Observations Body politic

Spend, spend, spend—hide, hide, hide

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39211.438646.59 (Published 17 May 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1036
  1. Nigel Hawkes, health editor, the Times
  1. nigel.hawkes{at}thetimes.co.uk

    A suppressed report on the now defunct NHS University speaks volumes about government waste

    Anyone who doubts the Department of Health's ability to consume cash like a forest fire should take a look at the freedom of information section of the DH website. There, after a long and ultimately successful battle by Rod Ward, senior lecturer at the University of the West of England, is published the report written in 2004 by Sir William Wells into the NHS University. It's a tale to make the blood run cold.

    I can claim a walk-on part. In May 2001 I was summoned, along with the political editor of the Times, to a briefing by the political adviser to Alan Milburn, then secretary of state for health. It was the middle of the election campaign, and to spice up the Labour manifesto somebody had invented the idea of launching an NHS University. McDonalds already had one, the Hamburger University, to train its staff in the finer points of fast food delivery: so did Disney, and 2000 other US corporations.

    Mr Milburn's man skilfully dished us up a scoop, fast-food style. …

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