Submitted by Conor Ellis, EC Harris, Global Account Leader, Health
Time to embrace radical solutions in our hospitals
So the Francis Inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust is finally published.
The conclusions should resonate in every boardroom; and medics and regulators alike need to be cautious of placing the blame solely on a management culture obsessed with targets, when it was equally nursing and medical staff who failed to prevent and help patients. It’s not the 1st NHS crisis which watchdogs have missed, but the most grave example of institutional failure.
I have had my dad in two neighbouring hospitals over the past three years. One a university hospital well run and provides good care. The other, where the lack of basic attention to privacy dignity and quality of care is so poor that in my view it should be merged, as its incapable of progressing to any expected standards.
Working in several countries one cannot but feel that we radically need to change our inspection regime. A tick box led approach will still provide no depth or certainty of rigour.
The Prime Minister has asked for a Chief inspector of Hospitals but we should go much further and formally accredit NHS hospitals with a licence to practice on a bi-yearly basis; with this task undertaken by already established and respected organisations such as Joint Commission International or QHA. Their ultimate sanction would be to close hospitals to protect lives and patient dignity.
A new focus on integrating clinical and estates organisational approaches will also go a long way in delivering statutory compliance and lower risks but with greater efficiency. Hundreds of lives have been taken, most needlessly, in any walk of life this would now herald a radical change.