The Myth Of Independence

Is the term “independent” a weasel word as Nightingale describes (2014)?

What is meant by the term independent?

The following healthcare groups are described by DH as being independent-

CQC, RCN, NMC, GMC, Healthwatch, PHSO, various charity bodies such as AgeUK.

Yet they are actually linked to the government via their funding, to some degree. A registered charity for example relies on govt funding.

The RCN obtains government funding for certain research projects. An arm of the RCN is still a registered charity (RCN Foundation). Also consider RCN affiliations to seemingly opposing groups, some of which are actively involved in privatisation of the NHS (Nightingale 2014). Indeed why has the RCN been selected to represent all of UK nursing on the ICN committee- when just under 50% of nurses are actually members of the RCN?

The CQC is funded by the government- who else pays the wages?

This means that if the agency “upsets “ the govt in any way- funding may well be withdrawn. Consider for example if the RCN wanted to undertake a project concerning the Tory Governments lack of NHS funding or links of MPs to healthcare businesses.

Another way they are govt linked is by individuals who occupy the positions. Consider the NMC, top council members are “privy selected”, as are PHSO members and other regulatory bodies. Government departments in disguise (Nightingale). This means-the govt is involved in their selection and approval via the Queen. Somebody who opposes govt views- has no chance. Many have previous connections such as political employees.

Consider Healthwatch, some independent members are hospital trust managers or ex-Government employees. Just analyse the board or team members of your local Healthwatch- what were they previously linked to or members of ? Of course they will have been known in some capacity. Remember- the chair is actually paid a considerable sum as a salary by the government .

So what is the relevance of this?

Such groups will adhere to neoliberalistic political aims- privatisation and profit. This is evidenced by reports concerning the CCG which were described as being a “smokescreen for privatisation” (Andy Burnham in Hough 2014) .

Problems in the private sector may be covered up with their bias towards increasing its usage.

Further whilst all require lay members on committees, what is meant by “lay?” One may say with experience or somebody may say totally unconnected. Yet the same lay people tend to reappear on various committees- as Ann Ditch refers to them “shapeshifters”, and many have links to major charity or government bodies. Indeed how can a NHS trust hospital manager be defined as “lay?” Understandably people with experience on committees are required. Yet really why can’t Mr Jones who is seriously concerned about care as a member of the public or a relative, be considered? How long does it take someone to learn the functions and process of committee meetings? Are such committees in reality, aiming to keep “ordinary voices” out? On committees- if one opposes the general direction- he or she may be ousted or ignored.

Even campaigning groups established with good intentions, may become sucked up by this system, eventually keeping others out in order to maintain the overriding voice.

Committees may actually set off with good intent but reflect George Orwell Animal Farm “When pig looked from man to pig, no one could tell the difference”. Even more so with initial government links- or are they plants?

If the government is the piper, they dictate how people dance (Nightingale).

So any committee out there of campaigners or whatever they are, if you consider yourself to be truly independent, please let me know.


Hough K (2014) CCGs “A Smokescreen for Privatisation and Competition” 10.2 Background To PHSO


Nightingale N (2014)

ack Ann Ditch twitter “shapeshifters”


C Carol Dimon 2014


Dear NMC-

This is written by an experienced RGN Ann Ditch. It seems to echo the voices of many nurses, some of whom are afraid to discuss.

“Many nurses  are afraid to speak out, so we must give them a voice” Ann Ditch

Several references also support some of Ann’s statements.

This is the list  of issues  that the NMC deal with and those who I believe should deal with it.  If found to be guilty they should be  removed from the register and the registrant informed they have/are about to be removed from the register and given time to appeal;

  • dishonesty –(police)
  • patient abuse–(police)
  • lack of competence –(employer who reports for removal from the register)
  • failure to maintain adequate records–(employer who retrains and informs NMC of training and success)
  • incorrect administration of drugs–(employer who retrainsand informs NMC of training and success)
  • neglect of basic care–(is abuse police)
  • unsafe clinical practise–(employer who retrainsand informs NMC of training and success)
  • failure to collaborate with colleagues–(employer)
  • colleague abuse–(police/employer)
  • failure to report incidents – (employer)
  • failure to act in an emergency–(employer if pt suffers- police)
  • accessing pornography –(employer, police &remove from register)
  • violence –(police remove from register)

Employers are using the NMC as a whip and also reporting nurses for ridiculous reasons such as  fell asleep on night duty twice.

Nurses pay £100 a year, soon to go to £120 a year to register and come under this organisation. The NMC say they are there to “Protect the Public”, if this is the case should nurses have to pay to protect the public or should the public through taxes pay   for that protection.

It seems that many employers are using the NMC instead of disciplinary process to avoid Industrial Tribunals.

The NMC itself appears to be a kangaroo court, everyone is guilty. It seems that the case is heard at another meeting and decisions decided.  Also the number of cases heard in a month appears to have a better record than the Crown Court.

Over the last 4 months ALL cases heard are guilty but one where the NMC changed a word from ‘advised to assisted’

April     Cases 211 all guilty except 18 cases postponed or adjourned

May     Cases 225 all guilty except 28 cases postponed or adjourned

June     Cases 215 all guilty except 35 cases postponed or adjourned

July      Cases listed 198 of which 67 have been published as heard with 28 cases postponed or adjourned the rest are guilty or verdict not published

This clearly shows a kanagroo court where anyone appearing has already been found guilty or is rubber stamped guilty

Should nurses pay for this or as its to ‘protect the public’ shouldnt it be a government department and paid for out of taxes


Nurses- over to you.


Additional reading;



Leave It Till The Next Shift–

Talking to many nurses, students and care assistants in all fields, owned by all bodies eg care homes and hospitals. there are many situations that are not due to short staffing although certain bodies prefer not to speak of it…/rcn…patients-association…/5005657.article‎ 27 Aug 2009

For example, leave it till the next shift. How many feel the frustration of “Mr Brown arrived at 9am this moring “Can you (afternoon nurse) start care plan ?” Surely on admission we talk to him and check his pressure areas etc??

Or can you put the great drugs order away? A lengthy procedure, often left to nightsaff who have less staff and are often extremely busy.

Such procedures as checking the oxygen, are often left to the one who knows how to do it.

Many overseas nurses are reluctant to phone the doctor- language? Knowledge? Different systems in whatever country? ie some care homes do not use Doctors in some countries–

Weighing, doing dressings, or bathing patients are other issues. It may be documented to bath Mrs Smith but sorry, we did not have time- can you do it? Now not having time is not always the reason. Some indeed, may forget to look in the diary etc. If this occurs for days, GPs are not rung and orders not made etc.

Studying reaons for this, offers reasons for the failure to do certain aspects of care, but not excuses. For example, do many staff avoid certain tasks, or hide in the office, because they feel incapapable or fear doing something wrong? Such staff need to be able to say, how do you do this, without feeling stupid. Some may  argue it is shear laziness and wonder where the manager is in all this.

If you know any more examples- please let me know.