The healthcare scandal at Vale of Leven is the latest in a series that has rocked the UK in recent years. Unfortunately, it may not be the last time that staff in the caring professions are found to have fallen short of the standards expected of them.
Psychological theory helps us to understand why this can happen and can help in the prevention of harm to users of healthcare services – for example, by identifying the personal characteristics of good leaders and finding ways to improve staff morale, engagement and responsibility, particularly at times of major organisational change.
Lord MacLean’s findings note that inadequacies in care cannot be explained by staffing levels or skills mix alone, but there was a failure to adhere to effective protocols of infection prevention.
The conclusion must be that strong leaders, and well-supported staff, all with the appropriate skills and experience, are a prerequisite to safeguard patient wellbeing.
(Dr) Ruth Stocks
Chair, British Psychological Society Division of Clinical Psychology (Scotland)