In Prime Minister’s Questions today, Theresa May – as is her wont when she’s on the hook and can’t think of a better ‘out’ – went on the cheap attack today by parroting her predecessor’s worn-out line:
I’ll take no lessons on the NHS from the party that presided over Mid Staffs Hospital
Mid Staffs, 5 years ago, was a by-word for poor care and ‘unnecessary’ deaths that featured almost daily in the billionaire-owned and Tory-suborned media, with claims of thirsty patients drinking from vases and ‘400-1200 unnecessary deaths’:
And it was all a lie.
The series of articles that put the SKWAWKBOX on the map exposed the utter fallacy of the ‘unnecessary deaths’ claims that had become a convenient political tool for government and media that wanted to damage Labour’s strength on the NHS.
Even ‘experts’ at the heart of the propagation of the myth occasionally slipped and admitted the truth:
while the Tory-led government’s official report dismissed the death claims as unfounded.
That truth – which the Guardian and Huffington Post eventually caught up to and published – was that the supposed ‘excess deaths’ were a statistical effect caused by a stupid decision to ‘cut back office costs’ by getting rid of the qualified ‘coders’ who should have been registering how ill patients entering the hospital really were – and weren’t doing so, because cheaper, unqualified staff had replaced those trained to do the job properly.
Independent clinicians carried out a comprehensive clinical review (CCR) into the suspected ‘excess’ deaths – and found that ONE was avoidable. Maybe.
The reality is that avoidable deaths happen all the time at every hospital, because healthcare can never be perfect, can never be ‘right there, right now’ for every single patient, all the time. But Stafford hospitals was as good as any – just not reporting its activities properly.
And those claims of patients drinking from vases? Fantasy in the minds of a few mentally ill or attention-seeking people who grew fond of the spotlight they found when their claims about their deceased family members grew more lurid. How do we know?.
Because vases had not been allowed in the hospital for years before the supposed events.
If it all seems too incredible to be true, just search for “Mid Staffs” or “Stafford” on this blog and you’ll see it demonstrated in exhaustive detail.
But of course, the fact that the myth has been thoroughly discredited – you’ll have to look hard to find an online image of a front-page headline about the ‘unnecessary deaths’ these days – never stopped a Tory politician from trotting out the myth for cheap political gain.
Just like Theresa May did today, when she was outclassed – again – by Jeremy Corbyn.
The people of Stafford lost their services under the cover of the fake scandal – and now have to travel at least 40 minutes to reach A&E and maternity services in Stoke that have often had to close their doors because of the overstretch caused by the additional demand.
And still the Prime Minister repeats the slander, adding insult to grave injury.
So this blog issues a challenge to Theresa May, to see whether she has the spine to stand up in front of the people the Tory lie damaged.
In front of patients who have to brave miles of motorway for treatment.
In front of staff whose heart was broken by the lies.
In front of mothers who will find themselves miles away from medical help when their babies arrive or their children fall ill.
In front of the people of Stafford.
Stand in front of them – outside the protection of parliamentary privilege and security guards – and repeat the lie you regurgitated today.
I dare you.
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