It is a truth universally acknowledged by decent people that the shower of utter gits that make-up the British Government are so low that they scuttle on ragged claws along the bottom of an abysmal trench in the Pacific. That’s pretty low but just when you thought they couldn’t sink any further they start using those reagged claws to dig.
Hundreds of millions of pounds of charity donations to hospitals are to be “nationalised” under an NHS accounting change, which critics say will make it easier to slash health budgets.
Ministers are imposing new rules on NHS charities requiring all donations — including those to specialist children and cancer units, local fundraising campaigns, teaching hospitals and local community trusts — to be listed on a hospital’s balance sheet.
The Charities Commission says that this is “wholly inappropriate” because combining the trust and charity accounts will jeopardise the charity’s autonomy and discourage donations. About £330 million was given to 300 NHS charities in the year to June 2008, and they control an estimated £2 billion of assets. A spokeswoman for the Commission said: “The Charity Commission does not agree with the interpretation of the accounting rules in the Department of Health letter to NHS bodies. We are currently engaging with the Department on this matter.”
Charities also fear that the change, due to come into effect in April, will be used as a smokescreen to hide cuts in health spending, with ministers reducing funds for organisations such as children’s hospitals that have successful charitable arms.
Can you imagine a more heinous act than stealing money that people donated of their own free will from a children’s hospital? It’s the sort of act that would have piqued the conscience of Hitler or Saddam – if only briefly. It is a poke in the eye with a pointed stick to all those generous souls who run marathons in deep-sea diving suits and do similar antics. They thought they were doing it to help get an CAT scanner when it turns out they’ll soon be doing it to shore up the thoroughly fucked finances of a country that is rapidly heading to banana republic status without the climate to grow that fine soft-fruit.
Whilst I agree with the take of the Charities Commission that this is cutting NHS funding on the sly there is something else much more important going on here. It is outright theft of course but it’s also a deliberate undermining of civil society of which charities – real charities – not the quangoized abominations that now predominate – are a vital part. Just up the road from me is the Christie Hospital in Manchester. It is one of Europe’s leading cancer hospitals. It has a massive fund-raising scheme supported by the folks round here (yes, I’ve put a few pennies in the tin on occasion in the hope I need never use the facility) and organisations such as Manchester United Football Club. That the tentacles of government are going to grab that cash makes me sick. And grab it they will for this is but the thin end of a slippery slope and all this money will, via smoke and mirrors, end-up in the central money pit never to be seen again*.
It really is another nail in the coffin of a once free nation because fundamentally it’s saying that Whitehall ought to control everything. Forget the time, effort and money given freely by the people of the North West of England** or the consultants (what do they know?) spending it on things they feel they need to improve patient treatment because politicians and civil servants know best.
When I was a kid the local authority declared itself a “Nuclear Free Zone” and blocked the efforts of the local hospital to obtain a nuclear magnetic resonance scanner in their profound ignorance of physics***. This despite the money having been raised charitably. Yes, the money was there but that pesky N-word blocked it. Until some wiley chap at the hospital got it through by calling it a “magnetic resonance scanner”. Same thing of course. I wonder if that’s why it’s called MRI rather than NMR these days?
That is the pig-headed mentality of the people who will now be in charge of such funds. They’ll probably insist it’s all green or something: “Sorry sir, the X-ray is cancelled – not enough wind for the turbine you see…”
And if you doubt the sheer mind-bending incompetence of these people read this.
At this festive time of the year it is enough to make Santa Claus himself vomit with rage.
*Remember all that hoo-hah about the LHC at CERN possibly creating a black hole – Whitehall got there well before the particle physicists.
**If you can think of a more worthy cause than a cancer hospital please let me know…
***Or much of anything else for that matter.