OK then, let me be clear about this from the start. I am all in favour of incompetent business being punished since that is the essence of the free market, as the strong and efficient prosper and the weak and unprofessional fall away. So in that regard I welcome the investigation the BBC has conducted into the private ambulance operator in Birmingham uncovering totally unacceptable practices.

But there is something about this that bothers me and it lies in the almost malicious glee with which the BBC “uncovers” this failure in the private sector. If you read through this you will come to the curious line from Sam Oestreicher, of the militant health union Unison, who says that privatising services was “always going to cause problems. Private sector providers, their priority is profit not the patient. We are seeing the growth of an uncontrolled and unregulated industry as far as the NHS is concerned.” My question is given the horrendous numbers of patients who die in our NHS wards across the UK, having acquired infection in the filthy wards, why does the BBC not investigate how public sector standards kill more than even Islamic terrorists could dream? I’ll tell you why; the BBC shows an underlying contempt for private enterprise and instead likes to prop up thoroughly discredited NHS standards such as those extolled by Mr Oestreicher.

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  1. archduke says:

    whats the c-diff death rates now? tens of thousands , per year?

    and why dont we throw in abortions – how many of those per year? oh right – we cant talk about that. its never mentioned on the bbc.

    ok so – how many of those abortions were partial birth abortions, and how many were left to die?

    how many battered and beaten children are seen by the NHS each year, which social services never pick up on?

    yup – the above are hard hitting questions , and i apologise if they upset you – but off the top of my head, i could think of that – and all are worthy of journalistic investigation -as opposed to some crappy ambulance operator.


  2. pmjk says:

    Yes the BBC do all this undercover work on ‘right wing’ targets like private industry the BNP the Police etc. When is it going to put undercover squads into the councils, the charities, the far left and the unions?


  3. Dick the Prick says:

    The lassy interviewing on Toady this morning probably had to go for a cold shower after interviewing the contract manager.


  4. adam says:

    We need someone in the labour party with a hidden camera.

    I guess it would be a national security threat


  5. GCooper says:

    pmjk hits the nail on the head when s/he mentions ‘the unions’. It’s pretty clear that the BBC’s ‘undercover reporter’ was a Unison member, given his qualifications, so what’s the betting that it was Unison that fed the BBC the story?

    While the nature of the source doesn’t automatically invalidate the story, it does throw light on the intimate links between the BBC and Left-wing organisations.

    As others have said – where are the similar investigations into the SWP, local councils and the metastasising ZaNuLabour quangos?


  6. David Preiser (USA) says:

    I’m just a foolish United Statesian, so I can’t understand why the theme of the investigation isn’t about why the failures happened, as opposed to the private versus public sector angle.

    All I see here is a laundry list of what went wrong, then some negative statements about how awful the private sector is. Since when did these things never happen in the public sector? Did the BBC bother to get a statement from somebody representing a private child care organization about the Baby P incident? Of course not.

    The ambulance company’s individual response surely isn’t the same thing as defending all private versus public institutions. Only in the minds of Beeboids, I guess.


  7. moonbat nibbler says:

    This was the no.4 item on News 24 at midnight and had far more screen time than the top 3 stories (Damien Green quickly skipped over at no.3 while Sky were running the scandal as its top story).

    I was utterly bambuzzled as to why it was considered “news” at all. The bending of rules is hardly worthy of a single column on the inside pages of the Birmingham Post.


  8. Jason says:

    The lie that the public sector performs better than the private sector is an article of faith on the left. Perhaps the Beeb would like to consider the bottomless pit of inefficiency, incompetence, corruption and waste that is the public sector.

    Or better still, ask itself this: which are people generally more satisfied with – things motivated by “caring” (public housing, socialized medicine etc) or things motivated by “greed” (computers, TVs etc)?

    Jeez. For decades lefties had a living, breathing laboratory experiment in the application of socialism versus capitalism – the difference between East Germany and West Germany. When are they going to stop evading reality and admit that free trade is without a doubt the best thing to happen to mankind throughout our entire history?


  9. Chuffer says:

    If you want to witness professional incompetence, tune in (somehow – online, whatever) to Radio Solent for news bulletins. The 3pm one is usually a safe bet. There you will hear newsreaders who can’t read aloud. How do they stay in their jobs?

    Is it the same for all local BBC stations?


