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Failing Hospitals

November 8, 2010

Stafford Hospital run by Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust is now at last subject to a public inquiry after years of complaints from patients and relations, some whom suffered ‘unimaginably’, when treated at Stafford Hospital.

According to BBC news ‘a 2009 report condemned conditions at the hospital, said to have caused hundreds of avoidable deaths.’

‘The last government ordered a private investigation, but refused a wider public inquiry. But in June the coalition government said the families of those who died deserved to know what went wrong.’

A private review reported in February  ‘the trust had been driven by targets and cost-cutting.

Managers had been focused on winning elite foundation trust status during the problem years.’

Some of this sounds alarmingly like what campaigners and councillors have been experiencing in Rochdale in the last few years over the closure of A&E and Maternity services.

The closure of vital services at Rochdale Infirmary under the Healthy Futures and Making It Better proposals conincided with the Pennine Acute Trust applying for Foundation Trust status.

At the same time local councillors and health campaigners feel again and again frustrated and ignored by hospital managers, when we raise concerns over public health and safety in connectin with the proposed cuts.

Because Health services are provided and regulated by Central government local control is totally ineffective. Apart from asking questions and raising concerns  at local Health Overview committees our role is reduced to being by-standers.

But even the continuous campaign of our local MP’s or the warnings of ex- consultants and nurses in the Infirmary have had no effect what- so- ever and managers continue to bull doze the changes through regardlessly.

When will we get away from a culture of public services being dictated to by managers driven by high salaries?

Why did it need a change of governmnet to finally have a public inquiry at Stafford Hospital?

If the cuts in Stafford Hospital really led to avoidable deaths, will the managers responsible at the time  be made accountable or will they go on to enjoy early retirement on a high pension?

Let’s hope that Julie Bailey who  set up the campaign group Cure the NHS to highlight problems at Stafford Hospital will really achieve her ambition: “This will get to the truth. We really believe this will be a full examination of what went wrong, not just at the hospital but with the regulatory bodies.”

What the NHS needs is a change of culture away from central bureaucracy and  arrogant managers to locally accountable professionals who run services on the basis of patients first.

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One comment

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