Then, in order to impress visiting dignitaries that agricultural production was increasing, fields were dug up overnight and the crops replanted for inspection the following day. Now Virginia Bottomley's claim to have increased productivity in the NHS also depends upon double counting. She has merely redefined a Finished Consultant Episode to include all in-patient consultations rather than the previous definition based on discharges and deaths.
The number of people on waiting lists has now risen to more than a million, with another 1.3 million waiting for a first consultation. Ideology determines everything and any faults in the system are attributed to 'professional resistance'.
In China, Mao tightened his grip on power by launching the Cultural Revolution and placed peasants in charge of the professional classes. The NHS is now run by political appointees who are medically unqualified and democratically unaccountable.
ROBIN RUSSELL JONES
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire