Comments - Page 2
Why the need for "Whistleblowers" in an NHS Safety Watchdog that ought to be completely transparent about its problems and its failings?
That's fair comment Anon at 15:17. The retraumatisation caused to already grieving families by such dishonesty is hard to imagine unless you have been personally involved. The "public servants" responsible for this do not appear to give a damn about the years of pain they are inflicting by their actions. This is the attitude that lies at the heart of the suffering meted out to so many who embark on the NHS complaints system. Years and even decades of frustration, anger, disappointment, heartache. The NHS was not conceived with this in mind. Clearly it has fallen into the wrong hands.
Well done Paula and Tom. And well done Barbara Keeley. One more blow against the pretence of fair play and transparency in the NHS. It might now be appropriate for someone to ask Simon Stevens to ensure independence in all investigations commissioned by NHS trusts and regulators. It might also be time to have a look at why draft reports spend so much time at the Department of Health before publication. And what redaction they undergo during that time. It's not so long ago that Jeremy Hunt was waxing lyrical about black box thinking. If you want to make flying safe you can't rewrite the facts. Ditto healthcare.
Jeremy Hunts legacy? The most transparent health service in the world? Yesterday we had a CCG doctoring a report to conceal "avoidable death". Today CQC airbrushing out of history the failings of a provider clearly needing improvement. And yet CQC is still allowed to commission its own "independent" investigation. CQC is bringing regulation into disrepute.
When working as a doctor with Hilltribe refugees in Northern Thailand I was one day driving between camps. Passing through a small town I hit a cyclist who came out of a sideroad at speed. A large and angry crowd quickly gathered. Against advice I jumped out with my medical bag to attend to the casualty. The crowd became still. A Thai man said something that sparked the crowd (uncharacteristically) into hysterical laughter. I asked my translater what had been said. "Look at that Farang (foreigner). First he tries to kill him. Then he tries to save him." First they drive you crazy. Then they help you push in the queue to get a remedy. Crazy? Or what?
For many years NHS trusts have squandered huge sums intended for patient care on silencing staff who raise concerns about patient care and safety. The advice of trust solicitors, gratefully received by the board, is at the heart of this scandal. Once the more obstinate staff who refuse to back down or accept a pay with gag (NDA) settlement are dismissed the trust is committed to further open-ended expense in the tribunals and courts. Irrespective of the rights and wrongs no-one is ever called to account either for the financial waste or lost learning opportunity. In the case of Dr Raj Mattu this amounted to £20 million according to an undisputed newspaper report. Meanwhile the phoney war against whistleblower victimisation continues.
Dear 10:04: I usually ignore such nonsense. However, your anonymous, ad hominem attack, refusing to accept any of the Ombudsman's report, deserves a response. There is now a widespread acceptance that the NHS is riddled with failures in patient care that are often covered up. Staff are still reluctant to report these failures, fearing the consequences. Patients and their families when making a complaint about such failures enter a minefield from which they often escape with additional trauma. I count it my vocation (calling) to, in a small way, help address this scandalous situation. I am always suspicious of the motives of folk like you who would prefer me to be silent.
Finally, more promise of reform at CQC, more internal reviews, more bureaucracy. What’s the point? Its time they started really listening. Its time they started putting patients first. Its time they gave some real consideration to the way in which good staff continue to suffer for doing their best in very difficult situations. I will not be holding my breath.
Seventh, this all happened a long time ago. Mrs James was enabled, by the rushed publication of the Derby report, to take early retirement, move quietly to another part of the country and continue, I understand, with gainful employment in her own private consultancy. This should sound familiar. It is the revolving doors that NHS regulators (as in the fraudster CEO Paula Vasco-Knight’s case) have been facilitating for years. The incompetence and misbehaviour of CQC as described in the PHSO report leaves me free I believe to continue to claim that Mrs James was not a fit and proper person to act as an NHS director, at least in the time my own evidence related to. As I said, its history. She knows what she did and has to live with it. I wish her well.
Sixth, in our pre-FTSU review meetings with Sir Robert Francis he told us, as he had advised others, including the Health Select Committee, that whistleblower suppression ought to be a sacking offence. He reiterated this in his report claiming that the then new FPP Requirement would enable errant CEOs to be held to account. He subsequently sat as a NED on the CQC board which, as these two PHSO reports demonstrate, rode roughshod over this legislation. As he must know there are equally good cases that CQC threw out with no reason.
