Monday, May 07, 2007

Media Drivel

“French hospitals are as sick as our own NHS” was the eye-catching by-line on an article in yesterday’s Sunday Times. For a moment I thought it must have been penned by a relative of Patricia Hewitt but no, it was authored by a Times correspondent, Lois Rogers.
Her style would seem to be far better suited to one of the tabloids since her previous efforts include such gems as:
“NHS failed to stop doctor raping scores of women” “Fifty babies a year are alive after abortion” “Conspiracy of silence allowed NHS rape spree” “£50m campaign to combat rise in sex diseases” “Costa expats are swamping our health service, protests Spain” “Health campaigns face axe in cash crisis” “British fertility clinics at foot of IVF league” “NHS set to miss waiting list target” “Latest figures reveal NHS has more bosses than beds” “IVF mothers abort ‘spare’ babies” “Over 200 hurt or killed by botched radiation” “Hospitals botch 300 births a year” “Babies with club feet aborted.”
Miss Rogers, it seems, is not much into good news so it is hardly surprising that, on having to get medical attention in France, disaster was on the cards.
On arriving at the emergency room of a Normandy hospital, she was appalled to find that others had got there first. And French, to boot! This only goes to show that the French are as inefficient as the British in failing to schedule their emergencies.
Things seem to have gone from bad to worse for the unfortunate Miss Rogers, which led her to make the declaration at the head of her article. Hardly a sampling of which Mr. Gallup would have approved.
I am certain that French emergency rooms have as many cock-ups as do the British, but it’s journalistic tosh of this sort that do the doctors and staff of the NHS (and now the French) a terrible disservice. In spite of the efforts of the media and the government, they still provide the people with a generally fine, and free, service.
Hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of Brits who have come to France for medical treatment would be prepared to dispute Miss Rogers lofty dismissal, I am sure, but France is a convenient target for the more purple press.
Mr. Sarkozy’s predictable victory was greeted in the British media by being damned with faint praise. Much was made of his description of the rioters in the Paris suburbs. Now, I am not sure how the Brits describe thugs who set fire to cars, throw Molotov cocktails and assault the police, but to me, it seems M. Sarkozy was quite charitable.
The fact that, after being democratically elected, the same thugs resorted once more to violence, just goes to show how right he was.
One thing we can be sure of, he will not campaign to reduce the children’s cheese consumption.
When you get your Home Inspection Package, you’ll probably find a government clause limiting the per capita consumption of cheese in the household. The CCTV camera will, of course, be there to monitor.
George Orwell must be laughing his socks off.

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