It’s not up on Hansard just yet, as it wasn’t quite 3 hours ago yet, but I’m told that I was ‘named and shamed’ by Tory MP Charlotte Leslie today in Parliament, for my ‘venom’ in challenging the claims, actions and attitudes of Julie Bailey and her ‘Cure the NHS’ group (Cure):
I am equally perturbed and disturbed that a lot of that venom is coming from two Labour Party Members locally – Diana Smith who has worked for David Kidney and Steve Walker and I would very much like to know that the party opposite will condemn those actions.
(Edit: you can now get the full Hansard record here, and I’ll take this opportunity to thank everyone for the kind wishes and support!)
Ms Leslie needs to check her facts, since I’m not a Stafford local and only visited the town some time after I’d published my article “The real Mid Staffs story – one ‘excess death’, if that”, so I had and have no axe to grind with Ms Bailey and Cure apart from their lamentable actions and woeful misrepresentation of fact.
Diana Smith, on the other hand, is indeed a local lady – and a very honourable, mild-mannered one who has been libelled shamelessly by Ms Bailey and others, yet has responded with constant attempts to find common ground. She has told the truth fearlessly and deserves better.
All that aside, to be ‘named and shamed’ by Ms Leslie and her colleagues bent on the destruction of the NHS, or for that matter by Ms Bailey and Cure, who are aiding and abetting in that destruction by their reckless hystrionics, is something I consider a badge of honour. If I’m getting up their collective nose enough to merit such a mention, then I must be doing something right.
My stance on the fallacy of the Mid Staffs ‘needless deaths’ and all the other ridiculous and ill-founded NHS mortality accusations since has also been publicly vindicated by the Keogh report in the day or so. Bruce Keogh’s report, which I’ll digest fully and comment on when time allows, made the following stark condemnation of the bogus mortality claims of the media, politicians and Professor Brian Jarman:
However tempting it may be, it is clinically meaningless and academically reckless to use such statistical measures to quantify actual numbers of avoidable deaths.
Or, as the Guardian summarised it:
Report into 14 NHS hospitals rejects claims that poor care killed thousands
In spite of the insults of Cure and its supporters and latterly Ms Leslie, and the continued strident insistence of the right-wing or suborned media on using the spurious Stafford numbers, the Keogh report has – at last – brought the truth about the ‘excess death’ claims into the mainstream: they didn’t happen, and none of the data that has been claimed to support them actually do so.
I don’t consider my stance on Mid Staffs and mortality statistics in the wider NHS to be brave, or noble, or anything particularly praiseworthy. If you see truth being abused and are in a position to say something, you have an obligation to do so. As for ‘venom’, read my posts on these issues and judge for yourself. I’ve striven to be forthright and to pull no punches, but there’s been no ‘venom’.
Given the tenor of the Tories’ and Cure’s comments about NHS staff and about anyone who dissents, the irony is substantial. Apparently, disagreeing with them is intrinsically rude and disrespectful, even venomous – but those with the most sullied consciences often put a great emphasis on respect and manners from others, as if etiquette can insulate them from their actions, and the Tories’ conscience on the NHS must be as black as pitch.
A badge of honour from the NHS-haters and a confirmation from on high. Quite a week, and well worth the continued opprobrium from those who just can’t accept that their hidden agenda isn’t hidden any more.