Little support for NHS care staff, says study


The care failures that led to the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust scandal are probably being replicated across NHS, according to the most detailed-ever study into the culture and behaviour of the health service.

The new report published in BMJ Quality & Safety warns that there is still much box-ticking and regulation in the NHS, with harried and distracted staff given little support and treated with a lack of respect. The researchers also criticise the indiscriminate and inappropriate use of “quality improvement” management techniques – and the almost “magical” belief that these could solve problems quickly and easily.

The study, led by Professor Michael West of Lancaster University Management School, said the focus appeared to be on making a good impression on outsiders, while staff who raised concerns were viewed as trouble-makers. “Though Mid Staffordshire may have been one particularly ‘dark spot’, organisations throughout the NHS are likely to have at least some shadows,” the study said.

on Monday night a Department of Health spokeswoman said the Government had “already brought in measures to improve care”. Legislation was also going through Parliament to bring in “Ofsted-style ratings and make quality as important as finance”, she said.