Have posted this on Centreright too. My heart goes out to the affected families….
The travesty at the centre of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust disgrace that led to hundreds of avoidable deaths and exacerbated sickness and disease amongst others is the culture of fear that reigns in many NHS organisations. It is appalling that staff at all levels feel they have to choose between integrity and income. We have heard stories where nurses are reminded every week not to reveal poor practice; where doctors are bribed with bonuses and where management edit the minutes of meetings to ensure the public record doesn’t look bad.
The current whistle-blowing provisions are clearly not working and must be urgently revisited. Staffordshire needs a public inquiry for justice to be done and for families of the deceased and maimed to know that their pain has been heard and that improvements will be embedded across the NHS.
In a profoundly challenging fiscal environment it will be essential to ensure safety for patients through safeguards for staff whose concerns are dismissed by their seniors. We cannot hope to achieve transparency or the opportunities to learn from poor practice if fear is allowed to remain. It needs to be replaced with a culture of honesty and humility – for a bereaved family to know that a mistake has been addressed and won’t be repeated makes a significant difference to coming to terms with their loss.