Ed Lines - January 5, 2018

THE notion of the NHS being ‘in crisis’ during a pretty average English winter is as unsurprising as newspaper front pages declaring ‘Storm Doris Blows Bins Over’.

You don’t say.

I’m not sure what medical conditions are so trivial that operations have to be delayed for weeks or months – just in case it turns chilly. It’s not as though we’ve had a bird flu epidemic lately, is it?

If something requires medical intervention, I reckon the people funding it – we, the patients – have a right to expect it in reasonably timely fashion.

Now, at this point I can almost hear the snowflaky ‘Ohhhhh Jeremy Corbyns’ jumping up and down, frothing at the mouth, blaming fatcat executive pay and those evil dastards, the Tories, for starving our sainted NHS of money.

Well, for once the sweethearts would be partly right – on the fatcat pay issue. But it’s not down to the sky-high salaries of NHS bosses or anyone else. It’s about their incompetence. 

If you paid a fiver an hour to some of the clowns that have mismanaged the Mid Yorks NHS Trust over the years, they’d still be overpaid. These are the people, remember, who paid consultants Ernst & Young £15 million to tell them how to save money when things got a bit tight.

A question for Mid Yorks execs – tell me, what do your Chief Executive and Finance Director actually do, if not run ‘the business’ – which is what a hospital trust is?

That’s what they do in the real world – but NHS executive are like drunks with a taste for champagne, but a hole in their glass. They don’t know how to fix the hole, so they just shout louder that they need more champagne.

I’m not questioning the devotion, skills, care or professionalism of many of the doctors and nurses labouring within what, actually, is a system unfit for modern-day purpose.

In the vast majority of health trusts, they are 21st century troops in the style of World War I – lions led by donkeys.

Like most people, I’m angry that there’s £13 billion of taxpayer cash ring-fenced for spurious third-world projects like finding a Somali version of the Spice Girls – but mostly slipped as de facto bribes to corrupt third-world politicians and officials.

We’ve every right to be. It’s a scandal. But would throwing that at the NHS cure all its ills in a flash?

Well, it would buy some time before – oops! – it all disappeared again. And disappear it would, because the modern health service is a bottomless pit. 

The failed £11 billion NHS technology system should have seen people jailed. It’s more likely that the guilty parties got OBEs or a pension-rich pay-off for their rank incompetence.

Because that’s how this corrupt, nepotistic system works. These incompetent, career bureaucrats play ring-a-ring-a-roses, promoting each other and approving huge pay-offs before surfacing in a neighbouring trust on another six figure salary, all primed and ready to bugger the next project up.

But that criminal IT failure was in 2011. A Scottish project, due in 2013, was £50 million over budget in 2016 and still not live.

Sorry, but if medics worked like that on the wards, they’d still be opening people’s veins and bleeding them to cure everything from a bad back to leprosy.

These are the words of a burnt-out senior nurse: “The NHS does not need more money! I’ve seen millions wasted by NHS trusts on white elephant projects … my manager once paid over £100 out of our office budget for a printer cartridge readily available from Amazon for less than £20. 

“My trust recently spent over £1m on computer tablets for all nurses which didn’t work (and were) replaced with another couple of million spent on notebook computers. The old ones we were told to just dump or keep ourselves. The new ones don’t work either!”

Meanwhile the snowflakes never mention the ruinous PFI bills their heroes Gordon Brown and Ed Balls saddled health trusts with, while parties of all political colours never mention that they gladly abandoned elderly care to a private sector that now can’t cope.

Put all of it together, and in the unlikely event of a decent British summer, expect announcements that the NHS can’t cope with the number of heatstroke cases ... resulting in longer delays in treatment. 

I’m not saying that privatising the NHS is the answer but I am saying that exposing and breaking up these incestuous cabals would be a good start.

Sadly, things can only get worse, primarily because we have a government and civil service that operates on the self-same principles.

DID you get a gong in the New Year honours? Me neither. 

I’m not holding my breath, although I’m sure plenty members of the Westminster estate would love to give me the black plague if it was in their gift.

The fact is, for every worthy recognition of volunteers and honest-to-God good people, there’s a Nick Clegg knighthood that disgraces the entire system.

‘Sir Nick’ for what exactly? Lying to the electorate? Proving himself an arch hypocrite? Maybe it was for destroying the Liberal Democrat party, which he and that other ‘Sir’, Vince Cable, effectively did. No end of Labour and Tory grandees would love to reward him for that!

But it gets worse. Six non-entity MPs trusted with shoe-horning through the biggest back-hander in modern UK history – the HS2 railway scam – have now all received knighthoods.

Tory and Labour alike, these nondescript, political under-achievers have been rewarded for slavish devotion to a phenomenally expensive scheme which will enrich the friends and relatives of cabinet ministers, peers and members of the establishment alike. It stinks.

THE war criminal was at it again this week, arguing himself blue in the face that a second Brexit vote would be ‘democratic’.

I’m surprised Tony Bliar is so keen on staying in Europe if only because that’s where the International Criminal Court is based, and where he should be appearing to answer for the blood of hundreds of thousands of people on his hands.

It’s classic EU politics however. If the voters choose ‘wrong’ just keep tweaking the question and going back to them until they get it right. They did it with Denmark over Maastricht and the Irish twice (Nice and Lisbon treaties).

That Bliar got a bit of a mauling from the John Humphrys on the Radio 4 interview is no consolation. 

Why was this self-enriching and self-righteous has-been allowed on the programme in the first place? 

Ahh, sorry. It’s the BBC, isn’t it? And no doubt someone’s paying him.

I LOVE my little trivia book, ‘1,227 QI Facts to Blow Your Socks Off’ and don’t doubt its wisdom. 

But I would love to know exactly how they know there are 10 million times more stars in the known universe than grains of sand on planet earth.

Presumably someone, at some point, counted either one or the other.

Neither am I so sure I like the fact that writers and artists are 18 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. 

Mind you, some folk would say I don’t qualify...

Oh, and if human saliva really contains a painkiller six times stronger than morphine, why doesn’t swallowing your spit cure belly-ache?

I can however believe that every human being begins life as an a***hole – apparently the first part of the body to form in the womb.

And I would like to test the theory that Loch Ness could hold the entire population of the planet 10 times over.

Could all lawyers, senior police officers and politicians form an orderly line please.

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