Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ex-Communist David Nicholson Chaired the NHS Strategic Health Authority During Height of Deaths at Mid Staffordshire

This is something of a blockbuster, at London's Daily Mail, "David Nicholson - The ex-communist NHS chief, the young wife he fast-tracked and a very lavish lifestyle:

David Nicholson
As a young NHS trainee at the height of the Cold War, David Nicholson idolised Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

At the same time as starting work in a mental health unit, the Bristol University graduate joined the Communist Party in 1977.

He was no ordinary revolutionary. He was on the hardline, so-called ‘Tankie’ wing of the party which backed the Kremlin using military action to crush dissident uprisings.
Today, David Nicholson is the £270,000-a year chief executive of the NHS.

The one-time radical who used to regard political honours as elitist symbols of bourgeoisie government was happy to be knighted in 2010.

Nicknamed the ‘Big Beast’ of the NHS because of his abrasive management style, his rise up the management ladder saw him take control of the strategic health authority responsible for supervising Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2006.

It was during this period that patients needlessly died because of appalling standards of care.

Today’s damning report into the scandal could yet bring an end to his career – during which he forced through the last Labour government’s controversial ‘target culture’ that fatally undermined the ethos of care that has traditionally been a hallmark of NHS hospitals.

It has been a remarkable journey for a man who was a Communist for six years until his membership lapsed in 1983.

Critics say that the ‘uncaring culture’ that has developed in some aspects of healthcare can be likened to the one that prevailed during the godless Soviet regimes.
But Nicholson, 57, won’t discuss his Communist past.
What an asshole.

A freakin' Stalinist who threw Brezhnev under the for the bureaucracy-fueled upper bourgeoisie. Yeah, big surprise there that all the people died on his watch.

Here's more at the piece:
Incidentally, relations between Nicholson and [MP Andrew] Lansley had never recovered after the minister spotted the civil service chief travelling first class by train to a conference when Lansley himself was going to the same meeting, but in second class.

But then Nicholson loves travelling first class. On Saturday, the Mail disclosed that he racked up nearly £6,000 in 41 first-class train tickets in a year to Birmingham.

Each time he claimed to have been ‘attending official meetings’ but, in fact, they were held via video-conferencing, meaning he could have taken part from anywhere in the country. MPs have indicated that they will ask Nicholson to justify the expenditure.

Many of the trips spanned ‘long weekends’, prompting speculation he was going to his see his new young wife at their home in Birmingham.

Divorced with two grown-up sons, Nicholson had earlier got engaged in 2009 to Sarah-Jane Marsh, the chief executive of Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

It was not just the 22-year age gap which caused consternation. It was also the fact Nicholson met her while she was seconded to his office as a junior.

Care for the Midlands and East of England, took a shine to the attractive graduate trainee, acting as her mentor.

He also gave her two job references – the second leading to her appointment as chief operating officer at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. She was in the job when the Health Care Commission delivered a devastating report over a catalogue of patient failures at the hospital.

Two years later, despite the criticism, she became chief executive on a £155,000 salary, at the relatively youthful age of 32. By this time she was engaged to Nicholson – the all-powerful head of the NHS.

For his part, Nicholson has told NHS trusts to deliver between £15billion and £20billion in efficiency savings before 2014 (the equivalent of to up to 6 per cent of the current NHS budget).

Meanwhile, his own personal spending included £155,000 worth of expenses in four years. His annual expenses for his plush London flat was triple the MPs’ second homes allowance.

He gave up the property on condition that taxpayers covered any hotel bills incurred and despite the fact he chose to live in Birmingham. He also has a chauffeur-driven car.

How ironic if this former Communist party member’s downfall was triggered not by the tragic effects of the ‘target culture’ he ruthlessly enforced which contributed to the fiasco at Stafford, but if he was censured by a committee of MPs for using taxpayers’ money on his lavish expenses.
Yes. Ironic.

This guy's living a more corruptly lavish lifestyle than an Obama administration crony cabinet member. God help the United States should our newly socialized healthcare system befall the same fate at the NHs.

RELATED: At Telegraph UK, "Stafford scandal: Francis report - the recommendations," and "and "3,000 more patients have died needlessly in hospital":
More than 3,000 people may have died unnecessarily at five NHS trusts in a crisis that could dwarf the horrors at Mid Staffordshire, which were detailed in a devastating report on Wednesday.
Lovely healthcare system they've got there. Just lovely.