Whilst Nicholsons retirement is announced The Telegraph reported earlier this year ministers secretly thought Nicholson should stand aside. Of course he should have, does not government realise people in this country are actually terrified of going into hospital fearing for their lives, and rightly so it would seem.
I’m not calling for a witch hunt or scapegoating, but just plain old justice, justice for all those families that have been betrayed in the very worst way possible. They trusted the NHS to look after and care for their loved ones and the NHS betrayed them, broke that bond of trust and respect the public has had for the NHS. Once trust is gone from any relationship it’s a uphill struggle to get it back. I think it will take more than ‘re-organisation’.
The Francis Report is absolutely spot on in its findings and recommendations, however, if government wants the public to have trust again in the NHS we need to see leadership from the very top on this issue, not just talk of leadership but actual leadership, that means making those people who hold responsibility accountable. If that means senior figures losing their jobs, so be it. It’s a lot less drastic than losing a loved one afterall (forgive my tone, but I am angry this has dragged on for so long!).
I have worked in large public sector organisations over the last 25 years, indeed I left social work 8 years ago because of the state of the service, managers too focused on targets rather than people. Nothing appears to have changed. I would also hasten to add it’s not just in the public sector, lets not forget Winterbourne View and the myriad of cases in private residential care homes where carers have abused the most vulnerable.
The message being sent at the moment to the public, and potential whistleblowers, is that those at the top are untouchable, so don’t bother complaining or whistle blowing because those who have overall responsibility will be protected. Chief execs, board members ,leaders of public and private care provision across the country are breathing a sigh of relief, at least they know no matter how badly their organisation performs at least they will never lose their job!
This review apparently cost £13 million, this will only be money well spent if we see real change across the whole of the care sector, and in my opinion real change of culture will only occur if you change those at the top charged with leading the organisations that are charged with providing care to the most vulnerable in society. Is it realistic to expect the disempowered care assistant, nurse or porter who has raised concerns, and been ignored, to change an organisational culture? No, for real change we need change at the top.