  10. Sutekh says:

    If you want to witness professional incompetence, tune in (somehow – online, whatever) to Radio Solent for news bulletins. The 3pm one is usually a safe bet. There you will hear newsreaders who can’t read aloud. How do they stay in their jobs?

    Is it the same for all local BBC stations?
    Chuffer | 03.12.08 – 8:06 am | #
    Who knows? BBC local radio is possibly the dullest thing on the planet, the aural equivalent of Mogadon.

    If they wanted to reduce the licence fee (which they don’t of course…) they could eradicate those local BBC stations and no-one would bat an eyelid…


  11. Roland Deschain says:

    My first thought on hearing this story was to wonder what practices would be uncovered by investigating public sector ambulance drivers in a similar way.

    That’s not to belittle what was discovered. But to get it in context we neeed to know whether private is worse than public.


  12. whoissecretdubai says:


    Do you, by any chance, happen to know who Secret Dubai (the blogger: is?


  13. Tom says:

    Private sector providers, their priority is profit not the patient.

    In the public sector, the priority is the comfort, convenience, paypacket and featherbedded pension of the bureaucrat.

    I wonder why beeboids never point that out to TUC commissars?

    ….Oh, scrub that. I know exactly why they don’t.

    Small illustration of a general truth:

    I just got back from my local doctor’s surgery. The most prominent sign outside the Health Centre was one forcefully telling customers (patients) that the car park wasn’t for them, but was reserved for the staff.

    That’s it in a nutshell really.

    I bet the Broadcasting House has a sign saying ‘Licence Payers – use the Tradesman’s Entrance at Rear.’


  14. Tim Almond says:

    The BBC always go on the attack on business. Business always has to defend itself, rather than anti-business organisations being put on the defence.

    I remember seeing War on Want saying that Asda were exploiting workers. Soft interview with War on Want followed by accusation thrown at Asda rep, who replied that they’d act if War on Want provided the evidence. At this point, a balanced journalist would have laid into the War on Want person about unproven allegations.

    Actually, I’d hope that when War on Want phoned the BBC, they’d ask them to provide evidence of their allegations before they even put them on camera.

    As for health unions, the one reason they don’t want privatisation and markets in health is that they’ll be toast. Once people no longer have collective bargaining and can move between competing businesses, it’s bye-bye to health unions. Look at all competitive markets. With the exception of theatre and cinema, the unions barely exist outside the public sector.


  15. RR says:

    If we’re talking about health unions, the most successful by far is the BMA, which just loves the NHS because it guarantees every doctor, regardless of whether they’re actually any good, an effective monopoly of patients. Not only that, it allows them to inflate their waiting lists to prove how overworked they are, and how they need more cash. And the BMA just loves that too. Result? The worst performing healthcare system of any developed country, but the best paid doctors fter the US.


  16. tERRY aHERNE says:

    I would find a lot to agree with in the comment about the BBC.As a NHS user, the ranting about a service it would seem the majority of the respondents know little about is largely without any foundation.

    The idea that private medicine, even if the majority of people in this country could afford it, would be better, is drivel. A report today that the NHS is having to pick up the expensive tab for problems with private overseas cosmetic operations is a case in point.

    And please, I can take the flak if that be the case, but at least have the balls (or whatever the female equivalent is) not to hide behind a nom de plume if you want to make a comment.


  17. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    Unison and its predecessors go right back to the Barbara Castle days when they funded a campaign group calling itself “London Health Emergency” headed by Geoff Martin, whose entire career has consisted of denouncing the private sector. There is a long and disonourable history of the health unions slandering the private sector.

    Warming to this theme the BBC today is running a story on how the NHS is “Picking up the pieces of botched overseas surgery” The union of British plastic surgeons don’t like being undercut by the rest of the world.

    We forget the NHS is the last remaining nationalised industry, though banking now appears to be joining them.

    I hope none of these people shop at a private sector supermarket, which of course is only interested in profit.


  18. sawtooth says:

    “The NHS is the last remaining nationalised industry” — apart from the BBC.

    Coincidence? I don’t think so…


  19. F0ul says:

    tERRY aHERNE obviously doesn’t understand the concept of Bias!

    The reason you are hearing about the bad private work being fixed by the NHS is because the BBC wouldn’t cover all the stories of NHS treatments which need to be fixed by the private sector.

