Just when you begin to think British Tory leader David Cameron is gaining political maturity and also gaining some real traction against the dreadful, now barely functioning British Labour government, his gift for ineptitude comes good again.
It has been a major story in the British press that Lord Mancroft, a Tory member of the House of Lords, has scarified nursing standards at a British public hospital where he was a patient.
Speaking in a Lords debate on patient care, he said: “It is a miracle that I am still alive. The wards were filthy. Underneath the bed next to me was a piece of dirty cotton wool, and there it remained for seven days. The ward was never cleaned. The tables, the beds and the bathrooms were not cleaned.”
He said a splash of blood in the bathroom was there for the week he was in the hospital.
“I was extremely infectious at that time and no precautions were taken with me at all. The staff were furious when my wife wanted my bed cleaned when it clearly needed cleaning.”
Worse still, he said, was the attitude of the nurses, which he described as “an accurate reflection of many young women in Britain today.”
He said: “The nurses who looked after me — not all of them, we should never generalize and there were one or two wonderful ones — were mostly grubby, with dirty fingernails and hair. They were slipshod, lazy, drunken and promiscuous.
“How do I know? If you are a patient in a bed and being nursed from either side, the nurses talk across you as if you are not there.
“I know exactly what they got up to the night before. I know how much they drank and what they were planning to do the next night, and it was pretty horrifying.”
He said he heard one nurse say: “I really shouldn’t be here because I had so much to drink last night and I feel like I’m going to be sick.” The other asked: “Did you **** so-and-so?” and the first nurse said: “No, but I think I’m going to.”
He said: “I’m not attacking nurses, but when you are dealing with people at their lowest, then professionalism should be higher.” He said he believed he was alive only because his wife “kidnapped” him and had him transferred to a London hospital, where standards were much better.
What did Cameron do about what seemed prima facie both a public scandal and, for the Tories, a political gift? Promise to investigate? Demand that the government investigate? Support his ally? Perhaps even send Lord Mancroft a private note suggesting that he cool it until investigations had been made?
No. He responded with a furious public tirade, not against the hospital or the government which was responsible for it, but against Lord Mancroft.
At the Welsh Conservative conference Mr. Cameron said Lord Mancroft had been told in “no uncertain terms” that his views do not represent the party. Mr. Cameron said he asked the Tory leader in the Lords, Lord Strathclyde, to let Lord Mancroft know how angry he was.
“He should think more carefully before opening his mouth,” Mr. Cameron said. “My experience of the NHS is 100% completely different. I was very cross about it.
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