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Thursday, March 19, 2009

In the wake of the Staffordshire Hospital scandal...

Who will be sacked in the wake of the Staffordshire Hospital scandal?
article in the Telegraph


"The scale of the failure at Staffordshire General Hospital almost defies belief. Dehydrated patients forced to drink water from flower vases, accident victims left untended for hours, clinical judgements being made by receptionists. To call this Third World treatment is an insult to the Third World.

This appalling, incompetent management has exacted a terrible price. Anything from 400 to 1200 patients may have died unnecessarily as a result of the neglect. Not since Harold Shipman was still in general practice have NHS patients been so dreadfully betrayed.

The independent Healthcare Commission was alerted to the scandal by the high mortality rates in what it calls an "early warning system". That was in March last year, three years after the hospital had descended into chaos and a month after it won foundation status. Some early warning system."

When NHS care goes badly wrong as in this dreadful case, there is always a cover-up; there are always lies told by those in charge and/or by health professionals protecting colleagues in the profession. When, years ago, I tried desperately, but unsuccessfully, to obtain urgent treatment that was being denied me purely to avoid having to admit the severity and the length of time of the negligence and agonising pain I had suffered and was suffering, I found to my cost that no-one in management gives a toss for the suffering of patients, and that for the overwhelming majority of health professionals their priorities are money, power, status and reputation, and that management and health professionals combine in closing ranks against the common enemy, viz. the patients they have harmed and the families of those patients. It was nonetheless a bit of a shock when I discovered that the NHS itself and the Department of Health and so many other agencies and ministers and MPs and other individuals all join in with the lies and evasions and there is literally no-one in the entire edifice of the Health Service to whom one can turn and be assured of getting help.

This sorry debacle was not discovered or winkled out by the Healthcare Commission. It is because of the monumental efforts and persistence of relatives of patients who suffered/died in this Hell of a hospital that the general public has come to know about it. There is, in practice, no protection from this sort of ghastly treatment. The routine of lies, obfuscation and whitewash ensures this, and even if some sort of action is eventually taken it is only after inordinate delay.

Those most responsible for the horrors endured by patients at this hospital should, in my opinion, be tried in the criminal court and sent to prison. This would encourage others in positions of power to have some care for the patients' welfare and treatment. - But as it is - and as it sadly will remain - instead of prison, the 'guilty' will most likely move on to other similar posts and yet again there will have been no appropriate sanctions against these crimes against humanity.