“After hours of fierce argument and debate…” – PR Week Post #32

(Click here for the original post on PR Week)

…the US healthcare reform bill was finally passed last night by The House of Representatives. Barack Obama campaigned with it as a cornerstone to his election manifesto and, 14 months later, it will become a reality.  Considered a dead bill in January because of an overwhelming level of opposition, some elements will be expedited and will kick-in immediately, others will take a little time.

I do not profess to be an expert in US health policy – far from it – but there is probably not an educated soul on this planet who couldn’t say that this “Victory for the American people” [Obama]  marks one of most dramatic changes in US legislation in recent times.

A nice review of the bill and its social and economic implications can be found on BBC line at:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8579658.stm.

The Republicans argue that at the end of the $940bn with of expenditure over 10 years, they US will end-up being like a ‘European Nanny State’.  Only time will tell.

Trust us… – PR Week Post #31

(Click here for the original post on PR Week)

Really?  Having looked at the evidence I am sure you can understand why I won’t.

What I am referring to here is the results of the Quality Care Commission (QCC) report due to be exposed on tonight’s Panorama entitled: “Trust Us, We’re an NHS Hospital” (BBC One at 20:30).   Each year, hospitals are asked to rate themselves on four key inspection areas. Last year, the QCC looked into approximately 20% of England’s acute hospital trusts and found that 60% of inspected hospitals were not accurately assessing their own performance.  As summarised on BBC Online:

  • Nine hospitals got their self-assessment wrong on one of the four
  • Another six were lacking in two out of the four standards
  • In two instances, trusts failed in three of the four standards checked

As fas as excuses go, one chief executive wrote: “What it has proven is that our evidence in collecting that paper evidence of quality of services hadn’t been as good as it should have been, we’ve been putting that right now.” and Health Minister Mike O’Brien said: “…the health service is much less secretive about local hospital performance than it has been in the past, but, he added, there is room for improvement.”

Who are these people kidding?  They should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.  I bet they will still both be in jobs tomorrow though…