In other news


In response to calls for more straight news, we have abandoned the usual satirical format and borrowed two stories from the HSJ, which are reproduced here very much as they first appeared. The few small embellishments and minor changes of detail are purely to avoid infringing copyright and upsetting the HSJ’s editor Alastair McLellan.

Forward view shortage threatens community services

Community services leaders are up in arms about NHS England’s decision to abandon a forward view for the sector. NHS England had started work on a Community Services Forward View, but ran out of coffee and savoury snacks before it could be completed.

The NHS as a whole is covered by the Five Year Forward View, while general practice and mental health each have their own dedicated forward views. “It’s a slap in the face for community services,” said one leader, who declined to exist. “Every other sector has a high-level strategy that falls far short of a useful plan but is handy to blame when things go wrong. Every other sector has been promised transformation money, which fails to make it through to the front line or is spirited away to prop up hospitals. Why should we be any different?”

NHS England denied that it was rationing strategy or that there was a postcode lottery for forward views, but acknowledged that some areas would inevitably lose out. A spokesperson said: “In an ideal world everyone would have their own nice document with a foreword by Simon Stevens, but at a time of limited resources we have to make difficult choices. Everyone has heard of GPs but ‘community services’ has very low unprompted brand recognition in our core national news media demographic.”

NHS England is said to be considering measures to placate angry community services chiefs, including a tour of the executive suite on the sixth floor of Skipton House, followed by tea and selfie opportunities with Simon (subject to availability).

Elderly man ‘let down’ as hospitals decline his savings

The NHS is failing in its duty of care to older ennobled people – so says disgruntled Coles resident Patrick, who says he feels “really let down by hospitals”. Patrick, known locally by the nickname “Lord Carter”, has spent several years complaining of early onset inefficiency, but despite numerous tests and visits to most of the hospitals in England, Patrick says it isn’t getting any better.

“I’ve told them what’s wrong, but none of them seem able to do anything about it,” he says. “They just keep fobbing me off with excuses.”

Patrick first noticed something was wrong in 2009. “I remember it was just after the banking collapse when things started to feel very tight. I put it down to poor circulation but a chap I worked with said it might be constrained long-term funding, which can be terminal if it isn’t sorted out.”

Patrick visited a private consultant “who charged me a fortune to tell me a lot of things I already knew”. However, he was shocked to discover that unless he was able to find £5bn, nobody would be able to get treatment in an NHS hospital for much longer.

“I mean, who has that much lying around?” he asks.

Several years later and Patrick’s embarrassing procurement problem is getting worse. He’s tried everything from telling people to try harder to insisting that nobody buys anything without a purchase order, “but they just won’t listen”, he complains.

A spokesperson said that they were aware of an irascible man calling himself Lord Carter frequently turning up at hospitals but had been unable to find anything wrong. “We told him to try primary care instead and stop wasting our time.”  

News editor: Julian Patterson


Reproduced at by kind permission of Julian Patterson.