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Guest editorial: Jeremy Twunt on the future of Conservative health policy

Parliament has risen for recess, but the satirical alter ego of the Secretary Of State For Health, swear-word-loving Jeremy Twunt, found time in his busy schedule to write this guest editorial outlining the emergent thinking in Conservative health policy.

I welcome the Keogh Review as a vindication of our policies.  It clearly lays the blame for 13,000 needless deaths between 2005 and 2010 (May) on Labour and its policies.  Before 2005, there were no deaths as Labour had yet to set a target for them, but their policy of greater competition and more use of private providers was clearly the cause of this suffering.

The 3,246 needless deaths since 2010 (May) are shown by Keogh to be due entirely to the incompetent local management in these rogue trusts. Poor management can never be tolerated, so we have decided not to remove any of the chairs or chief executives  if they were appointed after 2010 – which they mostly were.

Experts at the peer-reviewed journal Daily Mail (impact factor - indescribable) have used the Keogh evidence to prove a free at the point of need NHS inevitably kills the better-off and depresses house prices.

As the Mail confirms, all of these hospitals were in the NHS – none of them were private providers. None were in London because London has far too many hospitals but healthy competition.  

More competition and greater use of private providers is the way forward.  Fortunately we have passed an Act to make that not just easy but inevitable.  From 2016, all hospitals will be run by Virgin, Capita or G4S.

The magic of management consultancy
To speed the closure of failed hospitals, or to effect turnaround as we call it, we are sending in hit squads from the major consultancy firms.  They are ideally placed to help, as they have advised the same trusts and got them to where they are today.  

And picking up on the pointless slaughter theme, Jeffrey Osborne’s team of forensic accountants have devised a top-up charges scheme, whereby patients at the best hospitals can choose to pay extra not to be unnecessarily killed.

It is reassuring that Keogh confirms that people die in hospitals, as it supports our policy of closing them whenever there is an excuse.  We have to overcome the sentimental attachment communities have to their local services and frighten them into demanding closures.

We are using our new special administration powers to shut hospitals based on teams of consultants showing the work by previous teams of consultants failed to solve problems early consultants identified.  So far, we have only been able to apply it to hospitals with good death rates - but that can change once we get the hang of it.

I am especially glad that Keogh nailed the lie that staffing levels matter. It is obvious to me that having fewer doctors, fewer nurses and fewer consultants will not affect care – otherwise how can we deliver the cuts that are necessary.  The idea that having less resources can impact on patient care was always nonsense.  Labour poured billions into more staff but only because they are slaves to their trade union masters and they still killed patients in their millions.

The view from inside the tent
What I find sad is the occasional carping from the NHS management bodies, NHS England, Public Health England, NHS Confederation, the Foundation Trust Network, Monitor and the rest.  As I told them when I gave them their independence, they are not to use it in any way to criticise me, or my government or its policies – I am not sure I made that clear enough when I handed out the jobs.

But I do want to say a major thank-you to all the dedicated and hardworking staff in the NHS, some of whom I once remember meeting.  It is so sad they are being let down by the incompetent managers, coasting clinicians and by nurses being absent through redundancy or working in the wrong way in the wrong places because their trade unions refuse to allow progress.

So I welcome the review and its endorsement of our recent successes in improving GP access in and out of hours, lowering A&E waits, improving social care, reducing cancelled operations and increasing nursing numbers.