David Blackburn

Lansley’s NHS revolution

Lansley's NHS revolution
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Round n in the transparency revolution: Andrew Lansley has welcomed the publication of the latest Dr Foster hospital list, detailing post-operative failures in NHS care. The Observer reports:

1) Almost 10,000 patients suffered an accidental puncture or laceration.

2) More than 2,000 had post-operative intestinal bleeding.

3) More than 13,000 mothers suffered an obstetric tear while giving birth.

4) Some 30,500 patients developed a blood clot.

5) 1,300 patients contracted blood poisoning after surgery.

Despite record investment and targets for standards, the NHS still suffers setbacks in the mundane that have severe consequences - according to the report, several hospitals have 'dangerously high death rates'.

A defender of the NHS’ fundamental structure, Lansley believes these figures and the Staffordshire scandal are met with gasped shock because the NHS hides the information, cover-up mistakes and insulate incompetence. He, therefore, is convinced that transparency will improve standards. He told the Observer and Andrew Marr that he intends to break the ‘culture of blame and secrecy in the NHS that can compound the initial mistake and stop lessons being learned.’

So, hospitals will have to publish this information, the public will have to digest it, bureaucrats will raise their game. And all the while the minister (or rather Whitehall) consolidates. Hospitals will collate this information at his behest and their findings will land on his desk. Having read them, he will determine payment to hospitals because the 'payment system will be linked to the result of treatments...to improve the quality of care'. And then he will make decrees – such as that government will crackdown on cigarette and alcohol sales. If you’ll excuse the flippancy, the smoker doesn’t enter the equation.