    The bill for paying for legal bills for the NHS is in the Billions. These are cases where the NHS have failed resulting in paralysis or death – is the BBC covering it in the same detail as someone’s dodgy nose job?

    I would like to see the BBC doing more impartial undercover work. Unite undercover?
    Dodgy dealings at the Dentist? Cashing in at the Council?
    Uncovering BBC Bias?

    These are just some of the shows you will not be seeing this winter!


  20. Boba Fett says:

    ‘Yes the BBC do all this undercover work on ‘right wing’ targets like private industry the BNP the Police etc’

    Private industry and the police are ‘right wing’?!?

    Amazing to me how David Vance see’s everything through his own prism. Every story comes down to the same thing with you. Yes, the whole point of the story was to further the BBC’s Marxist goals. How utterly bonkers.

    More Obama worship here:


  21. Tim Almond says:


    “A report today that the NHS is having to pick up the expensive tab for problems with private overseas cosmetic operations is a case in point.”

    You really need to learn how to analyse propaganda.

    This is a report by the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, a group who have a very strong interest in people having surgery done here, rather than abroad.

    It quotes no statistics on how many botched operations have been rectified here, only that “more than a third knew of cases where complications followed surgery abroad. “. Considering that most surgeons work in large hospitals, that could mean 1 case in their hospital, or even 1 case in the hospital of a friend of theirs.


  22. billybob says:

    I quite agree. The incessant focus on the private sector shows how their pervasive left-wing tendencies shine through from time to time. I have to say though, they did to a brilliant investigation into the filth in our hospitals a couple of years ago. I seem to remember a number of leftie scumbags being up in arms about that. They don’t like it when the boot is on the other foot do they?


  23. RR says:

    I don’t think any organisation that puts “Casualty” and “Holby City” at the heart of its scheduling is likely to be too interested in investigating the NHS.

    The State boradcaster and the State health service support each other like two drunks.


  24. Greenncoat says:

    Boba Fett: Private industry and the police are ‘right wing’?!?
    Amazing to me how David Vance see’s everything through his own prism.

    I think you’ve missed the point, Boba. It is the BBC that sees the police and private enterprise as ‘right wing’.


  25. Grant says:

    Tom 10:16

    At one of the hospitals near me, the car park is reserved for executives, managers and doctors. All other staff, including nurses, have to use the same car park as patients and visitors, and pay for it !


  26. Grant says:

    As a matter of interest, which health service in Europe or N. America is worse than the NHS ? Any ideas ?


  27. Grant says:

    Terry 11:42

    Had you considered the possibility that , maybe, if some people posting here used their real names, and their employers found out, they may lose their jobs ?
    Given the state of “surveillance Britain”, there may be even worse consequences !


  28. mailman says:

    The problem with the NHS, Dave, is that it is driven by money (ie. not to make a loss).

    This is also the reason Baby P was killed, because of money.



  29. interested of warks says:

    O/T, but did anybody catch Front Row with Mark Lawson last night?

    He teamed up with Diane Roberts to discuss the latest Russell Crowe movie, where Crowe plays a racist white cop who can’t stand the fact that his next door neighbours are a white woman married to a black man.

    It’s apparently a very ‘subtle’ film where you end up liking the white racist and disliking the black victim.

    Good to see the Beeb really taking on those racial stereotypes in this review, and not being afraid to have a go at white guys:

    Diane Roberts: “It’s a very interesting film. It’s very unsettling. Russell Crowe is just terrifically watchable, but he’s frightening too. He’s just beyond the pale. We don’t know if he’s been driven mad by his exposure to American liberalism, or whether it’s living in this God-awful suburb where everything’s manicured… but he’s one of the best characters I’ve seen.”

    Lawson: “I agree. He’s very frightening, it’s fascinating and it’s a brave venture by both the writer and the actor I thought. We’ve had this tendency in American cinema to creat saintly white figures • understandably given the history of liberalism • but this is really daring. This invites the audience to dislike a character partly for reasons of his race and his racial attitudes.”

    Diane Roberts: “And his racism. I mean, he does not like for a young white woman to be married to a black man. Now, given this black man, I can kind of take his point, because this guy’s kind of useless. But that’s not the point. He’s not a saintly redemptive white man, thank God. He’s not going to teach the black people how to live. I’m so glad to see an angry • understandably angry • mabye crazy, we don’t know, ferociously rule-driven white man. This guy makes his children use perfect grammar, his children can’t listen to her iPod at the table… there’s all this sort of moral rectitude in his character that goes along with his rage and this misogyny…. I think the whole film, up until, ooh, maybe, the last quarter of an hour, is very subtle… You don’t know what to think. You want to endorse this interracial marriage, but you see some of the issues coming up and, frankly, you’re being forced to like the guy who seems a little crazy and not like the guy who’s a victim.


