So Alan Milburn has attacked Andy Burnham for making the NHS the preferred provider. Now why can that be? Does this hold a clue:
Interestingly, former health ministers have done particularly well. The ex-health secretary Patricia Hewitt earns more than £100,000 as a consultant for Alliance Boots and Cinven, a private equity group that bought 25 private hospitals from Bupa. After leaving the department, her predecessor, Alan Milburn, worked for Bridgepoint Capital, which successfully bid for NHS contracts, and now boasts a striking portfolio of jobs with private health companies.
When I rang Milburn yesterday to ask whether he saw any conflict of interest in his directorships, he swore and hung up........
It is a peculiar change of policy. Dr Grumble has witnessed how the private sector has been wooed under ludicrously favourable terms. When it comes to private providers the term "level playing field" is not in the government's lexicon. As a result the private companies have been on a runaway gravy train rife with nonsenses - such as being paid for operations they haven't even done. And all this has been carefully but surreptitiously crafted by Burnham and his henchmen.
So why the change of heart? Has Andy Burnham really seen the error of his ways? Or has he realised that the great British public is beginning to rumble what is going on? Or is there another explanation?
Whatever the real reason, mark the Grumble words. The policy will drift back after the election. Probably more quickly under a Labour government than a Conservative government. The Conservatives are distrusted when it comes to the NHS so have to tread more carefully. Unfortunately the same malign interests lean heavily on both parties. All three parties actually. What the British public want does not really enter into it - except just before an election. For we are now entering the period known euphemistically as the post-democratic era. Those in charge know what is best for us and just get on and do it. But they don't expect doctors to behave like that. Rightly or wrongly. Odd that.