BMA press releases archive

BMA Press Release : New NHS culture needed to prevent another ‘Mid-Staffs', says BMA

(issued Wednesday 06 Feb 2013)

For immediate release: Wednesday 6 February 2013

New NHS culture needed to prevent another ‘Mid-Staffs’, says BMA

The BMA will do all it can to work with others in developing a new culture in the NHS to prevent similar catastrophes happening in future.  This was the BMA’s pledge following the publication today (6/2/13) of the public inquiry report from Robert Francis QC into events at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.

BMA Chair of Council, Dr Mark Porter, has today expressed great sadness on reading the inquiry report. He said:

“I have been profoundly disturbed and saddened to hear again how a series of failures at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust resulted in such tragedy for so many patients and their families.  The accounts of appalling and unnecessary suffering are truly shocking.

“It is not enough to say that lessons must be learnt.  It is essential that we all - politicians, NHS organisations, doctors, managers, nurses, and patient groups - work together to develop a different kind of health service where the system will not tolerate poor quality of care.”

The BMA will need to reflect on and consider the findings of this report and respond in detail to specific recommendations.  However, Dr Porter emphasised the urgent need to develop a new culture. He said:

“We must urgently develop a new culture - everyone working in the health service must play their part, and be allowed to play their part, in practising zero tolerance to poor and dangerous care.

“As with every other area in life, providing healthcare is not risk-free and it never will be; the art and science of medicine is in balancing those risks.  But we must create an urgent shift towards a more open and transparent approach that values learning from mistakes and puts the patient experience at the centre of our thoughts and reflections. We need good systems and data to enable clinical teams to spot problems early on – and make things better. 

“Despite all the regulations and guidance to help staff raise concerns, a climate of fear, bullying and harassment can stop clinicians from speaking out.  

“Unless and until medical staff and management jointly promote the ethos that raising concerns is not only acceptable but a positive thing, the shadow of Mid Staffs will put us all into darkness. Doctors, along with other clinical staff, have a professional responsibility to show leadership in helping to change this culture.  We must no longer accept the attitude that it is someone else’s job to worry about. 

“A system obsessed with top-down targets leads to extreme pressure and a bullying culture, and there is a risk that basic clinical care is lost sight of in the race to meet deadlines.  There are other ways to raise performance levels including a focus on clinical leadership and partnership to help foster a system-wide approach.”


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