A world of difference.

17 03 2009

Two stories are currently dominating the news reports; Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust and Royal Bank of Scotland. Two stories of management pursuing goals deemed laudable, each receiving recognition within its own field of “success” only to have revealed the ultimate costs of those achievements.

Sir Fred Goodwin and the Board of the Royal Bank of Scotland are not the cause of the current financial “downturn”. There is no doubt that behaviour such as theirs contributed significantly to the failure of the Group and the subsequent, some would say required, major Government support of the Bank. Mr Goodwin received a knighthood, “for services to banking” and is currently involved in some discussion, shall we say, regarding the value of his pension/pay-off/ severance/reward from the company. Currently, the financial reward for his “services to banking” is to be paid probably tax free to a value that has as many digits as my mobile phone number. He has simply “retired”.

The management group of Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust strove through their actions in the three years leading up to 2008 to fulfill the Government standards regarding financial probity and clinical targets. The Trust was given the accolade of Foundation Status in recognition of its efforts in achieving those quality standards.  The “Annual Healthcare check” from the Healthcare Commision for 2007-8 can be found here. A snapshot of their performance is below.

quality-of-care

Impressive eh?

Today, it is being widely reported that the Health Commision has found that the management pursuit and achievement of their stated goals was at the expense of clinical care. During this same three year period it is reported that there has been significant failures of management and clinical governance lead to unnecessary suffering and a significant number of deaths. How exactly this fits with the report issued last year is open to conjecture.

I’m sure we’re all pleased to hear that the senior managers of this Foundation Trust have “retired” too.

There’s so much I feel about this whole situation and its wider context that just breaks my heart.  Perhaps leaving it unsaid speaks louder than any words.

silence

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2 responses

19 03 2009
Graeme

Certainly agree with the sentiments but the stories are different in some key respects. I’m guessing one has more to do with narcissism and absolute power and the other to do with pressures placed on managers and their lack of power.

19 03 2009
inseiffolliet

the humorous response is to say yes, one has to do with narcissism and absolute power and the other was in Banking.

Actually, I disagree however that the two are different. Both were pursing goals believed acceptable, both were credited by their peer groups with achieved, “measured” status and now the costs of those achievements is now considered unacceptable, but only on close scrutiny and in retrospect.

the decisions to lead the hospital in this way it was were apparently taken at the very highest level and sadly, “narcisissm and absolute power” may be more involved than we would like to think. If you consider the accomplished strategic aim of the Trust was to achieve Foundation Trust status, the cost of that was considered acceptable. That is what is so upsetting.

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