Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
James O'Brien: Is NHS Crisis Down To Political Incompetence Or Conspiracy?
3 January 2018, 12:44
James O'Brien had an important question to ask about the reason the NHS is in crisis: is it incompetence from the government or is it deliberate?
Around 50,000 operations are to be cancelled, while senior doctors will be positioned at the entrances to A&E to turn away the non-urgent cases.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has apologised, while Prime Minister Theresa May insisted that the NHS was better prepared for winter than ever before.
But James wanted to know the reason for it. And he says the only two options are the government is incompetent, or the government is driving the NHS into the ground through cuts in order to speed up privatisation.
Speaking on his LBC show, James said: "You hear people saying, that Ukip fella on with Nick earlier [Henry Bolton], the NHS is not fit for purpose. How bloody dare you. How dare you say that to the doctors and nurses who haven't a pay rise since 2010. In real terms, they've had their pay cut for the last seven years.
"If the NHS is not fit for purpose, it's the fault of the politicians, who have cut its funding and the journalists who have told you lies about immigration and previous political administration.
"That's how this has been allowed to happen, because as long as you're looking over their shouting 'Pole!', they're looking over their shouting 'Haha, mug! You keep blaming the immigrants mate, I'll keep reducing the quality of care you can expect when you get cancer.'
"But I'd really really hope that you will tell me it's about incompetence, it's about struggling with modernity, it's about changing demographics, it's about old people living longer, being more poorly, it's about beds not being vacated by people who've got nowhere to go, it's not deliberate James. It's incompetence, not conspiracy.
"Is it incompetence or are we being deliberately driven towards disaster so that a few people can make a fat chunk of change?
"When you look at the NHS, when you look at the seven-year decline in patient satisfaction, when you look at the financial disaster that is both underway and getting worse, when you look at the testimony of doctors and nurses, when you read about what is going on and of course when you go to hospital as a patient or because it's your job, how do you respond to the suggestion that echoes the great Noam Chomsky that the NHS is being in some way carved up, softened up, fattened up for privatisation.
"Because the same people that look at allotments and graveyards and think 'How can they be allowed to exist, no one's making any money out of them,' they might just be looking at the NHS in exactly the same way. And by the time they win, it be too late."