Before you think the NHS is killing thousands of people unnecessarily do a little reading

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I tweeted last night that I was worried that the furore over supposedly unnecessary deaths in the NHS might be - as some academics warned Jeremy Hunt - an unfounded claim.

I also noted that the fact that a smallish proportion of HNS trusts were delivering below average results was exactly what the law of averages would suggest likely. That is, inevitably and always the case.

Then Steve Walking appeared in my timeline - as he often does on such things - and drew attention to two blogs he has written on this issue. I will not repeat them, but simply suggest you should read his blogs here and here. I consider them essential reading.

But if you really won't just consider this, from Steve:

The idea that 400-1200 ‘excess’ deaths took place during a period from 2005-2009 has been repeated so often, with such a complete absence of dispute (unless you knew where to look), that in the public consciousness it has become, to all intents and purposes, a fact.

But it is an idea without any basis in fact.

There were [in fact] no ‘excess’ deaths at Mid Staffordshire NHS during the 2005-2009 period in which the news media and anti-MSNHS campaigners claim there were 400-1200 of them — or, in the words of the independent clinical expert who led the ‘Independent Case-Note Review’ (ICNR) into each individual, contentious death at the Trust:

maybe one

This information has been in the public domain since at least 2010 — but I doubt if you could find a single reference to it in the mainstream media. “One person might have died!” does not sell newspapers, or gain viewers, in the same way that “400-1200 unnecessary deaths!!!” does, I guess.

There were deaths at Mid Staffs - and Steve explains at length why they may have been recorded aberrationally, but the clinical evidence does not support the claims that there were hundreds or thousands. That's a political myth.

I'm not saying there is no need for continually striving for improvement. Far from it: there is.

And I am not saying that some trusts are not as good as others; as a matter of fact that must be true.

But I am saying that this situation is very likely being seriously exploited for private gain, and there is no excuse for that.