Do you recognise that quote?
It’s the quote that is often trollied out when someone dies at the hands of the state; usually preceded by the words a Police/NHS/DWP (delete as applicable) spokesperson says …
As some of you may know, I was a nurse in the 80’s and it upsets me so much when I see what this tory government are doing to the NHS.
We all know the tories are champing at the bit to privatise the NHS; they underfund it, they get their media mouthpeices (the Daily Mail and the Sun) to print lurid details of NHS failures and then … they hand it over to the private sector.
It’s happening already.
“they’re not really the NHS mate. They’re a business that doesn’t care about people”
The above is a quote from Dr Sara Ryan whose son, Connor Sparrowhawk was 18 years old when he died on 4 July 2013.
With kind permission from Sara, here are the *
tragic entirely preventable details of his death;
Connor had autism, a learning disability and epilepsy.
He had been found submerged in the bath on the Short Term Assessment and Treatment Team (STATT) Unit, an Assessment and Treatment Unit for individuals with learning disabilities run by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.
A post-mortem report concluded that Connor had drowned as a result of an epileptic seizure.
He had been on the STATT unit for 107 days at the time of his death.
Sara regularly wrote on her blog about the way she and her family were treated following the death of Connor; Southern Health, rather than expend their energies on getting to the bottom of the reason for Connors death and making sure that it never happens again decided to effectively put Sara under surveillance … (Connor has been referred to as SU in the memo below which means service user. LB relates to Laughing Boy – Connors nickname)
More information about the inspirational Sara and her amazing son can be found here …
My theory is this, the NHS is not being undermined by the doctors and nurses, who for the most part do a great job. It is being undermined by the inadequate funding of specific areas of the NHS such as the learning disabled and those with mental health issues.
The training and management of doctors and nurses (in particular) also needs to be looked at.
When I was training to be a nurse, we completed classroom based training on anatomy and physiology and basic nursing care for 6 to 8 weeks.
We were then put to work (in an apprentice style scenario) on a geriatric ward (or care of the elderly, I think they now call it) for 3 months.
The thinking behind this was, that if you could get through 3 months nursing on a geriatric ward and come out relatively unscathed you’d probably make a good nurse!
Subsequently, each period of classroom based training on specific disciplines such as medicine, surgery, obstetrics, psychiatry, were then followed by a 3 month ward based secondment, interspersed with various written and practical assessments.
Nowadays, nurses undertake a degree course at university and are very often not let loose on the wards until towards the end of their course and I’m sorry to say that some of these nurses think that dealing with blood, vomit, urine and other bodily fluids is beneath them.
In my day, the matron was in charge and she was firmly on the side of the patients. She (they usually were shes in those times as nursing was a predominately female orientated profession) made sure that every aspect of their well being was attended to.
Those in charge of NHS trusts very often have no medical or nursing qualifications. I’m sorry but being in charge of Sainsburys or whatever is not the same as being in charge of a NHS trust. Their inflated salaries should be reduced with the subsequent savings being fairly distributed within the NHS services.
So, I suppose I’m saying that the engineering process devised by the tory government is an exercise in propaganda so that the public say “maybe the government are right, maybe it is better to privatise the NHS”
The government don’t care that their failed policies have led to the death of people like Connor.
They want the NHS privatised so that private health companies ( which many MPs have interests in) can make lots of profit on the backs of the ill, vulnerable and disabled.
The death of Saras’ son is a salutary lesson to this government and the lesson that MUST be learned is PEOPLE BEFORE PROFIT
*UPDATE – Dear readers, please see the comment from Kara2008 below.
She is quite right, tragic is not the right word to use in the context of a negligent action and I am more than happy to amend that word to something more appropriate.