Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I was only following orders

Something I can't get my head around in this Stafford Hospital case. At the top was the CE and his board, never straying from their fancy offices, handing down edicts aimed at satisfying their political masters' desire to see quotas fulfilled and money saved. At the bottom, harassed nurses tried to perform miracles with inadequate resources. But in the middle? Where were the Consultants? What role in this scandal was played by the lofty ones to whom cases are individually assigned who must each have seen dozens of their patients arriving with fairly optimistic prognoses, dying prematurely - often, presumably, through causes capable of being treated with rudimentary care.

Because it's simply inconceivable that these highly paid, highly responsible, senior professionals could have repeatedly swept through the wards, white coats open, their entourages trailing, yet failing to be aware of people slumped for hours in their own faeces and urine, comatose through lack of food and water, denied proper medication or even monitoring of their condition through staff shortages and lack of proper training. They must have known. How could they have kept quiet when this slaughter was going on around them?

Bugger 'lessons being learned' and 'challenges being met'. A full-scale police enquiry needs to take place with everyone who failed being identified and subject to eventual charge. The Nuremburg Defence should not apply.

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