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NHS Stafford Hospital Report.

(49 Posts)
POGS Wed 06-Feb-13 13:39:06

I mentioned a very short while ago on GN I had watched the Select Committee Rooms taking evidence from The Chief Nursing Officer/England, NHS Commissioning Board and the Dept Health and Lead Nurse, Public Health England being interviewed. It was in connection with the 2009 Report.

I was appalled at the statements they were making agreeing there was a lack of care and negligence in our hospitals and I was surprised nobody joined the thread. Now the full report has been made public I am shocked but not surprised by it's findings. 400 - 1200 patients died, what a disgrace.

As Andrew Neil said on today's Daily Politics programme this is 'Institutonal Manslaughter' and I for one am sorry nobody will be held to account from the Health Minister in control from 2005-2009, to the Managers and probably some staff also. I am not surprised to hear they were moved side-ways or promoted.

Humbertbear Wed 06-Feb-13 13:50:48

Unfortunately, I think this case only highlights what is going on, to a lesser degree, in many hospitals. I know that along with friends and neighbours we have had some very bad experiences at our local hospital and on two occasions I have had to discharge my husband for his own safety.
It is outrageous that the Head of Nursing involved at Stafford Hospital has been allowed to carry on working, and in training of all things. They need to get rid of the bureaucracy, put doctors back on the wards, give sisters real responsibility for their wards and bring back Matron.

Ariadne Wed 06-Feb-13 14:09:53

While I have every sympathy, with those who have had bad times with hospitals, and with the families of patients at North Stafford Hospital, I'd like to just make the case that, as ever, the excellent work done in so many hospitals is never mentioned. (In the media, that is. But then good news isn't "news"!)

Our experiences over the past, say, 10 years, in Hampshire, SE18, Kent and Devon, of cancer, major trauma, serious eye emergency, gallstones, children's illnesses and, of course, last week's hip replacement, have been of compassionate, professional people doing a superb job.

It does, however, seem to be the luck of the draw? Or your postcode? Such a pity that levels of excellence aren't common to all.

janeainsworth Wed 06-Feb-13 14:17:22

I listened to Sarah Montague interviewing a midwife this morning on the Today programme. The midwife said that everyone was aware of instances of staff talking to patients inappropriately, failing to provide care etc. but that if it was reported, the only thing that happened was that the staff member would be 'moved sideways' - that staff wouldn't be disciplined because of fears that there would be counter-accusations of bullying and victimisation.
So, has employment law eroded discipline within hospitals to the extent that managers would rather see patients suffer than find themselves in employment tribunals?
Someone else said that the problems started when nurses had to do university degrees instead of nursing diplomas - that young women didn't do nursing because they wanted to care for people, but because they wanted a degree.
I can't accept this as an explanation - surely it's possible to do both?
Are they saying that doctors are less caring than nurses because they have completed longer degree courses?
I do wish that politicians would stop apologising for things that are not their own responsibility. David Cameron has never worked in the Department of Health and he wasn't Prime Minister when N Staffs was going on.
His apology doesn't ring true - I would far rather have had an assurance that heads would roll. Apparently no healthcare professionals have been removd from the registers, nor any managers sacked.
Cynthia Bower, who was Chief Executive of the Trust, was then appointed to Head of the Care Quality Commission.
Says it all.

HildaW Wed 06-Feb-13 14:20:18

Yes POGs, this is such a shocking subject and it certainly needs talking about it. Thankfully we have not had too many unpleasant experiences with hospitals, as Ariadne states it does seem to be the luck of the draw. Unfortuneately once the rot sets into any institution its very difficult to turn the tide from within. Lets hope the normally wonderful nursing and medical profession can get back to where it should be. Looking after patients not worrying about targets and paperwork.

bluebell Wed 06-Feb-13 14:36:18

This is such a complicated issue which will be reduced to sound bites to serve a variety of political agendas. Like Adriane our family and close friends have had ( unfortunately) much to do with the NHS in the last few years including cancer, liver transplant, orthopaedic surgery. All the outcomes have been good but some aspects of care could have been better. I just feel uncomfortable with using Mid Staffs to damn the whole NHS. I was dreading the report coming out this morning and thinking of all those dedicated staff going to work today feeling unfairly vilified. How do we deal with problems without being unfair? There are no simple answers - I love that quote about how to every complicated problem there is a simple solution and its usually wrong! It will be interesting to get more details of Francis' recommendations but the real issue will be the political will to implement them ..... Notice how its all gone quiet on the Leveson front?

