29 August 2010

Stafford extended matching quiz

A little quiz about concerns raised or not about mid-Staffs. Quotes are all from spring/summer 2009. Match the quote to its author:

A) Baroness Young of Old Scone, then The Chairman of the Care Quality Commission

B) Mr Howard Catton, RCN spokesman, to Health Select Committee

C) Dr. David Colin-Thome, Government Primary Care Czar and former Labour Party Candidate

D) Rt. Hon Alan Johnson MP, then Secretary of State for Health and a former trade union leader

E) Dr. Peter Daggett, Consultant Physician,Stafford, to Health Select Committee.

1) "I do not understand why clinicians whose primary role is the safety of their patients are somehow concerned about whistleblowing. Indeed, knowing the number of people in various occupations who are not slow to make people aware of such difficulties, it amazes me that that did not happen at Stafford.”

2)"...between 2005 and 2008 we believe there is in the region of 500 or so incident or accident forms. There was a particular period at the end of 2007 where there were about 200 within a six month period. The concern which has been reported back to us is that people felt those incident forms were going into a black hole or into a waste paper basket. There is one example which was reported to us where a nurse said she did see an incident form in a senior manager's waste paper basket.”

3)“To have no individual clinicians systematically raising concerns is also uncommon and to me hugely disappointing.”

4)"We need to create a culture where doctors are obliged to challenge each other. It is not happening everywhere at the moment. There is a silence among professionals"

5) “I and my colleagues have been raising concerns with management at all levels for some considerable time and certainly around 2006 when I think the present problems arose."

09 August 2010

A press release says it all

08th August 2010

The General Medical Council (GMC) has cleared sacked diabetes consultant Dr Shirine Boardman of any wrong-doing – two years after Warwick Hospital dramatically sacked her in July 2008. That means the truth of what happened can now be told.

Dr Boardman did not transfer medical records to any external organisation, as South Warwickshire Hospital Trust claimed. There was no breach of patient confidentiality, no involvement whatsoever of any “company”, and Dr Boardman did not break any NHS rules.

The facts are that she faxed a list of names and contact details of diabetes patients to her NHS secretary at the NHS clinic called Apnee Sehat. No medical details were included with the list.

The Apnee Sehat clinic was a pilot clinical service provided by Warwickshire Primary Care Trust. It was not an “external organisation” as the hospital claimed. It was not a private or “public benefit” company and Dr Boardman was not a director.

She gave the list to her medical secretary – who was subject to all NHS rules on confidentiality – so that these patients could be invited to take part in a special education programme designed to help them manage their diabetes and prevent serious complications such as heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and blindness. She was a doctor doing her best for her patients.

Dr Boardman was acting in accordance with official NHS and National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance, which both recommend this sort of patient education as essential healthcare. There was a statutory duty on all NHS bodies, including Warwick Hospital, to provide this healthcare education for their diabetes patients, but the hospital failed to do so.

The Hospital Trust complained that Dr Boardman had ignored: “explicit, repeated and consistent advice” not to share information with Apnee Sehat. But the GMC now admits that she: “complied with all the conditions set out by the Trust”.

“Dr Boardman’s motives seem to have been solely to benefit patients,” they added.

Many of the country’s most senior experts have been horrified by the action taken against Dr Boardman, among them Peter Bottomley, a senior backbench Conservative MP. Dr Boardman has recently been working at a hospital in his constituency. He has been following the case closely and raised it in Parliament. He said:

“This project should have been helped, not hindered. The individuals who were behind the complaint should now be questioned, and if judged appropriate, they and their Trust asked to account for their actions.

“Otherwise the Health Secretary should ask for a review of their actions.”

Lord Crisp, as Sir Nigel Crisp, was the NHS chief executive and Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health when the first, voluntary Apnee Sehat project started some years previously. He said:

"I was very impressed by the work Dr. Boardman did in creating Apnee Sehat. It was just the kind of thing that we wanted to see in the NHS and I was shocked that the Trust allowed this to develop to the point where they dismissed a forward thinking and committed Consultant who was clearly making a difference for patients locally."

Dr Sue Roberts CBE was the government’s leading expert in diabetes – the tsar – at the time the Apnee Sehat clinic was operating. She said:

“As the National Clinical Director for Diabetes at the time this took place, I would have expected the clinical and managerial staff of South Warwickshire NHS Trust to have welcomed the chance for their patients to be offered an opportunity to attend the course provided by the Apnee Sehat clinic.

“The dismissal of Dr Boardman was fundamentally unreasonable in that it disregarded good medical practice in the treatment of diabetes.”

Dr Boardman is understandably relieved by the GMC decision. She said:

“I am thankful this nightmare is finally behind me and my innocence has been proven.

“It came as a complete shock when my efforts to provide culturally appropriate patient education in the community was seen as gross misconduct and led to my dismissal.

“I can now continue with my career with my credibility intact, and would like to thank everyone who has believed in my innocence and supported me through this terrible period of my life.”

Dr. Boardman had previously been awarded four clinical excellence awards by the Trust for going above and beyond her contractual duties to help patients. She has continued working since her dismissal from Warwick as a Consultant Physician in other hospitals.

08 August 2010

The virtue of chastity

It's Sunday so perhaps it is appropriate that it was today that Dr Grumble came across something a patient was wearing that he has never noticed before. It was a red and white cord tied around the middle of a lady he needed to examine. Curious, Dr Grumble asked the patient what it was. It was a St Philomena Cord.

The cord provides marvellous protection against many mishaps. It seems particularly good at safeguarding the virtue of chastity. Had it been effective for Dr Grumble's patient? Ignorant as to the benefits of wearing the cord, Dr G didn't ask.

There's always something new to learn in this job.