They’ve had 67 years to sort this out

Patients are suffering shameful safety risks and higher death rates because the NHS is failing to provide proper care at weekends, a damning report will warn this week.

Health officials say patients are being left to feel “neglected and unsafe” in understaffed hospitals, and forced to endure long waits for tests and treatment because basic services are not available on Saturdays and Sundays.

A damning submission to the NHS Pay Review Body tells how the most vulnerable hospital patients are being exposed to major risks at weekends.

Cases cited by officials include one in which the parents of a mentally-ill patient on “suicide watch” were told they were in charge of her safety until NHS services resumed on Monday.

All a bit odd really, don’t you think? That an organisation with a 24/7 demand still works 9-5 5/7?

Couldn’t be because it is producer led rather than consumer responsive or anything, could it?

26 thoughts on “They’ve had 67 years to sort this out”

  1. So Much for Subtlety

    A damning submission to the NHS Pay Review Body tells how the most vulnerable hospital patients are being exposed to major risks at weekends

    A submission to the NHS Pay Review Body. Doesn’t mean it isn’t true. But it does look like it comes attached to a demand for quintuple time or the like.

    I think we will be screwed no matter what. Ideally this is not true and they won’t get their extortionate demand. But it may well be true and they will. In which case I bet it will continue to be true – after all, why end a situation that brings you a pay rise? – and we will have to pay.

  2. It’s not as if the 9-5/5/7 treatment is any better than barely adequate at an awful lot of hospitals.

  3. bloke (not) in spain

    Yes. Very topical here.
    Dad was discharged from hospital yesterday. The company provides the home care wanted to know what his care requirements should be. “Don’t ask me.” says I “You’re supposed to have been told. How would I know?”
    But they hadn’t.
    Rung the hospital.
    The person concerned with his case has gone home. Try Monday.

    I’m wondering if it’s not that any individual is a f*****g hopeless waste of space. Actually, they can individually be very good. But they all seem to be doing their own jobs with little concern for what others are doing. There’s no “team”. Almost the opposite.
    It’s exactly what i used to fire people for. The “I’m doing my best” attitude.
    You’re best isn’t good enough. What you do doesn’t count. The only thing matters is what you do in conjunction with everybody else produces the desired result.

  4. “…because the NHS is failing to provide proper care at weekends…”

    Blimey, I didn’t realise they’d only starve your granny to death at weekends. I thought it was all week!

  5. We can expect Lost_Nurse along any minute to tell us we don’t know what we’re talking about because “I work in the NHS” and anyway Mid Staffs didn’t happen etc.
    Excuse me while I fucking puke.

  6. Is this something that’s better in other systems in other countries? I can imagine it being an issue elsewhere too. Not all commercial organisations respond to weekend demand either…

  7. “Not all commercial organisations respond to weekend demand either…”

    True enough. I’m free to go elsewhere though with a commercial organisation.

  8. Are there any studies on the costs and savings of moving away from most people taking off Saturday and Sunday? I guess it’s running schools 7 days a week that’s the biggest obstacle?

  9. I think that we didn’t have that problem 60-odd years ago when the NHS was founded. I know from personal experience that most* of the NHS was working 24/7 forty years ago, with GPs on call for emergencies that didn’t fit into A&E night and day.
    So how much of it is due to the new NHS contract in 2002, how much is due to Unite’s bloody-mindedness and how much to the weapons-grade incompetence of NHS managemenr?

    * I say “most” because dentists and opticians worked normal hours.

  10. b(n)is,

    “I’m wondering if it’s not that any individual is a f*****g hopeless waste of space. Actually, they can individually be very good. But they all seem to be doing their own jobs with little concern for what others are doing. There’s no “team”. Almost the opposite.”

    Because no-one gets fired for doing anything but breaking the rules. It’s a completely different mindset to the private sector where what matters is being a useful guy.

  11. Well, Stigler, in fact no-one gets fired for breaking the rules either.

    When I went for a blood test years ago, one of the phlebotomists was sucking a lollipop! When I refused to let her take my blood, nobody else in the department would.

    A complaint to HR resulted in me being threatened with the police for racism…

    An acquaintance of mine who works for the NHS recently had to make a decision (in a committee of several others, naturally) to either retain a nurse and risk legal action from patients’ relatives in the future, due to consistent appalling negligence, or to pay out a six figure sum for unfair dismissal.

    And yes, they lost the hearing…

  12. b(n)is,

    BTW that stuff drives me into a fucking rage when I see it. Whenever I have any dealings with the NHS I see a process that can be improved, in a way that I rarely do with the private sector. It’s why I’m against giving them a single penny more, and why I want privatization of pretty much everything right now. I know that if they had good management that the “discharge patient” process would do all of that automatically. Someone enters the details of care requirements in a system and the details get emailled directly to the care home.

  13. bloke (not) in spain

    @ The Stig & JM.
    I think it’s a mindset. They all think they’re personally the dog’s b*ll*ks because that’s what the system tells them. What other field’s first response to criticism is the accusation it undermines staff morale? Can you imagine estate agents trying it?
    And it explains the Lost_nurses. He/she/it is always sure they’re perfection. And by association’s so’s everyone they work with. It’s what they keep telling each other. So any problems must be away somewhere else. It’s always someone else.

