The man who wants to stop you getting drunk… all in the name of protecting the NHS
- Extraordinary NHS guidance urged the public to ‘drink sensibly’ this week
- Ministers feared ‘risky’ acts would pile extra pressure on NHS during strikes
- Matthew Taylor said the advice was ‘message we should always have’
Matthew Taylor, one of Tony Blair’s ex-chief advisers
First he called for pandemic-era curbs to save the NHS, months after Britain’s Covid war was effectively declared over.
Now Matthew Taylor, one of Tony Blair’s ex-chief advisers during his decade in No10, wants you to not get drunk for the exact same reason.
Urging the public to drink sensibly on the radio today, the head of NHS Confederation — a group which represents hospitals in England and Wales, argued this week’s strike advice to not get drunk was a ‘message we should always have’.
Mr Taylor, an ex-Labour councillor who failed in his quest to become an MP in the 1990s, said: ‘It’s important that the public use the NHS in the best way they can.’
In an extraordinary intervention on the eve of the biggest ambulance strikes in 30 years, NHS officials urged the public to ‘drink sensibly’. Ministers feared any ‘risky’ behaviour would pile unnecessary extra pressure on the health service.
Grilled about the guidance on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Taylor was asked: ‘Is that the kind of thing we should think about, not just on strike days, but ongoing because of all the pressures on the NHS?’
The 62-year-old, educated at the £7,000-a-term Emanuel School in Battersea, responded: ‘Yes, that is a message that we should always have.
The 62-year-old was educated at the £7,000-a-term Emanuel School in Battersea
A few years back, he was brought back to the frontline by ex-PM Theresa May, who asked him to lead an independent review into the rights of the self-employed and new ‘gig economy’ workers. The pair are pictured together in 2017
Between 1998 and 2003 he headed the Institute for Public Policy Research. But he was brought back by Mr Blair to head the Number 10 policy unit. Mr Blair is pictured meeting well-wishers in Glasgow in 2002
‘And, of course, we should also have a message to people not to indulge in behaviours which are bad for their health and risky.’
But Mr Taylor, who studied at Southampton University, added: ‘But we can’t ask the public to cope day in day out with not having the services that the NHS wants to offer.’
It’s not the first time Mr Taylor has used his influential position within Whitehall to call for a public behavioural change.
In April, just days after the Government ditched all the remaining pandemic-era restrictions in pursuit of a ‘living with Covid’ regime, Mr Taylor’s NHS Confederation pleaded for the return of ‘mitigating actions’ and accused No 10 of wanting to ‘wash its hands of responsibility’.
He said at the time: ‘We need to put in place the measures that are necessary to try to alleviate the pressures on our health service while this virus continues to attack.’
Before his public plea for ministers to revert back to some kind of economically-crippling strategy, Mr Taylor said in February: ‘The Government cannot wave a magic wand and pretend the threat has disappeared entirely.’
And during the winter of 2021/22, just as the public consensus on how to deal with Covid had shifted because of the success of vaccines, Mr Taylor called for Covid curbs once again. He asked for a ‘Plan B’ to save the NHS from being ‘overwhelmed’.
Mr Taylor is the son of sociologist Laurie Taylor, whose antics as a 60s and 70s university lecturer inspired novelist Malcolm Bradbury to write The History Man
Now NHS chief tells Britons to NEVER get drunk over fears A&E will be overwhelmed this Xmas after two days of strikes by nurses and ambulance crews that put off patients calling 999
A gloomy NHS boss today urged people not to drink heavily this Christmas amid fears that the NHS could be overwhelmed because of 48 hours of strikes by nurses and ambulance staff this week.
Chris Snowdon, of the right-wing thinktank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: ‘Matthew Taylor is the embodiment of an attitude that has become worryingly common in recent years, that the British public exist to serve the NHS.
‘He calls for mandatory face masks and Plan B restrictions at the drop of a hat and now wants permanent behavioural change to ‘protect the NHS’.
I wouldn’t expect the NHS to endorse drunkenness and it seems prudent to avoid risky activities when ambulance workers are on strike, but every man, woman and child pays £4,000 a year for healthcare in this country.
‘If we get ill or have an accident, we want the NHS to patch us up and send us on our way. It is not there to give us orders.’
Mr Taylor is the son of sociologist Laurie Taylor, whose antics as a 60s and 70s university lecturer inspired novelist Malcolm Bradbury to write The History Man.
The novel tells the story of a promiscuous self-proclaimed revolutionary academic who believes his genius gives him the right to do whatever he wants.
Known for being a rare Labour supporter at his private school, he once boasted after winning the English prize that he would refuse to receive it from the special guest – then Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher. But when it came to the crunch he accepted the book token from her.
After school, Mr Taylor worked for an Australian bank before reading sociology at Southampton University, where he got a first.
There, Mr Taylor was such a supporter of socialist MP Tony Benn that he fell out with the student union president, future BBC journalist Jon Sopel.
He started a long-term relationship with lawyer Claire Holland, with whom he had two sons, before they split in 2007. Three years later he set up home with Tony Blair’s ex-director of government relations, Ruth Turner. The couple have a child.
In 1992, Mr Taylor stood unsuccessfully to be Labour MP for Warwick and Leamington. Two years later, after the election of Mr Blair as Labour leader, he was put in charge of the party’s rapid rebuttal operation.
During the 1997 election he was campaign co-ordinator and director of policy, helping to write the manifesto. After the election victory, Mr Taylor briefly became the Labour Party’s general secretary. He supported higher income tax and limits on party donations then considered too Left-wing for the Premier.
Between 1998 and 2003 he headed the Institute for Public Policy Research. But he was brought back by Mr Blair to head the Number 10 policy unit.
But a year after the 2005 general election, he left politics again to become chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, a 250-year-old prestigious institution.
In 2016, he was brought back to the frontline by ex-PM Theresa May, who asked him to lead an independent review into the rights of the self-employed and new ‘gig economy’ workers.
In other related news…
Revealed, six-figure salaries of hard-Left union barons behind ambulance strikes: One is a former Communist, another was kicked out of Labour and a third says she’s ‘open to working at the edges of the law’
NHS will spend £100,000 on scheme that teaches staff how to be inclusive to pregnant transgender men… and it could see them encouraged to say things like ‘chest-feeding’
Up to 30 THOUSAND appointments and ops were cancelled due to NHS nursing strikes… so how badly was YOUR hospital hit?
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