One of Peter Cook’s comic creations was a doddering grandee who had wasted years of his life trying to operate a restaurant serving only frogs and peaches, reflecting on whether he had learned from his mistakes. ‘I think I have, yes, and I think I can probably repeat them almost perfectly,’ he said.
The politicians in charge of the NHS not only repeat their mistakes, but define them rather differently than the rest of us.
Perhaps it all comes down to how you view the last 65 years. The vast majority of the public and professions see a service that has delivered remarkable outcomes for the money invested and that has somehow maintained founding principles of equity while the rest of society has become more unequal.
The politicians tend to see a service that has its moments, but is just one major reorganisation away from being perfect. The mistake, as they see it, is not to change the NHS more than they already have.
Previous anniversaries have been overs