from Dr Pari Shams is a North Thames Ophthalmology Specialist Registrar, rightly emphasises the importance of engaging friont-line staff.

Its conclusion is touching: "For all the criticism it faces, the NHS is still an organisation that we should be proud of. Three quarters of a million people are seen or treated every day in the NHS. Most of us endeavour to provide every one of those individuals with care of the highest quality, often at difficult times in their lives; it’s what we’ve been trained to do and we do it to the best of our ability.

"We recognise its weaknesses and regret our failings, but we should also recognise that collectively we, including the general public to whom the NHS belongs, must have the ambition, the will and the commitment to work together to make it a great deal better in the future".

Good words, and good thoughts.