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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Proposing an institutionalised policy of cover up is not "turning a new page"

NHS leaders call for end to waves of criticism of health service


Two medical staff wheel a bed along a hospital corridor
10 NHS groups have called for a "new page to be turned" in 2014

I would be the first to admit that in many areas the NHS provides a first class service and provides care and treatment for many of its patients. (I refuse to call anyone in need of medical attention "customers", as seems to be the jargon so popular with politicians and parts of NHS management).
However, over recent years, and at an accelerating rate, standards have been declining as more and more medical staff become disillusioned with the constant "restructuring" of trusts, recruitment of more management strata at the expense of front line medical personnel and the resulting increase in A&E waiting times, cancelled appointments, declining standards in wards and frustration of medical staff.
It is for these reasons that I had to read this article in today's "Independent" twice in order to grasp what the British Medical Association, NHS Confederation, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Nursing and other groups,were actually calling for in their "open letter" to the Guardian.
It seems that these eminent medical professionals, are  actually promoting the argument, that any criticisms of the NHS should be stiffed, that failings and bad practice should be recognised but glossed over, and that any blame of organisation, individuals or systems should be brushed under the carpet with the objective of "turning a new page",and  leaving "fear, blame, recrimination and demoralisation behind, to forward with energy and optimism".
This is outrageous and dangerous nonsense which seeks to gain credibility hiding behind the facade of supposedly intelligent people from the medical bodies. The public who are reliant on this service and incidentally fund the NHS to the tune of £ billions annually, have a fundamental right  to be informed of mis management, bad practice, negligence or any of the other failings of the service or of the systems or people within it, regardless of the degree of failing. Only in this way can the public have any knowledge on how the service is being operated and whether they can retain any confidence in the standard of treatment they or their families will receive.
The medical bodies involved with the authorship of this "open letter" have, either by accident or design, done a grave disservice to the health service and should immediately reconsider the wording and content of this not very thinly disguised attempt to justify an institutionalised policy of cover up and whitewash as being in the "best interests" of the NHS.