It’s still raining

I often say that complaining about regulation is like complaining about the rain. We all complain about the rain, whilst unconsciously recognising the essential nature of what it brings to our green and pleasant land. Until recently, I felt much the same about regulation. Like the weather, it had begun to get out of hand and there was a lot of it – but was still a fundamental good. This remains the case – but a lot will need to be done to restore confidence.

In my weekly blog for staff, I have reinforced that the events at the Care Quality Commission this week are shocking and should be a surprise. Some people fall into the trap of allowing themselves a disappointed shrug and a shake of the head, not pushing back on the commentators and cynics who take as a default that leaders have the wrong values and that we shouldn’t be surprised. My view is that we need a system where we should be shocked, be surprised and demand that this isn’t how it should be.

So, for my staff I have used this as another reminder to us all about the importance of culture and values based leadership. The report into what happened at Morecambe Bay Trust has been widely reported in the media – you can read the CQC statement and access the report here via the CQC website

Two quotes to highlight from the CQC statement  on the day –

  • Firstly: “the example of how an internal report was dealt with is evidence of a failure of leadership within CQC and a dysfunctional relationship between the executive and the board. There is evidence of a defensive, reactive and insular culture that resulted in behaviour that should never have happened”. 

The new Chair of the CQC was on Radio 5 Live talking openly and plainly about the culture and the way that the Board had set the tone previously. He stated that “the fish rots from the head” in describing the allegations of how the deletion of a critical report occurred. This is something that we are very aware of in LCH. Our Board sets the tone for the organisation and our focus on Values Based Leadership is essential.

  • Secondly:We are changing the culture of the organisation. The commissioning and publication of this report symbolises the approach we are taking and will continue to take. We are determined CQC will be an open and transparent organisation.  

The new leadership of CQC have faced huge criticism and challenge. I hope they are successful and meet their ambitions. They will need recognition and support that good people who have inherited a bad situation are not bad people. They are the ones who do some of the toughest jobs around. People like David Behan deserve our support.

This news has dominated the headlines. It reinforces one of the things highlighted in the Francis report and something that I believe passionately – we in our organisations are accountable for quality and must not rely on external assurance. It is for us to lead the culture of the organisation – one that lives its values.

The consequences of not doing so are real. My heart goes out to James Titcombe and the other families affected. As does my admiration for their resilience and dignity.

So, my exhortation to my staff in our weekly message has been another call to remember our values –

  • we are open and honest and do what we say we will;
  • we treat everyone as an individual;
  • we are always listening learning and improving.

I hope these values feel real to my people – they do to me. New Year’s Resolution was that 2013 would be tough and I would stick to my values. Nothing’s changed – patients still need good, safe care….and as I look out of the window, it’s still raining.”

6 thoughts on “It’s still raining

  1. Hi Rob. I absolutely agree that the board, clinicians and managers are responsible for assuring and ensuring that quality and safety of care is delivered. And ultimately every member of staff. Regulators are there to help us get it right. We should be leading rather than following them.

  2. Pingback: It’s still raining |

  3. Pingback: It's still raining | Health Blog Round-up | Sco...

  4. It’s blogs like this that give me hope for safer services and better patient experiences across all the NHS, because despite the fact healthcare is the safest it’s ever been, experiences like the ones reported in Morecambe are absolutely unacceptable. Your leadership style is to be applauded, Rob, and your commitment to your Trust’s shared values shows.

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