Thursday, October 11, 2007

An avoidable tragedy

This case involving the incompetent handling of an outbreak of Clostridum difficile in Tunbridge Wells has been splashed all over the newspapers this morning. It is easy to criticise the Hospital Trust for their mismanagement of the situation and the staff concerned for their role, I would argue that the majority of the blame lies with the central agencies involved that include the Department of Health and our politicians in power in Whitehall. The slimy Alan Johnson says:
"There is no excuse for what happened at this particular trust."

This is because our political leaders want to see all the blame dished out locally, if any corporate manslaughter charges are brought then central government will try to pin these charges locally. It typifies the central control and local blame culture of New Labour. I just have a few questions for those in power who have presided over the NHS for the last ten years.
  • Who was enforcing the artificial financial deficits upon Trusts like Tunbridge Wells which meant they had to prioritise money over clinical safety?

  • Who has privatised NHS cleaning, resulting in a minimalist shoddy cleaning service??

  • Who has been centrally prioritising central targets over good standards in clinical care??

  • Whose targets have resulted in the patient merry-go-round that means infections are easily spread, rather then being contained??

  • Who has been privatising the NHS with PFI schemes that have resulted in a large decrease in the number of acute beds in the UK, meaning that infectious patients cannot be isolated??

  • Who has devalued proper old fashioned nursing as a career, meaning that wards are now routinely short staffed of proper nurses to do basic nursing tasks??

  • Who has reformed nursing, moving lots of good nurses from proper nursing into management and doctoring roles for which they are largely ill suited??

  • Who is running the NHS at virtually 100% bed occupancy rates which means that the isolation of infectious patients is not possible??

The answer is rather obvious Mr Johnson. Your party has been in charge of this completely incompetent management of the NHS that values political propaganda gathering over patients' lives. For some reason I cannot see you kind learning their lessons, the blame will be deposited locally; while the same central diktats are held in place, thus virtually guaranteeing that this kind of tragic disaster will happen again.


Henry North London said...

I take it that would be the Kent and Sussex hospital in Tunbridge wells?

Several people have committed suicide off the top of that building and the building is a stinker.

They tried a couple of years to close it down. Seems they havent learnt a thing. I know a friend who used to work there hated the place.

The NHS is sinking and the rats have almost all left

Fuck what can I say its a nightmare.

Chairwoman of the bored said...

I have recently spent 10 1/2 weeks in hospital.

Frequently there were shortages of nurses, not to mention linens. Patients frequently buzzed in vain at night for bedpans etc., and I woke one morning to find an MRSA sufferer had appeared in the next bed during the night.

The gods of book balancing can be angry, and must be assuaged at all times.

lost_nurse said...

"Frequently there were shortages of nurses..."

The way things are going, there may be no nurses at all. Perhaps then we can staff the wards with management consultants.

Anonymous said...

You have got it all wrong.

My wife was admitted to the local hospital. It was a pig sty. Used dressings on the floor, blood on the walls, you-know-what clinging to every surface. In short, your average, 'world class' NHS hospital.

They agreed to transfer her to the gleaming, private ward. More nurses than you could shake a stick at (all drafted in from other parts of the hospital). Cleaners lurking round every corner ready to pounce on anything unpleasant. Fine food and wine, flowers, DVD players and, most of all, not a trace of either C.diff or MRSA.

All this for only 100 quid night. The NHS: World class - if you've got the cash.

Tom Paine said...

I am disappointed, DK, that you of all people should tie "privatisation" of hospital cleaning to this issue. The NHS is what it is because it is a public sector organisation neither accountable to shareholders, nor to customers. While cleaners are managed by such an organisation, they will function badly - whether they are provided by hospitals or agencies.

Private sector organisations know that when they enter into contracts with the public sector, they can provide lower service at higher cost without fear of being held to account.

Privatise the hospitals themselves and give patients the choice of where to go and they will rapidly become clean.

Dr Ray said...

DK. You have not got it wrong but some of this blame should come down to the lacal managers. They have been told what is going on but they place their own careers and climb up the greasy pole above the safe running of the hospital. Show me a hospital CEO's blog where they expose what is going on in NHS management.

Vicola said...

My gran was put into the hospital in question when it was discovered that she had an inoperable brain tumour and I can concur that it is a piss ridden, shit strewn, germ-pit. We removed her and paid to put her in a private hospice when we arrived to find her shaking and covered in her own shit for the third time. She hadn't eaten for 2 days because she'd been asleep when the food came round so they left it next to her then took it away again. It's a vile place and I'd sell my house to pay for private care rather than put another relative of mine in there. We own a private nursing home and if an inspector came in and found a tenth of what I saw on my gran's ward we would be closed down in less than half an hour and then promptly prosecuted. And my dad, who is the nursing manager, would lose his registration.

Devil's Kitchen said...


Please check the author's name: it was Dr De'Ath who wrote this post.

I am working on ways of trying to make the author more obvious, but in the meantime, if you could glance at the big red capitals at the top (and now bottom) of the posts, that would be cool!