Tuned in to the Radio Four Today Programme interview with Gordon Brown [GB] at 8.10 this morning with expectations raised. The news summary that immediately preceded it had actually made explicit the fact that GB’s new initiative to improve preventive screening in the NHS for things like heart disease and various cancers applied ‘in England’, not to the whole of the UK. Here’s a gilt-edged opportunity for GB to utter the most despised word in his vocabulary, ‘England’, I thought.
I should have known better. In the actual interview, I listened in vain for any utterance of the ‘E’ word. The screening programme was for ‘the nation’ and for ‘people’, not ‘England’ and ‘English people’. Also, a woeful failure on the part of the interviewer, Ed Sturton (I think), to question GB on the British Medical Association’s criticism of the new proposals, coming as they do in the wake of cuts in the budget (in England) for curative treatment for the very same medical conditions – the implication being that ‘preventive care’ was being used as a pretext for inadequate resourcing of curative therapies.
Also, no recognition by GB (and no questioning by the interviewer) of last week’s media controversy about differences in funding and treatment in the ‘four NHS’s’ of the UK. Would have been informative to compare GB’s emphasis on preventive screening in England to the approach taken by NHS Scotland or GIG Cymru, for instance.
Another failure by ‘BBC England’ (I don’t think) to call the English-UK PM to account.