Mass Murder in Kent

People have probably seen the shocking reports from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust. At least 90 elderly patients died as a direct result of C.difficile, while the infection was definitely a contributing factor in the deaths of a further 124, and a probable factor in another 55. This is nothing short of mass murder.

Patients were left lying in their own excrement, and were told by staff to soil their beds because there were not enough nursing staff or health care assistants to take them to the toilet or fetch them bed pans. The hospital was filthy, because management had cut down on cleaners. Beds were a few inches apart – saving money, because fewer wards were needed, but leading to a lethal spread of infection.

The Board was said by the Healthcare Commission to have been ‘preoccupied with finance’. The same preoccupation existed at Stoke Mandeville, where 30 patients died of C. difficile. They were also prioritising ‘targets’ over care.

Kent police are now looking to prosecute senior managers for manslaughter. Few of us will have a great deal of sympathy for NHS managers who consign patients to death in order to meet financial targets.

However, let’s be clear about the real culprits.

Here’s a quote from the Guardian, in November 2005 – the time when patients were dying at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells:Patricia Hewitt has ordered a winter round of NHS cuts to eliminate the deficit of up to £700m being forecast this year by hospitals and NHS trusts across England. The Guardian has learned that the Department of Health is imposing a policy of zero tolerance to overspending on NHS trusts. The cuts will hit hospitals at the worst possible time…

It’s fine to put the Chief Executive of the Trust in the dock – but she should be joined by Hewitt, Blair and Brown. When you order cuts in NHS spending, people die. It’s that simple.

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One Response to Mass Murder in Kent

  1. nhsiskillingus says:

    What a load of clap trap! Where were your colleagues???? Why don’t you mention the doctors and nurses in your rant? Had they been bound and gaged and put in a closet? I notice from your blog that Unison and Unite along with their members, are not backwards in coming forward about “give me more money”. My Grandmother died in that hospital and it wasn’t Tony Blair, Patricia Hewitt, the CEO or any of the other offenders that you and your Union like to blame for the death of my Grandmother, it is Unison, Unite, and the money grubbers who are active in those unions and constantly keep their membership away from ANY responsibility for the current state of the health system. They are the reason staff are lazy, uncaring, and unprofessional because they give them permission. You weren’t there, I was. Staff were rude, not because they were overworked but because they were arrogant. They spent hours on tea breaks, standing around nurses stations talking about relationships and fashion, and would occasionally attempt to do their job. It was that behavior that killed all those people. No one forced them to relinquish their responsibility. T The unions however made them feel like they would be allowed to, and papers like the Guardian who’s widest readership are the public sector workforce, are not going to bite the hand that feeds them so they are happy to blame a politician. It sells more papers and keeps readership and is easier than blaming the real culprits, the staff.

    I have written comments on several sites like this and they have never been allowed on, but I hope you read this and at least think about people like myself who are harmed by your intransigent stance around making your colleagues responsible for their own actions.

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