Thursday, 28 February 2013

Going bust.



          STOP PRESS!


This is the endgame in a 7 year scandal, except it isn’t. The report is from The Independent; Mid Staffs NHS Hospital Trust is to go into administration. You would think it was a business – except it isn’t.

If a business goes bust it’s sold off, closed down. This can’t be – the people of the area need the same treatment from the same Doctors as before. The State has to pay, as before.

So, the bust ‘business’ is divided up between the surrounding trusts, who then have to sort it out. With it goes all the debts – including the massive Public Finance Initiative debts – they don’t go away – we pay.

And of course, in South London that meant the efficient Greenwich Hospital lost it’s A and E and maternity to bail out the inefficient one.



Jeremy Laurance

Health Editor

Thursday 28 February 2013  

The scandal-hit Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust is to be put into administration, an NHS regulator has announced. The move comes two months after officials from Monitor, the NHS Foundation Trust regulator, concluded it was “clinically and financially unsustainable” after it was revealed it would need a subsidy of £73 million over five years to keep it afloat.

Monitor said it was making the move “in order to safeguard services for local patients.” The trust is likely to be broken up and some services transferred elsewhere. Last month a public inquiry into failings at the trust  said patients had suffered “appalling” care between 2005 and 2009 and that the trust had put “corporate  self interest and cost control ahead of quality and patient safety”.

The trust has been the subject of three inquiries in the last four years and the damage to its reputation has made it difficult to recruit medical staff and retain the confidence of patients. However, existing patient services have been a clean bill of health by the Care Quality Commission.

Monitor is consulting the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and other organisations about its proposed move but it is unlikely to be opposed. Once it gets the go-ahead it will appoint special administrators to take over the running of the Trust.

The special administrators will  produce a plan for the reorganisation of the trust which will go out to public consultation. Any changes proposed would require the approval of the Secretary of State.

Mid Staffordshire is the first foundation trust – the flagships of the NHs – to be put into administration, and only the second NHS trust after the South London Healthcare Trust suffered the same fate last year, following a report showing it was losing over £1 million a week.

David Bennett, Chief Executive of Monitor, said: “We are now consulting on whether to appoint Trust Special Administrators with the expertise to reorganise services in a way which is clinically robust and sustainable. Their priority will be to make sure that patients can continue to access the services that they need and they will work with the local community to do this.”

“Taking into account the consultation process, it would be several weeks before Trust Special Administrators were in place. In the meantime the Trust Board will continue to ensure the current range of services are delivered for patients and Trust Special Administrators would then continue that responsibility.”



Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Miracle worker needed.

Now, staff, I’m looking for a miracle worker. We need to become a ‘most improved’ trust;


It’s Ok, Boss -

I’ll Cooka Da books

I was going to review the ‘Private Eye’ special on the Mid-Staffs report later (I will), but events have moved forward too quickly to leave it. It’s a fast moving story.

One section, ‘Change the diagnosis’, deals with how a hospital can change the cause of death from an illness which shows up in a category that rings alarm bells to one that doesn’t. You cook the books by altering cause of death so it doesn’t show up in the standardised mortality rates.

So, if someone comes in with a broken femur (that’s very treatable) but dies later of pneumonia (that’s not good) resulting from the break, you record it as caused by pneumonia and not the break. Then it doesn’t show up as a death that should have been prevented by better treatment.

So, the ‘Eye’ shows that in 2009 Mid Staffs Hospitals patients with hip fractures were 5 times less likely to die from that cause than the English average, even though the Hospital was losing far more patients with hip fractures than it should have done. It was credited as being one of the 5 ‘most improved’ trusts in 2009 as a result.

Well, they are all at it again!

Check out this Daily Telegraph report;

Wednesday 27 February

The head of an NHS trust has "stepped aside" amid fears that staff tried to mask high mortality rates by recording the wrong cause of death for patients. Dr Jackie Bene, medical director and acting chief executive of the trust, has 'stepped aside'

By Stephen Adams, Medical Correspondent6:30PM GMT 27 Feb 2013

2011, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust recorded a large spike in septicaemia deaths, which are not included in official mortality figures, at the Royal Bolton Hospital in Greater Manchester. During the same year, it also recorded a significant improvement in death rates and was given an award for the “most improved” trust.

