Today Robert Francis QC has published the second of his reports into the death scandal at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust where between 400 – 1,200 people died between January 2005 and March 2009 because of the poor care provided by nurses and doctors.
Patients were left to wallow in their own excrement. Elderly men and women suffered terrible injuries as a result of their rough handling by nurses whilst others were left starving and thirsty, so much so that patients were forced to drink water from dirty vases to stay alive.
Not one nurse, doctor or manager has been disciplined or sacked. Can you imagine the public lynching that would be awaiting them if this had happened in a private hospital?
Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust management were more concerned with meeting Labour Government-set targets and reducing costs to achieve the coveted Foundation Trust status, which would allow managers to take even more responsibility for the “care” of patients, than looking after ill people. This culture in the NHS is fundamentally flawed. We are told targets are no longer central to the running of a hospital – I do not believe that for one moment and this is backed up by the president of the Royal College of Surgeons who insists his members are still under pressure to operate on less urgent cases, in order to clear the waiting list and ensure patients do not breach the 18-week central-government target from time of GP referral to treatment.
The NHS is a case of political ideology being put before another human being’s life. It is as fundamentally flawed as communism. The NHS is not some wonderful sacred institution depicted by lefty Danny Boyle in the Olympics opening ceremony. It is a place where “our wonderful nurses” put meeting targets ahead of tending to an elderly woman screaming in agony. It is a place where doctors have to prescribe water to patients to force the “wonderful” nurses to provide them with a drink. It is a place so dangerous patients starve to death.
Some reading this post may say they have only ever had a marvellous experience with the NHS. Well, I’m sorry, but so what? The government-run health service treats millions and millions of people each year so even if 5% are dissatisfied or die then that is still hundreds of thousands of people who have suffered needlessly at the hands of the “wonderful” nurses and doctors. The entire model is not fit-for-purpose and for the sake of human dignity and preservation of life must be broken up and replaced with an insurance-based continental health service model.
Mr Francis has not named one senior manager responsible for this appalling care in what was meant to be a hospital in the seventh richest country on Earth in the 21st century. “This happened in the UK!?!?” is what one startled Hungarian friend said to me when I told her what happened. I’m afraid it did. Not all nurses are Florence Nightingale types in starched aprons. In fact, none are: nurses now dress in scrubs to deliberately blur the boundary between the infinitely more qualified doctors and nurses who lack so much compassion one of the report’s recommendations is to make a law saying nurses must actually “care” for their patients! With patients at the bottom of the priorities list, no wonder nurses started to treat then like prisoners in Birkenau.
Forget the recommendations. Break up the NHS today.