Hospital mortality: fact, fiction or politics?

Open Democracy asked me to write an article for them, to draw together various threads of the hospital mortality issue. The article has been published today and looks at the big picture, from Mid Staffs to Keogh, with a specific look at the media’s abuse of tenuous or completely unfounded figures to hammer away at the foundations of public affection for the NHS.

The debacle of the ‘13,000 needless deaths’ claims of the Telegraph, the Mail and (most lamentably) the BBC, followed by Sir Bruce Keogh’s clear and unequivocal rejection of those claims, put a stark spotlight on the gulf between media claims and reality.

Inadvertently, the over-ambitious attempt to force the resignation of Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham while simultaneously further tarnishing the NHS, instead took the plot to smear and then pull down the NHS from the realms of conspiracy to unmissable fact.

The oD article can be found here – please take a look and spread the word.


  1. I have shared this in my small circle and I shall continue to be The Ancient Mariner in my rather apathetic town. Brilliant article which anyone can understand. Often, the bar to understanding is the language used (usually deliberately) but this is as plain as the nose on your face!

  2. Well done again Steve. One day the UK will thank you for your tireless efforts on their behalf to cast a fair and balanced eye over publicly uttered claims and calmly to disinter truth from deliberate ‘friction’ – in masterly and measured articles.

  3. I am furious that the NHS and its employees are being denigrated in this way – sacrifices for the “trillion-dollar private healthcare market”?

  4. Steve, I’m afraid even now we’re only at base camp.


    It’s even more base than lying to the public in order to join a war or in order to destroy public institutions.

    It’s baser even than a select few deciding to nudge for political ends a public denied representation between elections while big money trumps their interests.

    We are riddled with a corrosive self-serving attitude which only open and direct democracy can hope to bypass.

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