“A conspiracy is nothing but a secret agreement of a number of men for the pursuance of policies which they dare not admit in public”
This issues in this book, the unhealthy relationships between the government and the commercial health industry, will be familiar to some and shocking to most. Because it will be controversial, it meticulously references every claim, so that if you disagree or simply cannot believe what is says, you can check for yourself.
How different it is from the approach of the government who completely failed to reference their hugely controversial NHS reforms.
The Health White Paper, Equity and Excellence, was remarkable for its lack of references and so several months after it came out, the government produced some post-hoc justification in the form of a piece of PR on the No. 10 website: PM article on the Health and Social Care Bill. It was swiftly decimated by (most famously) Professor John Appleby (chief economist at the King’s Fund) and Ben Goldacre (Badscience blogger and columnist). The comprehensive deconstruction has been compiled by Richardblogger.
After the White Paper came the Health and Social Care bill. Again the government failed to add references or justification. So this time they ‘paused’ and produced another piece of PR called Working together for a Stronger NHS.
Ben Goldacre’s response was to say what most of us were thinking, ‘I’d expect this from UKIP or the Daily Mail, not a government leaflet’.
Labour have entered into a war of rebuttals and John Mcternan MP has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority.
The Guardian reported, “The NHS in England and Wales has helped achieve the biggest drop in cancer deaths and displayed the most efficient use of resources among 10 leading countries worldwide, according to the study published in the British Journal of Cancer.” And in an extraordinary piece of doublespeak the Department of health responded, “There is a difference between achieving efficiency and the results patients receive. While it is good that NHS cancer treatment is relatively efficient, we know that the results patients actually get lag behind many other countries”
Most people with an emotional attachment to a point of view are unlikely to be swayed by evidence, so this book may not change minds, but evidence matters an awful lot in health. It is a vital resource for everyone who cares about the NHS, the health of our nation and the state of our democracy.
Be prepared to be filled with righteous anger and please use that anger to do something to help save our NHS.