Lilygran Wed 06-Feb-13 15:06:04

One of the nurses interviewed this morning said there was so much paperwork it interfered with nursing. She quoted having to tick a box to show that a bracelet had been placed on a patient at admission. As she said, you could see whether a patient was wearing a bracelet. It reminded me so much of the auditing processes introduced into education in the 1990s and which were so resented because they demonstrated a total lack of trust and used energy and time which could have been used on the core job. Then what is audited is not the activity but the 'robustness' of the internal auditing paperwork. Also, it means you only audit what is measurable. And managers don't have to know anything about the job, just about how to examine paperwork. But people don't die from neglect in schools and colleges.

Greatnan Wed 06-Feb-13 15:19:11

It is certainly the luck of the draw. My sister has had excellent service from her GP and the various departments of Hope Hospital, Salford, that deal with her heart and joint problems. My daughter was hideously neglected in the East Kent Hospital in Canterbury, where the surgeon who almost killed her was a head honcho in gastroenterology. He ended up with 75 separate complaints against him over a period of many years - in all that time, nobody made the decision to suspend him so her continued to ruin the lives of many women.
Whistleblowers in the NHS have received dreadful treatment. When my daughter was training as a nurse (at the dreaded East Kent) she witnessed an aneasthetist treating a patient with a total lack of respect or even decency. When she suggested to the sister that he should be reported, she was told she would ruin her own career before she even started.

If you really want to scare yourself, google 'medical accidents in UK hospitals' or look at the GMC's Fitness to Practise' pages.

bluebell Wed 06-Feb-13 15:25:02

But some paperwork is very necessary - there was a case this week where a nurse had filled in the paperwork incorrectly and so the family of a dying women did not get the chance to say goodbye but another family were told instead that their mother was dying. So it is complicated - we need to think hard about what paperwork we require and why but we certainly need to have it and take it seriously when it is necessary. And as for bracelets - some hospitals use different coloured ones for example allergic to penicillin - I would like to think that there was a good system in place for making sure that had been done. The bracelet is also a check for drug administration - staff come and go on wards, get interrupted - a tick for a bracelet means it is more likely to be put on and to be the right one. I think these are just a couple of examples that show the situation is complex. I also know if several cases where not completing necessary paperwork properly meant that doctors were employed who shouldn't have been.

Movedalot Wed 06-Feb-13 15:26:47

I think that someone should at least lose their job so that a message is sent ot the public that the authorites care and to the staff so they know their jobs are not safe no matter what they do. It would be interesting to know if NHS staff ever get sacked.

I worry about the selection process for NHS Managers as an ex-boss of mine is now one and he was a waste of space! He most certainly was not capable of managing a large organisation, he failed to manage a small one. The ethos of an organisation usually comes down from the top.

I've worked on takeovers and helped turn round failing organisations and it is possible but needs a firm hand.

FlicketyB Wed 06-Feb-13 16:38:54

I think it is time job application forms and interview procedures were looked at it because my experience in the process of sorting out procedures that are not gender/ethnic origin/mother tongue/social class biased in many large corporations especially state organisations we have forms and interview techniques which once again are reduced to tick boxes and facilitate the appointment of the glib and the bullsh****rs.

Once upon a time when you went to a job interview you would be interviewed in great detail about your previous work experience in the field, asked all sorts of questions about dealing with the challenges of the new job and your education would be probed. Now this is reduced to a list of so-called key competences for the post, with self-chosen examples of your skill.

