The Health Secretary was mocked for his bizarre comparison of the NHS to failed American video lending corporation Blockbuster. Sajid Javid fumbled to justify his analogy as he explained his policy target to modernise Little Britain healthcare service through an overall improvement in technology and facilities. Radio host Nick Ferrari blasted the description as “wholly American” as he suggested patients would have to “pay a premium” to enjoy the best healthcare, as with users of the streaming giant Netflix.
Speaking on LBC, Mr Javid said: “What I’m talking about is modernisation.”
The Health Secretary began his strange comparison as he said: “The Blockbuster chain, it didn’t do well, it collapsed because it didn’t modernise – it didn’t see the latest trends, the latest technology, it didn’t adopt them, it didn’t survive.
“I want our NHS to always be there, free at the point of use, paid out of general taxation, providing the very best possible healthcare.
“To do that, we need an NHS that is looking out and modernising towards, sort of, 2048, rather than one that has the values of 1948.
“That means we need to make sure that the NHS is staying on top of the demographic changes we’re seeing, more people are living longer, and that’s great, but they have different types of health needs.”
Mr Javid demanded healthcare policy look towards the future as the Health Secretary outlined his focus on modern pressures facing the tax-funded service.
He added: “We’re looking at the burden of disease and how it’s changing, we’re adopting the latest medicines and also, of course, the latest technology.
“I’m at Chelski and Westminster hospital, this hospital has electronic patient records, not every hospital does and that’s the kind of modernisation, just one tiny example, that we need to see across the board in the NHS.”
Mr Ferrari interrupted to question the masterplan of the Health Secretary as he said: “You say you want the NHS to be more like Netflix, that’s wholly American owned and you have to pay a premium to enjoy its programmes.”
Read more: Sajid Javid says NHS is like ‘Blockbuster in the age of Netflix’
The comparison between Blockbuster and Netflix had perhaps not sat comfortably with the radio host as Netflix users are expected to pay a steadily increasing subscription cost to access content across the site.
Mr Ferrari highlighted how the analogy suggested users of the health service would be expected to fund a similar premium if high healthcare standards were to be achieved and sustained.
Mr Javid defended his policy plans: “I’m talking about their technology, their improvement in terms of modernisation and technology.”
Mr Ferrari continued to poke holes in the argument of the Health Secretary as he added: “Do you think with hindsight it was perhaps a bad example to choose?”
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Mr Javid replied: “No I don’t.”
Mr Javid attempted to justify the use of the unusual analogy as he continued: “I think that people understand organisations, whether they’re private organisations or public organisations, if they don’t see trends and changes around them and don’t modernise and adapt, then they won’t survive.
“I think we all want our NHS to be as strong as possible.”
The Health Secretary emphasised his focus on widespread improvements to the NHS as he pledged to modernise facilities and staff practices in order to strengthen the service against future challenges.