23rd June 2015

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Redefine Stupid 
News and Comment from Roy Lilley

It comes from the Bible; Matthew 6:3


But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand

know what thy right hand doeth.


It's all about not giving yer-self credit for doing good stuff - just give and forget.


Today the phrase is used to highlight the stupidities of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. The sort of Pythonesque, bureaucratic bungling beloved of 'Yes Minister'.


We could write a script.



Yes Minister

We need more skilled staff... nurses

Yes Minister, may I ask why?

Because the bungling idiots in the previous government, their department of planning and work, made a mess of forecasting and funding training places. There is a shortage.

Yes minister, what would you like to do about it?

I will order a worldwide search for suitably qualified nurses and welcome them and their families to our shores to work in our fabulous NHS.

Yes Minister.

Well, get on with it Humphrey.

Yes Minister. There is just one tiny problem with your elegant, international and far-sighted solution.

What is it Humphrey?

The Department of Responding to the Popularity of UKIP has come up with some new rules.

What are they Humphrey?

Non-EU workers who are earning less than 35,000 after six years in the UK will be deported and... err... the arrangements are retrospective.

What does that mean for my plan Humphrey?

Well, Minister; fully qualified nurses start on salaries of 21,692 rising to 28,180 on Band 5. I calculate up to 3,365 nurses, who cost 20.19m to recruit, could be affected.

Humphrey! Are you sure?

Yes Minister; moreover, that figure could spiral by 2020, if workforce pressures lead to increased international recruitment, in which case 29,755 nurses, that have cost more than 178.5m to recruit, will be sent home.

Humphrey, that means we will be sending away nurses who have contributed to the health service for six years. Losing their skills and knowledge and then having to start the cycle again and recruit to replace them...

Yes Minister.

Whose stupid idea is this?

The Prime Minister, Minister......


Comedy, eh? The tragedy is, it is true and we have the NHS' most sensible man for telling us; RCN boss Peter Carter.


On the basis of some very smart research and a real understanding of what's really going on at the front-line Carter has brought into sharp focus the simple fact; we are in the grip of a staffing crisis which government policy is designed to make worse.


Reason? We are in the hands of experts; a quantitive econometrics bod, a migration researcher, an economist, a skills commissioner, an expert in labour markets and an emeritus professor. Aka; the Migration Advisory Committee... tra lah!


Their 'partial review of shortage occupation lists' report (page 71) onwards is work a look.


I have no idea who MAC are and it would be easy to dismiss them as numpties. I won't. They've done what the PM asked them to do. Help him keep UKIP in their box. 


But, in their haste to be helpful they have also shot themselves in the foot.


The RCN evidence is referenced at para 3.125; claiming the RCN said the shortages were not structural but employer-driven.  I happen to know this is not what the RCN said; they rightly said the problems are structural.  The MAC know their error and have apologised, in writing, to the RCN. 


The MAC are yet to publish a public apology and a correction.  They appear to want to keep their error quiet. 


The report is sloppy, the conclusions may well be flawed and if so the report is misleading and valueless and deeply damaging to the debate about NHS front-line staffing.  The future of the chairman David Metcalf must be in doubt. 


The work of the committee is bureaucratic, ponderous, lumbering and unable to keep up with the rapidly changing workforce demands of a dynamic employer subject to unexpected pressures and political influences.


The MAC tell us, we are short of; vent chick sexers (P 128), overhead line workers (P 147) and paramedics (P3)... but not nurses.


Honestly... this is truly ridiculous, isn't it? Tories are saying that there are 8,000 more nurses and the committee is independent. So that's all right then.  No!  More doesn't mean enough and the committee has screwed up the evidence.


There are times when I can't find the words. Glaikat doesn't get near it. Ninnyhammer, maybe or meshuggeneh.


This is the government we are talking about and all on their own they manage to redefine stupid.


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