This week I listened to a group of professional people sharing their recent dreadful life threatening, near miss experiences as a consequence of incompetent National Health Service diagnoses.
This followed on from reports in the press stating that:
- The head of health service watchdog warned that as many as 10,000 patients a year are dying due to poor NHS care.
- There are anywhere between 3,000 and 10,000 avoidable deaths a year in hospitals alone, not counting those which occur due to failings by GPs. Not a statistic that any other area of human activity would be happy with.
- A 2012 British Medical Journal study warned us that up to 5 per cent of all hospital deaths were avoidable, the equivalent of 12,000 a year in England.
David Prior, chairman of the Care Quality Commission, said standards across the country were ‘dangerously variable’. Writing in The Guardian, he added: “Variation strikes at the heart of the NHS and its core principle that everyone should receive good quality care free at the point of delivery. In fact they do not.”
It's also worth noting that the CQC has now published its findings for the first 40 hospital trusts to be inspected with five rated inadequate that is one in eight.
Whilst Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer at NHS England, said: “The overwhelming majority of our patients receive great care from staff who are pulling out all the stops.” She believes "The quality of care is better now than at any point in the history of the NHS.”
However spokesperson for Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, stated that in relation to the avoidable deaths: “For too long poor care in the NHS was swept under the carpet which resulted in the tragedy we saw at Mid Staffs under the last Labour government”
It leaves us the general public seriously wondering who really knows what is going on! Who are the real experts that can mend our health and care for us?
Until we can work this out each one of us is left to literally challenge and indeed sometimes fight to ensure medical staff make correct analysis; prescribe the appropriate treatment and deliver it at the right time not only for ourselves but also those we support.
There is little wonder why the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, didn't even mention our Health and Social Care trauma in his autumn statement. All together this doesn't make for a very optimistic nor encouraging picture.