The NHS collapsing isn’t a ‘crisis’ – everything is simply going to plan

One doctor writing to Jeremy Hunt said ‘120 patients a day are being treated in corridors’. This shows how under-used corridors are

Mark Steel
Thursday 11 January 2018 18:15
Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt want you to know that everything is absolutely fine
Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt want you to know that everything is absolutely fine

Everything’s going to plan. Asked about the 55,000 operations postponed in hospitals so far this winter, the Prime Minister said: “You mention operations being postponed – that is part of the plan.”

It shows how dedicated this Government is that they’ve gone to such lengths to meet their targets. Maybe they’d only cancelled 53,000, but Jeremy Hunt calmly rang every hospital and told them to cancel 2,000 more to complete their plan.

Then NHS staff, already exhausted, worked overtime to ensure the figure was met. Perhaps Hunt himself marched into operating theatres and personally shoved appendixes that were being removed back inside the patients because he’s determined to meet the targets.

One spokesman for the Government, Philip Dunne, answered a question about hospitals that had run out of beds by saying there were seats available so they could sit in them. This is the ‘outside the box’ thinking we need for a modern health service. Why are we so obsessed with the old-fashioned bed?

There are X-ray machines and MRI scanners they could lie in, and if they were switched on the radiation would give them extra warmth, so patients would not only emerge from hospital with their gallstones removed but could boast a healthy tan.

Or there are the car parks where you could fit hundreds of patients, which would be excellent value after 7pm because they’d only be charged the night rate of 80p an hour.

This system could be spread throughout hospitals, so beds are renamed parking bays and each patient has to put money in a meter. If they go over their time or their foot creeps outside the sheets, they’ll get a ticket. And if some greedy sod in a coma stays in place for three weeks, when they wake up they’ll find they’ve been clamped, with a huge sticker on their chest saying “Do Not Attempt to Remove”.

Theresa May says 55,000 missed operations are part of the NHS plan

Several hospital officials have written a letter to the Health Secretary complaining about the lack of beds. One of them says that, at his hospital, “120 patients a day are being treated in corridors”. This proves how under-used corridors are.

Every office has corridors – we can put the sick there. Insurance companies in Woking will be happy to have people lying in their corridors, and while they’re waiting to have their gangrene treated they can buy a five-year buildings insurance policy, so everyone’s better off.

Schools have plenty of corridors – the sick can be left there, and they’ll be perfectly safe because if they start to slip away a teacher will clap their hands loudly and shout: “There will be NO dying in the corridors!”

This exciting modern outlook for health can be explained in a little slogan – “Strokes are more jolly when you’re left on a trolley” – and bit by bit we’ll complete the plan.

The head of NHS Providers has also written publicly to say the National Health Service has fallen further behind the targets set in its constitution than it ever has before. So a few MPs have suggested the solution is to change the standards set in its constitution.

This is a magnificently efficient method for dealing with falling short of your standards. Instead of going through all the palaver of raising the standards to meet the targets, why not lower them to whatever your standards already are?

For example, every hospital could automatically pass its targets for hygiene by dropping the ridiculously high standards it’s supposed to meet in which they’re not supposed to kill anyone. Then they could report: “The cardiac unit passed once again, as only two donkeys and one infestation of incontinent ferrets were found in the ward, and this week our constitution allows for anything up to a flurry of bats and one lion.”

This is how we can make Britain great again. The England cricket team, instead of trudging through some laborious investigation as to how they lost 4-0 to Australia, could issue a statement saying: “Our tour was an enormous success, exceeding our target of arriving in Australia by actually playing in the matches.”

This would be especially suitable since the England captain spent some of the last match in hospital on a drip. And what good did that do him? If the hospital had run out of beds and he’d have been made to wait on a trolley, he could have been wheeled onto the pitch and carried on batting.

This is all a measure of the extraordinary ability of our Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Because he’s dealing with nurses and doctors, who have spent their entire professional lives training to be calm under extreme pressure, barely raising their voices even when surrounded by blood, fear and calamity. And he’s got them fuming and spitting and writing furious letters, which is a skill few of us could master.

To be hated by the entirety of a profession known as “angels” is the sort of specialised ability someone like that is paid for.

Next he should be put in charge of full-time meditators at Buddhist retreats, to see if he can get them to go “I’ll SQUASH the bastard with my yogic tantric flow” and spend all day chanting “arsehole arsehole arsehole” on a mat.

Then we should get David Attenborough to make a documentary about this wonderfully inventive method of running our health system, in which he says: “Now we see the Government dutifully going about its task of thinning out the herd. Left in corridors, only the strongest will survive – and in such ways the species will complete this part of its plan.”

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