Fifth, CQC has a very poor history on whistleblowing. It has suppressed its internal whistleblowers. It has ignored external whistleblowers. It has failed to be transparent about what it actually does with protected disclosures made to it as a prescribed body. This report demonstrates clearly that CQC is still capable of dirty tricks to discredit and undermine someone reporting wrongdoing to it in good faith. Its good to hear Ted Baker claiming CQC takes whistleblowers seriously. Not in the way they took me seriously, I hope.
Fourth, I would not have been aware without the PHSO investigation that six months after I submitted my evidence in January 2015 no-one at CQC had read it. The reason they gave to PHSO was that there was too much material (untrue, it was a modest submission) and they “had not had time to read it.”
Third, the CQC FPPR panel was led by Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals and the Head of Governance and legal Services. The report puts in the public domain the barely credible fact that neither of these senior officials kept proper minutes of meetings convened under parliamentary statute. Meetings which had the power to destroy the reputations and careers of senior NHS personnel. And yet, the organisation they run (or ran) is supposedly responsible for ensuring that provider trusts and General Practices keep proper records.
Second, the evidence from the extant correspondence is that although I provided well evidenced criticism of the barristers’ lack of competence, bias in the investigation, their unevidenced and deeply personal attack on my own integrity, and failure to understand the whistleblowing dimension, CQC never addressed or caused to be addressed these issues. And this, despite the fact that I originally agreed to participate in this investigation on the understanding that I would be allowed to correct factual errors in the draft report before it was published.
Just wanted to put a few thoughts on the public record. First, my thanks to Rob Behrens and his investigators. The investigators have been working on this for more than 3 years. At times I have given up hope of getting an outcome. I have not achieved all I set out to but the report provides enough evidence to show (again) the dire state of CQC’s internal processes, even when run by the Chief Inspector of Hospitals. I am also grateful to Shaun Lintern at HSJ who was the only well-informed yet sympathetic ear when the Derby report was published in December 2015.
Hi at 7:24. Well done is something of an irony. As the rest of my comment makes clear. NHS organisations often delay deny & defend as a matter of course. They only do too little too late when there is no alternative. So, Ben is reflecting a wider dysfunctional culture that serves neither patients nor staff. Expect nothing and you will not be disappointed.
Well done Ben Reid. Except. This is seven years late. This "independent" review has been forced on the trust following Les' successful tribunal claim, the HSE prosecution and CQC pressure against a background of a very dysfunctional culture. Les was dismissed within minutes of reporting the asbestos risk. The trust has known it was wrong from that point. Les must be given freedom to help decide the Tors and the investigating panel. A good man's life has been ruined. The review should be given the power to make full restitution.
Good reference Julian at 14.09. And, as Melanie Leahy said of NHSI/NHSE, “I really have no confidence in the paper shuffle reviews being suggested." Yet here we have another. I'm surprised Averils dad has agreed to let Rob Behrens team investigate its own failings. (And has he been involved in setting the scope?) Apart from an annual light-touch visit to PACAC the Ombudsman is largely above scrutiny. This cannot be right. My own experience of registering 5 complaints with the Ombudsman under PCA 1967 (2 upheld, 3 not investigated) is that they are prolonged and, despite the best will of the investigator, clunky. Also, as far as I can see the organisation guilty of maladministration in the 2 successes has so far shrugged the reports off.
Am I the only one to wonder why one provider can be fined for 13 breaches of regulation 20 while all the others have a clean sheet?
Two weeks ago Ted Baker told The Patient Safety Learning conference that hospital managers routinely hide evidence from the CQC. It's widely recognised that trusts deny, delay, defend against complaints of patient harm. Still, the statutory organisational DoC, 5 years after its introduction, appears to have made little or no difference. Are our legislators and NHS regulators really that incompetent? Similarly, the statutory Fit & Proper Persons Requirement introduced at the same time has also been ineffective. Sir Robert Francis told us in person in 2014 that FPPR would be used to call to account any director surpressing sraff who report cover ups. He has been a CQC NED overseeing the administration of these statutes for some years. The two recent PHSO reports on CQC failure suggest he is not doing so well at this. I presume he he is disappointed with progress.