Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Saturday, 16 March 2013

NHS Statistics

According to the Daily Mail,

Fiddling figures in NHS ‘to be a crime’:
Trusts could be fined millions and managers jailed if data on waiting times or death rates is falsified

It further notes that

"A criminal offence could be created to punish doctors and health chiefs who manipulate hospital statistics, it emerged last night."

Why on earth do we need laws to enforce normal management procedures? What major company expects to have laws passed to make staff do what the management expects? In my days at work, if a member of the board wanted some information they simply sent an instruction to local managers to provide it. No laws were necessary, but if it was found that anyone had deliberately falsified the information the were likely to be fired. Simple and straightforward!

"If approved, the move will mean trusts could be fined millions"

Perhaps someone could explain to me how fining an NHS Trust is going to help the patients. The Trust covering the area where I live is already short of money and restricting some types of operations. It is one of those currently under investigation for possible abnormal death rates and excessive waiting times, so how is taking a few million from their budget going to improve things?

The solution to the problem of senior managers hiding the true figures is, if they are found out,  to fire them without compensation, just as would happen in industry. And I mean fire the managers, not some junior clerk who is merely collecting and compiling the data according to their instructions.

In my view, every NHS Trust should be made to produce an annual report, in a similar manner to that produced by any public company. It should of course detail all salaries of senior management, their bonus details, together with formal reports from the Board Chairman, Chief Executive, Chief Financial Officer, and of course, a full set of audited accounts. Whist is is perhaps not reasonable to send one to every household, they should certainly be readily available at hospitals, doctors' surgeries, public libraries, town halls, etc.   Possibly such a report is produced each year; if it is then they keep very quiet about it!

If Jeremy Hunt thinks that his approach is going to solve the problems of the NHS, he is, in my view, making a grave mistake. The quickest and easiest solution would be to fire a few of those responsible for the present problems and, more importantly, ensure that they can never be employed in the NHS ever again, not simply promoted elsewhere as in the case of Sir David Nicholson.

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