But a recent audit demanded by local doctors has unearthed evidence that these improvements may have been fictional. On Monday staff were told that Dr Jackie Bene, medical director and acting chief executive of the trust, had “stepped aside” to “allow a fully independent view to be taken". The report is expected to be completed by March 6.

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of the NHS, last night (Wed) said hospitals “must behave openly and honestly about their performance”, while campaigner Julie Bailey said: “It’s fraud in my mind.”

Until 2011 the Bolton trust had been one of the worst performing hospital trusts in England, with death rates well above the national average. But that year its mortality rate plummeted, leading to the award. Last December it was ranked as having death rates that were “better than expected”. Yet between April 2011 and March 2012 some 800 deaths from septicaemia were recorded at Bolton - four times the number one would expect in a trust of that size. A septicaemia coding also means the hospital would have received more money for that patient.

Dr Wirin Bhatiani, lead GP for the Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, said he first became aware of the "unusually high" number of septicaemia cases in October. The group has commissioned the hospital rating firm Dr Foster to carry out an independent audit looking at 200 cases. Dr Bhatiani said interim findings based on 50 cases showed “cause for concern”. He said: “While we are keen to wait for the final report, we are sufficiently concerned by the interim findings to commence further investigations.”

David Wakefield, chairman of the trust, said it wanted to "rule out any serious issues as soon as possible" and make sure the way patients were coded met the"highest quality standards". He was brought in by Monitor, which regulates semi-autonomous foundation trusts, after it put Bolton in the highest risk rating for governance and finance.

A trust spokesman emphasised the issue was solely with the way “some causes of death were recorded”, and did not change the number of people who had died. Neither did it mean patients’ death certificates were inaccurate, she added. Julie Bailey, founder of the Stafford group Cure the NHS, said the Bolton situation showed “each and every hospital” should be vetted to find out “just how many unnecessary deaths there have been”. She said: “We are hearing more and more instances of people apparently ‘gaming’ the data to mask high death rates. If that’s what’s been going on here, it’s fraud in my mind.”

Professor Keogh said: "If we're to have an open and accountable NHS, where patients and the public know how NHS hospitals are doing, those hospitals must behave openly and honestly about their performance. "These allegations have been picked up by the local NHS working together and scrutinising what has been going on - with support from the Care Quality Commission and Monitor. As yet, there is no evidence that any patient has been harmed. But we will be monitoring the situation and learning any lessons." Bolton is not one of the 14 trusts currently being examined for apparent high death rates. However, a Department of Health spokesman said Prof Keogh “reserves the right” to call it in if he felt it necessary.


Why get told off for failing patients when you can just move a few figures around, get out of trouble and get paid more money as well?

How many more ‘trusts’ are doing this?

Probably all of them.

Can this actually be Doctors who are doing this?

Mind you, Dr Wirin Bhatiani seems like a pretty courageous guy to me. Hall of Fame?

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Give us back our Banksy!

Early on, I wrote an entry about the Rothko Room at the London Tate Modern which became my 5th most popular post. While it wouldn’t seem to have much to do with the NHS, the point I was making was that something that cost nothing can be very valuable because people love it and at the same time, because it belonged to everybody it could be so easily destroyed, if we let it. It was an allegory.

Banksy is a street artist – he works in Graffiti although it’s pretty sophisticated stuff. He comes out of the alternative scene in Bristol, from which also came the music and art collective known as “Massive Attack”, which I like very much.

I like Banksy a lot too, he’s a guerrilla artist and comes from a critical left wing tradition, which Bristol is also well known for. His name is an open secret, but due to the illegal nature of what he does, it is a secret we are all going to keep for him, aren’t we?

Nowadays you can see his art on a variety of walls, from my beloved Camden Town to the West Bank of Palestine.

Recently, a Banksy disappeared from London, only to appear again in America on sale at auction. It’s now been withdrawn after a storm of protests here (give us back our Banksy !).

