Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A cool, cold anger.

I’m, thankfully, not the only angry person around.

Yesterday another 9 hospitals were added to the previous 5 which are being investigated for their level of bad patient outcomes.

 As a result, this morning I found myself listening to an interview with Professor Jarman of the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial College London. Where I get fighting angry, Professor Jarman was in a cool, calm, thin-lipped mood. I could feel the controlled anger as he was questioned. And a good job he was making of it too.

The Dr Foster Unit have been collecting and analysing data about hospital outcomes for many years. The data is put together, and if you want to be a layman about it (and I do), you compare outcomes and start to worry about outcomes that fall way below the average.

By which I mean if a lot more people are dying than should be, you need to start to worry. It could be an incompetent surgeon. It could be a culture of bad practises or hygiene. It could even be a malicious person.

Back in 2001, Dr Foster was producing figures that showed that Mid-Stafford Hospital Trust was losing far too many patients. We now know this was between 400 and 1200 unnecessary deaths.

It wasn’t the only Hospital or Hospital Trust, there were others and the 14 hospitals are now being investigated because of a total of approximately 3000 unnecessary deaths.

Professor Jarman explained how he and his colleagues began to worry about the lack of action. How in 2007 they started a policy of writing letters to the Chief Executives of Hospitals, warning them of the figures, which they were already receiving anyway. In his words “we were looking at the screens they were seeing”. The point of the letters was to put them on notice and frighten them into taking action. They didn’t.

Jarman also wrote to the then Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, and now opposition Health Spokesman. Jarman may have been thinking about a Burnham Article in the Guardian newspaper, on Monday in which he put forward a new policy of “whole person care”.

4200 premature, unnecessary deaths.

Prior warnings given and ignored.

No action taken.

The labour party needs a new health spokesperson just as the health service needs a new Chief Executive.

Mind you, as I have found with Andrew Liles, Chief Executive of Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospital, it is not unusual to not get replies to your letters.


Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)
Home:      helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact:   neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

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