Dame Ruth Carnall was the last Chief Executive of NHS London before it was abolished in 2013. She is now chair of the “Success Regime” programme board in Northern, Eastern and Western Devon. She is also concurrently a partner in management consultancy Carnall Farrar, the company which will deliver the “diagnostic phase” of the project. Is there at least a conflict of interest here?
Many MPs, too many to list here, have a financial interest in health care companies that will make millions when NHS services are put out to private tender. Should they be allowed to vote on the matter?
It may be, I hope it is, that all is perfectly innocent, but surely those that we entrust to spend billions of our money and to whom we entrust our health and the health of those we love should be, like Caesar’s wife, beyond reproach. And that means not merely should they ensure that there is no conflict of interest, but also they should ensure that there is no possibility that the public could even think that a conflict of interest is possible.
The trouble is that all of the cases I have mentioned above fail the “Caesar’s wife” test, and this goes all the way up the NHS hierarchy, all the way to Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England, and beyond to Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health. If, as these people claim, the changes they want are intended to improve the NHS, they should first divest themselves of all conflicting outside interests or resign and pass the jobs to others who clearly pass the “Caesar’s wife” test. Then, and only then, is there some chance that we might believe what they say.
Of course, some face a much harder task to persuade us of their veracity, for example Dr Alison Diamond and her colleagues who insisted that the removal of in-patient beds at the Tyrrell was only temporary right up until a couple of weeks before the removal was announced to be permanent, or the people who reassured the inhabitants of Okehampton that the closure of their community hospital was OK because they could use the nearby one in Holsworthy, neglecting to mention that the very next day Holsworthy would be closed “temporarily”!
If the administrators had not been called in, the theatres trust would not be looking at using its limited resources to pay almost £100,000 to the administrators! £100,000! Can you believe it? They would not also face a claim of around £120,000 from promoters and artistes whose shows have been cancelled.
Mr Milton said the following to me:
“The past accountants will have some questions to answer too – why allow property improvements to be shown as assets in the accounts when they would never be retrievable upon cessation – a point which was almost inevitable in 2018? Why were equipment and fixtures and fittings not depreciated appropriately if the retrievable value is only £24000 and again, with only a matter of months to go before the surrender of the management contract?”
If all of this had been dealt with differently, it is likely that the difficult financial position would have been revealed earlier and it might possibly have been easier to deal with.
I understand that the organisers of the protest at the lenient sentence imposed on Aiden Platt’s killer do not intend to let matters lie. Good for them. Nothing we do can bring Aiden back, but we can try to ensure that future killers are punished appropriately and that this will reduce the number of such “accidents”.
And finally, I am just beginning to see some cherry blossom. Spring must definitely be here, even though it does seem to be a little colder of late.