Ex-minister Peter Lilley has written a furious piece for the Telegraph in which he lambasts the Whitehall blob for brazenly pursuing its own woke agenda, regardless of the wishes of ministers or the public. He singles out the Messenger Review, a recent report on reforming the NHS by General Sir Gordon Messenger and Dame Linda Pollard, which, according to Lilley, reads like the transcript of a hostage video.
Faced with a dysfunctional NHS — increasingly marred by scandalous clinical failures, intolerable waiting lists, diminishing chances of seeing a GP and escalating costs — Sajid Javid very sensibly called in a soldier to give some brusque, military common-sense advice on leadership. On paper, Sajid could not have made a better choice: General Sir Gordon Messenger — the only man to win the DSO twice, for defeating Saddam Hussein’s forces in Iraq and commanding the Helmand task force against the Taliban. Sajid asked him: “to look at how we can support leaders to drive up efficiency and give staff the space to focus on delivering care for patients”.
But this terror of the Taliban and scourge of Saddam was no match for ‘the Blob’. They reduced him to “the very model of a modern major general” mocked by Gilbert and Sullivan for spouting every fashionable nostrum instead of showing military skills. He signed a report that side-stepped every issue he was asked to address and instead focused almost entirely on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) — which is mentioned three times as often as patients. There was just one cursory mention of efficiency. Not a single mention of ghastly clinical failures at Mid-Staffs, Morecombe Bay, Shrewsbury and Telford. No mention of waiting lists, cover-ups, clinical standards or value for money.
Worse still, it states that demonstrating a commitment to EDI is more important than “just technical skills”. Of course eliminating discrimination is important, but when someone we love goes to hospital it is the technical skills of the medical staff we worry about.
Worst of all, it proposes using the Everyday Discrimination Scale (which asks staff to report how discriminated against they feel) as an “objective” tool of management. Yet this is entirely subjective and, published research suggests, completely worthless.
Sajid Javid — one of our most robust ministers — very sensibly kicked this nonsense into touch by pretending that the report’s main recommendation was to reduce the number of full time Equality, Diversity and Inclusion managers (actually it was to make EDI every manager’s top task). But the fact that someone of General Messenger’s calibre can succumb to the prevailing woke ideology proves its potency.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: In a rare victory for common sense, the NHS has reinstated the word “woman” in its miscarriage guidance. The Telegraph has more.