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Editor’s blog Wednesday 24 March 2010: Hurrah! The NHS and DH are going to make £4.35 billion worth of fictional savings

You could not make this shit up - truly.

The Magical Money Tree Where Cash Grows For Free has evidently been grafted onto the Japanese Knotweed Bullshit Plant to produce this exciting new hybrid.

Biology trumps economics every time.

(Sigh) OK. Here we go.

These entirely fictional saving of £4.35 billion will not be achieved by the NHS and the DH. They will not be made through the following brilliant and failsafe schemes:
- Up to £1.5bn by driving down the costs of procurement through securing best prices for goods and services;
- £100m by taking a new approach to the National Programme for IT that offers greater choice to local hospitals (this is part of the £600m reduction in lifetime costs announced in December 2009);
- £60m by reducing the amount of energy the NHS uses, to deliver a 10 per cent cut in carbon emissions;
- Up to £70m  from more efficient use of NHS estates; and
- Up to £555m by reducing staff sickness absence in the NHS.

So - haggling; energy-efficient lightbulbs; flogging real estate; and miracle cures. Yes, I'm confident every one of those will work perfectly.

I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

Language matters
You'll note the careful use of "up to" - some civil servant is being career-progressingly smart there.

But let's consider that a bit further. You're going to save "up to" those sums, and then ... what? Just stop, because those will be enough?

This press release goes from good to great - enter the Boy Wonder!
Come on! As if this were not enough to delight us, there is a long quote from Boy Wonder Andy Burnhoid.

He confirms that "frontline NHS funding will rise with inflation in 2011-12 and 2012-13".

How much wriggle room is there in the definition of "frontline", do you think?

Burnhoid also thinks it's great that the NHS "has more capacity ... than ever before". Indeed. That is one of the problems, maestro.

Bullshit Bingo Top Ten (End Of An Era Remix)
Here are the 2010 vintage bullshit bingo phrases (although not for long now):
- from good to great
- efficiency savings
- better quality care is also better value care
- quality and productivity
- transforming
- care planning
- case management (a re-entry; previously a Top Ten hit for The  John Reid Network in 2004-5 - can the toe-tapping Kaiser Pyramid be far behind?)
- polysystems
- back office
- look out to the community, not up to Whitehall

This is the best and funniest press release of 2010 by a wide margin. It sets a high standard.