There have been an increasing number of cases where Banksy’s have been chiselled out and sold (still attached to the cement) as art works. This most recent one was estimated at USD 450,000. A couple of years ago, Moorfields Eye Hospital, found a Banksy rat behind some scaffolding, where it had been forgotten for a few years. They chiselled it off and it was sold for £30,000 for a much needed extension. Understandable but wrong. When I go to my clinic it would lift my heart to see a Banksy.

It’s very sad. People love Banksy’s when they appear and grieve if they are removed or damaged. And that makes it art. It’s not unusual that local councils sign post them as a tourist attraction and often Perspex is used to protect the images.

The trouble is, the walls usually belong to someone, and if the landlord chisels it off, the Banksy which once belonged to everybody becomes private property rather than something we can all enjoy.

Once again I get pulled back to ‘The White Man in the Hammersmith Palais’ by the Clash;

“Oh no, you think it’s funny, turnin’ rebellion into money”.

All my stuff is free to use, as long as you make no money from using it – understood?

Meanwhile, Give us back our Banksy!

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

P.S. these images are from Banksy’s own website at, well worth a look.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

70's night

Caught up in a flurry of calls to make, things to do, I suddenly realised that “Patient Experience” has not come back to me. It’s hard to know how to deal with contempt. Do you phone again and lose your temper? Go round and confront them? Write a letter? That hasn’t worked for me up to now. This is why I ended up on the internet in the first place, letting off steam.

I was late at the Red Lion, Isleworth last night. I made the second half and to my surprise found it wasn’t full. Good to get a seat, always a good night.

Now I was forced to confront something I wouldn’t have chosen if it hadn’t been a cold, windswept Monday night. This was (forgive me) progressive 1970’s jazz, not normally my thing –Chick Corea amongst others. I had to work at it.

I revelled in the playing, as did a big group of Belo-Russians on the back row. The club pulled them in just as it did me.

I’ve seen John Horler before – a great pianist, tonight playing at the far end of the spectrum. Haven’t seen Jimmy Hastings before, very expert on Saxophones and flute. Again, tonight I was looking for a blood transfusion rather than too much thinking.  I preferred the last number a pretty impressive ‘four brothers’ by Jimmy Giuffre.

I won a raffle prize – an Art Themen Al Haig CD from 1978 – it was another time, another rhythm for me back then.

In yesterday’s post I made a mistake about the case study I sent to the Care Quality Commission, it was, of course an earlier post regarding an A and E incident, rather than bad treatment generally.

I need real life case studies. I can do things with them. People keep telling me horror stories but don’t then send them in – get in touch.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Monday, 25 February 2013

Hangin' on the telephone.

Frustration, urghhhh. Everywhere frustration.

Friday morning I phoned “Patient Experience” to arrange an appointment to come in to discuss my “concerns”. It was an answerphone. “We aim to get back to you in 1 working day” – that’s today, Monday, as in now. Perhaps later on, who knows?

It’s funny, the Hospital has an award scheme – you can nominate staff for doing well, which is a very good thing. These ‘good news’ stories end up in the local papers every so often. However, when they do badly….silence. No action, no press releases, no media photo-shoots. Just silence and delay.

But for me the clock is ticking.

So, what did I do?

I emailed the Care Quality Commission and sent them two stories about St. Peter’s Accident and Emergency department and the way they look after patients.

The first was the one concerning the 84 year old (Book ‘em Danno), the other I haven’t yet put up here – I will but I think we all need a break from the sad stories. I again asked the CQC to investigate the A and E, which I hope they will do. They now have three instances from a 6 month period.


What can you do?

If you’re a patient; I need case studies of problems with A and E to force the Quality Care Commission to start an investigation. E-mail me direct.

If you’re employed by the Trust; Its time to blow the whistle on A and E. E-mail me direct – privacy guaranteed.

Anybody else; read, share, publicise this blog.


Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Sunday, 24 February 2013




A thousand hits today


You are a very special bunch of people, you have made my heart sing.

A thousand hits is far beyond any hopes I had when I started this mad blog.

