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Found 274 results
  1. Content Article
    In the two weeks before his death Robbie was seen seven times by five different GPs. The child was seen by three different GPs four times in the last three days when he was so weak and dehydrated he was bedbound and unable to stand unassisted. Only one GP read the medical records, six days before death, and was aware of the suspicion of Addison's disease, the need for the ACTH test and the instruction to immediately admit the child back to hospital if he became unwell. The GP informed the Powells that he would refer Robbie back to hospital immediately that day but did not inform them that Addison's disease had been suspected. The referral letter was not typed until after Robbie had already died and was backdated to the day following the consultation. In a statement after Robbie's death this GP stated: "An Addisonian crisis is precipitated by an intercurrent illness and the stress it induces." Dyfed-Powys Police investigated Robbie's death between 1994 and 1996 but asserted, supported by the Crown prosecution Service in Wales, that there was no evidence of crimes committed by the GPs who, incidentally, were retained by this police force as police surgeons. Following a complaint by Will Powell (Robbie's father) in 1998 against the Deputy Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police, regarding the inadequacies of the criminal investigation, a second criminal investigation was agreed, which commenced in January 1999. As with the first criminal investigation, there was a gross failure to adequately investigate the criminality of the doctors. This resulted in Will Powell making a formal complaint against the Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police in late 1999. This complaint against the Chief Constable resulted in Dyfed-Powys Police appointing an outside police force to review Robbie's case in 2000. Detective Chief Inspector Robert Poole [DCI Poole] from West Midlands Police was appointed. DCI Poole’s investigation report, entitled 'Operation Radiance', which was based on the documents provided to Dyfed Powys Police in March 1994, by Will Powell and his solicitor, was submitted to CPS York in March 2002. This report put forward 35 suggested criminal charges against five GPs and their medical secretary. The listed charges were: gross negligence manslaughter forgery attempting to pervert the course of justice conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. DCI Poole's investigation also resulted in a disciplinary inquiry by Avon & Somerset Constabulary into Will Powell's allegations of misconduct against Dyfed-Powys Police officers with regards to their two inept criminal investigations between 1994 and 2000. Dyfed-Powys Police was found to have been 'institutionally incompetent' but no police officer was made accountable. In April 2003, Will Powell met representatives from the CPS in London, who accepted there was sufficient evidence to prosecute two GPs and their secretary for forgery and perverting the course of justice. However, they would not prosecuted because of (1) the passage of time, which was caused by a decade of cover ups between 1990 and the appointment of DCI Poole in 2000, (2) Dyfed Powys Police had provided the GPs with a letter of immunity, and (3) the available evidence had been initially overlooked by the police and the CPS, between 1994 and 2000, for a variety of reasons. Following a 2013 adjournment debate, in the House of Commons, the Director of Public Prosecutions subsequently agreed, in October 2014, that there would be an independent review of the decisions made by Crown Prosecution Service, in 2003, not to prosecute, when there was sufficient evidence to do so. The reviewing Queen's Counsels have been provided with a report, written by myself ( a healthcare IT professional, former head of IT in an NHS trust and clinician) on major anomalies in Robbie's Morriston Hospital computerised records, which were erased during the first criminal investigation between 1994 and 1996. The review has not been concluded six years on. The letter below (and also attached) from the English and Welsh Ombudsman was sent on 10 November 2020 sets out the case for a Public Inquiry.
