Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Universally Having a Laugh Board

Thanks to Robin for keeping checks on me, I have been poorly but also busy with a toddler. Anyway, back at the job at hand.

This title caught my eye today: 'NHS admits 'below standard' level of care led to baby's death'.

Is it me or do they make it sound like that's completely acceptable? 'We accept full responsibility, have a nice day'. Makes me so sick to think that a service which is paid for by every single NI paying citizen is failing us in a very obvious way, and if that wasn't enough, they know it and don't seem to care!

Now I obviously haven't seen the report so I don't know whether the midwife, Julie Louise Richards, was indeed at fault, or whether it had more to do with the long hours, shortage of staff, low morale etc that we frequently talk/hear about in UHW and beyond. I should imagine that it's easy to pin it on one woman and ruin her entire career than to admit that you have failed, as a Health Board, to properly manage staffing levels and patient numbers.

This is my favourite line in the article because I think it shows that us 'mere mortals' on the streets have more of an idea what's going on a ground level than the stuck up, highly paid, snobs in suits sitting around the coffee table once a month: “It wasn’t an accident; it wasn’t a mistake; Noah died because people didn’t care enough to do their jobs properly.”

When did this start? Maybe when education rules were changed, and suddenly you could become a midwife on 5 GCSE's and a 3 year degree but compassion wasn't a necessary addition. That's not saying that ALL midwives coming through the degree programme are the same, but I certainly think that those midwives who have worked their way up the ranks, cleaning bedpans and wiping the floors, have more reason to be thankful for the elevated and privileged role of 'midwife'. These people know how precious life is and want to be a part of the entire experience, not just 'deliver your baby'.

Another newspaper headline:'Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales apologises for mistakes and pledges to provide best possible care'

I'd like to add the above was written on March 2nd, 2012, and, while I don't expect change overnight, I did have shocking treatment (reported on here) a few weeks after this article was written!

This is one part of the story, previous to this paragraph it is stated that a letter has been written directly to the SW Echo from the Health Board. 'In their letter today, Mr Francis and Ms Williams say that such cases  "are not representative of the experiences of the many thousands of patients who pass through our doors every year"'.

I really wish that the UK public would be more proactive about complaining. I am sure that the above statement is so far from the truth. We've seen so many stories about baby deaths, ward closures, bed shortages, staff shortages, parking charges.... shall I go on? These people have families, friends, people who are going to be equally annoyed that their loved ones have had to go through this. I would think their numbers would be quite high. Do David Francis or Jan Williams have figures to back up this sweeping statement? If yes, I want to see them!!

'But they admit that mistakes and lapses do happen in a busy hospital.'

Ask yourselves why UHW is so busy? Is it because the Health Board have spent the last few years moving EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to the UHW site?  I should point out that these are 'educated' people, and despite the plethora of inadequate decisions they make, they're not as dumb as they appear.

They write: "We are only as good as the weakest link in our chain and, as the NHS is the ultimate “people business” – we employ more than 14,000 people – it is inevitable that, sometimes, errors of judgement, mistakes or lapses in standards occur...

"When things go wrong, we encourage staff to identify the problem and to do everything possible to put things right. Our policy is not to excuse the inexcusable, but to be open and to explain what has happened to the patient or family."

This just leaves me speechless....

If my boss were blatantly blaming me and my colleagues for all the inadequacies and complaints in the hospital I would not be happy! Why do the Health Board think morale is so low? They're pinning the failures on the very people who are working around the clock on the floor. Unlike the Health Board, the nurses, doctors, physcians, cleaners etc work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Health Board largely work 9-5 and certainly not on weekends! What a cheek!

Right, I'm going to have to stop there because I am getting really annoyed and stress is something which brings on my sickness. I shall endeavour to catch up soon, I just know there'll be plenty to write about!

Lynnette Spragg

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