The SKWAWKBOX started in 2012 as a response to the constant misinformation put out by the (then-coalition) government, but the series of articles that brought the blog to public awareness began in Feb 2013 and concerned Stafford hospital and its parent Mid Staffs NHS Foundation Trust.
That was then
The media at that time featured almost daily headlines about a figure of ‘400-1200 needless deaths’ that took place at the hospital – except, as this blog was able to reveal from careful analysis of the evidence and meetings they didn’t.
The government and the media – especially the right-wing press and the BBC, seeking to damage public confidence in the NHS and ultimately to attack it directly, turned an artefact of bad statistics into a headline to bash the NHS and the Labour party’s strength on it:
The truth? A full, independent clinical review of deaths at the hospital revealed maybe one avoidable death. Not 400. Not 1200. One. Maybe.
Not only that, but crucial information had been deliberately omitted from the report, the report’s conclusions were completely misrepresented by both media and Tory politicians – and some organisations with a financial stake in the outcome made even more outlandish claims to stoke the furore.
Very slowly, after months, a small corner of the mainstream media began to take notice, with the Huffington Post running an article on the situation and the Guardian even issuing a formal correction to its earlier misleading headlines, then a few more following suit – in very small print at the back of the paper, of course:
But the vast majority – and of course all the Tory politicians – continued to repeat the slander ad nauseam, to the desperate frustration of the people of Stafford, who were forced to watch their much-loved hospital gutted to a shell of its former services on the pretext of the supposed poor care it had provided. The BBC, to date, has never corrected its repeated treatment of the figures as fact and some of the papers above have continued to use the figures even having previously corrected.
This is now
Compare the media headlines on Sunday 8 January 2017 – the weekend that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt went AWOL and Theresa May ludicrously talked of ‘shared society‘ while the NHS fell into a collapse so severe that the Red Cross had been forced to step in to rescue hospitals around the country from disaster:
Notice anything missing?
Clearly the billionaire-owned media are more than happy to deceive the public by highlighting non-existent avoidable deaths when it allows them to slander and undermine the NHS and the Labour party – but happy to ignore an NHS collapse that will inevitably be causing thousands of actual avoidable deaths and deceive the British people to protect the Tory party from the public relations cost of its planned demolition of the UK’s most-loved, most-vital institution.
To be fair to the BBC, the Corporation’s news channel did go ‘off-message’ to strongly feature the NHS crisis and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for a day or so. But clearly the word went out for it to get back ‘on track’, as on Sunday the NHS was essentially unmentioned there as well.
A fictitious crisis 5 years ago to attack the NHS. A conspiracy of silence to hide the planned and deliberately-implemented crisis the NHS is now suffering.
And people dying while the Tory press and broadcasters blether about May’s ‘shared society’ – media and politicians ‘fiddling while the NHS burns’, knowing full well those deaths and the collapse of the NHS is avoidable: a political choice, just like all the other facets of austerity.
Make them pay.
The SKWAWKBOX is provided free of charge but relies on the generosity of its readers. If you can afford to, please click here to set up a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your support.