The NHS England review, led by an independent expert, will review UK and international evidence about different models of maternity care, including ‘midwife-led units’ like that run at Furness General Hospital.

Hmmm.

It tells how a group of midwives – who dubbed themselves “the Musketeers,” taking a “one for all” approach – “distorted the truth” colluding to hide the truth from bereaved parents, and inquests into the baby deaths.

Sisters are colluding with themselves?

27 thoughts on “Oooops!”

  1. So Much for Subtlety

    It is nice that women are the caring, sharing empathic gender isn’t it? Not hard, cold, clinical like those awful over-trained male specialists.

    Yes, every pregnant woman should have a midwife.

  2. So Much for Subtlety

    It is not as if we all couldn’t write the script for what went wrong. It is pretty much a cliche of NHS failing:

    The investigation found:

    • Midwifery care became strongly influenced by a small number of dominant midwives whose “over-zealous” pursuit of natural childbirth “at any cost” caused unsafe care;

    So a small number of feminist ideologues who bullied everyone else into silence.

    • Poor working relationships between midwives, obstetricians and paediatricians, with a “them and us” culture and poor communication harming clinical care;

    Said feminists were impossible to work with.

    • Clinical competence of a proportion of staff fell significantly below the standard for a safe, effective service;

    Ideological conformity was more important than actual skills.

    • Failures of risk assessment leading to “inappropriate and unsafe” care;

    Feminist science don’t care about risk assessments. If it is natural and female, it is good!

    • A “grossly deficient response” from unit clinicians to serious incidents with repeated failures to investigate properly and learn lessons;

    So they were so sick of fighting with the nutters that they washed their hands of their work.

    • “A disturbing catalogue of missed opportunities” by the NHS trust, the regional health authority and four national bodies which should have identified and acted on the failings.

    “To those who thought Mid Staffs was a local, one off failure, today’s report will give serious case for reflection,” he said.

    No, it won’t. No one who thought that was a one-off will spend two seconds reflecting on their knee-jerk defence of the NHS.

  3. We are often told that if women ran everything it would all be hunky dory. Is there actually any evidence anywhere that entirely female run organisations are anything other than a bunch of women fighting like cats in sack?

  4. So Much for Subtlety

    Rupert Fiennes – “So there’s “push Nazi’s” as well as “tit Nazi’s”?”

    Push Nazi’s what?

    Jim – “We are often told that if women ran everything it would all be hunky dory. Is there actually any evidence anywhere that entirely female run organisations are anything other than a bunch of women fighting like cats in sack?”

    As I have pointed out before, women are concentrated in organisations that are failing. Not sure about cause and effect although I have an opinion. However I read a lovely article the other day about the companies that were being targeted by Activist Shareholders for bad management. They were disproportionately run by women. Which is, it seems, sexism.

    I think there is a perfect solution here – a fight between the Capitalists and the Feminists. Let them invest their own money backing their own candidates and we will see who wins.

  5. > We are often told that if women ran everything it would all be hunky dory.

    I am often told by women that they can’t stand working in female-dominated workplaces and would far rather work with men.

  6. “over-zealous” pursuit of natural childbirth “at any cost”

    I’ve seen quite a few women nearly killed by this. And it’s not as if I hang around maternity wards looking for horror stories. Just having a fairly normal life and knowing a few women of child-bearing age is enough to run into these stories constantly. You’d think we might have a few investigative journalists willing to cover it properly — who would hang around maternity wards looking for horror stories — but apparently not. Why not? Human interest, life and death, babies, bureaucracy, abuse of power… the story’s got everything.

    The WHO actually changed their report on caesarians a few years back specifically because of the NHS’s stupid dangerous reaction to it. The WHO professed bafflement that a mere comment about how many were happening would be interpreted as a reduction target that would trump the health of patients. Apparently, we have the only health service in the world that reacts to simple statistics in such a way.

  7. @SMFS: yes its an interesting point – are the failings of the NHS less to do with lack of money and poor organisational structures, and more to do with the fact that the NHS is a female dominated organisation and as such will never be able to function in an effective way?

    Its often said that the Indian Railways are similar in size to the NHS, having traveled on the Indian tail network I’d say its organisation knocks the NHS into a cocked hat. I booked my itinerary in London months in advance – I then turned up at a station in the middle of India to find my name on the list on the outside of the carriage, exactly as booked months earlier. Same on each leg of my trip. I doubt if I booked appointments in the NHS months in advance that I’d find those appointments still in place when I showed up, or the person available for me.

    Indian Railways is a State entity, so perhaps the difference is less about State vs Private, more about male vs female organisational ethos?

  8. S2:“And it’s not as if I hang around maternity wards looking for horror stories.”

    Hey, we’re a pretty non-judgemental bunch here.. 😉

  9. Jim,

    “are the failings of the NHS less to do with lack of money and poor organisational structures, and more to do with the fact that the NHS is a female dominated organisation and as such will never be able to function in an effective way?”

    It’s not about women – it’s about the normal monitoring and control that you get in private organisations. Control and monitoring that happens when wealthy people can be made poor. How many people as a result of mid-Staffs have had to change their standard of car, restaurant or holiday?

    I worked for a drug company, and they were fierce about doing things by the book. Because if you didn’t do things by the book, you ran the risk of the business getting shut down, and the Chairman’s 5% of the stock falling from being worth about $10m to around $0m.

    One of their competitors turned a blind eye to doctors faking patient results. When the drug then caused a side-effect that wasn’t expected, the FDA went over everything. And found that no-one had followed up on a multiple tip-offs about doctors faking results. The company had its license suspended for 12 months by the FDA which destroyed the company.

  10. “It’s not about women – it’s about the normal monitoring and control that you get in private organisations. Control and monitoring that happens when wealthy people can be made poor. How many people as a result of mid-Staffs have had to change their standard of car, restaurant or holiday?”

    Or how many of the Rotherham council workers on six figure salaries have experienced any bumps in their career paths?

    Its the core of the Common Purpose ethos – follow the program and we’ll cover your arse.

    Or more fundamentally – it really is us vs them, and we are losing badly.

  11. “It’s not about women – it’s about the normal monitoring and control that you get in private organisations. Control and monitoring that happens when wealthy people can be made poor. How many people as a result of mid-Staffs have had to change their standard of car, restaurant or holiday?”

    Yes thats all true. But why are there no female dominated large private organisations? I have a little experience of a small such business, a good female friend runs a small restaurant/shop, and all her employees are women. There’s only one reason that business functions at all, and thats because my friend has more of a male type brain – very logical (ex multinational corporation senior accountant) and she keeps the show on the road. The employees (even the more senior ones, in management roles) are a sea of cattiness, ever constantly bitching and moaning about each other, falling out because X has been making eyes at Ys boyfriend, all that sort of thing. When my friend decides to retire the business will never cope without her, unless some male thinking is put in place, because it would descend into a miasma of bitchiness and staff walking out inside 6 months.

    The same goes in another field I have experience of, equestrian liveries. Horse owners are 99% women in these establishments (I run a small one and supply hay to many larger ones) and the bitchiness and constant power struggles between all the women is amazing. Anyone who wants to see the female social dynamic at work should examine these places, because they are an eye opener.

    If one looks at other formerly nationalised State industries, while they were on a macro scale very inefficient, stuff still did get done. Coal came out of the ground, trains were run, electric was generated and distributed, water cleaned and piped to houses, telephones did actually work. Financially it was a disaster for all the reasons you give, but the work was done. What we see with the NHS seems to be a more deep seated malaise – stuff just seems to be not happening at all. There appears to be a fundamental breakdown in its ability to function at a practical level, irregardless of the financial inputs, which just gets worse and worse.

    I would be very interested to see some analysis of large organisations and their practical efficiency (irregardless of financial issues) and the percentage of female participation in them and at what level.

  12. bloke (not) in spain

    “It’s not about women – it’s about the normal monitoring and control that you get in private organisations….”

    That statement’s got me thinking.
    What comes out of control & monitoring?
    Criticism.
    Now this is no doubt going to promote some frothing but what the thing us guys know not to do when the love of our life asks “Do I look good in this?”
    Reply honestly.
    Because criticism of clothes will be construed as criticism of her. Her shape, her dress sense, the colour of her eyes…
    Sorry, but women do have a tendency to take criticism personally. I’m sure the word “judgmental”, as a criticism,,, was coined by a woman.
    Woman are hell to criticise & hell at criticising. They have difficulty separating the personal from the objective.. Not a formula for an efficiently managed operation.

  13. Jim, BNIS,

    These are exactly the reasons so many women I’ve known have given why they hate working with women. But you’re saying it now, so it’s sexist.

  14. @ Jim
    ” Is there actually any evidence anywhere that entirely female run organisations are anything other than a bunch of women fighting like cats in sack?”
    Yes, FI Group, later Xansa, run by Steve Shirley, but just working in IT requires logical thinking so that may be part of the explanation. Also GAAPS, an Actuarial recruitment and consultancy was, at least initially, women-only. Same answer.

  15. Have worked for female bosses and in my last job was for 2 years the only male employed by the charity. Not the most pleasant place to work and the female boss could be incredibly nice or incredibly bad. Put it this way I resigned 4 times and was sacked once. The pettiness and power games that the boss could play….. luckily she had an employee who didn’t play her games until the end. A game I play better.

  16. I must be lucky: the only female manager I’ve directly worked for was superb. So much so that when she moved jobs I followed her a couple of years later.

    The women I’ve worked with have, on the whole, been easy to deal with as well.

    Though I do have colleagues who have horror stories similar to the ones recounted above, so I’m sure I’ll experience it at some point.

  17. @ GlenDorran
    See my remark re GAAPS.
    I’ve worked for female supervisors (OK one would now be described as a mentor, I worked in a corner of her office when I started work at 17 so she could keep an eye on me) and they were fine, positively helpful. On the other hand, my first experience of management (temporary promotion when the section was seconded) was made horrific by a female who told us all at the start that *she* should have been put in charge because she was older than I despite my having more experience in the job, having worked there longer, and being far better at it; I also worked far longer hours (until the end of overtime and missed all my study periods) because we were given no-one to do my job when I took over section manager and, while most of the others did a bit extra, she did not a scrap. She then complained when I spotted her mistakes: part of my job was to check for mistakes.
    You’ve been lucky.
    A majority of the women I’ve worked with have been fine but it is extraordinary not to have a horror story (even my wife has horror stories of females she has had to work with).

  18. So Much for Subtlety

    JuliaM – “Hey, we’re a pretty non-judgemental bunch here.. ;)”

    Although we might struggle if he is hanging around maternity wards dressed in a squirrel suit.

  19. So Much for Subtlety

    GlenDorran – “I must be lucky: the only female manager I’ve directly worked for was superb. So much so that when she moved jobs I followed her a couple of years later.”

    I have consistently worked with excellent female managers in my life. Some superb. Some less so but still good. The biggest ar$es and the biggest f**k ups have been men.

    So it is hard to reconcile the evidence – that women really struggle in the work place – with my experience.

    “The women I’ve worked with have, on the whole, been easy to deal with as well. ”

    The most difficult fellow employees I have ever had to work with were bat sh!t cat-lady crazy (and needless to say, unmarried and childless) women. But then some of the nicest have been too.

    Which just goes to prove – women are individuals too. My theory is that a reasonable number of women get married. If you take a reasonable number of women out of the competition, those remaining, and reaching the top will be disproportionately male. Or it may be a testosterone thing.

    Forbes just released their Richest 400 in America. For the first time they gave them a ranking depending on whether they were self-made billionaires or not. Everyone got a ranking from 1 (born with a diamond-studded platnium spoon in their mouth) to 10 (born in shoe box in the middle of a Yorkshire freeway). 276 of them scored from 6-10 and so were deemed self-made. The remaining 124 scored 1-5 which included Donald Trump by the way.

    Just 44 of them were women, but Forbes being politically correct includes one that was born a man. But of those 8 were self-made billionaires. It gets worse, as 4 of them went into business with their husbands. One of the other 4 is Oprah.

  20. So Much for Subtlety

    The Stigler – “It’s not about women – it’s about the normal monitoring and control that you get in private organisations.”

    His comparison was with India State Rail. I think we can all agree that there is not likely to be much more monitoring and control in the Indian railways than there is in the NHS.

    “How many people as a result of mid-Staffs have had to change their standard of car, restaurant or holiday?”

    How many people in India State Rail get fired?

    This ought to be a good comparison if they have similar sized work forces, both state owned, both working within the British legal tradition, both with similar Unions. Little works well in the UK these days. But then I doubt much works well in India either.

  21. @dearieme: no my English teacher wasn’t a woman, but he was a rather camp man. I’m afraid that my education was in the post-grammar era, even in the private schools I attended. Should that have been ‘regardless of the financial inputs’ then?

    @b(n)is: I think you’ve hit the nail right on the head there. What is the reaction of the NHS to criticism? Its a female one. Not ‘Lets have a look at what you’re saying, is it correct, if so lets take action’, more of ‘You can’t say that, we’re all working really hard, you’re just being nasty about the NHS, nah nah, not listening!’. Women do not take criticism well, they take an observation of a failing in X as a criticism of the whole person, which is exactly the reaction the NHS has.

    I reckon if you replaced every single woman in non-clinical roles in the NHS with men there would be a step change in its efficiency and effectiveness with no change in inputs.

  22. > I have consistently worked with excellent female managers in my life. Some superb.

    I’ve never had a problem with a female manager or colleague (at least, not a specifically womanny problem); most of my best managers have been women; I think all the worst have been men. But then I’m male. I never hear men complaining that they don’t like working with women. The people who tell me that working with women is an utter nightmare are women.

    There’s also a huge difference between women in the workplace and female-dominated workplaces — and “dominated” doesn’t mean “managed”. A workplace with no men in it at all is, I am told by the women who get the hell out as soon as they can, complete hell. I have to take their word for it, because obviously I’m never going to experience it.

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