NHS boss apologises for tweeting Hitler parody

The care.data debacle - the cracks are showing at the top....

28 February 2014

It had to happen - the caredata debacle and the reaction of NHS IT boss Tim Kelsey, has been immortalised in a classic "Downfall" parody by Paul Bernal.


The video found an unexpected fan - Kelsey's boss, NHS Chief David Nicholson, who tweeted the Hitler parody video of his employee to the world.

nicholson tweet.png

Tim Kelsey responded through gritted teeth:

The downfall thing funny @paulbernal but (and am not the PC police) think care.data is a big issue: should not be too silly

— Tim Kelsey (@tkelsey1) February 27, 2014

As a public figure Kelsey is of course fair game for satire and media critique - but he might have hoped for something more supportive in public from his boss than this apparant glee in his discomfiture.

Nicholson's pre-retirement venture onto Twitter has been notably "relaxed" but this latest tweet raised eyebrows about the management culture at the top of the NHS:

Can't believe David Nicholson tweeted this @DavidNichols0n Tim Kelsey discovers that care.data is in trouble http://t.co/vUk7d07SBl

— Alison Moore (@AliJaneMoore) February 27, 2014

@carolinejmolloy wonder if @NHSEngland has a respect at work policy

— Mary Brooks (@MarygBrooks) February 27, 2014

@MarygBrooks @carolinejmolloy @NHSEngland Probably locked in the same cupboard as the data protection policy

— Tim Gough (@TimGough3) February 28, 2014

NHS whistleblower Gary Walker was amongst those commenting:

@garywalkeruk yeah, I didn't think it was an appropriate thing for a boss to do, either. Difference between "kicking up" and "kicking down"

— Claire OT (@claireOT) February 28, 2014

Nicholson has now deleted the tweet, apologised, and replaced it with something more supportive of his embattled colleague.

@tkelsey1 sorry this is what happens when you give an old bloke with an over developed sense of humour new tech you're doing a great job X

— David Nicholson (@DavidNichols0n) February 28, 2014

Nicholson - shortly to retire - is perhaps a little demob happy. But Kelsey's old colleague Professor Sir Brian Jarman thought perhaps there was a little more to it, and helpfully reminded OurNHS:

.@tkelsey1 started Dr Foster, pub HSMRs & developed alerts website that showed Mid Staffs. NHS CE was CE of SHA perform manage MS @OurNHS_oD

— BrianJarman (@Jarmann) February 28, 2014

"NHS CE" refers to David Nicholson, formerly head of the Strategic Health Authority (SHA) whose failings over Mid-Staffs (leading to calls for Nicholson's resignation) were publicised partly as a result of the controversial "HSMR" death rate figures Tim Kelsey's Dr Foster outfit produced - with Jarman's help.

Nice to see them all sticking together!

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