Friday, 25 February 2011

Kicked into touch

PASS through to the centre forward, intercepted by the full-back, who punts forward, only for the ball to be missed by the winger and roll through to the keeper.

No we’re not talking about the latest round of European soccer matches, but rather the health service.

It’s not that the health service is receiving more soccer related injuries.

It is, however, reference to the fact that the acting head of the NHS Confederation, Nigel Edwards, has appealed for health not to be used as a political football.

Which, we suspect exposes a little bit of naivety on his part – surely health is, and must remain, a political football. From the Bevan reforms, through to the Tory creation of trusts, health has always been a political football with the word ‘ideology’ emblazoned on the ball itself.

The latest consideration is, of course, the Conservatives’ plans to semi-privatise/open up to community groups…oh hold on a moment perhaps the Confederation head was speaking about Norn Iron (well he was over here on Wednesday speaking at its local annual gathering…).

Given that, it is another piece of naivety: he must understand that in Norn Iron everything is a political football.

And the local health service managers Mr Edwards was addressing know all too well that the report into the children’s hospital, cancer waiting times, and so on and so on means that the football is getting walloped all over the park.

And, as a footnote to this story – the Department of Health, Personal Social Services and Public Safety issued a press release on Friday (25 February) which noted that the number of people waiting more than 12 hours for emergency care rose from 702 in December to 1,236 in January. Do we hear the sound of a another soccer match getting ready for kick-off?

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