Excuse culture

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When I began my nurse training in an asylum in 1979, physical abuse of patients was virtually institutional, but senior nurses explained it away with the “blame culture”.

Thirty-five years later and we still have repeated reports of physical abuse and neglect of patients and yet again the “blame culture” excuse is revived.

The NHS does not suffer from a blame culture. Witness the tardiness with which the Nursing and Midwifery Council investigated nurses involved in the Mid Staffordshire scandal. It suffers from an “excuse culture”.

The reason why the paedophile scandal persisted in the Roman Catholic Church was because it chose to focus on the needs of priests and the institution of the Church rather than the needs of the abused children.

Similarly, with the scandals in the NHS, rather than focus on the needs of NHS staff and NHS institutions, the government needs to focus on the needs of abused and neglected patients.

Patient neglect and abuse persists partially because the NHS has a monopoly on patient care in Britain. Patient care would improve if patients could simply say: “I am tired with being neglected and abused in hospital A. I am taking my custom, and hence funding, to hospital B.”

Within the NHS, “accountability” and “responsibility” have become four-letter words.

Neil Sinclair

Clarence Street

Edinburgh