Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Targets over People

The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust hospital represents a microcosm of what is wrong with Labour's approach in office. From the conclusions to the report published today:

1. This has been a story of a trust which has, over a sustained period of time, failed to deliver acceptable standards of care to many of its patients. It is appropriate to echo a statement made by Florence Nightingale 150 years ago:
It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a Hospital that it should do the sick no harm.
2. Unfortunately, this requirement has not been met at Stafford Hospital. While it is true that in some of its activities it has achieved good standards which have attracted praise, the deficiencies identified in this report are too widespread and too fundamental to be brushed off as isolated examples of lapses in standards that might be encountered in any healthcare organisation, however well run. What this investigation has uncovered is failure on a scale that cannot be adequately expressed in statistics – indeed, over-reliance on figures has been one of the reasons for the Trust’s failings....

10. A common response to concerns has been to refer to data, often of a very generic type such as star ratings, CNST levels and so on, rather than to the experiences of patients and their families...

12. While structures are an important and necessary part of governance, what is really important is that they deliver the desired outcome, namely safe and good quality care. There is evidence that setting up systems predominated over improving actual outcomes for patients...

13. Another aspect of the preference for figures rather than people has been the failure to listen, or to listen properly. Many of the complaints made to the Inquiry had already been made in precisely the same terms to the Trust. Many of them, even if taken on their own as one person’s observation, should have been enough to alert a listener to the existence of a serious systemic problem.

15. There is evidence of a worrying acceptance of poor care, of poor behaviour among colleagues being condoned and of potentially dishonest behaviour being encouraged....

26. The Board gained unjustified reassurance about the trust's standards of performance from external assessments without taking into account the fact that most of these were based on information generated from the trust itself....
You only need to listen to Gordon Brown at PMQs spouting tractor-production statistics about money invested spent on a given issue to realise that the faults of the Mid Staffordshire hospital trust are failings that come from the very top of Government.

Labour's whole approach to management of the country's services has failed with disastrous results for the users of those services, and the finances of the country.

Spending is not a proxy for delivery any more than Star ratings matter more than old Ladies being left alone, ignored and unfed; soiled by their own faeces in sheets unwashed for a month. Putting targets and process over people's human needs is a feature of large, overbearing bureaucracy.

For pity's sake, smash the monstrous NHS into manageable chunks. It can still be free at the point of delivery, but make its scale more human. Lefties... Listen to the right on this. Make the patients CUSTOMERS, whose welfare is front and centre of Hospital priorities rather than mere statistics in a dehumanising bureaucratic machine. The other option is not the inefficiencies of the American system but something like the health systems of Canada, Germany or France, which in my direct experience WORK.

Please, lefties, stop Eulogising the NHS. It does NOT WORK.



3 comments:

banned said...

Agreed, the disgracefull goings on at Stafford NHS are but a reflection of the way Labour has mismanaged the country with its targets, micromanagement control freakery without regard to results and which is mirrored by the dumbing down of education (less easy to observe because not so many people die).
To add insult to injury todays Telegraph (thurs) reveals that the entire management team at Stafford have got away scot free, either being re-appointed eleswhere or taken early retirement on generous pensions.
This must not be allowed to stand. They need hunting down one and all and made to pay for their actions.

Mitch said...

A step in the right direction would be making the board members liable for manslaughter charges if someone dies and the cause is neglect by the staff.This would focus their minds on patients and not targets.Unfortunately the system will only get worse unless its torn down and rebuilt.

Henry Crun said...

Surely, cases like this are covered by Health & Safety legislation and the management could be charged with corporate manslughter?

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