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Monday 18th June 2018

NHS must be held to account over Mid Staffs

26th February 2010

Writing in The Daily Express, Ross Clark says that the deaths at Stafford Hospital shows the NHS must be held to account.


There are a large number of hardworking nurses, doctors and administrators in the NHS, but there are a lot of lousy ones too.

And they are getting away with it because the main political parties are refusing to confront their failures.

The standard of care at the Stafford Hospital was unbelievable but more seriously there were between 400 and 1,200 excess deaths at the hospital.

Effectively, that means Stafford inadvertently managed to kill more people than serial killer GP Harold Shipman.

The question is how we ended up with such a bad hospital.

Surprisingly, no one has yet been disciplined. In fact Martin Yeates, who was the £180,000-a-year chief executive of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust during the relevant period, appears to have left with a £400,000 pay-off while 18 other board members have quietly left, many to well-paid jobs in other NHS trusts.

The incompetence of the NHS’s overpaid administrators and the government’s perverse target-setting is a national scandal.

But the NHS has got away with low standards because it has a virtual monopoly and because the unwritten rule at Westminster is that you do not criticise the NHS.

Political leaders should spend their time working out policies for encouraging good public services and punishing bad ones, not "delivering saccharine speeches praising everyone".

The government needs a system for weeding out poor performers before they can do as much harm as they did at Stafford Hospital.


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