  30. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    Just an observation but the average hospital employs aroung three thousand staff, many of whom drive to work every day like lots of people. When my local hospital sold off parking land to help pay for its PFI, staff began parking in neighbouring streets and the local residents got to the point of tyre-slashing. Car parking is a nightmare at all hospitals – at Kings they charge a fortune, because if they don’t, people just park their car to go shopping.

    Doctors often move from site to site to hold clinics and lists, and if they didn’t have protected parking you would probably have to go get your botched operation overseas as they’d never get to you.

    Now, where was I, back to BBC bias.


  31. cameron says:


    Get the bus/ tube to work?


  32. Terry Aherne says:

    Grant,I’m a civil servant myself, but since I’m not exactly giving away state secrets, I am entitled to my opinion. You could be right, but I rather think it is more to do with the lack of balls I mentioned.

    Tim Almond, lesson in analysing propaganda notwithstanding, you don’t really think any and all private operations carried out abroad are so unerringly perfect that there is never a tab to pick up, by the taxpayer. I think you need to go back to your “How to recognise Propaganda” handbook; some of the right hand leaves might be ubscured.

    And for Mr Peiser, I would be more concerned about health services/costs in my own country were I you. The costs of holiday insurance for a visit to the USA is around twice what it is elsewhere in Europe.Seems as if you are paying over the odds big time.


  33. JohnW says:

    NHS workers driving to work? Why don’t they all use PUBLIC transport – you know, the buses and trains and suchlike that the unions and the eco-lefties are always blathering on that we should use!


  34. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Boba Fett | Homepage | 03.12.08 – 12:09 pm |

    Private industry and the police are ‘right wing’?!?

    Private industry isn’t favored by the neo-Marxists at the BBC, and the police are historically thought of as racist and fascist, both characteristics which these same neo-Marxists (wrongly) associate exclusively with the right. Or didn’t you think your troll statement through, and decided to just ridicule instead?

    Amazing to me how David Vance see’s everything through his own prism. Every story comes down to the same thing with you. Yes, the whole point of the story was to further the BBC’s Marxist goals. How utterly bonkers.

    It should be pretty obvious, if you had an open mind. It’s been spelled out pretty clearly in other comments on this thread. Either debate or keep quiet.

    More Obama worship here:

    You didn’t notice that Urban is actually defending against early criticism of President-elect Obamessiah? I bet you didn’t stop to ask yourself why Mark Urban felt it was important to spend all that blog space defending him against premature charges of being too favorable towards Israel (Boo!). And I bet you didn’t notice that he trundled out the usual BBC lie that only Israel controls borders with Gaza, and that Hamas hasn’t trousered the vast sums of cash sent their way rather than help their own people.

    Perhaps this website is more your speed:


  35. Sam Duncan says:

    I’ll make no secret of the fact that David isn’t my favourite B-BBC contributor, but he’s absolutely spot-on with this one. The emphasis in these stories is always on the fact that the miscreant is a private company, not on what has gone wrong. It’s never mentioned that the misdeeds are more likely to be punished because of that fact.

    Grant: Cuba? Of course, the regime’s apologists will claim it’s even better than the NHS, but some people know better.


  36. Grant says:

    Terry 3:09

    Now , who would have guessed you were a civil servant !


  37. Tim Almond says:

    Terry Aherne,

    “Tim Almond, lesson in analysing propaganda notwithstanding, you don’t really think any and all private operations carried out abroad are so unerringly perfect that there is never a tab to pick up, by the taxpayer.”

    No, absolutely not. But how big a deal is it? And how much does the cost of that compare with fixing the results of skiing holidays abroad?


  38. Grant says:

    Interested 1:43

    Yes, for the BBC the whole world is divided into black and white. Keeps it simple for them, saves them having to think and re-program their software.


  39. Grant says:

    Sam 3:36

    Yes, of course, Cuba. I would imagine Russia is better than the NHS as well.
    Just hope I never get sick in some third world country like France, Germany, Holland, the Nordic countries…. Hate to end up in one of their dreadful hospitals.


