Mid-Staffordshire: Why the police investigation must not target powerless NHS workers

Labour was in government during the period in which the Mid–Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust presided over the abuse and neglect of thousands of patients, leading to many deaths.

Labour was in government during the period in which the Mid–Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust presided over the abuse and neglect of thousands of patients, leading to many deaths.

Now, a police investigation has been launched to review between 200 – 300 deaths at the Trust, where there are clear indications of abuse and neglect.

The scope for bringing criminal charges will also form part of the police review.

The publication of the report of the Francis Inquiry earlier this year found failings by the bodies charged with oversight and monitoring responsibilities and inadequate responses to the many complaints of patients and their families.

Jeremy Hunt made it clear in his comments earlier this year that he would like to see nurses, doctors and managers face criminal prosecution, noticeably leaving out MPs, Monitor, the NHS regulator, also cited by Robert Francis QC as having failed to protect patients.

It’s not hard to imagine that nursing staff, among the most disenfranchised NHS workers, are very likely to find themselves in the frontline for investigation. Working for years under extremely poor conditions, nurses at the Trust felt their voices were ignored.

Cruelty, neglect and abuse cannot be excused but can be explained. It can certainly be prevented by a well-resourced and supported teams of care professionals.

Tory MP Charlotte Leslie has not wasted any time in seeking to opportunistically score political points by calling for the tentacles of the police investigation to reach into the former Department of Health (DH), and look at the actions of the former Labour government.

It is to be assumed that Ms Leslie will similarly call for police investigation of Tory and Lib Dem politicians as part of the current NHS investigation into an excess 3000 deaths in 14 NHS trusts since 2010.

The Tories will undoubtedly seek to gain political capital out of this investigation. Overworked frontline workers and junior/middle managers may disproportionately face criminal sanctions.

However most important are the victims who were at the bottom of this pitiful pile. Mostly elderly, disempowered and vulnerable, this is an opportunity for justice for those harmed and those still suffering.

This move must be supported, but the police investigation must be independent, transparent, balanced, and above all not be stained by Jeremy Hunt’s determination to gain a few votes for his Party.

6 Responses to “Mid-Staffordshire: Why the police investigation must not target powerless NHS workers”

  1. Sparky

    Let’s take an analogy. Harold Shopman murdered 250 patients. Was he a ‘powerless’ NHS worker’? There were failures by the overseeing authorities to pick that up. Does that mean that Shipman shouldn’t have been investigated? Does it mean that Shipman should only have been investigated if we also investigate the overseeing bodies? Hardly.

    Notice how Ms Tomlinson’s article carries one of the fundamental strains of socialism that you will read over and over again on these pages: ‘ordinary’ working people are never to blame for anything, and are absolved from all personal responsibility, whilst ‘fat cat’ managers and immoral, overpaid men in suits are the cause of all the world’s problems.

    I wonder if Ms Tomlinson’s mother was left writhing in agony in her own feces and left to drink from a vase by nursing staff, whether she’d maintain such a naive, juvenile view of society.

  2. Frank William Robinson

    Our son John died as result of the failures at Mid-Staffs all we have been asking for for the past seven years is the truth and for justce to be done.

  3. blarg1987

    Think you will fidn that is different kettle of fish altogeather, the point that is being raised here is that usually in cases like this those who advocate policy in the first place escape scott free thinking everything is hunky dory and it is the people who are on the ground who are at fault.

    It would be me telling you to buy a large jar of milk and then feed it to the cat, however I only give you 50p and the milk is £1. The cat dies in my view I did nothing wrong as i gave you the mony it is you who is at fault and so should be prosecuted.

    That is the problem and concerns with the system that this article is raising.

  4. Cole

    So it wasn’t a management failure at all? I suppose it was just a bunch of psychotic nurses. I suppose we can”t criticise the chaps in charge. That’s ‘socialism.

  5. Sparky

    It was both a management and a clinical failure. All parties should be brought to account. That includes nurses.

  6. Tubby_Isaacs

    Sparky, just seen this now.

    There’s no mention of people drinking from vases in the very detailed Francis Report.

    I believe it comes from Julie Bailey, and it seems like Francis (who took evidence from her) disregarded it.

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