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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Spyros A. Sofos Researcher and research coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University and author of ‘Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Tormented by History’ and ‘Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks'.

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