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The report by Robert Francis QC into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust makes disturbing reading. Not just in the basic lack of care which was provided to patients, nor in the failure of monitoring bodies to identify harmful practices, but also in the way in which leaders were more concerned with meeting targets than in providing a service.
Those with some time to spare would do well to read the report* as it contains lessons not only for those working within the NHS but also for everyone within the wider business sphere. Recommendations include instilling a culture of care, ethics, openness and transparency. Robert Francis also recommends a leadership staff college which amongst other aims should “serve the role of reinforcing the required culture through shared experience.”
When reading Robert Francis’ comments we were struck by the similarities between this report and earlier reports into failings in the banks and at the BBC. When silo mentalities, target driven cultures and cost/profit considerations take precedence over producing a high quality outcome then it is the customers and the employees who suffer first long before the organisation fails.
We conclude with part of Robert Francis’s summary as he presented his report. Aimed at the NHS in general his words should be a lesson for all organisations.
“People must always come before numbers. Individual patients and their treatment are what really matters. Statistics, benchmarks and action plans are tools not ends in themselves. They should not come before patients and their experiences. This is what must be remembered by all those who design and implement policy for the NHS.”