Relatives of patients unhappy with treatment their loved ones received had a meeting with some of hospital staff in Bury, north Manchester, UK. You can watch on BBC TV report if you click on image on the left. The report starts at 03.40 minutes into the program.
It is clear that things are no longer like they used to be and that relatives are better organized having suffered for many years stonewalling from officialdom.
It is known that some relatives had to face immeasurable amount of obstacles on their way to get any real explanation and justice for what happened to them in UK, in general.
At the same time, in UK, some of the best doctors were persecuted by their colleagues and management if they attempted improvements in health care and were perceived as critical of anything, really that matters. They were subjected to sham peer reviews before medical regulatory body. Some doctors were financially ruined.
The fact that meeting happened in Manchester reminded me of some aspects of my case because of its connection with a Manchester academic. I was working as a locum consultant in NHS hospital when my junior asked if I would be giving her educational supervision as the consultant she normally worked for was on leave (allegedly sick leave). I have done supervision for many years and when is substantive NHS posts it was automatically accepted that it was my duty to do it. However, as a locum and irrespective of the fact I had years of experience, I had to be approved by the The Royal College of Psychiatrists and the local tutor had to call them and make arrangements for the recognition. This was too much for him.
This process for locum consultants had to be repeated each time job was changed even if it was every couple of months.
Within a couple of weeks there was an accreditation visit by the Royal College of Psychiatrists were I explained that there was discrimination but nobody wanted to hear it or take any constructive action on it. When the scheme got negative marks there was reprisal before the regulatory body and their endless requests for sham peer review.
It is true that huge sums of money were invested in building better looking new hospitals and that there has been significant and obvious improvement under Labour Government in that respect. However, buildings need people to work in them in the best interests of patients and public.
Relatives do care about their loved ones and have valuable contributions to make at every stage of illness in most cases. Enormous savings can be made to tax payer by clever clinicians who know how to collaborate with families. The hospital admission rate is halved thanks to family work for some conditions e.g. in mental health.
When things go wrong as they did in Manchester, it is not possible for most people to take legal action for hospital negligence or incompetence. Years of chronic grief reaction in the state of dependency on the state system of care is not good.
I believe that necessary reforms will take place and that eventually people in England would have to accept that it is up to them really what they support and for what reasons. Sometimes, people fear changes and react with anger to proposals out of sense of inadequacy such as: there is no way that private care would work for me, I am poor. However, in different countries things work better because the arrangements between private companies and state deliver what is necessary and of higher quality.