Sunday, 3 March 2013


Shame but no blame

The Mid Staffs Inquiry - the Francis Report. ‘M.D.’ writing in the latest edition of Private Eye does a thorough job in exposing the inadequacies of this watered down piece of bilge. Francis did a good job of answering the question, “How could the NHS, with record funding, published death rates and armies of regulators lose sight of so many patients, some of whom died in appalling conditions?” Private Eye No. 1334

But - and what a massive ‘but’ this is - he singularly failed to answer the more important question: “Who is responsible?” (ibid)  Apparently all those named in the first draft of the report were sent copies and allowed rewrites which explains the lengthy delays in publication. It also suggests that m’learned friends were engaged by the responsible suits and were quickly rubbing their greedy little mitts at the prospect of a nice little earner. 

In the end he (Francis) opted for a ridiculous ‘no scapegoats, blame the system’ approach.” (ibid). This is contemptuous of all the families who lost loved ones in deeply shaming circumstances. Reading about the care and treatment received by the hundreds of thousands of troops wounded in the First World War, it is striking just how good the quality of care and compassion these shattered young men received from (predominantly) young women, many of whom were themselves volunteers. There are countless stories of nurses taking great care to ease the suffering of mortally wounded men, many of whom were in great pain and distress. Others were terrified both by what they had been through and what they were facing. Most of them were also a long way from their families and friends. 

That was almost one hundred years ago. It is mortifying to read what happened in Mid-Staffs.

“The care was so bad that as many as 1,200 people died unnecessarily, often in appalling conditions. The poor care was known about for years and flagged up by successive mortality data alerts....and whistleblowers were threatened and silenced.” (my emphasis)

The treatment of whistleblowers by the NHS is well documented, and successive governments have mouthed platitude after platitude about the need to ensure whistleblowers are heard - and then do bugger all to make it happen. We pay an inordinate amount of money from the NHS budget to fund gagging clauses in termination of contract deals. This is a disgrace. 

The Francis report is symptomatic of much that is wrong with our country. Wealthy, powerful elites make a complete bollocks of running their part of the national infrastructure - and few are held responsible. Bankers? Give em their bonuses. MPs on the take? Sort out a few scapegoats. BBC arse-coverers? Shuffle them around a bit. 

NHS bosses? Absolve them from all responsibility. Let them threaten and bully the handful of staff brave enough to put their heads above the parapet - and then reward them with promotion. 

The position of the NHS boss Sir David Nicholson exemplifies this approach. He should be sacked forthwith. 

And it is getting worse. From April 1st, thanks to the private-medicine sponsored ex-Health Secretary Lansley’s execrable ‘reforms’, the Secretary of State will no longer be held to account for events in the NHS. Now how barmy is that?


No comments:

Post a Comment