the Minister Paul Burstow’s keynote speech. The speech was full of the usual warm stuff about how significant telecare and telehealth is, so that was not the reason for its significance.
It was because he gave an outrageous plug to one company – Tunstall. This endorsement was highly inappropriate in a Ministerial speech, particularly as it was not just confined to the hall but was being streamed to viewers around the world.
The other suppliers in the hall, particularly the principal sponsors, must have been very cross once they were over the shock. It was probably also more ‘evidence’ for the conspiracy theorists [I’m not one of them: Editor Steve] who believe that it is Tunstall, and not the Minister, directing the UK Government’s policy on telecare and telehealth.
The ultimate twist to this gaffe is that, just a few minutes before, the Minister had been criticising services that stockpile kit. It is not a secret (apart from to the speech writer, perhaps) that stockpiling kit is a characteristic of a number of Tunstall’s large-purchase customers!
To his credit, the Minister risked taking questions from the floor. I asked about the contrast between his support for the 3millionlives initiative and his lack of support for the use of telehealth with prisoners [TA item, scroll to bottom]. His reply, in relation to prisoners, was “Ministerial edict is not the best way to make sure something happens”…so why is he pronouncing on 3millionlives? The words ‘cake’, ‘have’ and ‘eat’ come to mind.
Other than that, there were some interesting presentation topics during the rest of the day and I will follow them up in future items.
UPDATE 8 March 8am: Full text of the Minister’s speech here. Heads-up thanks to Mike Clark.
UPDATE 8 March 10:30 am. Tunstall milks it: Press release. Paul Burstow MP advocates NHS Gloucestershire and Tunstall’s work…