A further demonstration, if needed, that state industries manage upwards- to please their political masters rather than their real customers.
Commissar Hewitt yesterday visited University Hospital of North Staffordshire and was treated to a stage-managed display of extra eye-operations. The hospital, which is in the process of axing 1,000 staff to staunch a £15.5m financial haemorrhage, had only reopened the closed operating theatre for one day to impress the Commissar. A disgusted doctor said:
"We were told that because she was coming there would be two theatre lists instead of the usual one and we got a message to reopen the theatre. We had to wash out and check all the equipment, the microscopes and the cataracts operating machine. The nurse who ran the theatre before was called back in and for the first time in almost a year the theatre was used for eye operations again. All this was so that the hospital could show Miss Hewitt that all was well and that cuts could not affect patient services, which is of course rubbish.
It was an incredibly sneaky thing to do but then the management is obsessed with spin rather than trying to run a good hospital. What Miss Hewitt won't see is that tomorrow, the next day and for the foreseeable future the eye theatre will be closed again."
Thankfully, this particular outrage will not be repeated too often: as we now know, the Commissar rarely visits NHS hospitals if she can possibly avoid it.
Don't blame her. You never know what you might catch.
PS Our profile of the Commissar is here. It explains why a leftwing activist with a background in PR and spinmistressing is so ideally suited to running our£75bn health industry.