  2. News Article
    The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has raised serious concerns about a major teaching trust’s maternity services and taken action to prevent patients coming to harm. The watchdog has imposed conditions on the registration of Nottingham University Hospitals Trust’s maternity and midwifery services at Nottingham City Hospital and Queen’s Medical Centre and rated them “inadequate”. Following an inspection in October, the CQC identified several serious concerns, including leaders lacking the skills to effectively head up the service, a lack of an open culture where staff could raise concerns, and staff failing to complete patient risk assessments or identify women at risk of deterioration. In its findings, the CQC reported how “fragile” staff wanted to escalate their concerns directly to the regulator, particularly around the leadership’s response to the “verbal outcome of the inspection”. The regulator called this “further evidence of the deep-rooted cultural problems” and escalated these concerns directly to trust CEO Tracy Taylor, who would be “personally overseeing the improvement process required”. Inspectors also found the service did not have enough staff with the right skills, qualifications and experience to “keep women safe from avoidable harm”. The CQC also issued the trust a warning notice over concerns around documenting risk assessments and IT systems. The trust has three months to make improvements. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 2 December 2020
  3. Content Article
    Key findings Compassionate leadership activities have many positive outcomes, at all levels of the health sector, from individuals and teams, to organisations and the system as a whole. Staff are more likely to find new and improved ways of doing things if they feel they are listened to, valued and supported as this provides a sense of psychological safety. Giving staff autonomy in their work is also important, along with developing a shared responsibility – a shared leadership is much more effective than a hierarchical one. Positive attitudes to diversity, to inclusion and to creativity and innovation must be nurtured at every level of the organisation. Innovation is often spurred by a challenge or a problem and compassionate leadership is a powerful facilitator at each stage of the problem-solving process.
  4. Content Article
    Prerana Issar is the Chief People Officer of NHS England and NHS Improvement. She was appointed in February 2019 to this post, which was created after senior leaders in the NHS and Department of Health and Social Care realised that a new approach was needed to a number of serious workforce issues which had become apparent. Among these is the complex, and hugely important, issue of speaking up (sometimes referred to as whistleblowing or raising concerns). Prerana recently retweeted a message from NHS England and NHS Improvement that "It's so important (for NHS staff) to feel able to speak up about anything which gets in the way of patient care and their own wellbeing".[1],[2] She is absolutely right... in principle. She is right to point out that NHS staff have both the right and the duty to speak up about problems like this, as is spelt out in the NHS Constitution[3] and professional codes of conduct for healthcare professionals.[4],[5],[6] The problem is that in practice, as an unknown but substantial number of NHS staff have discovered to their cost, their careers may be at risk if they do speak up as is evident from almost all the replies to both tweets.[1],[2] There is a sad pattern of disciplinary action being taken against staff who have, in good faith, raised concerns in the public interest. Even though their motivation in speaking up in the first place is to improve patient care, they discover to their astonishment that they are considered to be troublemakers for having done so. A depressing cycle of suspension, isolation, unfair dismissal, denigration and blacklisting of the person who has spoken up is often played out, whilst the original concerns and their validity are covered up. What a waste of valuable resources. The existence of such hostility to staff who have spoken up is evidenced in the 2015 report of the Freedom To Speak Up (FTSU) Review: "an independent review into creating an honest and open reporting culture in the NHS".[7] The press release which accompanied its publication announced that the review "identifies an ongoing problem in the NHS, where staff are deterred from speaking up when they have concerns and can face shocking consequences when they do. The review heard stories of staff that have faced isolation, bullying and counter-allegations when they’ve raised concerns. In some extreme cases when staff have been brave enough to speak up, their lives have been ruined".[8] The FTSU report calls for "an overhaul of NHS policies so that they don’t stand in the way of people raising concerns with those who can take action about them" and sets out "20 Principles and Actions which aim to create the right conditions for NHS staff to speak up". The principles are divided into five categories: the need for culture change; improved handling of cases; measures to support good practice; particular measures for vulnerable groups; and extending the legal protection.