Sunday, October 19, 2008

Heart Attack Hot Air On Spinning Sunday

Desperate efforts to spin its way out of the busted economy moved up a gear as a government planted 'positive' story over heart treatment popped up on the radar. The ink wasn't dry on the 'tough' immigration line, before today's reassurances for heart attack victims.

The Orange Party hadn't even chance to check out the Sunday papers or check up on the BBC when it posted: "next up, expect a couple of planted feel-good stories to reassure voters over public services." Government spin doctors didn't disappoint. 

BBC On-Line news reports: "Hundreds of lives will be saved every year with the introduction of a "gold standard" treatment for heart attacks across England, say ministers." 

That's "government ministers", "gold standard", "heart attacks" and "saved" all in one sentence. Quite an achievement. even for those used to writing prosaic prose and free puffs dressed up as news stories. And the BBC was not alone. 

The free puff and the line to reinforce public services are safe, centres on the use of the medically invasive balloon and tube angioplasty used for some heart attack victims. As usual, the devil is in the detail. 

Apparently, in some areas of the country this life saving angioplasty is already widely available but not in others. So this is more about trying to wriggle out of the despicable practice of the post code lottery rather than good medical practice. And it gets better, or worse, depending on your point of view.

"It is envisaged that regional cardiac networks... working in a specialist centre ... rush patients to the specialist centre, bypassing more local district general hospitals on the way."

By-pass (sic) local hospitals to the new super regional centres as part of the Darzi NHS privatisation plan and that means you can justify the closure of local hospital that much easier. 

The only criteria for medical treatment should be on medial need, regardless of where you live, who you are, or what it costs. 

Nor should someone's medical condition be used as yet another government propaganda tool which will force hospitals to look over their shoulders again to achieve unrealistic government targets. 

Only yesterday the Brown spin tried to use immigration to take the heat out of the busted real economy. Today it's health. What next? Well, schools secretary, Ed Balls, is missing out on the limelight. Troop withdrawal from Iraq? The UN mandate for occupation runs out at the end of the year.

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