Mind you, it’s not enough.

When I started, the aim was to change the world and save lives. Still a little way to go there.

But thank you so much.

A lotta continua.

Y Venceremos.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production) 

Of course, it happened again


Now this is how to make a complaint;


       BOOK ‘EM DANNO !


This is from ‘Get Surrey’ website, which is the web home of a number of newspapers from the area around St Peter’s Hospital.  The relatives were so angry about their gran’s treatment that they phoned the Police. Unfortunately, Danno isn’t going to be interested; we have to stop this ourselves.


Gran's treatment at St Peter's criticised by family

By David Stubbings

February 14, 2013

THE family of a grandmother who was readmitted to St Peter’s two days after being declared fit for discharge has criticised the hospital.

Alice Hearn, 84, from Langton Way in Egham, has been admitted to St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey four times in the past two months suffering from pneumonia and pericarditis (fluid on the heart). But despite being sent home three times, she is still in hospital after returning on Friday last week, two days after her previous discharge note described her as ‘medically stable and fit for discharge’.

Relatives also claim Mrs Hearn collapsed in the hospital’s discharge lounge on Thursday January 31 after being admitted three days earlier.

Her daughter-in-law, Zoe Hearn, 46, of Monsell Gardens, Staines, said: “How can anyone recover from pneumonia in two-and-a-half days? “I went there on Thursday and found her in the discharge lounge on a heavy week’s worth of tablets and can’t walk anywhere. She was laid out in the discharge lounge and was not compos mentis. “Other patients said ‘this is disgusting’.

“She collapsed in the discharge lounge toilet when I was getting her dressed and she went back to her bed as she had left it.”

Relatives have contacted the police about Mrs Hearn’s treatment after she was readmitted last Friday to St Peter’s, where she remains a patient on the cardiology ward. Surrey Police confirmed that a report had been received from a member of the public relating to her treatment at the hospital.

Suzanne Rankin, chief nurse at the Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are really sorry to hear that Alice Hearn and her family have concerns about some of the care we have provided in our hospital and will, of course, be looking into these fully. Sometimes it can be difficult to manage elderly and frail patients and however carefully we plan the discharge process, patients can leave hospital medically stable and relapse at a later date and require readmission.”

Retention figures at the NHS trust for over-75s have been published by data company Sentif Intelligence, showing how it was above the national average in 2009/10 and 2010/11. These rates, where patients are readmitted to the accident and emergency department less than 28 days after being discharged, stood at 18.09% and 18.76% in 2009/10 and 2010/11 respectively, compared to a national average of 13% in 2009/10 and 15.63% in 2010/11.

However, the total number of emergency readmissions has dropped from 18.2% to 15.8% according to the trust’s own statistics.

Mrs Rankin added: “We are seeing an increasing number of frail, elderly patients coming to our hospitals and we know that this group of patients will always be more at risk of being readmitted to hospital.”


Well, perhaps you had better start doing something about it, heh?

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Saturday, 23 February 2013


Got my copy of ‘Private Eye’ this week on a cold day which had forced the spring flowers to go back into hiding. “M.D.”, their tame medical correspondant has done a three page review of the Francis enquiry into the Mid-Staffs NHS trust scandal plus some of the background. It’s good stuff; not that I agree with it all nor do we have the same political outlook.

There’s an anger I recognise and share together with the frustration of watching a giant tanker ship, frantically turning the wheel (full a port cap’n it is), putting the engine into reverse and throwing down a sea anchor while the harbour wall gets closer and closer. Should have changed direction about 10 years ago.

It’s an important article and I’ll do a full review of it after the magazine is off the shelves. You should buy it and then disagree where appropriate.

The thing is, whatever has changed since 1947, the people want the same from the NHS today as they did then (mostly) and the staff are just as full of idealism about what they do (mostly). There isn’t anything about it that can’t be fixed if we want to fix it.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Friday, 22 February 2013


I came across some new terms this week; I.R.L. or its cooler brother, A.F.K.

Now I understand what they mean.

