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NHS Patients Say: I Am Not A Number I Am A Human Being
The labour government made a huge error in placing targets and statistics ahead of patient care in the NHS. Nurses complained they were spending more times filling in forms and dealing with paperwork than they were on patient care. Now Labour are screaming about the coalition's proposed cuts in NHS budgets. But the cuts will reduce numbers of managers and administrators, not nurses and front line staff.

I Am Not A Number I Am A Human Being
by Ian R Thorpe.
2010-07-13
CREATIVE COMMONS: Attribute, non commercial, no derivs.
KEYWORDS: health, nhs, patients, nurses, government, labour,targets, statistics, coalition, politics

by ianrthorpe @ 2009-07-15 – 17:43:42 The Guardian's Jenni Russell, a Labour supporter in the past turns on the party and explains how their failure to win the popularity they expected after their claimed increases in public spending can be explained by the obsession with figures, targets, statistics and management babble.

Read Jenni Russell's article New Labour's Mistake Is In Thinking We Are All Automatos

On top of that the Labour government made the great mistake of treating the public as stupid, thinking we would happily accept their statistics showing improvement in the NHS when people's experience is of patients being neglected while clinical staff are prioritizing bureaucratic tasks, why so many children are emerging from the education illiterate and inummerate and even university graduates on entering employment need remedial training in basic literacy and numeracy while examination result statistics show year on year improvement.

Labour behaved throughout its 13 years in power as if they truly believed there was no possible alternative to their policies.

I have experienced a lot of this kind of arrogance over the years. When I stood as a Liberal candidate in municipal and county council elections many labour supporters responded quite viciously telling me in effect I had no right as a working class person to turn against the party that represented my class. Now being branded working class does not bother me although I never have been. Living in a working class area (though not a working class part of town) and having an individualistic way of dressing could confuse people. What was insulting was the assumption that as a working class person I would not be politically aware enough to make up my own mind which political party to support and would therefore cast my vote on the basis of tribalistic class loyalties.

This exemplifies how Labour lost the working class vote. They simply assumed the working class would blindly support them and concentrated their efforts on courting the middle classes with their elitist policies.

Thus while the NHS was made an icon of socialist righteousness in reality it was turned into a vast bureaucratic empire of box tickers, paper shufflers and time servers. Patient care always took second place to administrative tasks.

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