Lies, Damn Lies and… the Health Service? – Part 2

It’s been a rather interesting weekend for the Isle of Man, the public disclosure of “confidential” government information, the Chief Minister’s angry response (For the post regarding that… http://wp.me/p2MVsk-1j) and of course, the statement made by Minister Anderson.

I found the interview with Minister Anderson very interesting, especially the parts where he tries to avoid answering any questions…

The Minister’s first attempt to deflect from the seriousness of the report, and the allegations against him, was to identify that only selected parts of the report had been leaked, and this gave a distorted view of the report as a whole.

Well, of course only parts of the report were leaked. Leaking the entire document may have identified the source of the leak, definitely not something that should be done. Also, if the whole report was released, would people have read the entire document? In order to have had any impact at all, it would have needed to be summarised, to draw attention to the key sections (undoubtedly then the accusation would have been the summary would have been biased and misleading). If the Minister feels that the report has been taken out of context, he only has to release the entire report to the public to prove his point. Undoubtedly this won’t happen.

Now, it was the Minister’s second attempt at deflection that I enjoyed the most. The Minster decided that the sections of the report that were leaked, were obviously misunderstood by the public. That we were incapable of understanding the complex medical terminology used, and that in some cases the medical terminology has a different meaning to a medics than it does to us “lay people”.

I’ll quote the Minister here:

Minister Anderson – “terminology used was terminology for the medics, not for you and me as lay people, so our understanding of the phrases that are used and medics are quite different”

When you listen to this comment, with the leaked report in front of you it’s patently obvious the Minister is being deliberately obstructive here. As an example the report reads – “Patient had an unnecessary operation” , hardly complex medical jargon. I’d imagine that if you asked a Surgeon what this means, they’d come to pretty much the same conclusion as you or I. In fact, if the Minister really believes this, why doesn’t he get a medically trained member of staff to explain these sections of the report to the public? Instead, the Minister persists with his argument that “information shouldn’t be in the public domain which is of a medical nature, that is being interpreted by laypeople”.

Instead of dealing with the issue at hand, all we are being given is political spin. The Minister is clearly not willing to engage with the public, even going so far as to identify the leak as the sole reason his Department is to publish more information:

Minister Anderson – “because selected bits have been leaked out, the action plan that is put in place will be on the Departments webpage”

The Minister refused to deny that without the leak the actions to be taken to remedy any issues would never have been made public.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Minister seems to contradict earlier statements made to Tynwald.

I’ll give some background here just to avoid any confusion:

At the Tynwald Committee on Social Affairs (23rd January 2013) when questioned about the colorectal report, Mr Killip (the Chief Executive of the Department of Health) stated:

“There is nothing within either report, that I am aware of, that gives cause for concern”.

The Minister supported Mr Killip in Tynwald on the 9th July 2013, confirming that all the information given by himself and Mr Killip was “accurate and correct”.
So, the Minister is satisfied that there was no cause for concern identified in this report, but then in his interview he quite clearly states:

Minister Anderson – “people should have confidence that we put the steps in to rectify the areas that were giving concern”

So now, a month after his statement to Tynwald, the Minister has changed his mind?
If there were areas of concern identified in the report, and they are being addressed, why was the Minister not up front about this when questioned in Tynwald? Did he mislead the public?

Instead of just giving us political spin, it’s time for some honesty from our government.

Watch the interviews yourself at –

Minister Anderson – Part 1

Minister Anderson – Part 2

See the Hansard extracts (taken from http://www.liberalvannin.org)

08 – Excerpts from Hansard.pdf

08 – Excerpts from the Elective Colorect[…]

Lies, Damn Lies and… the Health Service? – Part 1

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