[7] In theory the law protects whistleblowers, but in practice, as a procession of disillusioned NHS staff who have experienced reprisals from their employers after speaking up have discovered the hard way, it does not. Employment tribunals are an alien environment for most healthcare staff. Case after case has shown that they are woefully ill-equipped to deal with precipitating patient care issues, in which tribunals appear to have little interest. Even when NHS staff are, against massive odds, found to have been unfairly dismissed after raising concerns in the public interest, the so-called remedy they receive almost invariably amounts merely to paltry financial 'compensation'. These are monetary awards that generally come nowhere near compensating for the full financial consequences. The adverse impact of this lack of protection for whistleblowers is not only on the individual but also includes the chilling effect of deterring other staff from raising concerns and the consequences of cover ups. True overall costs to the NHS, patients, whistleblowers and taxpayers of retaliation against staff who speak up are very much greater than financial costs alone. Staff surveys show that nearly 30% of NHS staff would not feel secure raising concerns about unsafe clinical practice.[9] Over 40% would not be confident that their organisation would address their concern if they do speak up.[10] There is still a lot to do in this area, as has been brought to the fore by recent reports of hostile responses by some NHS organisations to staff who have raised serious personal protective equipment (PPE) concerns affecting patient safety and health of themselves and their families. To be fair, serial staff surveys show a marginal improvement in the percentage of NHS staff who agreed they would feel secure raising concerns about unsafe clinical practice, up from a disturbingly low 68.3% in 2015 to 71.6% in 2019.[9] And a further tiny improvement in the percentage confident that their organisation would address their concern, up from an even lower 56.2% in 2015 to 59.8% in 2019. Viewed from the perspective of NHS whistleblowers whose careers have been wrecked after speaking up these are painfully slow rates of improvement. Bearing in mind widespread reports of PPE shortages, and warnings to NHS staff not to make a fuss about this, it will be interesting to see whether this glacial pace of change in speaking up culture is maintained when the results of the 2020 survey are available. Based on experience in the last two years, we can expect another prolonged FTSU publicity campaign in the month preceding the annual autumn NHS staff survey. The NHS Interim People Plan, published in June 2019, refers to development of a focus on whistleblowing and speaking up. It highlights the need for inclusive and compassionate leadership so that all staff are listened to, understood and supported, and the need to do more to nurture leadership and management skills of middle managers.[11] The original aim was to publish a full, costed NHS People Plan by Christmas 2019,[12] building on the interim plan, but this was delayed by unforeseen events, including a change of government, general election, Brexit ramifications and now the coronavirus pandemic. The interim plan makes clear the need to embed culture changes and leadership capability in order to achieve the aim of making the NHS "the best place to work". There is much to do, and I wish well to those who want to make it safe for staff to speak up, but they must be under no illusion – there is a long way to go – and this will take more than an overhaul of NHS policies. I hope to develop these themes in future postings to the hub. Comments welcome. References NHS England and NHS Improvement tweet, @NHSEngland, 15 May 2020, 6:35pm. Prerana Issar tweet, @Prerana_Issar, 15 May 2020, 6:47pm. The NHS Constitution for England. Updated 14 October 2015. Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The Code: Professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses, midwives and nursing associates, 2015, updated 2018. General Medical Council (GMC). Good medical practice: The duties of a doctor registered with the GMC. 2013, last update 2019. Health and Care Professions (HCPC). Standards of conduct, performance and ethics: The ethical framework within which our registrants must work, 2016. Freedom to speak up: An independent review into creating an open and honest reporting culture in the NHS. Report by Sir Robert Francis QC, 11 February 2015. Press release: Sir Robert Francis publishes his report on whistleblowing in the NHS, 11 February 2015. NHS Staff Survey 2019. q18b: % of staff agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement that: 'I would feel secure raising concerns about unsafe clinical practice'. NHS Staff Survey 2019 q18c: % of staff agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement that: 'I am confident that my organisation would address my concern'. Interim NHS People Plan, June 2019. https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/publication/interim-nhs-people-plan/ NHS People Plan overview, 2019.
