Letter of Complaint to the Stoke Sentinel and David Blackhurst

Dear Sir or Madam,

I really must register my dissatisfaction concerning this unbalanced, misleading article which obliquely skips over the services being withdrawn from Stafford Hospital:

 David Blackhurst: Is Stafford Hospital really being downgraded – or is this the start of a better future for healthcare in Staffordshire?

At the first Cannock public meeting the TSA expressed openly that their plans for Stafford were ‘contentious’, and they absolutely are, to pretend otherwise, as you appear to be doing, is crass, misleading, ignorant or malicious.

I would very much like to see how you, Mr Blackhurst, or any of the residents of Stoke & surrounds would feel about their maternity and paediatrics departments being transported 40 minutes plus down the road, and far, far longer during the periodic gridlock which regularly accompanies M6 accidents and heavy snow; how ‘safe’ would that proposal be to you and your family?  Not as though I would wish these proposals on anybody. I can tell you for certain that babies, children and mothers in particular are being put at severe risk here. To pretend that these proposals are a godsend to our community is crass, misleading, ignorant or malicious.

“But the Hackett vision also brings plenty of benefits to North Staffordshire residents,” it does, at the expense of those in Mid Staffs; UHNS currently has one of the largest deficits of any trust in the country; Monitor are downgrading, yes, downgrading Stafford in order to bail out UHNS. To sweep over the massive negative impact on the communities of Stafford and surrounds that this downgrade represents, as you so lackadaisically appear to do, is crass, misleading, ignorant or malicious.

Meanwhile we see this terrible story – I ask The Sentinel and Mr Blackhurst, “is this an upgrade?”, just what would constitute a downgrade in your book? How many more must die?

So Mr Blackhurst, do you have any grasp at all of this issue? Can you understand why 51,000 people might march to keep these services? Which aspect of this situation do you not understand or comprehend? So,  my criticism of this article:

Is exhibits crassness:

Showing no intelligence or sensitivity.

Is appears to be misleading:

Giving the wrong idea or impression.

Is is ill-informed and hence it is ignorant:

Lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.

It may not be deliberately so, but it is unconsciously malicious:

Characterized by malice; intending or intended to do harm.

This is a situation that can only get worse, and it will get worse while people such as yourselves with little or no understanding of the situation continue to write articles like this; supposedly written by an experienced journalist in a respected newspaper.

Nietzsche, In think, summed up the mass media, who he strongly derided, aptly:

The intellect of the Germans was kept down by their beer and their newspapers.

Human, All-Too-Human, Part II by Friedrich Nietzsche

Either you unknowingly swallowed the UHNS spin or you knowingly misreported the facts; either are unforgivable in anyone claiming to be a journalist. What is at the root of Nietzsche’s criticism of the MM is that it promulgates the unquestioning consumption of opinion masquerading as valid factual information.


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