I’ve been mocked by a Blairite ex-Dept of Health policy advisor for my recent post on Kettering General Hospital and the lies Tory health minister Daniel Poulter told to one of his own MPs about plans to downgrade the hospital.
Joseph Farrington-Douglas, who used to be Chief Health Advisor to John Healey (when he was Labour Minister for the NHS) tweeted this message to his followers on Monday:
Here’s his comment in plain text, in case you have any problems with the image:
Silly HIMBYist Save Our Hospital shenanigans. An MRSA on all their houses.
An MRSA is Mr F-D’s attempt at a humorous variation on ‘a plague’. It stands for ‘multiply resistant staphylococcus aureus’ – the drug-resistant ‘superbug’ that regularly kills people in hospitals – especially if the private cleaning contractors cut back cleaning to enhance profits. So it’s nice of him to wish it on people who are trying to protect hospitals. Classy, even.
I must be doing something right – being mocked by a right-winger who’s happy to see our NHS broken is something I consider a badge of honour.
Unfortunately – as so often happens – when we point one finger at others, we point 3 back at ourselves, so Mr F-D’s ‘insult’ reveals a lot more about him than about me. Especially since HIMBY – ‘happening in my back yard’ – is laughably inaccurate in the case to which he’s referring.
According to Google Maps, I live 185 miles from Kettering General Hospital. My back garden (the first two houses of my life had yards, but not this one) measures about 50 feet in length, and it would take me over 3 hours to get there on a good traffic day. If I had a back yard that big, I’d be ashamed to be hogging it all for myself.
So my comments about, and defence of, KGH – or for that matter the health-workers of the 20 Trusts in the south-west who have formed a cartel to strip away essential pay and conditions from their employees, has nothing to do with them being in my ‘back yard’.
No – I made them because sticking up for the NHS, for its hard-working staff and for the patients it cares for, is the right thing to do. I made them because my own research and that of others shows clearly that this government wants to dismantle it for reasons of ideology and greed that have nothing to do with necessity or what’s best for patients. I made them because the NHS is vital to the ordinary people of this country who can’t afford private healthcare (and the exclusions enforced by private health insurers make the policies next to useless anyway), so defending it is a moral imperative. And I made them because the NHS is this country’s greatest achievement – one which small-minded, venal men and women want to dismantle because they place their own wealth and profit before the welfare of millions.
That said, even if you’re a person motivated solely by self-interest, unless you’re extremely rich you still should be defending the NHS. The current wave of attacks may not be happening to a hospital in your back yard – but if the government and its private healthcare backers are allowed to get away with it now, sooner or later your nearest hospital is going to become a target.
So, if you’re a HIMBY, a NIMBY or just someone who’s unwilling to be fooled and robbed by those who are meant to be protecting the people of this country, you should be defending the NHS against what this government and its sympathisers/supporters are doing.
The fact that Mr F-D thinks otherwise tells you all you need to know, really. Well, that and the fact that he chose to ridicule supposed HIMBYism when the main thrust of my post was that health minister Daniel Poulter was prepared to lie to one of his own MPs – yet Mr F-D had nothing to say about that at all..