There’s normally no shortage of outrage in our politics. In Britain today, we specialise in working ourselves into a bate. This is what makes the lack of outrage at what happened at Mid Staffs all the more peculiar.
If the government had received a report detailing such appalling behaviour in any institution other than an NHS hospital and responded so meekly, there would have been a series of angry front pages denouncing Whitehall complacency. The government is considering changing the law of the land because of what happened at the care home Winterbourne View, which was appalling but nowhere near as serious as what happened at Mid Staffs.
But when it comes to the NHS, we all suspend our critical faculties. We take the attitude that because its motives are good, we should go easy on its failing.
In the Telegraph today, Charles Moore has written a thought-provoking piece daring to say some of the things about the NHS that our politicians leaders are too scared to. It is, as Charles says, remarkable that Sir David Nicholson remains in place. Indeed, I understand that one minister pushed for Nicholson to be sacked. The minister argued that if accountability meant anything in the public sector, Nicholson should go.