  5. News Article
    Regulators have apologised to a health manager who went through “five years of hell” while being investigated for misconduct, before being told there was no case to answer. Debbie Moore was a senior manager at the former Liverpool Community Health Trust, where there was a major care scandal in the early 2010s. As head of healthcare at HMP Liverpool, where many of the most serious failings were identified, Ms Moore was suspended in 2014 and referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council. She was accused of multiple failures to take action or escalate concerns, of failing to investigate deaths, and discouraging staff from reporting incidents. However, in a first public interview about her experience, she told HSJ she was “scapegoated” for the problems at the prison, where she says she worked tirelessly to address the issues and had repeatedly flagged concerns to the LCH management team. External inquiries have found the trust would routinely downgrade risks escalated by divisional managers, as it sought to make drastic cost savings in pursuit of foundation trust status. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 30 November 2020
  6. News Article
    Nearly 100 trusts have no ‘very senior managers’ (VSM) who are declared to be from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background, HSJ analysis has revealed. According to data obtained from every NHS provider in England, 96 out of 214 (45%) did not have any VSMs declared as being from a BAME background. This includes several large providers, such as The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust — where around 9 per cent of the workforce and 15 per cent of the city’s population are BAME — and Liverpool University Hospitals FT. Jon Restell, chief executive of the Managers in Partnership trade union, said the underrepresentation of BAME staff in leadership positions has “dangerously damaged” the NHS’ response to coronavirus, labelling it the “ultimate wake-up call”. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 30 November 2020
  7. News Article
    The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has criticised a new trust’s leadership after issuing it with a warning notice to improve care in its two emergency departments. The watchdog warned North Cumbria Integrated Care Foundation Trust that patients were not always receiving timely and appropriate care, while delayed transfers of care had “resulted in significant delays in admitting patients on to wards”. The CQC — which carried out focused inspections at the trust in August and September after concerns were raised about risks to patient and staff safety — added there was evidence of “insufficient numbers of suitably qualified, skilled, competent and experienced clinical staff”. The CQC also said there was a lack of an effective system to mitigate risks, including infection control in the emergency department escalation areas and on some medical wards. Of the trust’s Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland hospitals, the CQC said: “People could not access the urgent and emergency care and medicine service when they needed them and often had long waits for treatment.” The CQC’s inspection report, published today, also said the trust had an “inexperienced leadership team” which “did not always have the necessary skills and abilities to lead effectively”. It added there were “few examples of leaders making a demonstrable impact on the quality or sustainability of services”. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 30 November 2020
  8. Community Post
    It's #SpeakUpMonth in the #NHS so why isn't the National Guardian Office using the word whistleblowing? After all it was the Francis Review into whistleblowing that led to the recommendation for Speak Up Guardians. I believe that if we don't talk about it openly and use the word 'WHISTLEBLOWING' we will be unable to learn and change. Whistleblowing isn’t a problem to be solved or managed, it’s an opportunity to learn and improve. So many genuine healthcare whistleblowers seem to be excluded from contributing to the debate, and yes not all those who claim to be whistleblowers are genuine. The more we move away for labelling and stereotyping, and look at what's happening from all angles, the more we will learn. Regardless of our position, role or perceived status, we all need to address this much more openly and explicitly, in a spirit of truth and with a genuine desire to learn and change.
  9. Event
    until
    How are we ensuring that patient and staff safety is being prioritised during the pandemic? Presenters: Helen Hughes, Chief Executive, Patient Safety Learning, Dr Abdulelah Alhawsawi, Director General, Saudi Patient Safety Center, Professor Ted Baker, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Care Quality Commission It can be argued that staff safety has not been prioritised as it should have been in recent years. The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced this. It has exposed risks to staff physical and mental wellbeing, with inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), intensely difficult physical and psychological working conditions, and, tragically, it has resulted in deaths from exposure to Covid-19 as a result of inadequate infection control. The importance of overarching leadership for patient safety in health and social care is a key concept. Ensuring that leaders embed staff safety into safety programmes is essential. Some of the core issues that the panel will be exploring: How are leaders ensuring patient and staff safety during the pandemic? Are we doing enough? How are we prioritising patient access to non Covid care and treatment? Are we doing enough to encourage just and learning cultures and staff speaking up for safety? How are we sharing learning and knowledge on safe treatment and care? How are system and professional regulators ensuring that patient safety is a priority? Register
  10. Content Article
    LATEST November newsletter October newsletter September newsletter August newsletter July newsletter June newsletter May newsletter April newsletter March newsletter February newsletter January newsletter
  11. News Article
