Saturday, 10 February 2018

Scapegoating staff after critical incidents

Poor Dr Bawa-Garba struck off by her own professional body that has not a clue about working conditions in the NHS nor the implications of their action that sounded so vindictive.  What did they hope to achieve by it?  The fallout from their action, wasting doctors’ money going to the High Court to have the verdict of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal overturned, raised all sorts of questions about them and for practitioners too.  

Jenni Middleton, Editor of the Nursing Times ( has commented on her article for On the pulse this week that nurse Isabel Amaro, was also convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence for her part  and struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in 2016 .  

Ironically, the trust involved, has since made changes to their systems to prevent a re-occurrence of such a tragedy.  In other words the doctor and the nurse’s claims about many failings that day were justified.  Oh the injustice of it all.  

The Secret Barrister has written a very insightful article about the doctor’s case and the safety of having lay people decide complex situations about which they know very little or nothing at all, for example, the way junior doctors are expected to cover large caseloads. 

This is not far removed from nurses being in a similar situation, having to care for a high number of sick people with very few staff, often covering extra shifts as well as working long hours.  Many leave their shifts in distress because they just could not physically meet the demands being made on them.  How can this ever be safe for patients and staff alike?
Scapegoating is alive and well according to people who contact the website .   What is so frustrating is that someone is seriously injured by the action taken against them – psychologically, physically, emotionally, financially.  In every way you can think of, that person is harmed.   Sometimes the harm is irreversible.  The harm to their families is immense too.   Anecdotally, relationship break up is common.

I hate to think how Dr Bawa-Garba is feeling now or poor Nurse Omara.  Maybe if their names had been double barrelled English names they might have suffered a lesser fate or even have been spared all this terrible action against them?  (The doctor was initially informed by the CPS in 2012 that she would not be prosecuted at all.  I don’t know about the nurse.)  

Consider the time all this has taken, from 2011 till 2016 for the nurse to have her career ended and now for the doctor.  What a toll it must have taken on these poor people and their families and friends.  

A frequent complaint against the NMC by staff who are unnecessarily or unjustly reported to them is that they suffer long periods of time before they discover their fate too.  Even worse, many feel they were presumed guilty until they could prove their innocence.   

What a mess.