Uncomfortable reading for NHS chiefs

Written by Tom Freeman on 10 July 2015

“These are hard-hitting recommendations and will make uncomfortable reading for many managers and leaders in our health service,” said Royal College of Nursing Scotland Director Theresa Fyffe in reference to this morning’s report by the Royal Colleges on ‘systemic failings’ in the NHS.

It’s hard not to agree, as the report certainly doesn’t pull any punches, and makes 20 major recommendations for improvement, including better use of external assessments.

Leaders at health boards will find the report particularly uncomfortable.


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“A supportive, listening environment must be created to produce a culture which instils confidence in staff, patients and relatives and in which innovation is encouraged,” it recommends, which begs the question why, after the high-profile inquiries of recent years, that isn’t happening already.

However Ian Ritchie, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges & Faculties in Scotland said the purpose of the report was not to proportion blame to specific individuals or organisations.

“While recognising that a range of quality improvement work has been undertaken since the publication of the reports, we believe that much work remains to be done to improve the quality of care in Scotland. We recognise that as professionals we have a responsibility to do more to prevent further failings in care and we have accepted all of the recommendations in this valuable report. However, this cannot be done by any one group. Clinical staff and management must work more effectively together as teams. They must also be supported in doing so by ending the focus on inappropriate targets and making quality of care our over-riding priority,” he said.

You can read the Scottish Government's clinical director of healthcare Professor Jason Leitch’s response to the report here


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Tom Freeman



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