Tag Archives: Jessica Arnold hypocrisy

Sophistry from Jessica Arnold

Jessica Arnold, Associate Director of Primary Care, NHS Bromley

An article in the Guardian berating users of private medical services caught Grumpy’s eye. His initial reaction was to dismiss it as being just another staff writer beating the socialist drum, but on further examination the author was an Associate Director at NHS Bromley, one Jessica Arnold.

Whereas unbalanced and slanted writing is the norm for the paper’s writers who quickly mug up on the background of their latest target over the first coffee of the day, Grumpy studied the piece published on 08/01/20 with more than usual care. He was taken aback at the blatant hypocrisy of the argument presented from an NHS insider, but on further investigation it seems that Ms Arnold is a paid up member of the Labour party (attending the annual conference even) and hence a proxy for the John McDonnell Marxist take on public services.

Ms Arnold essentially admits that the NHS isn’t working, but her thread of logic seeking to place the blame on a parallel private system is highly flawed, and seeks to ignore the underlying causal factors. Grumpy has used private GP services twice over the Christmas period for the simple reason is that no GP appointments were available in time frame relevant to his problem. However, to suggests that he in some way contributes to a shortage of GP’s is not only simplistic left-wing drivel, but profoundly wrong.

Ms Arnold’s argument is based on the notion that private medicine is responsible for ‘poaching’ NHS staff, which is the cause of the staffing crisis. This is breathtaking sophistry; the NHS itself is indeed a poacher of scarce medical skills on a scale which dwarfs any effect of the private sector. As Grumpy outlined in his note here because of deliberate policies of governments of both persuasions places at medical schools in the UK were restricted in favour of a mammoth multi-million pound poaching exercises from a variety of other countries, and particular India.

So whilst arguing that private medicine was depriving UK patients with care, the fact was that the NHS itself was depriving Indian mothers – with the highest child mortality expectation in the developed world – of doctors who were poached by higher salaries in the NHS.

As Cambridge Professor Ha_Joon Chang has argued systems which involve just the private sector or just the public sector are increasingly being shown not to work well; rather, thinking how private and public enterprise co-exist is key to developing a balanced society and economy.

The problems Ms Arnold recognises stem not from Grumpy’s recent burn being attended to by a private GP but from the policies of politicians, and only politicians. As a member of the Labour party, Ms Arnold will recall that Gordon Brown planned to cut thousands of doctor and nurse training places if labour were elected in 2010. However, for decades both parties have (a) knowingly held down training places because it was cheaper to poach scarce staff from Romania etc (b) encouraged the take up of local places by foreign students to generate income but without solving the local resourcing problem.

The fact is that until and unless the NHS trains more doctors than it poaches from other countries with far worse health systems than the UK, Ms Arnold’s attempt to lay the blame on private provision rings hollow.