It is a cruel and ancient truism, but Doctors do bury their mistakes.
We all know that medics are not infallible, that genuine mistakes do happen and sometimes blame is apportioned but nowadays, in our much regulated society, when somebody dies on the operating table, serious questions must be asked and answered.
Historically in such cases a scapegoat is often found. It’s a well established diversionary tactic to contain and limit the damage and can be described as “noble cause corruption” but what it really means is “stitch-up” or “cover-up” or both. As explained by Deputy Bob Hill in the video below.
In Jersey we all know of the tragic death of a nurse employed within the very same Jersey main hospital that employed her and no amount of questions can restore her to life or to her family. That part of the tragedy cannot be remedied. But the surgeon who carried out the fatal operation has been cleared of manslaughter in the Jersey Courts and a very senior and experienced consultant – “Mr D” – has been suspended (or “excluded”) for the past 3 years on full pay because ( so we are told) he authorised the surgeon’s initial employment in Jersey as a locum. ”Mr D” was not even in the operating theatre when the surgery took place yet his long career may be in tatters and he is not even allowed to undertake private work in the UK. The potential costs for damages and lost professional reputations, besides the already declared costs of payment for suspended employees and their replacements, are astronomical. The expense of the Haut De La Garenne investigation could be “peanuts” in comparison.
Deputy Bob Hill has been a tireless – and often lone – voice in trying to unravel the complexities and unfairnesses of “Mr D’s” suspension and to discover what actually happened in an around the operating theatre and what has happened since.
Yet, extraordinarily, there are other senior medics under suspension as a result of other non-related incidents and this is not the only death being investigated.
Furthermore, the Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police has also been suspended from duty for years and few details have been made public and the senior Magistrate designate has also been prevented from working whilst investigations into an off-shore investment fund are carried out.
Deputy Hill has been trying to introduce proper suspension procedures and to have them applied throughout the Jersey public sector and he is achieving some success with his persistent lobbying and probing. But, these headline “senior person” cases are just the tip of an iceberg – the Health Minister (Deputy Ann Pryke) and her Senior Civil Servant did not even know how many of her 1200 or so staff was currently suspended when asked at a recent Scrutiny Board hearing.
If the very top people in public employment can be treated with such disregard for fairness – what must be happening to the many thousands who serve lower down the “pecking order” in Jersey? And what hope is there for the innocent victims like the bereaved families, of ever receiving any sort of justice? Can they be compensated?
Those of us with long memories will recall the name Mary Alexander and how she was arbitrarily removed from her Tourism & Recreation post decades ago. She was, if memory serves “The Voice” well, compensated with a £100,000 belated payment but the Jersey system seems to have learned absolutely nothing from that experience or the many incidents that have occurred since.
Multiply £100,000 by 100 or any figure you care to think of and you might just be starting to understand the potential financial cost of such institutional incompetence and mismanagement.
It’s a good job we have Deputy Hill but what are YOU and your other elected representatives doing about this enormous problem?
If you want to express your interest take note that Graham Power the suspended Chief of Jersey Police has a Complaints Board Hearing this Wednesday the i6th at 3.30pm in the Blampied Room of the States Building.
Normally such hearings are open to the public, the press and even bloggers. It is most important that this hearing is not concealed “in camera” – so please attend if you can to ensure that transparency is maintained in this most important matter.
Submitted by Thomas Wellard.
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