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?"

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Stafford and Sir David Nicholson

Today Sir David Nicholson appeared in front of the Commons Health Select Committee and had the gall to say that he was not to blame for what happened at Stafford Hospital, notwithstanding the fact that he was the head of that part of the NHS responsible for running the hospital at the time.
I think that the piece by Tim Stanley in the Telegraph, entitled
"Sir David Nicholson: waffle and buck-passing at the health select committee",  says it all.

He was at the top, and he simply takes the attitude that no-one told him what was happening and it therefore follows that it can't possibly be his fault!  Surely it is the job of the person at the top to know if anything significant is happening, but here it seems that, if he is to be believed, he was content to sit in his air-conditioned office accepting everything that his staff told him without asking any questions and without ensuring that he had the whole story.

I worked once for a company where the engineering director made a point of eating in the staff canteen whenever he could and was happy to sit with staff of any grade, something that his managers didn't necessarily appreciate. His attitude was that the canteen was the place where he heard all the best gossip and the real facts as to how the various projects were going, and if nothing else, it made his managers tell him the truth.

If I had been one of the MPs on the committee, I'd have asked Sir David Nicholson if he had  ever actually visited any of the hospitals for which he was responsible, whether he'd been to a ward without an entourage of managers and actually talked to any of the staff. I suspect that as his whole testimony was management-speak, referring to "numbers" rather than "patients" the answer would have been a resounding "No".

Seemingly he has the Prime Minister's support along with one of his cronies who is chairman of the select committee, so we can expect little to come from today's events unless any of the committee members should chose to submit a minority report.

Personally, I believe there should have been (and still should be) a full police investigation into the unexplained deaths followed by charges of corporate manslaughter. Certainly this would have happened if this had been a private hospital, but seemingly the NHS is exempt from such nastiness.

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