They must be mad – and bad

Of all the statements pumped out by Tory governments, the claim that the NHS is safe in their hands really sticks in my craw.

Labour in power reversed all the health cuts inflicted by Maggie and Major and set realistic targets.

Waiting lists plummeted, new hospitals were built, thousands of lives were saved. Now the coalition under Cameron is at it again, but under a different guise.

Not content with a wholly unnecessary NHS shake-up which has cost billions to inject market values into the service, ministers want to flog off more healthcare to private entrepreneurs through back-door privatisation.

They seem determined to prove that new management whose first priority is their own bonuses and dividends to shareholders rather than patient care is more efficient. What rubbish.

This month the Keogh mortality review, set up by this government, focused on 14 hospital trusts whose death rates soared in the two years after the coalition took power. None were in our region, but are we going to be next?

In the named trusts there have been cuts in nursing staff since 2010 – 4,000 nursing posts have been lost nation-wide since May 2010 – and there is a threat to A&Es.

Yet what is the government’s answer? Call in their private sector cronies. They must be mad. And bad.