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GP leaders back Sir David Nicholson

GP leaders have backed the head of the NHS, after calls for Sir David Nicholson to resign over the failures in care at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

They said the failings identified in the recent Francis report were systemic, rather than the fault of one individual, and that he should not be blamed.

Sir David, who in 2005 acted as interim chief executive of the health authority that oversaw Stafford hospital, where up to 1,200 patients died because of failures in care, has apologised for his handling of the case.

But campaigners have called for his resignation following the publication of the Francis report.

GP leaders have refused to join the calls. GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman, said blaming Sir David was not ‘useful’ and wouldn’t’ spark the necessary  change in NHS culture.

He said: ‘I don’t think it’s useful to blame leaders. If you’re trying to change a culture, you don’t change one individual. There are a lot of people to blame, pinning the blame on one individual will not achieve a culture change.’

Dr Michael Dixon, of the NHS Alliance agreed that the system was to blame: ‘It’s difficult being at the top. Staffordshire was a fault in the system, not of the system. It was inevitable given the fact that the health service had a strong hierarchy that was accountable to the centre.

RCGP chair Professor Clare Gerada said that leaders should be held to account over the failings at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, but said Sr David should not resign.

She said: ‘Yes of course people should be held to account- it’s the last 20 years drive to marketise our NHS that has led to people not looking at the patients in front of them but at the metrics.

‘But really it’s all of our jobs. We’re all responsible. In the end I think Francis has identified that when you take your eye off the ball, away from patient care, then patients suffer.’

Readers' comments (35)

  • Leadership at odds with the led.
    Yet again.

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  • Vinci Ho

    See ,I was looking up this word 'condour' in dictionary the other day, it said
    (1) the state or quality of being frank ,open and sincere in speech or expression
    (2) freedom from bias;fairness, impartiality

    So , are these campaigners actually showing their duty of condour to us at the moment? Somebody should be ashamed of themselves............

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  • Peter Swinyard

    I would have to say that, in industry, when there is a calamity, the CEO and non-exec directors usually fall on their swords as a matter of honour and to increase confidence in the system by the introduction of new talent. I have never said that heads should not roll. This requires honourable people at the top to realise that public confidence in the NHS is essential and cannot be regained while the ancien regime remains in power. I am sure that their better judgement will allow them to do the right thing...

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  • andrew Field

    Very disappointing from our leaders and the comments would suggest they are well out of step with their constituencies. Nicholson's reign of "Targets and Terror" has been central in creating intense fiscal pressure on the service in many respects and the systematic bullying of those not towing the line is central in origin. I can't think of a single good reason why Nicholson should stay.

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  • Mark Struthers

    ‘The Hearing’ was the longest ever held by the GMC and Professor John Walker-Smith, a long retired paediatric gastroenterologist, gave evidence for longer than any other doctor before him. The GMC finally struck him from the medical register after a trial that had lasted nearly 3 years. He appealed to the High Court and in March 2012, Judge, Sir John Mitting allowed his appeal,

    http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2012/503.html

    … saying,

    "For the reasons given above, both on general issues and the Lancet paper and in relation to individual children, the panel's overall conclusion that Professor Walker-Smith was guilty of serious professional misconduct was flawed, in two respects: inadequate and superficial reasoning and, in a number of instances, a wrong conclusion ... The panel's determination cannot stand ... The end result is that the finding of serious professional misconduct and the sanction of erasure are both quashed."

    And ..

    "It would be a misfortune if this were to happen again."

    The original trial cost doctors about £8 million. The GMC cocked up big time. Did Niall Dickson fall on his sword?

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  • Mark Struthers

    "GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman, said blaming Sir David was not ‘useful’ and wouldn’t’ spark the necessary change in NHS culture. He said: ‘I don’t think it’s useful to blame leaders. If you’re trying to change a culture, you don’t change one individual. There are a lot of people to blame, pinning the blame on one individual will not achieve a culture change."

    The GPC Chair also said,

    “The ‘quality framework’ that earns us a lot of money, I negotiated that. There happen to be fewer dead people as a result of that contract. About 8,500 people are not dead, where you would have expected them to die.”

    Eh?

    http://www.thejc.com/lifestyle/lifestyle-features/15213/he-won-gps-their-big-bucks

    'Big Bucks' Buckman has sold GPs a pup, a pig in a poke. Where's his sword?

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  • Vinci Ho

    Mencius (student of Confucius' grandson) was very particular and adamant about the quality of political leaders of empires ( these day , you can call them entreprise , organisation or party):
    (1) practising benevolence
    (2) maintaining fairness , impartiality and justice in treating people
    (3) courtesy
    (4) using wisdom to distinguish between right and wrong , black and white
    (5) Gaining trust with honesty and openness

    Where are the codes of conduct of these leaders we are seeing today?????

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  • Absolutely disgusted with the white wash here. High time people took responsibility for their acts, or non action as the case may be, What exactly do you need to do be sacked, or in his case stand down,

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  • Mark Struthers

    The culture is poisonous. GPs have sold their souls, their professionalism, for QOF.

    Buckman said: "I don’t think it’s useful to blame leaders. If you’re trying to change a culture, you don’t change one individual. There are a lot of people to blame, pinning the blame on one individual will not achieve a culture change."

    I disagree!

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