Posted by: John Brace | 26th November 2018

Why are people trying to silence doctors on the subject of patient safety?

Why are people trying to silence doctors on the subject of patient safety?

                                    

Dr Mantgani talking to the Adult Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Wirral Council) 12th November 2018 about the Urgent Care Review consultation

Dr Mantgani (centre, foreground) talking to the Adult Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Wirral Council) 12th November 2018 about the Walk In Centres and Minor Injuries Units closure consultation

I’ll start this blog post today unusually with a quote from a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, uttered by Patrick Stewart playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard,

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Star Trek TNG: Series 4 Episode 21 The Drumhead

“With the first link, the chain is forged, the first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably. Those words were uttered by Judge Aaron Satie, as wisdom and warning.”
 

Those are words which will resonate with many whistleblowers and indeed last week I wrote not just one but two pieces about an ongoing Employment Tribunal about a doctor who blew the whistle on patient safety and was told she was not allowed to speak.

On Tuesday, councillors on Wirral Council’s Adult Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee are reviewing a decision by the Joint Strategic Commissioning Board (a joint committee of Wirral Council and Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group) to pool budgets of Wirral Council and the Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group.

It would be fair to say that following the Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group’s decision to ignore the recommendation of the majority of councillors on the Adult Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee to end the Walk-In Centre Closure consultation that relationships between Wirral Council and the Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group are somewhat strained.

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Adult Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Wirral Council) 12th November 2018 Pt 16 of 19

Going back to what I started this piece about on the subject of raising concerns about patient safety. At a recent well attended public meeting Dr Mantgani during the meeting who was also raising concerns about patient safety was also told to keep quiet. Dr Mantgani was the Wirral CCG’s former Chief Clinical Officer but left in 2014 receiving £56,000 in lieu of six months notice. A Capability and Governance Review carried out by John Bewick OBE and published in August 2014 following concerns raised with NHS England recommended external intervention in how the Wirral CCG was run including in the delivery of accident and emergency and urgent care.

Responding to the points raised in this article, Dr Mantgani wrote,

“The payment I received was in lieu of notice which I was entitled. The Bewick review exonerated me of any wrong doing and recognised that I made every effort to address issues but was unable to succeed due to breakdown in personal relationship with the [former] hospital CEO and differences in how to address the problems with the then Chair of CCG Dr Phil Jennings.

The fundamental issue was that I was reluctant to divert all resources to keep a failing hospital propped up at the cost of community services which is what Dr Jennings wanted to do.

Four years on, the issues are the same.”

 

NHS England recently in August 2018 used its formal legal powers of “directions” to Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group. Directions can only be issued if NHS England is satisfied that (a) a clinical commissioning group is failing or has failed to discharge any of its functions, or (b) there is a significant risk that a clinical commissioning group will fail to do so.

Controversial proposed changes in the NHS made for mainly financial reasons have been opposed by protest groups such as Defend Our NHS.

The problems faced by Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group over governance have been well documented over the years by the local media, but now with national intervention and a deterioration in its relationship with local councillors after their recommendation was rebuffed, political matters will reach a stage where the individuals involved will have to consider whether creative leadership is required to find a way through or whether the best option is to leave it to other individuals.

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Responses

  1. Wirral has far too many commissoning groups with far too long winded names, just keep it simple.
    Maybe we should shut all these places down and when people start dying the Government might get off its backside and do something about Wirral Council once and for all, but then again there just as bad?

    • When there was the 1918 flu pandemic that killed an estimated 228,000 people in the UK (or around 1 in 150 people dropping dead) and around 50 million globally the response from officialdom at the time was to make sure reporting of it was kept to a minimum to prevent public panic.

      Offialdom didn’t know what to do really, just that they didn’t want people to start panicking!


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