End Game received an email a couple of weeks ago that filled us with admiration for the hard work and long hours put in by NHS Partners Network chief executive David Worskett, who represents the views of private providers to the NHS.
It was the night of the Lords debate on a Labour motion to strike down the controversial “Section 75” regulations, which set the rules for competition in the NHS.
The debate pushed on late into the evening, and it was past 10pm when peers finally voted down the Labour motion. A lesser special interest group might have waited until the morning to comment.
But in less than an hour the Network had Mr Worskett’s statement ready. At 11.07pm, End Game received the email: “NHS Partners Network comments on acceptance of Section 75 regulations.”
Mr Worskett was quoted as saying: “We are pleased that the misguided attempt to annul the Section 75 Regulations has been defeated and that the NHS will now have the clarification and specialist regulatory oversight that is needed in the interests of patients.”
Unfortunately, the spell was broken slightly when a second email arrived, moments later, titled: “NHS Partners Network comments on rejection of Section 75 regulations.”
This time around, Mr Worskett purportedly said: “We are disappointed that the revised Section 75 regulations have been rejected. It is an unfortunate and unhelpful decision and nothing substantial has been achieved by this result. Indeed it only serves to confuse the position and reduce the prospects of securing the best care for patients.”
Hmm. Apparently it wasn’t only the position that was confused. End Game can only assume these late night debates might place a greater strain on lobby groups’ press officers than on their chief executives.