The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has produced a report describing the stories of 10 patients who suffered "unnecessary pain, indignity and distress while in the care of the NHS". It may be difficult to draw conclusions from just 10 cases, but she insists these are not exceptional or isolated cases. She does not understand why she needs to hold the NHS to account for the most fundamental aspects of care.
Providing basic care is not always easy and straightforward and the NHS would benefit from a re-focusing on the fundamentals. The politics of the NHS can distract it from its basic task. It's even worse when it gets the politics wrong. As I've pointed out before in a previous blog entry, unjustifiably singling out particular services, which may really be no worse than any other, is no help. I've also commented on how this seems to have been the case with mid-Staffs. Hopefully Robert Francis' second report which will be produced from the ongoing Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry will take account of the Health Service Ombudsman's findings, and not continue to look for scapegoats.