The sad, anorak that I am, I watched No21, in Birmingham, making her speech to the Tory Party Conference.
Birmingham; famous for all sorts. Cadbury, custard and brown sauce, for starters.
Balti, bangles and beads from the jewellery quarter and the inventor Matthew Boulton.
Edgebaston for the cricket and Black Sabbath for the hard of hearing.
Not forgetting New Street, the most bewildering railway station in the world and a shopping centre, home to the world’s largest Primark.
It is now home to a new record. Unwittingly it has become the place where the biggest, fattest, blackest, wriggling porkie, was told to the most people in one room… ever.
Where’s the nice lady from the Guinness Book of Records, when you need her.
In her speech, No21, claimed that the NHS was invented by a Tory, Henry Willink.
Yes she did. I heard her, in black and white, crystal clear and I watched her lips.
But, for him, she said, there would have been no NHS.
Henry Willink was certainly a Tory. He was a Baronet. In June1940, he won a by-election, joined the war-time coalition government and became a special commissioner for those made homeless by the London Blitz.
He became minister for health in 1943. And, it is true, he was certainly involved in the production of the Beveridge Report, that shaped the prospect of an NHS. But...
... Willink opposed the nationalisation of the existing private and voluntary infrastructure that was later to become the backbone of the NHS.
At the time he claimed the nationalisation of voluntary hospitals; "will destroy so much in this country that we value”.
The conservatives opposed the formation of the NHS, as did the BMA.
That is not to say, Willing was not a good man and had a fine career.
He was Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, until 1966. From 1953 until 1955 he was also Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and chaired the steering committee leading to the formation of the Royal College of General Practitioners, starting in 1952.
He did make one blunder.
In 1957 Willink served as Chairman of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Future Numbers of Medical Practitioners and Intakes of Medical Students.
That’s yer man Willink… and he did not invent the NHS and made a mess of the first workforce plan… but who cares.
Well, I care.
I care that a few thousand blue-rinse widows, some retired refugees from the golf club and a handful of earnest young men in horn-rimmed glasses will go home and tell the coffee mornings, the member's bar and the gym-club, the Tories gave us the NHS.
The Conservative Opposition voted against both Second and Third readings of Labour’s National Health Service Bill, when it came before the House of Commons in 1946.
They opposed attempts to end local ownership of hospitals and were opposed to any notion of a full-time salaried service.
As for the rest of No21’s speech…
It was A,B,C,D. No, not ambulances, backlog, care and doctors. It was annoying, boring, cringemaking and deceitful.
Annoying because her idea of more call handlers won’t get our sclerotic, hospital systems freed-up. Doubly annoying because she ignored the plight of social care.
Boring because her delivery makes Alexa sound exciting.
Cringemaking because she claims to be ‘there for patients’, when we all know, she’s there for Tizzie and...
Deceitful. A two week target to see a GP. Really? In August (latest data) about 45% are seen on the same day, 31% seen well within 14 days and the remainder are related to follow up appointments and long-term conditions.
I want political leaders to take me out of this dull and troubled world and show me a glimpse of what might be.
All I got was a cavernous, empty stage, the blue screen of death and an audience...
... half of whom were enjoying a postprandial kip.
>> I'm hearing - James Sunderland, a new parliamentary private secretary at DH+, claimed at a Conservative party conference fringe event that some executives in the health service earn “the better part of £500k” – which he said is “absolutely ridiculous”. In fact, no substantive NHS executives have salaries approaching £500,000. Are all Tories numpties? Asking for a friend!
>> I'm hearing - Ted Baker the former CQC ch'inspector, now heading for the job as boss of HSIB is saying how important it is for people to 'speak up'. Wasn't he at the CQC when a BME doc' was sacked for doing just that and went on to win his employment tribunal against the CQC?
>> I'm hearing - Acacium Group and Medacs Healthcare, two of the largest suppliers of agency staff to the NHS, saw income increase substantially year-on-year during 2021. Let's face it, for many people working for an agency is better than working for the NHS.