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READER LETTERS: Clinicians must take back control at the hospital

READER LETTERS: Clinicians must take back control at the hospital

Wednesday 14 July 2021

READER LETTERS: Clinicians must take back control at the hospital

Two local health professionals have written to Express to explain why they think clinicians ought to 'take back control' of Jersey's health service.

Here’s what Dr John Howell and Optometrist Ian Kenny had to say…

Dear Editor,

Non-urgent operations were recently cancelled at the General Hospital, and probably for weeks to come. Apparently, there are very few nursing staff who can work in the Hospital theatres. Only urgent operations for suspected cancer, severe pain or life threatening conditions will be allowed to go ahead. It was predicted a year ago that there would be a staffing crisis.  Why have managers not been more proactive? Why haven't they been able to recruit more staff or, more importantly, retain the staff they have?

There are so many layers of managers at the Hospital. What do they all do every day- apart from having meetings, and then decide to have more meetings, and probably to decide to appoint more managers? The managers seem to be 'mushrooming' at the Hospital. They should be cherishing and nurturing our frontline staff who are under so much pressure, as well as encouraging teamwork. They should be there to aid patient care, not to increase bureaucracy and hinder the workforce. The staff at the Hospital are not statistics or numbers - they are wonderful hard working people who do so much for us all.

I honestly believe there should be far fewer Hospital managers, and a prioritisation of clinicians over managers. At the moment, it seems that there is a complete failure to address clinician's concerns. They are not listened to. The Hospital staff should be allowed to speak publicly about what is happening. Furthermore, money saved by getting rid of all these managers should be spent on patient care and recruitment of frontline Hospital staff, which I am sure is what the public want.

Dr John Howell
Underwood, Trinity 

Dear Editor, 

Dr John Howell’s recent comments have led me to cast my mind back to another time, when our healthcare system was run by clinicians: professionals properly registered and regulated by UK Statutory Councils; one consultant reputedly always started work at 05:30 and expected his team to be punctual and reliable.

At that time it was the clinicians that assembled and interviewed their own teams and to live and work in Jersey was so desirable that there were a great many competitors to join a team.

Team members were mutually respectful and highly ethical, and did their very best for their patients. There was strong clinical leadership and a focus on delivering healthcare and putting patients' best interests before any other consideration.

Clinicians are now 'managed'. There is a bureaucracy that focuses on meetings, bean counting, box ticking and planning how to waste money meant for frontline healthcare delivery on something altogether else.

Do professional clinicians actually want to be over-managed by non-clinicians who are not registered and not regulated and not accountable to the patients or the politicians or the taxpayer?

And recruitment is further affected by the saddest fact: that gloss that has gone off Jersey thanks to rampant greed.

Now it's just another struggling healthcare system that has the same problems as so many in the NHS. And endless waves of 'managers' coming here from the NHS attempting to apply the same solutions that are already proven not to work. And getting pay-offs when they leave again under a cloud.

Unsurprisingly, the best clinicians will stay away and in any event they can't even afford to live here.

What on earth is the purpose of spending tens of millions designing a new building and almost a billion building it? It won't solve anything. Who will take responsibility for the mistaken belief hard sold to the taxpayer that it will?

First we need to redesign our healthcare system. Clean slate. Once clinicians take back control then we will ask them what sort of hospital they want.

Ian Kenny, Optometrist
La Ruette, St. Lawrence

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