Sometimes the logic escapes me…

// 15 October 2007

Melanie PhilipsApparently feminism is responsible for the deaths of 90 patients in NHS hospitals in Kent. Well according to Melanie Phillips anyway. Now just be prepared for this because you have to use some creativity to get there….

Apparently feminism was to blame for the shifts in nursing education which moved initial training from hospitals (thus perpetuating bad practices where it was embedded) to Higher Education. And therefore feminism as de-vocationalised nursing meaning students come with a wider range of backgrounds and interests. And this is apparently a bad thing (you still with Phillip’s argument so far?). Now apart from the fact that nursing is still a vocation (after all you wouldn’t really take up a profession with starting salaries of around £12,000 with Inner London Weighting included if you were emotionally dedicated to it) and that the NHS relies on nursing as a vocation to ensure the system can still work, Phillips is creating a whipping boy by jamming together two disparate sets of shifts. Yes feminist nurses (and non-feminist nurses too) complained in the 1980s that their clinical skills were being undervalued and they were being treated as little more than glorified servants in the NHS. And yes during the 1980s it became clear that government (and successive governments at that) were grossly underfunding nursing education and overcontrolling their roles, in fact from the 1950s we have been heavily reliant on imported nursing care whether from the Caribbean or Ireland or, now, the Philipines and India. But does that mean that (a) (complaints about the way nurses are treated) = (b) (gross underfunding). I can show that (a) global warming happened at the same time as (b) a decline in pirates but I wouldn’t claim a causal relationship.

I’m not going to drag this out any longer, basically the whole article is less well-grounded in reality than a bad dream after chocolate, coffee and cheese before bed. But if you want to see (another) example of feminism as the whipping boy I recommend it.

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