The arguments have started. In the aftermath of the Mid Staffs inquiry the media is full of analysis of what went wrong and who is to blame. It is to be expected of course; the shocking revelations of what happened in Stafford is chilling. With over 1,000 people
dying in the most appalling conditions its hard to believe that this could happen in 21st century Britain but happen it did as the Francis report makes clear.
No sooner had the report findings being revealed and the photographs of the victims printed in our papers than people immediately came to the defence of the NHS. It’s
understandable. It’s hard to believe that our great institution, the NHS, the one that we are so proud to tell the world about could possibly be delivering such poor care. It’s hard to imagine such poor care if we’ve received excellent care ourselves but the fact is that whilst there are some fantastic hospital staff there are also some poor ones.
I know because I’ve experienced it. After the birth of my second child I developed
complications which necessitated a blood transfusion. This was organised by the staff delivering my son and whose proficiency and care I cannot fault in any way. Unfortunately when I transferred to the post natal ward I experienced a total different standard of care. The midwife attending to me hardly spoke to me and went about my transfusion in a cold and brusque manner. My initial euphoria on delivering a healthy baby boy was soon replaced by anxiety and a feeling that I was a total nuisance. It was a horrid experience that left me anxious and nervous of asking for help. Fortunately I was young and fit enough to hobble around the ward but what sort of experience would I have had if I was bedbound and dependent on people to help me.
A few years later I saw just how it was to be dependent upon staff to help you. When I visited my grandmother in hospital recently she was able to tell us about life on her ward. No-one answer the buzzers, she said. There is no-one to take you to the toilet, she said. A few weeks later my grandmother started to decline fluids because of the difficulties in accessing the toilet. She started to develop complications but before she deteriorated any further she was transferred to an old people’s home where she is now receiving good care. She is one of the lucky ones but the fact remains that the care of vulnerable and elderly patients is a matter of concern.
Unfortunately it seems that as soon as people start to criticise the NHS people spring to its defence. So far I have heard people arguing that failures in care are due to reduced resources, excessive paperwork and a culture of cost cutting. I get these arguments and I am sure they have a part to play but what I don’t get is when professionals act in such an uncaring manner. There is no excuse for such cold treatment, regardless of the pressures behind the scenes. Respect costs nothing, surely.