With my last employer, when I joined and when I first moved between departments I can remember very detailed questions about my expertise that expected me to demonstrate it at the interview and having my man/woman management skills being deeply probed as each job came with a staff management problem. By the time I left interviews were all key competences and using the right vocabulary. In my last interview for a senior role in a specialist department the whole interview was conducted without a single mention of the specialist work the department did, my experience and success in this field or even which area I had expert knowledge. When I queried this later the response was 'Oh well you wouldnt have applied for the job if you hadnt known you could do it'!!!!!

Write this large across health, education, local government and all the other services that affect our everyday lives so closely and the cause of the management failures we have had in these sectors begin to come evident

Movedalot Wed 06-Feb-13 16:43:40

I would expect an assessement centre before an interview for even a semi-senior management role at least. That is what we did.

POGS Wed 06-Feb-13 17:16:57


This has little to do with sound bites to serve a variety of political agendas. That would be comments like you can't trust the Tory's with the NHS. This is too important a problem to us all and the facts are facts.


DC wasn't in Ireland or Hillsborough but he quite rightly apologised for government failings, that's his job.

I would like tell you of a report in my local paper this week, in The Hinckley Times,thursday January 31st. It is a report on our local hospital, George Elliot, Nuneaton, Warks.

"DEATH RATES AT GEORGE ELLIOT HOSPITAL IN NUNEATON - HINCKLEYS NEAREST ACCUTE HOSPITAL ARE WITHIN "EXPECTED" LIMITS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS". It goes on to say how pleased they are at George Elliot after progress has been made over the past 18 months. It says that George Elliot was named as having the worst mortality rates in the country. Well we all knew that.

My father, 93 years old, has just been thankfully well looked after whilst in the George Elliot and was allowed home after a fall which kept him in for two weeks. He was treated fantastically and was given an MRI scan and heart monitoring as he has osteoporosis and heart issues.

I asked one of the nurses what has happened, the last two times I had the misfortune to be there I cried at the lack of care my mother received. She told me that it was quite a different place to work and the 'new' systems they had in place were starting to work. Why were they ever not in place.

janeainsworth Wed 06-Feb-13 19:10:05

POGS I don't think you can compare the Northern Ireland situation with the NHS. NI was basically a political problem.
I think that the problems in the NHS are not political, although I accept that politicians' interference has been a contributing factor. There have been professional failings to stand up to the impositions of politicians and DoH mandarins - as it was put in the first report, doctors and nurses allowed their professional values to be subsumed into the target-driven culture.

Openness and whisleblowing are a problem - staff are afraid to speak out and many have gagging clauses in their contracts of employment. DC has now announced that it will be a criminal offence for NHS staff not to whistle blow - this is what Dr Rant has to say about it on Facebook:

Dr Rant · 12,016 like this.
about an hour ago ·
Dear Stafford Hospital Inquiry. Regarding the comment : "NHS staff should face prosecution if they are not open and honest about mistakes, according to a public inquiry into failings at Stafford Hospital."

So hospital staff should face either getting the sack / NHS Trust ostracism for reporting concerns, or prison for not reporting concerns?

There is something very wrong with the way that NHS management is run.

Mishap Wed 06-Feb-13 22:26:27

How worrying it all is.

One of the difficulties is communication. I think that patient care often falls down because the right hand does not know what the left is doing - it is a problem in big organisations in general, but matters more in a health care setting.

It is also to do with responsibility, and the plethora of different private agencies who are involved in care in hospitals leads to a watering down of responsibility.

At the risk of sounding like a dinosaur, I recall when I worked in the NHS as a medical social worker and the pride that everyone took in ensuring good patient care - working together as a team rather than separate agencies just doing their bit in isolation. The drop in standards when the responsibility of the matron, for instance, was lost to outside agencies was epitomised for me when I walked the hospital corridor - there were brown splashes on the floor of the corridor which remained there for several days, awaiting the moment when that corridor reached the top of the rota for cleaning - in the old days the matron would have been on the phone to the cleaners and the mess would have been gone within a few minutes.