    Former health secretary and chair of the Commons health committee Jeremy Hunt has criticised Great Ormond Street Hospital after it was accused of covering up errors that may have led to the death of a toddler. Writing for The Independent, Mr Hunt, who has set up a patient safety charity since leaving government, said it was “depressing” to see how the hospital had responded to the case of Jasmine Hughes, which has now been taken to the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman for a new investigation. Mr Hunt said the hospital had chosen to issue a “classic non-apology apology of which any politician would be proud” and added he was left angry over the hospital’s “ridiculous decision” to stop talking to Jasmine’s family and the refusal to apologise for what went wrong. The MP for South West Surrey said the case was symbolic of a wider problem in the health service of a blame culture that prevents openness and transparency around mistakes. Read full story Source: The Independent, 24 November 2020
  12. Event
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    Integration and collaboration are central features of current health care policy. During the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen some great examples of NHS organisations coming together, as well as closer working between health and local government, and health and the voluntary sector. Greater collaboration across health and care organisations will continue to be important as the system begins to recover. This King's Fund programme is designed to equip senior leaders to develop the skills and behaviours associated with a more collaborative style of leadership. It uses current policy developments to inform and test out what will be most helpful in ‘the real world’ of ICS, STPs and place-based working. The programme takes place over six months and will be a combination of virtual and face to face modules. Module one: 20–21 January 2021 (online via Zoom) Module two: 24–25 March 2021 (online via Zoom) Module three: 24–25 May 2021 (London) Module four: 2–3 June 2021 (London) Further information and registration
  13. Content Article
    Problems related to the care home and the company were known well before the Panorama expose in 2016. When the Panorama programme was aired it resulted in immediate closure of one home and all the homes which were operated by Morleigh being transferred to new operators. The Review includes reports of abuse against residents; residents being left to lie in wet urine-soaked bedsheets; concerns from relatives about their loved ones being neglected; reports of there being insufficient food for residents, no hot water and no heating; claims that dozens of residents were sharing one bathroom. Here's a summary of the report's findings: More than 100 residents had concerns raised more than once. More than 200 safeguarding alerts were made for individuals but only 16 went through to an individual adult safeguarding conference. More than 80 whistleblower or similar reports were made concerning issues that put residents at risk. 44 inspections were undertaken at Morleigh Group homes in the three-year period, the vast majority identifying breaches. There was a period of at least 12 months when four of the homes had no registered manager in place. During the three-year period reviewed the police received 130 reports relating to the care homes. A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said: “We have different procedures and policies in place and have invested time, money and staffing into making sure that we can respond better when concerns are raised.'' “One of the problems was that all the partners had their own policies and procedures but they weren’t integrated. That is probably one of the key issues that we have now addressed.” “The assessment is so different now and the organisations are working much more closely that it reduces the risk dramatically.'' This is an important and long-awaited review. This situation echoes other care home scandals across the UK. I urge everyone to read the full report and reflect on the real root causes of the problem, which I believe go well beyond failings in inter-agency policies and communication. What would your action plan be? How would you monitor it?
  14. Event
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    It is impossible in the year 2020 to ignore the glaring inequalities in our healthcare system. The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, coupled with local Black Lives Matter activity following the killing of George Floyd, underscore the threat systemic racism poses to lives in the UK as well as the US. Though these events have prompted much discussion in the medical community, this injustice is not new: data has long demonstrated a link between ethnicity and health outcomes. What can we, as doctors and medical managers, do to close this health gap and ensure all patients can expect the same quality of care, treatment and outcomes in the future? Seeking to answer this question, the BMA committee for medical managers (CMM) are hosting a free, online panel discussion to explore how increasing diversity in medical leadership can lead to better outcomes for all. Register
  15. Content Article
    According to the responses we received, the four themes that became most obvious - the four things you think staff most need to be safe - are: Compassionate leaders and role models who prioritise their staff’s wellbeing A respectful, supportive team with good communication and united by a common purpose A safe and just culture that invites staff to speak up Psychological safety, protecting staff form burnout
  16. Content Article
    I believe all clinicians should read this latest report. There is so much to be learned and so many changes in clinical practice that can be made right away. Since 2018, I have been teaching using Oliver's tragic story to promote reflection on best practice in prescribing and in implementing the Mental Capacity Act. I could write a lot here; however, I believe this is a report all clinicians, and especially all prescribers, need to read in full. A summary of how I see this (or indeed how any individual sees it) it will not be adequate.
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