Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Sir David Nicholson's performance before Health Committee


   Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of NHS, dominated in presentation of evidence to Health Committee in UK Parliament yesterday (televized, watch it HERE) following on from Francis inquiry regarding excess deaths in Mid Staffordshire hospitals in UK when it is estimated over 1200 patients died. At least 25 other hospitals are to be investigated for excess deaths now.

Sir David Nicholson described himself as a whistle-blower and as a person who would be willing to act if warned by whistle-blowers. Of course, he refused to see patients, relatives and professionals from Cure NHS pressure group who included in their membership whistle-blowers. He said he was sorry about that. It is so easy to say those words when it is convenient. Patients lost their lives, whistle-blowers their reputations and livelihood because they were persecuted by NHS and regulators such as the General Medical Council. Sir David Nicholson managed to preserve his position. Why and how?

Sir David Nicholson denied that the knew anything about the excess deaths in Mid Staffordshire at the time it was happening. Yet, his staff were watching data on mortality by Dr Foster  the leading provider of health and social care information. Do they not speak with him?

Amazingly, he was happy not to have the sight of mortality figures and he explained to the Committee that if he did have mortality data from hospitals this would lead to more questions being asked. That is exactly why those statistics are collected so that questions could be asked and answers provided. Dysfunctional individuals fear intimacy: answers, in the case of failing NHS hospitals, could cause fear the NHS system could collapse (and he could say goodbye to his job) and he did not want that. His own political adherence to the system no matter what is revealed is enduring and that is why he survived so far. Surely, he was supported by his political masters who were hardly ignorant. Whistle-blowers did write to politicians and regulators.

All MPs asked him pertinent questions and persistently so even when he was evasive. But he was an adaptable animal who was also content to use the key words such as transparency and accountability hoping new government would like the words and yet he had no idea who designed the system in which he worked and where systemic defects were blamed for some of the excess mortality. Can we believe that NHS Chief Executive would not know who designed NHS over the years and how the system works or what power and role he had in the system design? Please.

It is impossible to see how despite apology one could trust a man in position of power who tolerated defects because he liked having his job. See no evil, hear no evil is so typical of NHS management and he would be expected to play this game by his past political masters in case they too, were judged by voters as providing political solutions to healthcare which did not work or in case he got mobbed by his inferiors.

Who said this:
Why does it take a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye? 

Public need to face the facts too and see what role they played in perpetuating the system that cannot offer them everything they need under present conditions.