It seems a good moment to introduce a press note from the Northern Ireland Tories on the performance of the NHS, which seems to have gone missing elsewhere. You can get the PDF from their site, but here are their basket of stats:
– 140 people per week lie on trolleys for more than 12 hours
– Hospital waiting lists for in-patient and day cases stand at 40,2851
– 181,038 people2 are waiting for a first outpatient appointment
– 36,400 people2 waiting more than 12 months
– We have the longest UK waiting lists for orthopaedic, ENT and ophthalmic surgery
– Scan waiting times are now so long that critical diagnosis and treatment is delayed
– Hospital activity per member of staff is 19 per cent lower than the UK average
– Hospital activity per pound of health spend is 9 per cent lower than the UK average
– Hospital activity per available bed is 26 per cent lower than in England
– There are now more administrators in the NHS than there are beds!
The last figure is kind of shocking, though I’d take Tory indignation with a modicum of salt since the sharp rise in management comes from a earlier Tory administration’s temporary love affair with the Management Consultancy industry.
Nevertheless hese figures reflect the kinds of deficit that tend to arise when there is poor political leadership. In Northern Ireland’s case, direct rule provides weak political oversight and virtually no local public accountability.
No doubt these kinds of figures will be grist for a bear headed Chancellor’s mill, which in turn may provide an incentive for Northern Ireland’s political class to justify the large expenditure invested in them.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty