"For most failing hospital bosses it will be a simple case of a an open palmed strike to the head, or in more serious cases a couple of punches to the kidneys," Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the House of Commons yesterday, outlining emergency plans to improve services. "The intention is not to cause serious physical harm. That would be shooting ourselves in the foot. We tried that but it only increased waiting times."
"Call it tough love if you like. We're not ruling out hitting failing doctors, provided they haven't got anything sharp in their hands." In rare cases, the squads could even hit patients. Mr Hunt gave two examples. "Patients who malingered more than four hours in A and E might be threatened with a bit of a bosh. And patients who are found not to be British enough could be struck on the temple before being sent home."
Hunt insisted whistleblowers who risk their jobs to publicise hospital failings won't necessarily be beaten round the head with a heavy medical book. "These people are often hysterical. The approved treatment is a backhand slap in the face."