The NHS Ombudsman is nothing but a diversionary tactic, the function of which is to syphon complaints made by patients and their relatives from NHS trusts. The Trust management is ‘free’ of the case, and likely to remain so, for it is rather like sending an average 13 year old to sit a degree level exam – they will not possibly be prepared for it. The Ombudsman (more accurate if called Ambushman) will close a case if the smallest of details are not submitted, and if the slightest inference is given that legal action is being considered, which, of course, could mean the Trust paying compensation.
Do not approach the Ombudsman when the Trust advises it. This is only a delaying tactic which gives them time to destroy medical records and rewrite medical notes. Their allies in this subterfuge are the the GMC, which treat Complaints from NHS managers about locum doctors speedily, in contrast to those made against those in permanent posts within the Trust.
A GMC representative commented on ‘doctors from abroad'(more likely to be locums) under a FOI request:
‘There is no evidence that the GMC persistently discriminates against black and ethnic minority doctors. Research commissioned by the GMC and carried out by Economic and Social Research Council’s Public Service Programmeconcluded that doctors from abroad, irrespective of their ethnicity, were more likely to come before the GMC but that in cases involving UK qualified doctors there was no link between ethnicity and outcome’.
Trusts have enormous influence with the GMC and NMC. If a Trust states it has ‘no problems’ with a doctor or nurse, the GMC and NMC will be unlikely to take the case forward. This protectionism is at the very heart of RCN proposals for nurse revalidation, which give a nurse’s employer the power to ‘validate’ the continuing competency of the nurse. It is a win-win situation for the Trust. Be a good nurse (i.e. compliant and non-complaining) and we will say we have ‘no problems’ with you – case against you dismissed! It is the same with doctors on a permanent Trust contract – safe from complaints by individuals. In contrast, the GMC and NMC act propitiously when a Trust makes a complaint.
What is the true nature of a Foundation Trust? They can generate up to half of their income privately, using half their beds and staff for that purpose. They can enter joint ventures with corporations to ‘hive off’ or franchise services to the private sector. A foundation trust can be closed if it fails to generate enough income, regardless of local need. This only describes what Foundation Trusts do, and the consequences of failure to do it profitably, so it does not answer the question in the way that Marcus Aurelius suggested – ask not what someone or thing does, its true nature is revealed by what need it serves. By this dictum, Foundation Trusts are the means by which political neocons make a profit by selling State assets to their business friends. Parliamentarians are heavily involved as investors in Foundation Trust ‘joint ventures’, and receive political donations from the same joint venture ‘bandits’.
Adding to the unholy alliance of health care regulators, the CQC has a primary function of registering more than 22,000 health and social care providers: As Allyson Pollock summarised in the Guardian (June, 2014), ‘Central to the government’s NHS reforms is the concept of a well-regulated market. Behind the CQC controversy is an assumption that if a commercially run hospital is failing it has simply not been well enough regulated. But experience from the US shows that effective regulation of large healthcare corporations is impossible: we cannot afford it, or get the data necessary to carry it out. That is why the NHS had direct management in the first place’.
The GMC, NMC, RCN, and CQC are all complicit in covering up the abject failure of the ‘marketisation’ of the NHS, that is, failure to patients, not to their ‘fingers-in-the-pie’ political masters.
lenin nightingale 2014