Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Getting your Retaliation in First

Ah! In December a young Prime Minister's fancy turns lightly to thoughts of spin.

The gigantic deficits in the British health care system are reinforcing a need to rationalise services on fewer sites. The problem is that closing hospital services is always deeply unpopular in the the communities they serve. When the services under threat are Accident and Emergency- then campaigns are tinged with the fear that A&E services might be too far away and that lives may be lost. Whether road accidents or heart attacks- people get nervous about closures.

So Mr. Blair is making a pre-emptive strike - arguing that those who oppose the closures are putting lives at risk. I have no idea whether Mr. Blair believes this, or whether he merely finds it expedient to believe this- in any event the evidence is somewhat finely balanced. However the concentration of sick people in one place strikes me as potentially quite dangerous.

Today we have MRSA- what happens tomorrow if H5N1 becomes transmissible between humans? Large hospitals may then become useless or even dangerous white elephants- spreading disease faster than it can be cured.

I assume that this is what Mr. Blair means when he talks about joined-up government?

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