According to a recent Guardian article, investigations into poor patient care have been cited as appalling and inadequate, and have let down numerous patients – a worrying sign that lessons have not been learnt from recent hospital scandals.

According to a recent Guardian article, investigations into poor patient care have been cited as appalling and inadequate, and have let down numerous patients – a worrying sign that lessons have not been learnt from recent hospital scandals. Tens of thousands of people each year fail to report failings by the NHS as they have no faith in the system and believe that complaining makes no difference.

Yet in cases where organisations and trusts have been held accountable and put in special measures as a response to failings, experts say the action has saved hundreds of lives. An article in the Independent hows the effects that the drastic measures, including assigning new managers, undertaking recruitment drives and appointing hundreds of new medical staff have had in improving standards for patient safety.

But more needs to be done. Recommended solutions include a complete overhaul of the complaints system to ensure that every incident is fully investigated. However, simply calling for everything to be restarted from scratch is not the answer. Of course we agree that all incidents should be investigated and learnt from but this approach fails to tackle the issue at the heart of the matter.

Instead, a change in attitudes is required, as set out by this article by The Telegraph which calls for reform to end the ‘cover- up’ culture within the NHS. Importantly, the drive behind this must not be to create a culture of blame but to prevent the same mistakes from ever happening again. Greater accountability and scrutiny would tackle the problem head on.

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In the same vein, re-examining the treatment of whistle-blowers in the health and social care sector is also of paramount importance. In extreme cases whistle-blowers face losing their jobs or being ostracized, and many others are simply ignored. Instead this should be an effective way to ensure a high standard of care for patients and encourage experts in the area to voice concerns.

This would go a long way to help improve patient confidence in the sector – something that has suffered blow after blow in the wake of multiple recent scandals. Encouraging whistle-blowers and listening to employee concerns would show that the industry has nothing to hide and is committed to improving the quality of service while learning from past mistakes.