Here we go again – yet another NHS hospital trust is facing claims of clinical malpractice and a flood of lawsuits. I wish they would bring back Matron, instead of lumbering hospitals with overpaid and seemingly useless Chief Executives.  There are some who really earn their keep – but it’s not surprising that too many scandals are surfacing, whilst top executives play politics and delegate major problems to others.

Yet again a ‘hospital spokesperson’ has apologised “unreservedly”, this time from Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospitals (SaTH), extending “sympathy to friends and relatives” and saying “lessons have been learnt” – again –  and other platitudes repeated after each new scandal.  Again relatives come forward to say they were ignored, as they do every time similar scandals are exposed in NHS hospitals.

On SaRH’s website is a statement from Paula Clark, Interim Chief Executive, saying: “We have been working, and continue to work, with the independent review ………. On behalf of the Trust, I apologise unreservedly to the families who have been affected. I would like to reassure all families using our Maternity services that ……. A lot has already been done to address the issues raised by previous cases.

For crying out loud – what hasn’t been done?

She goes on to say “We still have further to go but are seeing some positive outcomes from the work we have done to date.”  Only SOME?  What is wrong with these people?  Surely EVERYTHING that was wrong should have been addressed by now?

And closes with the request: “Anyone who is currently using our maternity services and has any questions can speak to their midwife”.  Paula, don’t you get it?  It’s not the Midwife’s job to sort out the problems. , it’s YOURS.  Get on with it. Any more problems, don’t leave them to others. YOU are the Chief Executive. It’s up to YOU. That’s why you are paid your vast salary.

In 2005 a wonderful woman, Julie Bailey, CBE, started a campaign on behalf of her late mother to have an enquiry into what had happened to her whilst in Stafford Hospital. The Labour government at the time refused an enquiry, but Julie and her team continued to campaign and managed to gain national support from the press and the public, which kept up the pressure. The BBC reported this

Government continued to say that the failings were a local issue and not a problem within the NHS, but eventually Julie persuaded Andrew Lansley to open a public enquiry.

For anyone else facing problems, try a friend’s solution : marching down to the Execuive Offices of the hospital that was mis-treating his wife, he interrupted a meeting to demand his wife got proper treatment.  This took guts, but it got results.

Could we get back to basics and guarantee that any hospital patient will be treated safely, and any complaints are dealt with by a senior executive IMMEDIATELY.  No fudging – keep the lawyers and press office out of it.  Just own up and change – for the better.

The NHS earns from Overseas Embassies that have contracts with NHS hospitals to treat their nationals.  However, LaingBuisson has published its Private Acute Healthcare market report, which says “revenues from overseas embassies have dipped”.  The NHS desperately needs revenue from abroad – but anymore scandals and it won’t get it. 

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