Friday 28 September 2007

NHS Fuckwittery (5): Deep Clean

The Goblin King decided this week that he was going to rehash Michael Howard's motto "Cleaner hospitals" in a desperate attempt to lose* the next election**, suggesting that hospitals all have a 'Deep Clean'. The professionals have rubbished this idea with a vengeance.

I like the bit about "regular use of hydrogen peroxide vapour generators" does this make people gradually go blonde?

*Which appears quite possible after all, according to pollsters who extrapolated yesterday's by-election results, although Vindico thinks that extrapolating like this is bollocks.

** The wheels are rapidly coming off the economy, the credit crunch and house price crash have started. Whoever is in power over the next few years will earn a reputation for economic incompetence that will see them out of power for decades. So you're better off losing the next election. The Tories seem to have twigged this ages ago - what appears to be bad management and incompetence is in fact a super-slick operation. Sir John Major has said that he sometimes wishes he hadn't won in 1992 for precisely this reason.

Wednesday 26 September 2007

NHS Fuckwittery (4)

When I hear people talking about "... markets, competition and choice ... improving our health service", my ears always prick up. Altho' the terms are fairly meaningless in themselves, I do believe that the aim must be a largely taxpayer-funded NHS with competing providers*, as in so many other countries.

The logical conclusion is that people could claim vouchers (for no more than full cost of NHS equivalent treatment) and go completely private, paying the top-up out of their own pockets or out of voluntary private insurance.

So why does trade union f***wit Dave Prentis come out with this in today's FT "We were really pleased that Alan [Johnson, current UK Health Secretary] made no mention of markets, competition and choice in improving our health service"?

Also in this article - a quango realises it is pointless and dissolves itself! Now there's a first!

* Who should own such hospitals and clinics is an interesting debate. I see no reason why they should not be owned by charities, churches, trade unions, the local authority as well as insurance companies and private operators. As long as they are competing!

NHS Fuckwittery (3)

Neil Record, pensions guru, calculated that the true cost of unfunded pensions promises in the NHS* was about 35% of salary. In other words, if it were a funded scheme in the private sector, employer/employee contributions would have to be around 35% of headline salary.

The purely notional contributions are currently employer 14% and employee 6%.

Well, whoo-pee-do, the NHS has realised that this is a tad on the low side, so they have increased employee contributions by ... (wait for it) ... a whacking 0.5%.

And these are still notional contributions. So all it means is that for a headline salary of £20,000 the true gross will be £18,700. The figure £1,300 gets jotted down on the employee's contributions history, but it doesn't get paid into any sort of physical fund.

*under the old retire-at-sixty final-salary scheme, that is closed to new entrants but still applies to those already in the scheme.

Sunday 23 September 2007

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

One of the six bullet points* under the Conservatives' hugely expensive "Are you thinking what we're thinking?" ad-campaign at the 2005 general election was 'Cleaner hospitals'.

They lost very badly.

The Goblin King now has decided to adopt exactly this pledge as the main plank of his next general election campaign.

Jesus H Christ, what goes around comes around, doesn't it?

*Those six bullet points look pretty good to me.

Friday 14 September 2007

"Charge drunks for treatment, say Lib Dems"

Says the Grauniad headline (via Tim W).

Besides the serious point that drinkers pay for these externalities via VAT, alcohol duties and so on, I know that the leadership hates Charles Kennedy, but talk about kicking a man when he's down.