Saturday, 22 September 2007

NHS shenanigans

This is one of the most anti-democratic articles that I have read for quite a while on the web. Dr Ray is a consultant radiologist at a hospital in the Welsh borders. He writes that "Yesterday evening I had an insight into the workings of Nulabours "consultation" process on the planned closure of NHS District General Hospitals and replacement with dumbed down polyclinics.

A few weeks ago invitations to attend a public consultation were sent to consultants at our Trust. We were only given one day to reply for the meeting in the near future even though we have to give 6 weeks notice of leave because of "choose and book".

Obviously this meant that most of us could not attend but one consultant did take up the invitation.

The location of the meeting was kept secret until three days before the event and when this consultant was eventually told the location and turned up in Birmingham for the "Citizens Jury" it turned out that medical staff were outnumbered 2:1 by laypeople specifically chosen by an agency to attend the event. The media were present and had obviously been invited to publicise the event.

The delegates were split up into groups and each allocated an electronic voting device. A "minder" was allocated to each group.

Then the stars of the show arrived: Gordon Brown, Alan Johnson and Ara Darzi.

There followed a rapid succession of questions from the podium on which the delegates were asked to vote. The minder was available to suggest the best answer if there was any doubt.

Strangely, almost all the votes were 2:1 in favour of Nulabour's policy. Even the question: "Would you prefer gynaecological surgery to be carried out in your GP practice even if it meant the closure of your DGH facility?" was answered with 2:1 in favour.

Following the "consultation" the medical delegates were told to leave but the other 2/3 of the audience were kept back and each given an envelope. My colleague was intrigued by this and managed to catch one of the "chosen ones" and ask about the contents. Each envelope contained £75 in cash!

So now the consultation is over and the results indicate there is overwhelming public and doctor support for closing down the DGHs. I can only say that the way the voting was done makes the "Blue Peter" voting fraud seem like, well, "Blue Peter".

According to the Downing Street website there are nine more of these "consultations" due around the county. That's an awful lot of people to bribe with taxpayers money, but once they're done the business of closing the DGHs can start in earnest."

Is this true, is this how New Labour will get the results they want from Citizens Juries? Is this what New Labour mean by listening to the people? Do you trust New Labour to actually consult honestly on anything? The sad thing is that I am not really surprised by this story?

From a Biased BBC comments thread:

Many readers of this blog will already be aware of the shenanigans surrounding Gordon Brown's NHS citizen jury in Birmingham (Brown's favourite polling company OLR bussed in "citizens" to support the government's proposals in return for envelopes stuffed with money).

One organisation heavily involved in the promotion of the citizen jury scam is Involve (or "involve" as the logo declares, with lower-case inevitability). Judging by the website this appears to be yet another pro-Labour outfit masquerading as independent.

Involve's director Richard Wilson is an adviser to the Home Office, the Department of Constitutional Affairs, the Department of Health, the Scottish Executive, the Welsh Assembly and the BBC. Head of Research & Development is Stella Creasy, a former Labour councillor and adviser to Douglas Alexander. The rest of the staff all have backgrounds in quangos, unions and big government bureaucracy. For example project manager Edward Andersson has worked for The Environment Council ("a UN-affiliated Lobby Group"), a Swedish Trade Union, and has "delivered participatory processes with the BBC", whatever that means.

The board members are more of the same, ranging from the chairman - sorry, chair - Geoff Mulgan, the Labour party strategist who was Head of Policy in No 10, through to Perry Walker of the left wing think tank the New Economics Foundation.

Involve's funding comes from the "progressive" (ie leftie) Joseph Rowntree Trust, but its projects have also been funded by the Department for Constitutional Affairs, the Home Office, the Department of Communities and Local Government, the DTI, the Scottish Executive, the OECD and the Food Standards Agency. Oh yes, and the BBC.

All very cosy this use of our taxes and licence fee, isn't it?
Anonanon | 23.09.07 - 1:33 pm | # "

No comments: