Posted by: Witch Doctor | June 19, 2011

LAST CLUES: The Demi – Pied Piper’s Little Helper

It seems that My Black Cat is getting fed up with her little riddles.

She tells me that she will give 3 last clues to the identity of The Demi-Pied Piper’s (Alan Milburn’s) Little Helper. THESE WILL BE HER VERY LAST! She says if The Witch Doctor cannot work it out from all of these clues then, if not completely witless, she is demonstrating severe deterioration of her witchy wit.

Clue number 8

The Demi-Pied Piper is still helping long after the initial help he gave to Alan Milburn many years ago

Clue number 9

He was a member of the Future Forum.

Clue number 10

The role he played on The Future Forum involved the document:

Involvement and Public Accountability

A report from the NHS Future Forum

Ah, The Witch Doctor detects this was the document that states this in the introduction:

“Effective systems of accountability and governance
13. Nationally, the Secretary of State’s responsibility for promoting a comprehensive health service should be made clearer to the public in order to allay any concerns and remove any confusion. As part of this responsibility, he/she should report to the nation annually.

The body of the document states this:

Reinforcing national accountability
“We heard commentary on the likely balance of power and influence of the NHS Commissioning Board in the new system compared to that of local organisations, such as commissioning consortia, local service providers including local authorities, and health and wellbeing boards. We agree with the view that unless the power of health and wellbeing boards and the internal governance of commissioning consortia is strengthened, the reforms run the risk of reinforcing the dominance of national, top‐down performance management by the NHS Commissioning Board, rather than achieving the aim of a more liberated, devolved system.

We support the role of the NHS Commissioning Board as set out in the Bill to secure the delivery of the Secretary of State’s national health outcomes, allocate and account for NHS resources, authorise the establishment of commissioning consortia and hold them to account for their commissioning of services within an overall financial envelope and defined standards of performance and quality. It is also right, in our view, that it has powers of direction over commissioning consortia in specified areas and circumstances – such as risk of failure – and that it should commission some services directly.

We have heard concern from various quarters that the Secretary of State for Health will no longer have a responsibility or duty in respect of promoting a comprehensive health care service, which could in some way lead to the erosion of the NHS. We understand that this is not in fact the case as far as the proposed Bill is concerned. However, we recommend that:

[13] “the Secretary of State’s responsibility for promoting a comprehensive health service should be made clearer to the public in order to allay any concerns and remove any confusion. As part of this responsibility, he/she should report to the nation annually.”

The Secretary of State will remain ultimately responsible for improving the health of the nation, and the modernisation plans see her/him setting out the outcomes that the NHS must achieve14, and for which she/he will be held to account by Parliament. We endorse the intention that the Secretary of State should report to the nation annually as to the performance of the health service (including the NHS and Public Health England). We would urge the Government to use this opportunity to provide an overarching account of the state of the nation’s health, and to ensure that it is accessible to the ordinary person.”

The Witch Doctor is scratching her head regarding The Secretary of State’s responibilities in all of this:

Is it a duty to “promote?”


Is it a duty to “provide”?

It still seems obscure to The Witch Doctor.

She is not alone in wondering about this obscurity.

Has anything really changed?

The wording on the amended bill will need to be studied carefully.

My Black Cat states however, although he is still helping by contributing to this report, The Demi-Pied Piper’s Little Helper did something even more helpful many years ago.

It is not his helpfulness now but his helpfulness then that is the substance of My Black Cat’s riddle.

redapple.jpg a red apple ……………………

The Witch Doctor – Link to a random page





© Dlundin |


  1. If you’ll forgive a shameless plug, WD, I’ve just done a post on the government’s attitude to the Health Secretary’s duty. They’ve promised not to change Section 1(1) (which wasn’t altered anyway) but have said anything about Section 1(2) which is where ‘act with a view’ crops up. I smell a very big rat..

    And David Kerr is responsible for this piece of subterfuge. I told you he was one to watch..

  2. Btw, looks like someone else is smelling a rat in Downing St, apart from MBC..

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