THE BLOG

Secrets, Lies And The NHS

22/06/2013 21:56 BST | Updated 21/08/2013 10:12 BST

You may wonder where all your tax money has gone. What on earth do they do with all that cash of yours that they so assiduously remove from your pay before they give it to you? The huge number they deduct from the only slightly larger number on your payment slip - where is that then, you may be curious to find out.

Well, you won't be happy, but I can tell you - it's gone. Yes, all gone. Sorry about that. Is there anything else you would like to know? What have they done with it? Funny story...they have used some of it to silence the people who could tell you what they have done with the rest of it.

If a thing is worth doing badly, it is worth covering up well. Take the NHS for example. Nurses and doctors who have done a tremendous job in healing the sick and caring for the unwell do not need to have their accomplishments shrouded in secrecy. On the other hand, management that have thrown money away like they are tossing out old newspapers would rather prefer that you, who are paying for it, did not find out.

If you found out that NHS management were actually a bunch of clueless, interfering, paranoid control freaks, bent on the retaining their exalted and highly rewarded positions over all other considerations, then you may be disinclined to think well of them. You may further be irritated, if not down right angry, that the money that has been collected from you in tax is being used to fund the refurbishment of managers' offices, or the provision of chauffeured limousines and the procurement of five star, first class fact-finding missions to exotic and expensive places. What is worse, from management's point of view, is that you may also find that they are not very good at their jobs. They may be so bad that actual people may have died on their watch. Lots of them. They may not have died at the management's hands, but they have blood on them anyway.

In such circumstances, the most pressing concern is not how can they prevent such things happening again, it is to prevent you finding out about what they have done. To this end, the most fashionable accessory to be in possession of this season is a gagging order. The NHS are particularly fond of such things, as are every other institution of the State. As long as the word does not get out about how ineffectual and hopeless managers of an organisation are, then those same people can carry on raking it in regardless. They can continue availing themselves of their bloated budgets and can maintain their power and their access to those that can do them well in their careers and in their finances. If their incompetence and cack-handedness become known, then their game is up.

Gagging clauses are the weapon of choice for those with something to hide of which the public should be aware. Hard to believe really but the NHS spends millions of pounds of the money that is taken out of your wages to keep the lid on how they have, through their actions or inaction, caused the deaths of a staggering number of people. Real people, people with families and friends, who were loved and are missed.

We would never have found out if it were not for brave whistle-blowers who took their future in their hands to break the clauses of the legal contracts they had been forced to sign. They should not have told us of the deaths, mistreatment and incredible lack of the very thing that people go to the medical profession for: care. The gagging contracts were written up so that the guilty could evade justice. The signatories were agreeing to keep quiet about what they had seen, so that management did not face criticism, or miss out on promotion, or be denied their bonuses. The gagging contracts were so aggressive that they were not even legally allowed to acknowledge their existence. They could not tell someone that they could not tell someone.

Millions and millions of pounds were sprayed around the profession to maintain in position a management that was unsuited to its role. The only thing that could bring them down was the free flow of information about how they were doing. The management do not have to do a good job, they only have to stop the spread of the word that they are doing a bad job.

It is not just the NHS. Six figure pay-offs seem to be the common method of preventing the truth emerging about how public enterprises are run. The bullying, sexual assaults, wasting of money, crooked accounting, stealing, corruption and stupidity can all be covered up in a nice, densely worded, very expensive and legally binding gagging contract that comes with an attachment, a spoon of sugar to help the medicine go down: a giant amount of your taxes.

If you don't know about it, you can not get angry about it. If you do not get angry about it, you will not demand change.

You want to know what they have done with all that money that disappears from your wages before you get your hands on it? The powers that be have used it to ensure that they remain the powers that be.

I told you you wouldn't be happy.