Half the National Health Service will be closing down this Easter.
On March 31st, 151 Primary Care Trusts and 10 Strategic Health Authorities are due to close their doors.
The functions of all these organisations will be expensively replaced the following day.
Officials are hoping that, as it will be April Fool’s Day, the public will assume it’s a spoof and will ignore the whole thing.
This is no joke though. The existing organisations really will be going.
And, as the work they do is essential, they do have to be replaced.
The replacement is estimated to cost £3 Billion.
As exact replacements weren’t available, Department staff have thrown together a complex mashup of organisations to replace them. And they have pulled trained doctors away from normal duties to run the system as best they can.
Until now this was believed to be the result of a plan by former Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, to enable the unfettered privatisation of Britain’s 65 year old health service.
Now we can reveal the true reason, divulged to us exclusively by two Department of Health Whistleblowers.
Lansley lost them all in a disastrous Poker game.
Details of exactly how the Health Secretary lost almost one half of the entire NHS are still sketchy, even now. We are also obliged to maintain the anonymity of our informants, pending possible procedings.
“It was a real bender of a session” admitted one red-faced official, close to Lansley.
“It was the night after Andrew was appointed Health Secretary” added a Special Advisor (SpAD), who has decided to sell his story now the boss has fallen from grace.
What our investigators have been able to piece together so far is that Lansley, senior civil servants and some of his closest advisors decided to go out on the town after David Cameron had confirmed his appointment as Secretary of State for Health.
“Andrew said he knew this ‘special’ club”, explained the embarrassed civil servant, avoiding our gaze and shuffling his feet. “He said he knew the owner and could sign us in”.
“It wasn’t just us”, added the SpAD. “There were lots of us”.
Was David Nicholson in the party, we wondered? Nicholson was Chief Executive of the NHS.
“I can’t recall”, said the senior official. “My guess is that he’d probably not be able to recall either”, the civil servant continued. “You know how he is with names, dates, facts … er … that sort of thing. You know?”
So, what sort of club was this, we wondered?
“Oh very exclusive”, volunteered the former SpAD. “Billionaires only”, he added. “Only very, very discreet …. if you get my drift. Lots of foreign accents. Russian. Arabs. Y’know the sort”.
So how did Andrew get to be a member? We know he’s a millionaire, but is that enough?
“Not normally, you’re right”, agreed the SpAD. “But Andrew said he had big connections. People who’d made loads of wonga from the private health business. A couple of them sponsored him”.
So what about this Poker game?
“Total fucking disaster”, breathed the civil servant, shaking his head and sighing.
“Andrew can’t even play Poker … we learned the next morning. But he was full of himself that night. He’d just been handed the keys to a national institution which gets over £100 BILLION of public money A YEAR for God’s sake. And even we’re not sure how much all the buildings and kit are worth.”
“He was just a bit over confident”, added the SpAD, helpfully.
“They have this exclusive table in another room”, continued the civil servant. “One hundred million starting stakes and the sky’s the limit”
“Andrew said he was feeling lucky. He’d just got a plum job. It was his night, he reckoned”
“He didn’t have much cash on him, of course, but the owner said he could play against the value of any property he owned. Well…”
“Andrew figured that he could present the winnings back to Cameron the next day as ‘savings’. Said that would impress the condom-faced bastard”.
“Well, you can guess what happened”.
“Andrew lost the first game. And then he needed to stake more in the hope of winning it back”
“By the time we dragged him away from the table he had already lost the Primary Care Trusts and the Strategic Health Authorities”
“And if we hadn’t got him out when we did he would have gambled away all the provider trusts too”, added the SpAD, helpfully.
The next afternoon, once the group had slept off their hangovers, it seems Lansley hatched a plan.
We are told that he believed they could bluff their way out of the disaster if they all stuck to the cover story.
The winners of the game had given Lansley time to hand over the organisations he had used as collateral.
The plan was to come out with a surprise White Paper. The White Paper would propose closing all the organisations they had gambled away.
However, as the officials thought someone would notice they had gone, there also had to be a plan to put something back in place.
Originally Lansley had thought he could get away without the replacement. However, officials had been convinced that even David Nicholson would notice that.
Shocking as this story may seem, there are indications that Lansley may not be the only Tory to have lost public assets at the same club.
It appears the club is popular with other senior members of the Cabinet too.
Armed with the knowledge we already have our crack team of investigative journalists are already re-examining what happened to the Ark Royal, the Navy’s only Aircraft Carrier. Several dozen Harrier jets are also thought to have been lost on a lower stakes table.
The Education Department is also being scrutinised too.
It appears that the only thing the Tories haven’t lost so far is their arrogance.