NHS ‘would crash it if was an airline’ says Mid Staffs inquiry chief who calls for “genuine information” and more honesty.

Josh Loeb and Sonia Elks  report in The Times 28th May 2014: NHS ‘would crash it if was an airline’ says Mid Staffs inquiry chief – What could be clearer? – Perhaps it is that the Regional Health Services are crashing, and the Mayday message is not getting through, and that includes Alice Thompson.

If the NHS were an airline plane crashes would “happen all the time”, the chairman of the inquiry into the Mid-Staffs scandal has warned.

Robert Francis, QC, said that the public believed that the quality of care available through the NHS was much better than it actually is. While the majority of patients received acceptable care, he said that services were patchy and patients were too often being blamed for “crowding out” accident and emergency departments when they did not know where else to go.

He said that NHS chiefs had become “complacent” and should take their cue from the private sector, where the needs of the customer were paramount.

“The answer is not to get the people to fit in with the service – you need the service to fit in with the people,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“The trouble is it’s no use being satisfied or complacent – if we ran our airline industry on the same basis planes would be falling out of the sky all the time,” the barrister said.

“We’ve just got to change the attitude that because it’s provided by the state it’s all right for a number of people to be treated badly; well it’s not. Airlines would go out of business very quickly if they worked that way.”

Mr Francis said that the public had not been given “genuine information” about how services were performing, leading to a perception that things were “rather better than the probably are”.

More honesty was needed about the need to close some health services in order to put more resources into others, according to the barrister.

He also raised concerns about funding considerations being used as an excuse for failing to provide acceptable levels of staff.

“All we are talking about is proving something that is safe, something that is effective,” he said.

“If you can’t afford that then why are you proving it at all?”

There was a danger of health professionals and politicians resisting essential major changes including the closure of some local services because of “knee-jerk reactions”, he said.

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

1 thought on “NHS ‘would crash it if was an airline’ says Mid Staffs inquiry chief who calls for “genuine information” and more honesty.

  1. Pingback: NHS ‘facing funding gap of up to £2bn’ in England | NHS reality. An NHS soapbox. Speakers' corner for the NHS.

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