  40. MarkE says:


    It might be worth considering that most healthcare provision in Europe (both EU and free) is partly or wholly private. Having lived and worked in a few other European countries I would certainly not put the NHS anywhere near the top of any quality lists.

    Although I have never lived in the USA, I used to know a GP who had, and he told me that if there were only two choices on the menu, he would rather live in the states and trust Medicaid than have to rely on the NHS (he admitted he had PHI so he wasn’t reliant on the NHS here, and that he intended returning to the USA in due course).


  41. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Terry Aherne | 03.12.08 – 3:09 pm |

    Seems as if you are paying over the odds big time.

    Judging from my friends’ experiences, I’d say you guys get everything you pay for, and less. It’s about quality and efficiency, not nickles and dimes, not to mention freedom of choice and enterprise. And we have less people practicing medicine without a license under the guise of bureaucracy.


  42. Steve Macqueen says:

    Most of the Government building projects in this country are by large private companies or PLCs totally seperate from the public sector. Private sector management techniques are aped by the NHS, but unfortunately the quality of the management is patchy, and less easy to sack than in the private sector.


  43. Grant says:

    “TV presenters in NHS data fears”


  44. Grant says:

    PS and guess which well-known broadcaster employs them ?


  45. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    Because BBC-leftists believe pursuit of profit is bad, they have to also believe it is done so at the expense of service. In most cases the private sector only able to make a profit if they successfully provide a better service – its called competition, which state-monopolists hate because it makes organisations accountable to the customer and not the State.

    The media love the word “blunder”, like some buffoon tripping over a drum kit. All doctors have a small proportion of mishaps – treatment is an imperfect process, and things can go wrong.

    When they came up with evidence that US HMOs like Kaiser Permanente provide better quality care and better outcomes at no different cost to the NHS, the standard leftist rubric – “the US health system is evil” crowd went into apoplexy.Its a central prop to the belief that ‘merka is bad.

    The NHS has a bigger problem than “the private sector”. It has recruited large numbers of staff from Africa to fill vacancies, especially in hard to fill areas like nursing, geriatrics, and psychiatry. Aside from the issue that a proportion come here deliberately because they have AIDS, you had better hope that medical training in Nigeria or Sierra Leone is up to scratch. Because that is what you are going to get.


  46. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    The Baby P paediatrician – a Pakistani, medical training in Saudi Arabia, employed by NHS Haringey, fails to recognise baby P’s back is broken and has a signs of horrendous abuse.

    Err, where are you trade union Unite? Worried about the Private Sector in the NHS ? Safer stick to the old villains – the class war.


  47. lucklucky says:

    When a firm, which are MANY, in private sector fails it is a failure of all private sector is evil and should be banned, when public sector which only exist ONE fails those same persons don’t say ban the public sector nor it is evil!


  48. caveman says:

    Tom: In Manchester the MRI is the main Accident & Emergency hospital. As you drive in, on the left are about 50 car parking spaces and usually none are vacant. On the right there is a hospital car park which is always empty in the evening but the barrier is always down – presumably reserved for the managers to use, I don’t know. For whose benefit is the hospital run?

    Terry Aherne and your non-nom de plume – look what happens to whistleblowers like the nurse a couple of years ago who made the programme Billybob referred to above. By the way – would you be happy about including your address with your next posting as you like to be so open?

    Bilybob – You refer to the excellent exception to the rule when the TV media investigated that NHS hospital. I was puzzled at this initially.

    Why, after 30 years of no programmes exposing the NHS disgraces, did the TV media make this exception?

    I can only think that some people in the media or their families were personally affected by NHS incompetence and cruelty, and there were so many affected and they were so angry and they were sufficiently high up in these media organisations that clearance for the programme was achieved – anger triumphed over ideology.

    I imagine that someone’s parents suffering in agony at the hands of the cold uncaring NHS can wipe out a lifetime of socialist loyalty to the NHS (slogan which must be repeated at its mention – ‘The NHS is the envy of the world’ – not.)

    Other countries in Europe don’t have waiting lists – eg in Germany you can have a heart op in one week – why not copy one of their systems? No. Socialsim dictates we must all suffer the NHS as socialist principles are more important than healthcare for everyone.


  49. Grant says:

    Caveman 11:43

    Well said. Terry Aherne seems to have gone quiet !