Watching Dispatches on Channel 4 about the failings of surgeon Ian Paterson, we have to ask again why more people didn’t speak up about something that plainly was going wrong. There must have been many people involved in his operations and their aftermath. Clearly, intimidation is an issue and fear of reprisals. Also, there is the way in which a man with such authority, power and self-confidence can make others doubt their own judgement. We’ve proposed on this site that the web app Care Comments could help. Through Care Comments people submit their observations in a low-risk way to service commissioners. In the Paterson case we might suppose that observations would have been submitted from .. fellow surgeons, theatre colleagues, ward staff, referring GPs, Macmillan nurses etc. With such a volume of data that cross references and triangulates to confirm a problem, the imperative to take action is strong. It’s not the only solution, but it is worth consideration.
Against all the worry about our ability to protect vulnerable adults in care, it’s good to come across some helpful research that gives us some practical ways to improve practice. This comes from Hull University’s Centre for Applied Research and Evaluation and is focused on ‘early indicators of concern’.
Their objective has been to seek to identify early indicators or warning signs that suggest that abuse and harm are likely to be experienced by the people being supported. The research has enabled the identification of a range of early indicators, which are visible to visiting practitioners and families. They have constructed a guide to enable practitioners and families to recognise early indicators, record evidence and report concerns.
More information here.
We’ve been working with health and social care colleagues in Hull on a new approach to enabling front-line workers to register what they observe in care services. The result is a proposed web application called Care Comments. This is a new approach to checking what is happening in services that have been commissioned by local authorities and clinical commissioning groups. We think that it provides an effective method to monitor service quality and limit risks to people who use services. It addresses a current weakness of regulation and inspection: that regulators and inspectors can face difficulties in capturing an ‘inside view’ of what is happening in services. Care Comments is most easily explained in this short video: https://vimeo.com/38625072 . Read more here.