The death of Jeremy Hunt- an STP story
Years of diligently asset stripping the NHS had taken their toll on Jeremy Hunt and Simon Stevens and so one day they decided that they needed some collective ‘me’ time. So in the spring of 2020 they headed off on a hunting trip together with one of Jeremy’s spads from the Department of Health. They were there primarily to hunt game, and decided to climb a tree to get a better vantage point.
Hunt smeared camouflage paint on his face and offered it to Stevens, who declined.
“Suit yourself,” said Hunt, as he then put on his lucky skull and crossbones hunting bandana.
Surveying the landscape from their tree, Stevens was struck by a thought, “Didn’t the local STP close a hospital around here a few years back?”, Stevens asked quizzically.
Hunt thought for a moment, “Ah yes, that was one of the first where the doctors tried to band together and take us to court. They keep doing that and it keeps getting thrown out of court. They never bloody learn, do they?"
Hunt fiddled around for his binoculars, "Why is it so hard for people to see that to make the NHS affordable we all have to get used to longer ambulance journeys, longer waiting times for treatment and people actually paying for their healthcare. Why should you or I or other people with a bit of dosh pay for some complete stranger to get an MRI scan?”
“Too many socialists in the NHS!”, the Spad shouted up from the ground below. Hunt gave a wink and a silent nod of agreement.
A stray pheasant wandered lucklessly into view, “Quick, have we got a crossbow?”, Hunt whispered, “I want to do this one old-school”.
“No sir, only a rifle and the Magnum .45” the spad replied, hunting in the bag for the most powerful handgun in the world.
Hunt was disappointed, “Okay Spad, make a note to bring a crossbow next time and pass me the Magnum.”
Hunt took aim but just as he was about to press the trigger, the branch gave way and they both fell to the ground.
And it was bad.
Stevens had been knocked unconscious and the Health Secretary had a compound fracture of his thigh bone that was already bleeding heavily. He was semi-conscious and rambling.
The Spad panicked and started running- having a dead health secretary on your CV was considered a no-no in his profession. But he composed himself, came back and rang an ambulance. When the ambulance finally arrived, the Health Secretary had lost a good deal of blood and Stevens was still unconscious. The Spad told the driver to take them to the nearest private hospital.
“These men need an A&E. No private hospitals have A&Es”, the ambulance driver replied.
The ambulance driver said that there were a smattering of private urgent care centres in the UK for less complex injuries but no private A&E’s, they were too unprofitable so nobody wanted to pick them off. He explained that the nearest A&E was now 53 miles away and this was approaching rush hour. They had two air ambulance helicopters in the county but they were often busy now that they only had one A&E serving such a big locality. He didn’t like Hunt’s chances.
The ambulance driver looked at the spad with a mixture of pity and disdain, “That’s what these guys never understood. They wanted a two tier health system where the wealthy could pay for private healthcare and the poor could be left with a public insurance system, like Medicaid in America. Problem is once they started closing and downgrading A&Es (they went from 140 to 40 odd a few years back) the poor and rich were equally screwed because there are no private A&Es that people can use their money to get to. If you have an acute obstetric emergency, cardiac chest pain, head injuries, complex fractures then you are in trouble no matter how fat your wallet is. So all those STP people, commissioners and local counsellors on big salaries were affected just like everyone else."
The spad was shocked, "But...."
The ambulance driver continued, "There was the story of the STP leader in the North East, his daughter had been in an RTA. He was distraught when he realised he’d closed the A&E that his daughter would have been taken to and that was quite close to her accident. They reckon, had it been open, it would have saved her life. Thing is, A&E losses are no respecter of money, class and privilege.”
Their conversation was interrupted by the single tone of the cardiac monitor.
"Looks like we're going to need a new health secretary.”
For more information see http://nhaparty.org/the-biggest-attack-on-the-nhs/ and signhttps://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-plans-to-dismantle-our-nhs
NHA's 'Friday Surgery' is a sometimes satirical blog written by Dr Carl Walker who is a member of the party's executive committee.