So-called “arm’s-length bodies” including the Care Quality Commission, NHS England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England, and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence face having any statements on Brexit vetted and censored by the Department of health to ensure they are in line with the “top lines from the core EU exit script.”
Statements will have to be cleared by the Department before publication, according to a memo seen by the HSJ. This represents a tougher restatement of the edict in February, again publicised by the HSJ, demanding that “every piece of communication, from an email to suppliers, a letter, press notice and, in this case, texts and phone calls to the public, need to be flagged, and cleared” by DHSC director of communications Rachel Carr and her team.
The HSJ reported back then on the immense bureaucracy and delays created by this heavy censorship of regular communication to ensure that only the government’s views are expressed:
“The clearance process involves ALBs sending all relevant communications to named communications officers from the DHSC who then check with the department’s EU Exit policy team, followed by clearance through the head of EU exit communications and ministerial private office, according to the email.
“Communications which need clearance by ministers are sent to them at 12pm each day. Anything which needs clearance by the DExEU takes an additional two days.”
More worrying, Sky News has also revealed that the government has issued hundreds of gagging orders (legally binding non-disclosure agreements) to help cover up the actual state of play in many sectors, including 26 to keep a lid on problems at the Department of Health and Social Care.
It seems Johnson’s government will devote its main energies to suppressing information and open discussion of the problems their own policies are creating.
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