In the last five years, £2 million of our money has been spent on shutting up more than 50 NHS employees, who would otherwise have had embarrasing things to say. Not at all surprising that the Treasury advised that such payments didn’t have to be declared, but depressing that so many people are happy to be bought off. Truth in the NHS, apparently, carries a heavy premium.
Two more examples, from this week. (1) David Nicholson, forced to rsign because of mid-Staffs, can now tell us that the coalition wasted two crucial years: “We spent our time talking about reorganisation, and we didn’t talk about the really important changes that are required for the NHS.” (2) Sir Liam Donaldson, former chief medical adviser to the government, complained that “We used to lead the world in public health, but now we are becoming followers, and late followers at that.” So how could we fix things that people say what they think, while they’re actually doing the job?