The culture of fear and psychological gagging extends beyond the staff to patients and ex-staff. I and my wife had reason to complain recently but have not done so, as we know the culprit(s) will be scapegoated.. Fear rules. The staff still feel gagged…. We are a long way from a truly “learning” organisation.
Sir, In 2009 the Care Quality Commission (CQC) replaced the Healthcare Commission, which uncovered the grave care failings at Mid Staffs. CQC failures to detect poor care and governance followed. For instance, in 2014 the CQC inspection of Southern Health NHS Foundation trust cost £273,908 but failed to spot hundreds of uninvestigated deaths.
The CQC protests that it has no powers to investigate individual cases. Many patients, bereaved relatives and whistleblowers are deeply frustrated that disclosures to the CQC have not resulted in change. On the contrary, if NHS staff whistleblow they may still be fired, gagged and blacklisted. The CQC has done little to deter gagging, despite having been advised to do so by Sir Robert Francis.
The CQC is poor value, and it is time to move on from the current model of regulation. What is vital is a safely resourced, truly independent investigation facility for learning from serious failures. The government is establishing a Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch that will carry out only 30 investigations a year. It may be able to withhold information from patients and families. This defeats the purpose. More radical changes are needed if NHS safety is to improve.
Professor Sir Brian Jarman, co-director and research director, Imperial College Faculty of Medicine; Julie Bailey, founder, Cure the NHS; Dr Heather Wood, former investigation manager, Healthcare Commission and Care Quality Commission; Dr Stephen Bolsin, adjunct professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Melbourne; Dr Phil Hammond, NHS associate specialist, journalist and broadcaster; Dr Kim Holt, founder, Patients First; Dr Minh Alexander, whistleblower and former consultant psychiatrist; Maha Yassaie, former chief pharmacist, NHS Berkshire West; Dr Kevin Beatt, cardiologist, formerly at Croydon University Hospital; Amanda Pollard, former senior inspector, Care Quality Commission; Dr Edwin Jesudason, chairman, Patients First, and formerly consultant surgeon at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital Foundation Trust; Dr Peter Wilmshurst, consultant cardiologist, Royal Stoke University Hospital, London; Narinder Kapur, consultant neuropsychologist; Dr Otto Chan, consultant radiologist, The Whittington Hospital
Chris Smyth expands the argument in The Times 6th December 2016: Patients at risk as thousands of safety warnings are ignored – read the whole article here (with apologies to the Times) patients-at-risk………
It does not help that purchasing is so inefficient that the “NHS spends more than £1 billion on just 4 common drugs, latest figures show ” – Stephen Matthews in mailonline 5th December 2016. Denial of a need to ration health care is driving the professions to despair.
The NHS now spends 15 per cent of its £116 billion budget on medications
This has increased from £13 billion in 2011 to £16.8 billion in the last year
While 45.2% of this was spent on drugs used to treat patients in hospital
Adalimumab, used to treat arthritis, was the most expensive at £416 million