Older Mind Matters

Duty of candour needed for politicians

Did you see the recent headline - jail for bad doctors and nurses? My paper (the i) went on to say 'government brings in prison sentences of up to five years for medical staff who mistreat or neglect patients' (16/11/2013).

I’m all for high standards in health and social care, but do you think this will make a difference to care in the NHS? Is 'the problem' bad doctors and nurses? Or is part of the problem that when you keep on cutting a budget something has to give? A large proportion of the health care (and to be fair social care) budget goes on the staff who deliver that Care. When budgets are repeatedly cut, and at the same time bureaucratic demands are increased, inevitably staff will have less time available for the people they look after and more other demands on their time (form filling, tick boxing, meetings). Alongside this study leave has become more difficult and frontline staff feel less valued. These changes can only have one result - a deleterious impact on patient care.

It might be best described as deceitful (at the very least) to then pretend that the body which instigated and enforced these cuts has no role in their impact, and that the people on the ground providing care and trying to provide a service despite these cuts are the people at fault.

Maybe this is spin, but is it what we want from politicians? Maybe politicians need a duty of candour…

NOTE: you might like to read what the Health Service Journal has to say about a duty of candour, see this link.

3 comments (Add your own)

1. Emyr wrote:
So is it "tick boxing"? Or "box ticking"? I'm happy to try to box a tick: ticks are very little, and I think I'd win.

Fri, November 22, 2013 @ 5:31 PM

2. Victoria Sharman wrote:
Humour is so important and 'boxing a tick' made me smile and laugh as its so empowering but with the cuts so deep the tick might win and I might not even get porridge. Thanks Susan for posting and Emyr for the humour.

Fri, November 22, 2013 @ 6:30 PM

3. David Jolley wrote:
Duty of Candour

Yes – This is perhaps the most telling and important question for all aspects of all societies today, the need and advantages of openness and honesty in all we do. The article in the Health Service Journal is magnificent in pointing to the moral and practical benefits of openness, humility and honesty.

Sadly the push toward deceit is seen every day in news reports of what governments, commercial enterprises and individuals have done in attempts to gain advantage and control over others. Reports from colleagues tell of blatant bullying by managers who require them to remain quiet or to change their stories in the name of ‘corporate’ interests. These threats and actions are often referenced to legal advice, with finances and apparent compliance with absurd political requirements being the yardsticks of what is acceptable.
This is a phenomenon of the general and pervasive culture.

We must try, quietly, honestly and determinedly to progress a counter culture. This is demonstrated, might I suggest, in the visions and practicalities of Gnosall and similar initiatives and the hospice movements within healthcare. I am less informed and even less sure of what can and is being done on the wider scene. But unless we can break out of the grip of greed, deceit and blame we will surely find that we are all strangled by this Gordian Knot which is of our own creation

Sat, November 23, 2013 @ 9:17 AM

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