I.R.L. stands for ‘In real life’, while A.F.K means ‘away from keyboard’. They are the same, sort of, except A.F.K. is used by people who believe that what happens on the net is as real as any other kind of experience while the I.R.L. people feel the net is only a virtual world.

Either way it means dumping the computer and talking/meeting real people instead of just doing things on the net.

Today, by accident that’s what I did, I bumped into someone I know who is going through the same complaints procedure with St Peter’s as I am. It’s fair to say that her complaint about her late Mother’s treatment is a lot more serious than mine is. It’s being dealt with, just the same, however.

I’d been feeling low and was depressed about the final letter I’ve just had from the Chief Executive. I’d been offered the chance of a meeting with “patient experience” to answer any questions I may have. I had pretty much decided to pass and just go ahead with other ways of fighting them. I was worried about losing my temper, getting upset, losing it.

These meetings are a formality – nothing is going to change their minds or the decisions that were taken, after all they didn’t discuss any of it with me.

Instead, we talked it through and she gave me a morale boost, an injection of something solid into the old backbone, describing how she had got through the ordeal of going back and having it out with them. She still has another meeting due and is building up to it.

I feel good about it now, I need to go back there and face them. I need to confront them with what they have done and will do so. I’ve got questions and I need answers. I’m not prepared to let them do this to anyone else and making them face a real live patient (with a real live ankle) is important.

It’s good this I.R.L.

Mind you, I still think I should take ‘The Ankle Rankle’ with me and read it out to them. It’s becoming something of a mascot for me.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

I let them do it again.

This Blog entry is a painful one to make. I let them do it again. When I left St. Peter’s Hospital I promised myself I was going to put a stop to what was going on. It took me a fair time to get started and I always felt bad about that.

I had a broken ankle and other problems, but the truth is I should have done more and quicker. Should have got my act together; higher, longer, faster.

So, my reward is on, which is a site to encourage people to make comments about standards of treatment; this entry dated 18/2/13, is about Accident and Emergency at St. Peter’s.

Regular readers will have read similar stories which I have re-printed here from the last few years. As long as I am able to I will go on doing so; those you can check out in the archive section.



“Poor care of my elderly, very poorly, father”


Posted by neeliethere (as a relative) 18/2/13

My story started almost two weeks ago. I took my father to A&E at St Peters on a Monday afternoon. He had completely lost the use of his legs due to complete weakness. We arrived and had to have assistance to help him into a wheelchair. He was eventually triaged and then transferred into a cubicle. After several hours he was seen by a doctor. He was told he would stay overnight and was discharged the next day with a prescription for antibiotics. His condition worsened and I telephoned for a doctor several times to no avail. Seven days later he fell and was again taken to A&E where he was observed for a few hours, the consultant in charge insisted that his infection had cleared up and discharged him. They were unaware that I was actually at the hospital and had booked for transport home, despite me telling them on numerous occasions that he lived alone. The consultant made the decision to discharge without taking any further x-rays of his chest, blood tests or urine tests. I stood there and asked him if he would take tests to see if his chest infections had indeed cleared and he said there was no need, he knew it had. Two days later, another fall and once again taken to A&E by ambulance where he was eventually admitted for more observation. Within hours of being admitted his condition worsened to such a level he was completely delirious and remains so three days later. He still has not seen the consultant that is supposed to be deciding on his treatment or diagnosis. I too noticed during our time in A&E there were staff that were standing around seemingly with nothing to do, not just a few of them but a lot. There was one member of staff that stood around and did not appear to have a clue about patient treatment. He did not seem to liaise with any other staff and just kept asking me questions about my father's condition and treatment but rather disturbingly didn't understand what I was saying, but insisted that I tell him as he was 'in charge' of my father's care. When I asked him what he was planning to do in that capacity he walked away. He did nothing for my father or any other patient as far as I could see, but just wandered up and down the cubicles. I have found it very difficult to speak to anyone that appears to know, or is able to, retain any information written down or spoken to them about my father's previous or current condition. Indeed when telephoned today we were told that he had been moved to another room, only to find when we arrived that he was in the same place. I can only assume the person on the telephone was talking about the wrong patient. I am furious that an elderly gentlemen suffering with pneumonia and other infections was almost sent home on no less than three occasions in a week. I am disgusted that there are so many staff standing around that appear indifferent to what is going on around them and are, most certainly, not busy. I have today rescued another patient from falling out of a chair whilst there were many members of the nursing team sat at the main desk. I have witnessed elderly patients being ignored when calling out. Today a patient was assisted to the toilet and promptly forgotten about for almost an hour. I am also afraid to complain or make a fuss at the actual ward where my father is currently for fear it might affect the treatment he is receiving. This is truly a horrific experience and I am afraid to leave at the end of each day.


Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


So, how is this great country of mine doing? You can look at all kinds of indicators to decide; income, wealth, car/home ownership, literacy.

I’m taking a look at infant mortality. According to the health minister on Monday; “for too long, Britain’s childhood mortality rates have been amongst the worst in Europe when compared to similar countries”

I was particularly struck that looking at the deaths of children under 14 years old, a quarter showed “identifiable failure in the child’s direct care”. These are all quotes from the Guardian Newspaper, Tuesday 19/2/13.

It’s alright, there is now a government forum, there are pledges;

“I am determined that children and young people should be put at the heart of the new health and social care system”.

The scandal is that it seems to be manageable diseases like asthma and diabetes that are a big part of the problem. These two straight forward illnesses are badly managed in adults too – many die too early as a result.

Funnily enough it seems like only yesterday that the government was claiming that it was going to put elderly people’s care at the heart of the health service.

It’s not just those at the start or the end of their lives that are losing out; many groups have life expectancies which are lower than the average. Off the top of my head; travellers, people in the North of England, Scotland, ethnic minorities, the poor.

People with mental health problems die much younger than they should from ordinary, physical illnesses.

Anyone with cancer in the UK is likely to have an outcome (that ominous word again) that is worse than most similar European countries.

A lot of this is plain old inequality in society being reflected in unequal access to healthcare. There are also some groups better able to exploit the system than others.

Some years ago I was working and driving fast through Hounslow on my way to a job. A little girl crossed the road in front of me without looking. When I say I was driving fast, my friends would laugh because they know how slow my fast is. So, no problem, but when she saw me she stopped and I was horrified to see that she had rickets.

Ricketts is a preventable disease of poverty or ignorance caused by a vitamin deficiency. My parents generation banished it when they fought for “no return to the 1930’s”

It’s why as a child I was given a little bottle of milk every morning, free at school. It was a measure stopped by Margaret Thatcher when she was schools minister in the 1970’s, to save money.

Everyone hated the milk. We would have hated rickets more. What really upsets me is that people don’t seem to care. A single case of rickets should have set alarms ringing. Today, there’s a lot of it about. Now when I listen, I don’t hear any bells.

 Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Monday, monday

Monday at the cancer clinic didn’t go well, no surprise there. I’m reaching the stage where ‘the drugs don’t work any-more’, as the song goes. There are a few more things to try, and my specialists uncontainable optimism is charming but……it’s time to really speed things up.

The suits have wasted six months of my life, burying my complaint against St. Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey. Well, they can try to ‘bury’ my complaint but they won’t bury me – not just yet, anyway. In one of my first Blogs, back in December, I said this would be my last fight and that is what it will be. Bring it on!

Sometimes just complaining is not enough. Sometimes only really bad poetry will do;


The Ankle Rankle.


I’ve got a problem

and it’s really starting to rankle.

You see, I hurt my leg

in fact, I broke my ankle.


The problem was my mistake

Oh what would that be?

The ambulance took my break

to St. Peter’s A and E.


Because instead of trying

to fix it there and then.

Some idiot, what was he was doing?

Sent me home again.


You can mess up a finger

You can bugger up a wrist

but only a consultant at St. Peter’s

would think a break was a twist.


Meanwhile, last night instead of moping about, I made it to The Red Lion, Linkfield Road, Isleworth for my jazz club. It’s a great place with a really good atmosphere but on Monday my heart wasn’t really in it.

