Friday, June 06, 2008

The funny old world of Government spin?

"82 hospitals in total on £917million debt" - Daily Mirror June 5th 2008
"The NHS continues to be in good financial health with a £1.658 billion surplus for this financial year, the Department of Health announced today." - Government News Network June 6th 2008


tory boys never grow up said...

Not really if you understand the difference between an income statement and a balance sheet - unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for some) most journalists don't

dizzy said...

So you havn't actually read the press release then

tory boys never grow up said...

Yes - but I'd read the Daily Mirror as well - by some strange coincidence the overall debt figure (in black by £515m) was the surplus (income statement) figure for last year (current year surplus is £1658m) and the debt figure they quote for certain hospitals (917m) was last year ends net deficit figure when this year the figure has been reduced to £122m. The press release actually is quite precise in its statements.

All this goes to show (quite well) that non financial journalists haven't got a clue when it comes to numbers - and even if you tried to spin a line to them they would probably get it wrong.

Actually what the figures show is that financial management has improved a lot in the NHS (it couldn't have been much worse you might wish to say) and overall things are now pretty much on an even keel.

scott said...

Normal. Government is mostly run by Lawyers, so it totally makes sense :-)

Armchair Sceptic said...

They forgot to mention the debt from PFI which is concealed!

Anonymous said...

" management has improved a lot in the NHS.."

...and waiting times are down, and there's no MRSA or other bugs to speak of and the staff are happy and...what's that? Ooooh, unicorns!!

At least now I know what happened to that chap who used to go on tv to report for Saddam's side in the Iraqi war. His English is rather good now, isn't it?