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The Daily Mail just tried to blame the NHS Crisis on Doctors taking Study Leave

A London hospital has hit back at the Daily Mail after the pro-Tory comic ran yet another despicably misleading smear story that attempted to blame NHS Doctors for the crisis caused by Tory underfunding.

Yesterday the Mail on Sunday ran the frankly ludicrous headline:

‘NHS crisis? What crisis?: Hitting the champers after a hard day on the slopes of a très chic ski resort…400 doctors take a break from NHS’s worst winter emergency at a medical conference – bankrolled by YOU’.

The Daily Mail’s ridiculous exposé ‘revealed’ that 400 doctors had taken a ‘taxpayer-subsidised’ ‘break’ at a ‘luxury ski resort’ in the French Alps ‘while the health service was in the grip of its worst winter crisis in years.’

But the pro-Tory rag went further, detailing that Doctors had enjoyed ‘champagne and cocktails at a gala reception’; ski races, and, perhaps worst of all, consultants were said to have cracked jokes about other doctors’ skiing.

This supposed luxury getaway, The Daily Mail bleated, was completely unnecessary and all at the taxpayer’s expense.

And to back up their deluded assertions, the obligatory spokesman from the Taxpayer’s Alliance (a ‘right-wing single-issue think tank’) was wheeled out to say that:

It’s not credible for trusts, least of all those failing, to demand more and more money from taxpayers when so much is being frittered away on luxuries like this.

However, the reality of the situation, was rather more prosaic.

As this tweet from St George’s Hospital Trust makes clear, the Daily Mail conveniently decided to leave out a few choice facts from their articles:

As they point out, the trip involved 10 out of 600 of their doctors; study leave for doctors is actually a contractual requirement; and, most importantly:

The fact some of our doctors….are on study leave in France has had zero impact on the day to day running of our hospital services.

Zero impact. In other words, the Mail on Sunday’s linking of doctors taking contractually obligated study leave with the fact that there is a crisis in the NHS is utterly disingenuous.

The crisis in the NHS is not caused by a few doctors taking study leave. Nor is it caused by overpaid staff, health tourism, overspending on painkillers, millennials wanting to take career breaks or even paying too much for toilet paper, to name just a few of the ludicrous claims the Mail has made recently. 

The reality is that the crisis in the NHS has been caused by years of systematic underfunding by the Tory government as part of a deliberate ideological agenda to destroy it. And no amount of spin by Britain’s number one Tory mouthpiece, the Daily Mail, can possibly change that.

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