By Harry Phibbs
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There was an excellent piece (£) in The Times this morning by the former Labour health secretary Alan Milburn. It concerned the scandal of poor care at Stafford Hospital.
Mr Milburn said:
The problem at Stafford, as at Bristol, was not a lack of regulation but a lack of transparency. Some staff at both hospitals knew what was happening, but few spoke out. Patients’ families had their suspicions, but they could not penetrate a veil of secrecy. Buried in the mass of data about both hospitals were some uncomfortable truths about their performance, but they were hard to unearth.
Reforms introduced by Labour and followed up by the coalition to create patient choice, competition and transparency have made the care system more open. The NHS is the only system in the world, for example, that routinely publishes comparative clinical outcomes for all hospitals. But it is not yet open enough. Whether it’s maternity services at the beginning of life or residential care homes at the end, patients and their carers still find it too difficult to get a clear sense of what is a good service and what is not.