£4.5 million pay-off
Yet another scandal from the NHS. This time it is a Doctor hounded and bullied by the senior management at Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. The tribunal who awarded the massive payout delivered a scathing assessment of the senior managers at the hospital. They were, “Positively outraged by the way this employer has behaved.”
So will heads roll? Only if enough folks are equally outraged. The payout is money that should have gone into patient care.
The problem unfortunately goes much deeper. It is symptomatic that NHS Managers’ first reaction to a problem is to deny it. The next step is to pillory the person who pointed out the problem. This is tackled in one of two ways: the first is to buy them off with a good payout including a ‘confidentiality agreement.’ These are supposed to be illegal in the NHS......Oh yeah.
The second method is to identify the whistleblower as the problem. “Cannot be a team player,” “untrustworthy”, “unreliable,” “bully” and ‘troublemaker” are all used to belittle, denigrate and humiliate someone who is acting on behalf of patients. Sackings and disciplinary action are common. The outrageous happenings in Mid Yorkshire are not unusual. There are far too many instances of this treatment for it not to be systematic. Anyone unconvinced should read Private Eye which has devoted considerable, unchallenged column inches to the issue.
Bad as all this is, there is an even bigger problem. The recent shocking revelations of how the elderly, those suffering from dementia and too many ‘average’ patients are being appallingly treated in too many hospitals brings disgrace onto a national institution. It also must be so dispiriting to work with people who are abusers or uncaring.
One of the solutions to this mess is to promote whistleblowers. It needs to be enshrined in contracts and conditions of service that within the NHS there is a duty to report wrongdoing and malpractice. To say nothing is to collude with the sinners. To not act should be a disciplinary matter.
Another simple and easily implemented improvement is to empower a matron-like figure at every level who has as their sole function the duty of patient care. Any nurse or carer falling below acceptable standards should have the opportunity for some re-training. A second similar offence would result in immediate dismissal. Some of the recent revelations would qualify for instant dismissal. This to apply at all levels.
The NHS is one of the greatest creations of our time. The principle of care being available to all, no matter what their means is brilliant. It is a principle which the Tory party and, to their eternal shame, NewLabour undermined. Lansley is so far in bed with sleazy private medicine that only the tip of his snout is visible. These shocking revelations play into the Tory’s hands.
Anyone thinking that we would be better off under private medicine should take a look across the Atlantic. 40 million American citizens do not have access to medical care. The man who took home the biggest wage last year in the States ($175 million) was the chief exec of a private medicine company. Enough said.
Reform = yes. Privatisation = no!