NHS is worse than communist China say doctors
The NHS is worse than communist China in allowing bureaucrats to over-rule doctors and take decisions which harm patients, medics have said.Doctors at the British Medical Association’s annual conference in Edinburgh called for a system of regulation in response to the Mid Staffordshire Foundation trust scandal, so that managers could be “struck off” for bullying doctors, or putting finances before patients.
Dr Peter Holden, a member of the BMA’s GP negotiating committee, said the lack of regulation allowed senior managers to operate in a culture of secrecy and overt bullying, while the most extreme incidents were hidden by gagging clauses.
He said: “The result is the perfect toxic professional working environment for this explosive mixture to generate disasters such as Mid Staffordshire which did so much harm to patients. Not even in Communist China did they have managers overruling doctors in the operation of hospitals and health services.”
Doctors voted overwhelmingly in favour for a system of regulation, which would mean poor managers could be barred from working.
Robert Francis QC, chairman of the public inquiry into the serious care failings at Stafford Hospital, called for a system of regulation, saying that there should be a “proper degree of accountability for senior managers and leaders”.
Ministers have promised some kind of system so that managers responsible for failures will be barred from working in the health service, though details have yet to be agreed.
Doctors also accused successive governments of a “war of attrition” on district general hospitals.
Anna Athow, a GP from London, accused the Coalition of “enthusiastically” continuing with hospital closures that began under Labour, when ministers promoted the idea of a smaller number of large hospitals serving populations of 1 million.
She said at least 32 hospitals have been closed or downgraded since the General Election while at least 20 more closures are expected.
NHS England is undertaking a review of “urgent and emergency care” which is likely to make the case for more hospitals to be redesigned, with similar networks – based around fewer larger specialist centres.
During a debate on NHS funding, hundreds of medics voted against all efficiency savings in the NHS.
Although the health service is protected from cuts, it has a savings programme to make £20 billion efficiencies by 2015 so that funding can keep up with increasing demand from an ageing population.