Our own problems with Veterans Affairs hospitals are not unique. Most government agencies and bureaucracies display the same criminal negligence.
Thus, BBC reports, “NHS trust ‘failed to investigate hundreds of deaths’”
The NHS has failed to investigate the unexpected deaths of more than 1,000 people since 2011, according to a report obtained by BBC News.
It blames a “failure of leadership” at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.
It says the deaths of mental health and learning-disability patients were not properly examined.
Southern Health said it “fully accepted” the quality of processes for investigating and reporting a death needed to be better, but had improved.
The trust is one of the country’s largest mental health trusts, covering Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and providing services to about 45,000 people.
The investigation, commissioned by NHS England and carried out by Mazars, a large audit firm, looked at all deaths at the trust between April 2011 and March 2015.
During that period, it found 10,306 people had died.
Most were expected. However, 1,454 were not.
Of those, 272 were treated as critical incidents, of which just 195 – 13% – were treated by the trust as a serious incident requiring investigation (SIRI).
The likelihood of an unexpected death being investigated depended hugely on the type of patient.
The most likely group to see an investigation was adults with mental health problems, where 30% were investigated.
For those with learning disability the figure was 1%, and among over-65s with mental health problems it was just 0.3%.
The average age at death of those with a learning disability was 56 – over seven years younger than the national average.
Even when investigations were carried out, they were of a poor quality and often extremely late, the NHS England report says.
Within the accompanying video we hear a bereaved parent say that the NHS didn’t seem to care.
Why is that a surprise? Human nature dictates that the number one priority of bureaucrats becomes the enhancement of the power and prestige of the bureaucracy. Without market incentives (paying customers) the tendency is not counter-balanced. The bureaucracy doesn’t pay attention to the people it is supposed to care for. Worse, it is extremely uninterested in bringing facts to light that would make if look bad. So it is reluctant to investigate a suspicious death very thoroughly. The employees of the bureaucracy know that their superiors will cover up their incompetence and the behavior degenerates accordingly.
Thus, as we give the government more responsibility for our healthcare we can expect more incompetence and more cover-ups.