Scattering responsibility leads to a lack of pride on ones work and demoralization.

My DD has just left hospital after having her baby and she said the best thing was being able to pee in a clean loo and wash in a clean shower - the ones in the hospital were spattered with blood.

maundymoney Thu 07-Feb-13 03:58:34

It'sall so shocking! Have known about it for years!

Take a look at Mumsnet. They're furious!

We older ladies are the largest demographic group in the UK and also the next wave of people (those of us who still survive despite the NHS!) entering the last stage of our lives. I am surprised that the Liverpool Care (Death) Pathway was not mentioned in the report!

I'm a 60's girl; I don't want prolonged treatment if I'm seriously ill but would like to think that I won't lie in my own excrement or have serious bedsores (as has happened over and over to people in their 80's and 90's) before I die. Think that I would probably love sips of water now and again (as I did when giving birth to my children!).

Wake up, Gransnetters! It's time we acted!!!!

absent Thu 07-Feb-13 07:23:46

Surely one of the major issues in NHS hospitals in general is the massive increase in untrained or semi-trained healthcare assistants who are often doing some of the jobs previously done by trained nurses. There was a recent incidence of a maternity patient having regular blood pressure checks done by a healthcare assistant who duly recorded the data but had no idea that levels were dangerously high and so failed to alert anyone.

janeainsworth Thu 07-Feb-13 08:29:10

Agree with you absent.

MaggieP Thu 07-Feb-13 09:08:34

I too am appalled by the Report and all the dreadful stories we have read about over the last few years, and still going on. I cannot believe that no heads have rolled or appear to be going to either .
As a retired professional from the NHS, so much has changed since I entered in 1966 and had a strict training, with certainly more staff and more accountability.
By the time I was nearer retirement the paper work was excessive, less suitable staffing help and a frustration of not being able to give your time to the very people who matter!
You always had that 'looking over your shoulder' feeling, in case was very stressful.
It is alarming for us older ones who maybe relying on the NHS and hospitals in future years. That and Care homes. Oh dear hmm

POGS Tue 12-Feb-13 09:53:27

I appreciate this topic did not exactly find many interested posts but for anyone who is interested.

On BBC Parliament live. Freeview 81, The Select Committe Rooms are taking evidence 'live' from Robert Francis QC. Always nice to hear and see words from the horses mouth so - to - speak.

Lilygran Tue 12-Feb-13 10:38:44

Doesn't get any better either

Mishap Tue 12-Feb-13 13:29:14

My sister walked into the single hospital room where my 92 year old father is being "cared for" yesterday. Dad was naked on the bed crying out that he needed the toilet. She sorted that out, then watched as he was served a cup of tea with a piece of celophane-wrapped cake with a sell-by date 4 months ago. Sigh.

Mishap Tue 12-Feb-13 13:38:05

I have received so much conflicting advice from medics during my foot problem - there is one fracture; it is healed; no, there are 2 fractures and neither is healed; you should/should not weight-bear in the plaster; it needs an airboot/no it doesn't it needs a plaster; the tendon is fine/no it isn't. All this and more - I truly have no faith in any of them any more, which does not help an already difficult situation. It is of course compounded by rarely seeing the same person twice.

My DD has given birth recently - she has a problem with a torn stitch. She has variously been told: there is an infection you need an antibiotic; there is not infection, don't take it; there is no infection, but you should be taking an antibiotic; you should be taking a different antibiotic; if you take this new one, it will interfere with the breast-feeding/no it won't. Again - several different midwives + GPs.

I know the NHS does brilliant things, but our family is being poorly served at the moment.

Galen Tue 12-Feb-13 13:48:26

Not a lot different from a lot of families!sad

harrigran Tue 12-Feb-13 15:06:12

Mishap if that is caring God help the neglected. Why are these people allowed to get away with cruelty ? It is a criminal offence to allow people to die through neglect, this should also apply to the NHS.