He mentions how some hospitals have better outcomes than others nearby. We might have expected the Department of Health to challenge NHS trusts where mortality rates should have raised a red flag, he remarks, and take them to task.
But apparently they don't. Sir Detail Nicholson told the Public Accounts Committee that looking into such alarming discrepancies was not his job but rather an internal matter for each hospital board.
An internal matter? We are talking here about life and death matters for the people the Nationalised Hospital Service is there to heal. Yet if your local hospital is delivering sub-standard performance, it is up to your local supremo whether or not they disclose it.
This is absolutely NOT an internal matter! As a model for how to run a Nationalised Hospital Service this is wholly unacceptable.
Where's the constant and open straining for excellence we are entitled to expect in return for all the money we put in?
Apparently it's optional.
As Mr Barclay writes
The NHS will only be at the forefront of health systems when patient choice is at the heart of its service. And for that to happen, patients need to know about the data on outcomes.And it's a major scandal that we are denied that information. But in a nationalised monopoly it's not especially surprising.