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Which voice rules UK healthcare?

 

The NHS remains an institution loved overall by so many in Britain. Yet in 2013, more and more reports and comments remind us that the system is not always offering the best for patients. The voices of the professional and the voices of the patients are ignored these days, even though the leaders say those inputs are received. Only one voice rules, those of the healthcare technocrats.

One aspect is that an element of harm is allowed to occur to patients, unbelievably it is seen as the norm by the managers, this failing is enshrined in the NHS Constitution “The NHS aspires to put patients at the heart of everything it does”.  Sadly it is only aspiring.

In a major speech reported widely in early May, David Prior, Chair of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reminded us the CQC has already found around 20% of hospitals are “not terribly good” and a further 20% are “coasting along . . not doing terribly well”.

Yet these hospitals seem to have billions spent on them, thousands of managers, yet the system is failing the most important people, the patients. If you buy a fridge and the fridge goes wrong, you can complain, you can always buy a new one. In healthcare, if the end result goes wrong, you may die. This has happened to thousands of people in the UK already.

In dentistry, fortunately, thousands do not die. Yet the lessons of the past are ridden over roughshod by the managers of the present. The professionals, the clinicians with experience, may review the new systems brought in with metronomic regularity by those managers, they may express their reservations in writing on paper, in protests, and most definitely online, yet the managers invariably roll onwards and just do what they want. Thousands of years ago, Genghis Khan found decisions made by committees did not work!

There are many examples in dentistry where warnings were sounded, but the system ploughed on. Millions of people must have had extractions of teeth that would have, or could have been saved. Millions of pounds have been wasted repeatedly autoclaving sterile instruments. Out of hours services? Don’t even ask.

The managers remain on their merry-go-round of jobs, only staying a few years in each role, as this is better for their career. The system allows them to make mess after mess, public enquiries are not heeded, healthcare professionals are ignored.

My proposal is not dictatorship, but there must be a method for the voice of the professions and very importantly the voice of the patients to be heard with clarity, otherwise the NHS loved by millions, will reach the point when people realise other countries do manage healthcare better.

 

Thinking Outside the box
Choices? Out of stock, Sir

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Comments 1

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Keith Hayes on Monday, 13 May 2013 08:24
Which voice rules UK healthcare?

There are many examples in dentistry where warnings were sounded, but the system ploughed on. Millions of people must have had extractions of teeth that would have, or could have been saved. Millions of pounds have been wasted repeatedly autoclaving sterile instruments. Out of hours services? Don’t even ask.

The managers remain on their merry-go-round of jobs, only staying a few years in each role, as this is better for their career. The system allows them to make mess after mess, public enquiries are not heeded, healthcare professionals are ignored.


I quite agree Tony. Health care, like education is just far too important to leave to political meddling. Yet we need people able to take sometimes painful decisions and to be held accountable for those decisions and not given another job if it looks like they messed up. Actually I'd go further and suggest that the majority of their pay award is made subject to this and would be clawed back if they underperform.

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[quote]There are many examples in dentistry where warnings were sounded, but the system ploughed on. Millions of people must have had extractions of teeth that would have, or could have been saved. Millions of pounds have been wasted repeatedly autoclaving sterile instruments. Out of hours services? Don’t even ask. The managers remain on their merry-go-round of jobs, only staying a few years in each role, as this is better for their career. The system allows them to make mess after mess, public enquiries are not heeded, healthcare professionals are ignored.[/quote] I quite agree Tony. Health care, like education is just far too important to leave to political meddling. Yet we need people able to take sometimes painful decisions and to be held accountable for those decisions and not given another job if it looks like they messed up. Actually I'd go further and suggest that the majority of their pay award is made subject to this and would be clawed back if they underperform.

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