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May 14, 2011

NBT balls
Filed under: FOI Balls — Dr. Phil @ 1:14 pm

FOI Request 10th April 2011 to North Bristol NHS Trust:

Please provide me with a copy of the “agreed escalation protocol for clinicians to raise their concerns which will ensure rigorous and swift investigation” that is referred to by Mrs Brunt (NBT Chief Executive) in her statement issued on 8th December 2011, regarding the Histopathology Inquiry”

NBT has attempted to charge fees for responding to this request on the grounds that that this and other requests related to service specifications for pathology services fall “on a handful of staff, particularly senior
clinicians, and this is having a detrimental effect on clinical care.”

What can we infer from this?

1. That the escalation protocol Mrs Brunt referred to on 8th December 2010 in her press release doesn’t actually exist because the burden of writing it is currently falling “on a handful of staff?

2. That the payment of a fee for a copy of a document that must already exist because Mrs Brunt said it had been “agreed”, will somehow alleviate a detrimental effect on clinical care rather than line NBT’s pockets for no justifiable reason?

3. That NBT thinks that a member of the public, requesting a copy of a document whose purpose is to provide assurance that it has proper clinical governance in place following the Histopathology Inquiry, and that its Chief Executive said in December 2010 has been agreed, is somehow detrimental to clinical care?

Or is it just avoidance by the Trust of being held to account to produce documents publicly to demonstrate genuine commitment to patient safety and be held to account by the public to do what is says it will do.

Perhaps the Trust is worried that the public might want to see evidence that the latest UH Bristol misdiagnosis, which occurred a matter of days after the publication of the Histopathology Inquiry Report and was spotted by NBT in January 2011, but apparently not until after a patient had had surgery for a cancer they did not have, had been properly handled according to NBT’s escalation process.

The misdiagnosis was discussed at the meeting of Bristol Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Commission in March 2011, whose minutes state that “There had been a serious incident which was being investigated; the family were being kept informed”

Plus ça change? How can we tell when the NHS Trusts in Bristol continue to be so secretive?