  14. bloke (not) in spain

    @ The Stig
    I’m used to all sorts of management techiniques.
    Single point of contact with customer so they know exactly who’s dealing with them & there’s continuity of service.
    Information transfer as jobs move around between workers because it’s in the hand-overs that stuff gets dropped. Decent stock control systems. Assigning of bloody responsibility!!!

    These seem to be a total mystery to the NHS.

  15. Sebastian Weetabix

    They’re a total mystery because they cannot lose business. They can however lose face, which is why whistleblowers – without exception – are destroyed utterly by the apparatchiks the system is really designed to benefit. It’s a system of relief for uncommercial, innumerate, snob middle class arts graduates. The patients don’t really come into it at all.

  16. The Meissen Bison

    The Stig: It’s why I’m against giving them a single penny more

    Quite right, which is why I am now a former UKIP supporter. The Party of the NHS seeks to pander to those who still want to believe that our health system is The Envy of the World.

  17. A couple of years ago I had a day of seriously uncomfortable preparation for an NHS “procedure”, and then reported to the hospital the next morning. After this second day of discomfort hanging about in the hospital, they cancelled the procedure because a key member of staff hadn’t turned up. In fact her absence had been reported to the team first thing in the morning, so my day of discomfort was entirely unnecessary. Cunts!

  18. A relative went to the doctor because of a minor problem, doctor decided to do a test and then decided to refer him to a hospital in a nearby city. Not the local hospital as delays there for heart treatment is 6 months for initial appointment!
    The doctor was also going to write to the hospital about his year long wait for an appointment to deal with his cataracts. And been waiting over 4 months since saw consultant about dental issue – referred by dentist last summer!.And still no idea about when an appointment can be made…

    We get a far better and quicker service at the local GP surgery – which of course is a private company doing work and paid by the NHS – than at the hospital. Which is a public service paid for and run by the NHS.

  19. TMB,

    “Quite right, which is why I am now a former UKIP supporter. The Party of the NHS seeks to pander to those who still want to believe that our health system is The Envy of the World.”

    They’ve gone down the “locally elected governing boards route”, so a bolus of inexpert wankers with sociology or law degrees presiding over hospital efficiency.

  20. They all think they’re personally the dog’s b*ll*ks… and anyway Mid Staffs didn’t happen etc.

    Thanks for the gross misrepresentation of my views.

    As it happens, I often (but not always) agree with Keogh. I work in emergency (surgical) care, and we just carry on, 24/7 – with the proviso that you don’t do non-life-critical ops at 02:00 AM (it’s stupid & dangerous). There’s some cherry-picking in that article: you don’t necessarily need to wait for a dietitian/SALT review for a swallow assessment – many RNs in acute areas will be suitably trained. Equally, they should be able to initiate a NG feeding regime (the flipside of the same issue).

    As to enhanced weekend cover: good, bring it on.

  21. TAB and Stigler

    Trust me, you’re so gonna get it soon. You do not write things like here and get away with it.

  22. So Much for Subtlety

    The Stigler – “They’ve gone down the “locally elected governing boards route”, so a bolus of inexpert wankers with sociology or law degrees presiding over hospital efficiency.”

    I don’t mind that so much. Ordinary people presiding over the NHS can’t be worse than the “management experts” they have already. At least we can replace them.

    In parts of the US even the local librarians are elected. If only.

  23. Bloke in Costa Rica

    This certainly isn’t all that new. Summer of 1995 (i.e. two decades past) I tore all the ligaments in my ankle. I fetched up at Bradford Royal Infirmary on a Saturday and was told the orthopod was off till Monday. I was strapped up with crepe bandages and sent home with a fistful of Percodan and told to come back Monday. After I’d spent two days of utter agony, the big man himself had a two minute shufti, sent me off to plaster and thirty minutes later the pain had been almost completely eliminated. I walked out of A&E on the fibreglass cast. Now, why in the blue fuck did that need to happen?

    I am really looking forward to intelligent medical robots because most of these cunts will be out on their ears.

  24. What The Stigler says – every time I interact with the NHS I see a process that could be improved. Merely booking an appointment with a GP is an exercise in frustration (please call back at 8am exactly to get a same-day appointment). Hospital waiting rooms have hundreds of seats – understandable in A&E, but why are there crowded waiting rooms for pre-booked appointments?

    The most recent example was accompanying a family member for some routine blood tests. They had a butcher’s-style queuing system: take a ticket from the machine and go in for your tests when your number is called. I couldn’t understand why the waiting room was so crowded. After a while it transpired that they were processing patients who needed glucose tests first, and only once that queue was empty would they start the blood tests. Which was two and a half hours after our scheduled test time.

    The contrast with a recent private medical test couldn’t be greater. The waiting room was empty and had a free coffee machine; we were seen on time, and the entire atmosphere was much more pleasant. And it was open on a Sunday too.

    Producer-led is exactly right.

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