If any clearer demonstration of the reasons behind the government’s and media’s strategy of escalating, negative NHS coverage was needed, it has been provided by a particularly shameless private health insurance website.
So sure of themselves are private health providers under this deeply, instinctively and intentionally anti-NHS government that this site doesn’t even attempt to be subtle. Instead it brazenly plays on the fear created by the barrage of skewed NHS smear stories to attempt to harvest cash from gullible or ill-informed people:
In a tactic that would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and sinister, the site attempts to scare people into paying out unknown-but-no-doubt-hefty sums to buy private health insurance under its scandalous heading:
If you thought the NHS was enough to protect your health, then you might think twice after reading these 3 shocking true accounts! Ensure your health is protected today
It then goes on to list its three ‘horror stories’, before preparing for its sales pitch with this little gem:
An astonishing 16,000 complaints were made about the NHS in 2012-13 alone, illustrating that the core ‘care’ principle of nursing seems to be disappearing rapidly from its practice. NHS nurses even claimed the new generation of university-trained nurses felt basic care tasks, such as bathing their patients, were ‘beneath them’
Not content with smearing the NHS, it also has to smear nurses as uncaring and arrogant – but only NHS nurses, of course. Then its doctors’ turn:
If you were to fall ill, it’s only natural that you would want to be treated and cared for to a high standard: Private facilities have strong reputations to uphold and less time pressures, meaning consultants can dedicate more attention to individual patients.
An astonishingly misleading statement, since private health companies have paid millions into the funds of the Tories who are creating the time pressures. Not to mention the fact that a private health facility was recently bought back by public funds because of documented avoidable deaths – a fact conveniently ignored by the anti-NHS press and the government.
Since private facilities have so much more time, and their reputations to consider, you have to wonder what their excuse was for these ‘needless deaths’ (to borrow one of the Daily Mail’s favourite anti-NHS catchphrase).
And the bad grammar – ‘less time pressures’ – shows how cavalier these people are. They have such contempt for their dupes that they can’t even be bothered to pay a proper copywriter to create their text. This contempt – and deliberate twisting of facts – echoes perfectly the media line that private health has orchestrated just as it has with the Tories. The reality is that the mortality rate in the NHS fell consistently for years under the last Labour government, as Bruce Keogh pointed out in his recent report into supposedly-failing hospitals:
It is important to understand that mortality in all NHS hospitals has been falling over the last decade: overall mortality has fallen by about 30% and the improvement is even greater when the increasing complexity of patients being treated is taken into account.
Or as this graph by the Nuffield Trust shows even more clearly:
The ‘astonishing 16,000 complaints’ last year sounds like a huge figure. But the NHS treats 1 million patients every 36 hours – which equates to around 243 million treatments a year. Those 16,000 complaints mean a rate of..
It’s astonishing alright. Astonishingly low.
You won’t find any of this on the private health site, of course. Nor will you find it in most of the media. What you will find is a blatant, brazen attempt to exploit deliberately-constructed falsehoods in order to bilk even more money out of the ignorant – and such hubris that subtlety is not even attempted.
So blatant, so brazen, that you could say they ‘Telegraphed’ it.