Posted by: Witch Doctor | February 9, 2013

Staffordshire : Lack of accountability “absolutely outrageous”


The Public Inquiry on Mid-Staffordshire has been published.

Apparently Jeremy Hunt has said it was “absolutely outrageous” that no-one has been brought to account for the premature deaths of up to 1,200 people in Mid Staffordshire.

The Witch Doctor agrees. After all, in Mid Staffordshire it is likely that mal-practice accounted for more un-necessary or premature deaths of UK patients than the combined total of UK troops killed in Iraq (179) and Afghanistan (440 to date).

The diagnosis of “Systemic Failure” or even “Corporate Manslaughter” is just not good enough. The accountability of the individuals concerned in the death and suffering of each patient is essential, not only to give closure to relatives but to protect other patients and to change the whole culture of the NHS to something that, in the future, is not only safe but world class.

It may well be that the overall neglect and mal-practice on this scale was driven by some type of corporate / systemic / cultural failure, but for every individual patient there will be a pathway of accountability. Sometimes, these “pathways” may lead to the very top of the NHS organisation and even to government. But you can be sure of this : a “pathway” there will be for each and every patient who died and the many more who suffered un-necessarily. The “pathway” will be different for each patient and so different individuals will be involved. It is likely though, that the same names will begin to appear the further along the “pathway” is travelled as those, whose job it is to hold overall accountablity, emerge.

After all, “pathway” is part of the current jargon in the NHS just now. There are “pathways” for everything. Sometimes these pathways are helpful. Sometimes they are stupid. Sometimes they are downright dangerous.

However, it seems to the Witch Doctor that the “Pathway of Accountability” is the most important of all. This Pathway is being fudged now and this has been the case within the NHS for many years. Little by little the `Pathway of Accountability” has become overgrown – first with weeds like nettles, dandelions and fireweed followed by fast growing bushes and ultimately towering trees. This Pathway of Accountability is now unrecognisable and many patients and staff no longer know it ever existed.

The seeds of these weeds were sown intentionally by governments along the course of “The Pathway of Accountability” They were allowed to germinate, become saplings and slowly grow over many years – so slowly that few noticed. However, Black Cats and Witches have beady eyes. They noticed the beginnings of the gradual overgrowth  way back in 1984.

It is time the most important pathway of all (indeed perhaps the only necessary pathway) was tackled. What is now turning into a forest needs to be hacked down and this, “The Pathway of Accountability,” cleared.

In order the expose “The Pathway of Accountability” the police need to investigate the deaths of these individual patients.

It will be a huge task, it will be expensive, and there will be much anguish, but it has to be done.


  1. Ah! But they were just doing what central GOVT. policy aimed! Oh! You mean they were too good at following targets & policy? Or they were found out. Martin Yeates and Cyncia Bower will never be prosecute; but doctors… y be.

  2. Yes, doctors, and nurses too, are very vulnerable when they allow themselves to become convenient servants of the state, and some may well be prosecuted. It will be a wake-up call for all doctors if some are jailed. A true professional cannot expect to be able to wriggle out of their responsibility for the individual patients in their care. CEOs etc, by nature of their contracts, ARE servants of the state and they will be sacked if they do not do what the state requires. If the state emphasizes financial targets more than say staffing ratios and the medical staff do not challenge this with sufficient gusto, then politicians will say “I am not a doctor, you are. You should have told us we were getting it wrong.”

  3. I wish I had the confidence that something would actually be done to address the culture that created it and that the Francis report isn’t just going to be used as a reason for more privatisation; ie more of the same. Let’s see..

  4. More privatisation may well be the governments chosen “pathway” in an aim to correct these problems till they discover that cheap labour (or no labour) replacing professionals doesn’t work. Revalidating everyone and anyone as well as doctors will be another “pathway” that will be “rolled out.” This benefits the private sector also at taxpayers expense as more business consultants market their wares in order to “help prevent another “Staffordshire”

    The Business Intelligence Specialists are already in there helping the “Responsible Officers”

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