"The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it"
Aneurin Bevan

Monday, 7 March 2011

Lies, damned lies and Lansley's utterances

The most bizarre thing about the government's NHS policy is that there is no evidence to support it, yet Lansley and his weird bunch of henchpeople keep telling us "evidence" that is verifiably untrue.

First we have the nonsense of Cameron's "myths" about outcomes on heart attacks and cancer which  were expertly debunked by the world re-known health economist Prof John Appleby in the BMJ. Then Ben Goldacre entered the fray questioning Lansley's lack of evidence. And, as if he has lost the ability to read (or comprehension), the Lib Dem human shield Minister of State, Paul Burstow, decided to take on the redoubtable Goldacre, quoting even more dodgy figures, and promptly lost the bout when Goldacre pointed out that Burstow was not telling the whole truth.

The BMJ published a survey about doctors opinions of the Health Bill, which effectively says that most do not want it, and Lansley's henchpeople respond (according to the BMA Tavistock blog)

with a statement calling it “unscientific” and “self selecting”.  They say, with a great deal of certainty, that the survey “does not represent the views of doctors in this country.”

Tavistock respond that the survey was conducted by "one of the UK’s leading market research companies" and it further goes on to debunk the government's irritatingly constant untruth that GPs are "voting with their actions" and showing that they are enthusiastic about the re-organisation by becoming consortia. Tavistock point out that GPs have formed consortia because:

"Many GPs have little choice but to get involved as primary care trusts become ineffective as they prepare for their abolition."

Yet Lansley's henchpeople still won't give up. Today the Guardian published an article from an NHS consultant Dr Mark Porter (no, not the BBC celeb doctor, a more eminent doctor) where Dr Porter says that Lansley's re-organisation will return the NHS "to the 1930s". This solicited a response by the soporific Minister of State, Simon Burns (in the first of his popular "Simon Says" tweets) who yet again stated Lansley's dodgy figures:

"Our cancer survival rates are amongst the worst in Europe so doing nothing is not an option"
As Prof Appleby says in his BMJ article this is not the case, the UK's cancer figures are not "the worst in Europe", quite the opposite in some cases.

Please could someone ask Lansley and his henchpeople to stop trying to justify their re-organisation with dodgy figures? All they have to do is be honest and say that they are changing the NHS because they know best and we just have to put up with it. Indeed, they could even justify that the changes have to be done because "Simon says..."


  1. Excellent article.

    I very much like Ben Goldacre's very measured response to the minister's ridiculous attack.


  2. I watched the BMA webcast with Lansley last night - it was appalling. He evades questions, keeps spouting the same jargon filled crap and in some cases, outright lies. I knew it would be a waste of time but it's makes me despair of what will happen to our NHS