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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On Radio 4's Thought for the Day this morning, the speaker was James Jones, Anglican Bishop of Liverpool. His talk was a paean of praise for the NHS.

On Radio 4's Thought For The Day this morning, the speaker was James Jones, Anglican Bishop of Liverpool. His talk was a paean of praise for the NHS.

I wonder how many hundreds of listeners were, like me, profoundly distressed by his message today. Bishop James praised the NHS and was especially commendatory of the fact that its services are 'free' - 'free' at the point of need. (They are not free, of course. They are extremely expensive, but are paid for out of taxation, rather than directly by the patients to the providers.) He roundly condemns the system in some other countries, of requiring the patient's credit card (to ensure payment) before providing treatment, but disregards the doctrinaire processes demanded by the NHS before NHS treatment is provided, e.g. here - or not provided, as is the sad experience, too often, of too many patients, including victims of medical negligence, and that includes me.

I challenge Bishop James to read of my long, cruel, shocking treatment at the hands of the NHS abusing its power and see if he finds that praiseworthy. How can he praise an NHS for providing 'free' treatment, when that free treatment includes the callous disregard that led to so much suffering and so many ghastly deaths at that Staffordshire Hospital? See here, here, here. How does a man of the cloth live with the treatment of hundreds of innocent children in NHS 'care' at the hands of Dr Andrew Holden? - See here and here. Why does Bishop James disregard the dark, evil side of the NHS? Why does he champion the powerful, rather than champion their victims? The NHS does not need his advocacy; its suffering victims do.

I have tried in past years to obtain the help of Bishops to bring about reform of the cruel system, and I have failed. - David Lunn, when he was Bishop of Sheffield, promised me that he would help, but he let me down shamefully. Similarly David Jenkins, when he was Bishop of Durham, said he would help, but did not. Other prominent, influential religious leaders I have approached have also passed by on the other side, allowing NHS cruelty and victimisation to continue unchallenged. Where are the Good Samaritans in the churches, with the courage and the compassion to do right by the NHS's victims and to work to reform a system that is rotten at its core?

I challenge Bishop James to come and spend some hours with me, that I can tell him more about the callous, careless NHS system that is my own experience, and that of thousands of his fellow citizens.