19 September 2008

Virgin on the ridiculous

The magnates at Virgin Healthcare blow hot and then blow cold. The truth is that they are not really interested in healthcare. Not genuine healthcare. They cannot be. If they were they would not be pulling out of their offer to sort out UK general practice. They would have a sense of duty and would see the job through. What can the 'dire economic climate' have to do with their decision? Surely that is just a lame excuse. Healthcare must be provided through thick and thin. In the UK government pays for most of our healthcare which is therefore relatively protected from the vagaries of the economy. So you might think that healthcare would be a good thing to go into at the moment. Unless your intention never was to provide basic healthcare to the elderly and the needy but instead to milk the wealthy worried well and the city slickers. Why else could there be this sudden lack of enthusiasm from Virgin?

Could it be that the real reason is that the government have at last rumbled Branson? They certainly seemed to think it was unwise to put Northern Rock into his hands. And what was Branson's reaction to that? He went out to get drunk. Not an unfounded allegation from Dr Grumble but a direct quote from Branson himself . Not a very responsible thing for somebody in charge of healthcare to do. But is he responsible? How many of you remember that in 1971 Branson was arrrested and charged for tax evasion? That's OK though because he didn't realise that evading tax was illegal. Now he avoids taxes. That's certainly OK. And his purpose is a good one. He avoids taxes so that he can give his money to good causes. He has a 'responsibility as a wealthy person to help the world'. Nice that. But is he really a lovable Father Christmas type? What sort of Father Christmas would admit to taking [recreational] drugs? If Dr Grumble did that he would be struck off. You can be suspended for just typing a four letter word if you are a doctor. Yet this man who was arrested and charged for a crime, who admits to having taken drugs and who gets drunk when he is upset was once seen as the way forward for UK general practice.

Perhaps it's time that Branson's associate Peter Emerson, (CV) an even wiser physician than Dr Grumble himself, should put an arm around Sir Richard and try and persuade him to do something less damaging than meddling with our GPs. Go on Peter. Do your duty. Get him to buy Alitalia or something. Be sure he leaves general practice alone. And if Holly now needs her real job back tell her not to worry. Dr Grumble will find something for her.


Anonymous said...

You are right Doc G. These people are fair weather healthcare providers. Their latest reaction shows they are not interested in the sick. They just want to cream off the high value added stuff and make money from all the add ons they can sell to the well-off well. That's why they have pulled the plug now. Let's hope the government does now realise what their one and only interest is and that is to make as much money as they can from those that do pay their taxes.

Dr Grumble said...

The Jobbing Doctor didn't hold out much hope when the robber barons started arriving. Nor did Dr Grumble. That was just a few short months ago. Things are now different. That's the world of Big Business. They blow with the wind. Healthcare takes place through thick and thin. The Jobbing Doctor should be very happy. He does even admit to a little Schadenfreude.

Dr Grumble said...

Elaine probably has the explanation for Branson's sudden change of heart. She got to it just before Dr Grumble. It is something more obvious to a patient than to a hospital doctor. You can read her explanation in the comments here.