Thursday, 11 April 2013

English Chief Nurses - Can't Help, Won't Help

Dame Sarah Mullally was the English chief nurse when the suspension website
( )  was set up in 2003.  She granted me a 10 minute phone call, was empathetic and a realist.  She was unable to offer any help at that time with the way things were in the Department of Health and the Government.

Professor Christine Beasley (now also Dame) came to the helm.  I wrote to her.  Silence.  Craig in our team fared much better.  Dame Beasley denied there was a problem of unjust suspensions in the NHS.  And she should know because she was travelling the country and meeting lots of people.

That was a staggering response of utter ignorance about people.  As if trusts are going to admit to problems.  Of course they get out the red carpet and show how everything in the garden is rosy.  She needed to look below the surface at mortality rates, staff sickness and retention rates – to name a few. 
She couldn’t look at numbers of staff currently suspended because the Department of Health refused to have any record kept.  Too scared as they already knew the numbers were high from the National Audit Office report of 2003 (The Management of Suspensions of Clinical Staff in NHS Hospital and Ambulance Trusts in England Nov. 6th ’03)

Back to the English chief nurse – about 30 people sent her their stories in strict confidence and some fear and trepidation in case anything was leaked to the offending trusts, for fear of reprisals.

Her response, in collaboration with The National Patient Safety Agency, was to set out some Principles - 
Title : Handling concerns about the performance of healthcare professionals:
principles of good practice
Author DH & National Patient Safety Agency
Publication Date September 2006
Target Audience PCT CEs, NHS Trusts CEs, SHA CEs, Care Trust CEs, Foundation Trust CEs,
Medical Directors, Directors of Nursing, NHS Trust Board Chairs, Special HA
CEs, Directors of HR, Allied Health Professionals, GPs, Communications
Circulation List PCT CEs, NHS Trusts CEs, SHA CEs, Foundation Trust CEs,
Medical Directors, Directors of Nursing, NHS Trust Board Chairs, Special HA
CEs, Directors of HR, Allied Health Professionals, GPs, Communications
Leads, Emergency Care Leads, NDPBs, Independent Healthcare Leads
Description This best practice guidance on handling concerns about professional
practice has been developed collaboratively by senior individuals of all
healthcare professions, regulators, commissioners and patient groups. It
will be useful in all settings where healthcare is offered and encompasses
everyone whatever their position in the organisation

Now why would anyone imagine that these malfunctioning managers are going to know about the Principles, let alone adhere to them.
‘Oh look, our beloved leader says we should be doing this.  What a good idea.  Transparent and fair – what a good idea.’

It would be laughable if it weren’t that people are being destroyed by these people – horrendous.

So it was a complete waste of time as managers already had the Incident Decision Tree to guide them what action was necessary when there were problems, and Root Cause Analysis to identify systems failures and how to prevent any further problems.
If they’d ever done it in the first place.
A lot of the people we at CAUSE were hearing from, were innocent targets.

Big sigh. Oh the pain and suffering that is going on right now and people just don’t know unless they are directly involved.
Will it ever end?

1 comment:

  1. Ostrich behavior from Chief Nurses and other figure heads in the DOH who are all bone from the neck up. I have been exposed to the misreading of incident trees( to suit the managers particular psychological pathology) and watched others put through it though no fault of their own. These Nurses were just following NHSD policy, but Management who were less qualified and experienced than the Professionals they were dealing with ,wanted to score points against them.

    Suspension of staff, for any length of time should be investigated as a fraud committed by Management against the NHS. Because the Managers are depriving the NHS of the services of these staff. Often with out any legal grounds to do so.