Criticism of the NHS does not go down well at the BBC. I suppose both are anachronistic cabals and the BBC gets defensive when people suggest that the NHS is a dinosaur. So listen to this interview with the head of NHS Direct. Note the instant attack on the Daily Mail and then the smug satisfaction and faux apology from Nick Chapman, all lapped up by Humphyrs.
NHS IS PERFECT
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I do find it very amusing that the BBC should attack the mail so much must be fear of the competition! as the mail has more anti coalition pro AGW stories than them and any news about the BBC gets bombarded by pro Beebles comments !.
A couple of points.
The first is the increasing cultivation by the BBC of the notion that the Daily Mail represents an unacceptable facet of British society. It’s starting to make references to the Daily Mail in the same way the intelligentsia used to describe the National Front etc, i.e. that it had a superficial appeal to people who aren’t particularly bright, but that its hidden agenda was quite evil and destructive.
On the specific point that about NHS Direct, the interviewee was allowed to get off very easily because Humphrys never attempted serious follow-up questions. As was pointed out, accidents caused by slippery pavements don’t lead to calls to NHS Direct, they lead to visits to A&E or a doctor’s surgery. As he accepted, there is no flu pandemic at the moment (as much as the media seem to be trying to encourage the notion), and colds and flu only account for about 4% of the calls to NHS Direct. So why is the system under stress?
A couple of questions from Humphrys may have have punctured the bubble.
1.What proportion of NHS Direct Staff have been granted holidays over the Christmas period, traditionally their busiest time of the year?
2. What proportion of NHS Direct’s staff are currently unavailable to work because of seasonal illnesses?
My wife worked very briefly for one of the NHS Direct’s call centres (in an admin role) shortly after it was founded. In early December, as a sign of their true priorities, the office spent almost £3,000 on a Christmas Tree. However, the management granted holidays to an excessive number of staff over the Christmas break with the result that there were too people available and the call answering targets could not possibly be met. They got round this by answering the calls and then immediately cutting off the caller. The monitoring equipment was only set up to check the speed of response, not the quality of the call handling.
Of course, that was many years ago, a full enquiry was held (behind closed doors) and I’m confident that “lessons were learned”!
I have to say that I saw absolutely nothing wrong with the interview by itself. Nothing that could be construed as derogatory to the Daily Mail on the part of Humphrys (nor, for that matter, his interviewee). As sceptical Steve notes though, more searching questions were perhaps possible, but not what I would call an objective example of BBC bias.
Except for the fact that the Toady producer coordinated the “The Wail Is Wrong” angle beforehand. The BBC has a whole News department available who would know if the NHS is strained due to the flu outbreak. They don’t need The Mail to tell them.
This was a case where the Toady producers saw the story last night when they get the morning headlines, and then called Chapman up to arrange a defense statement. This was a chance to prove The Mail wrong, and the BBC took it rather than put their own reporting on the line.
As quiet as it was on the night shift yesterday I couldn’t be bothered listening to the whole of yesterday’s TODAY show to check this out. However, I listened to the first 30 seconds, and the usual ‘party tricks’ of this appallingly biased show.
We had James Naughtie intoning how two Lib Dem Ministers have been recorded saying ‘they dont like Osborne and they dont trust Cameron. A Conservative spokesman said there was growing trust in the Coalition Government’. Ermm, and there’s no Lib Dem spokesman to put that on record as well?? Naughtie is repulsive. It’s like listening to Radio Stalin.
Winter deaths are a part of the normal response to extremes in temperature by people in their final year of life. Both extremes of heat and cold bumnp people off who are on a one way ticket. Its not “news”. Flu is incredibly “normal” – its not an “outbreak” (Panic! Were all going to die!) Its not a David Cronenberg movie: Killer-Flu.
Swine flu has bumped off a lot of no-hopers, saving the NHS millions. Not that you will ever be told that. The NHS has a begging bowl permanently sewn into its right hand. It always claims to be “overwhelmed” when its the usual predictable seasonal pattern of demand which occurs at a time when most NHS staff want time off.
The BBC is utterly incapable of reporting anything “how it is”. Its endless search is for stories that support their political narrative. Cameron promised to protect the NHS but ….
They really are lying b*st*rds.