Valerie speaks on NHS Accountability and Transparency

On Thursday 14 March 2013, Valerie spoke in a Backbench Business debate on the accountability and transparency in the NHS.

Valerie said:

“The Budget of the NHS for 2012/13 is £108.9 billion and NHS England Employs 1.35 million people, just under half of which are clinically qualified. It is clear that accountability needs to be at the heart of the NHS.for those who work in it, use it and who fund it.”

“In just 18 days the NHS Commissioning Board becomes the conduit of public health care in the UK. But the regulations that will impact on the procurement and competition within the NHS were signed off by Lord Howe who is not accountable to the House of Commons. These regulations have since been reviewed and updated, but in their original form they would have forced NHS contracts to be tendered out, even if this compromised patient care and the provision of an integrated service.”

“The Health Select Committee in a 2011 report on complaints and litigation reached similar conclusions and recommendations as the Francis Report. The Committee called for a ‘Duty of Candour’ for everyone who works in the NHS. The cost of litigation fees for the NHS has now reached £1.3 billion. It is right that people have redress from negligence but we must look at why costs are rising.”

“ There is no place in the NHS for gagging clauses. Whistleblowers should not be driven out of their jobs when they want to raise issues of patients’ safety. The publication of complaints data should be obligatory for all care providers including foundation trusts and private providers with NHS contracts. We need to move away from the blame and victim culture and reduce the emphasis on retraining and risk management. Private providers should be subject to Freedom of Information requests so they can be held as accountable as NHS providers.”

“Accountability needs to be enshrined for patients at board level. In a meeting with the Chief Executive of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, I was told how doctors, nurses and managers need to be on an equal footing, and there should be no gap between board and ward. In the RNOH, every ward gets rolling visits from board members and the Chief Executive.”

“I outlined some positive aspects as a way of moving forward that will enshrine an accountable and transparent, unique NHS and help it remain one of the best healthcare system in the world.”

The Hansard transcript of Valerie’s speech can be found here:

The Francis Report can be found here:

The Health Select Committee’s report on Complaints and Litigation can be found here: