Following the government's response to the Francis Report on Comrade Sir David Nicholson's performance in mid-Staffs is discouraging. Listening to a newsreader brightly announce that patients will in future be told the name of the consultant and nurse responsible for their care or that medics with a history of catastrophic failure will be blacklisted so they can't simply move to another hospital, I watched her eyes. She seemed to think it was a jolly good idea. So did I. Unlike her I was horrified it had ever been otherwise.
As a lawyer, I was never able to consign clients to the care of anonymous assistants. And I took up references on new hires to ensure I did not get my competitor's defective cast-offs. If my team failed them, the buck obviously stopped with me as the responsible partner. Who would expect otherwise?
Everyone is talking as if "our NHS" went wrong. It didn't. It came wrong. It is in the nature of Socialist enterprise to break the customer/provider nexus and elevate the workers to primacy. It's not a bug, it's a feature. Even the bugs first grown in NHS hospitals - MRSA and C. Diff - are features. Did any other health care provider in history send patients out with new diseases of its own creation?
More than any other political slogan I hate "people before profit". It's not merely a false dichotomy it is to truth as anti-matter is to matter. Market mechanisms are not perfect in operation because they act upon the inputs of an imperfect species. But they connect humans to their duty to their fellow men more effectively than the most extreme violence. This, the vile history of the Soviet Union should prove to even the thickest clod in our national meadow. Markets are moral, at least by comparison to Socialist command and control.
It may be your NHS, but it's damned well not mine.