I was looking for lively music, angry even, to match my mood. Probably not helped by playing Oasis on the way up there.

Instead it was a fairly languid night. Great performances, though; Steve Waterman on a bright sounding trumpet and flugelhorn, while Karen Sharp seemed dwarfed by a tenor sax, but the sound was big and throaty.

I start to look out for the quiet Trevor Tomkins moments – his delicate cymbol work is about as good as it gets.  

The rules are simple – it’s free but you buy raffle tickets to pay the musicians. There are no better Monday nights to be found.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)
The Red Lion is at:



Monday, 18 February 2013

Mr K.

                         A Man of Purpose

Mr K put the following questions:

“Every morning my neighbour plays music on his gramophone. Why does he play music? I hear that it is because he does exercises. Why does he do exercises? Because he needs to be strong, I hear. Why does he need to be strong? Because he has to get the better of his enemies in the town, he says. Why must he get the better of his enemies? Because he wants to eat, I hear”

Having learnt that his neighbour played music in order to do exercises, did exercises in order to be strong, wanted to be strong in order to kill his enemies, killed his enemies in order to eat, he put the question; “Why does he eat?”


Taken from “Anecdotes of Mr Keuner”

Tales from the Calender, by Bertholt Brecht.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)


Sunday, 17 February 2013

Trust the Mung bean.

Well, I got my reply; they say you get what you wish for.

I got a reply, I didn’t want a whitewash.

I’m not doing anything about it until after I’ve been to hospital on Monday, that’s my main battle.

Right now, I’m so angry.

The thing is, if they had wanted to make me angry and determined, they went the right way about it.

It was Tom Lehrer (1960’s Harvard professor turned satirical songster) who famously retired from satire saying that after the bombing of Cambodia, satire no longer had a role. Mind you I am tempted to send the Chief Executive “The Ankle Rankle” – what do you think?

So what am I doing?

I’m sprouting Mung beans. It’s the only way I can think of to calm down and be rational.

You take a tablespoon of beans, soak them for 8 hours. Drain them off and put them in a jar or any similar container, covered with a cloth held on with an elastic band. Like us they need to breathe.

Then twice a day, you wash them in water, drain them and put them back in the container, as before.

Then you watch them grow. I think any bean will do but I like Mung. They are ready to eat when they are ready to eat.

Then after Monday, when I know where I am and where I’m going; I start to fight again.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Protection for Whistle-blowers


It’s starting to get interesting.

Now the health Minister has had to step in to clarify, in a letter to every Trust, that employees can’t be gagged when it comes to patient Safety.


From the Independent 16/2/13;

Jeremy Hunt stepped up pressure on NHS bosses to end the use of legal gags on whistle-blowers today but faced calls for an independent inquiry into his own department's involvement.

In a letter to the chairmen of every Trust, the Health Secretary warned against a culture in some quarters of "institutional self-defence that prevents honest acknowledgement of failure".

 In order to avoid a repeat of the Mid-Staffordshire scandal it was vital to "recognise and celebrate staff" who had the "courage and professional integrity" to speak out over safety concerns, he suggested.

 He called on all bodies to ensure their actions met both the letter and the spirit of NHS whistle-blower guidance.

Mr Hunt yesterday warned United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust that it faced action if it had wrongly tried to silence a former chief executive from speaking out about patient safety concerns as part of a unfair dismissal case settlement.




Well, that’s going to be quite important. We are going to need a bit of whistleblowing if patients are to be protected.

However, you need a guarantee that’s watertight; here’s mine.



On this Blog there are no Finks, Grasses, Stool pigeons or informers.

If you get in touch, your secrets are safe with me.

Hush, hush.

On the quiet.


What can you do?

If you are a Patient; I need case studies of problems with A and E to force the Care Quality Commission to start an investigation.

E-mail me direct.

If you are employed by the Trust;

It’s time to blow the whistle on A and E.

E-mail me direct – privacy guaranteed.

Or you can Post an anonymous comment.

Anybody Else;

read, share, publicise this blog.


Have fun!


Neil Harris
(a don’t stop till you drop production