Friday, 24 July 2015

DH miss the point and fail to apologise for breach of confidentiality

This is the full response I have received from the DH:

"Our ref: DE00000948527 
Dear Mr Dean,
Thank you for your recent correspondence to the Department of Health about the image used in a tweet posted on 17 July.  I have been asked to reply.

The Department has looked carefully at this matter and what took place was an entirely unintentional mistake.  The Secretary of State for Health’s sole intention was to celebrate some excellent clinical work he was grateful to have been able to see first-hand at University College London Hospital.

As soon as the Department was alerted to the mistake, the image was removed and replaced.
I hope this reply is helpful.

Yours sincerely,
Paul Larkin
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health"
The DH totally fail to see the point of the complaint.  It is utterly irrelevant that the clear error was 'unintentional'.  Jeremy Hunt clearly breached patient confidentiality with his tweet and there has been zero consequence to this action.  We have not even seen the whiff of an apology.  Given Hunt's talk of candour and the way in which frontline staff are regularly punished for such clear breaches, it is utterly limp of the DH to write off such a breach in this manner.  It really says a lot about their incompetence and their failure to live by the rules which they are happy to destroy others with.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Jeremy Hunt tweets photo with in-patient names clearly visible

Jeremy Hunt is not having a great day and my heart bleeds.  Having attacked and denigrated NHS staff as he continues his campaign of destroying the NHS as a publicly delivered service, poor Jeremy made the error of tweeting a photo of himself posing within a hospital ward with hospital staff.

Unfortunately for Jeremy he tweeted this photo and contained within was a board listing all the patients on that particular ward.  The patient names were clearly visible.  If a doctor did such a thing, they could expect definite consequences.  As things stand the tweet stayed up for a good few hours, then was replaced by a new tweet with the patient board fuzzed through.  There has been no apology or admission of this confidentiality breach as yet.

I would urge everyone to write to the Department of Health via their online complaints form below.  At the very least Jeremy Hunt should apologise for his tweet and apologise to all those whose names were clearly visible in the original photo.  He is a senior public official and should know far better, after all isn't candour something he feels strongly about?
"Dear DH
I would like to make a formal complaint about Jeremy Hunt's tweet on the 17/07/2015 (see attached screen grab).
The photo shows patient identifiable information clearly on a board in the top left of the photo.
This tweet constitutes a clear breach of the Data Protection Act.
I expect this matter to be thoroughly investigated and at an absolute minimum Jeremy Hunt should issue a full and frank apology to the patients whose confidentiality he has clearly breached,

Monday, 6 July 2015

GMC consultations - please respond!

Here is my response to the GMC consultations on 'credentialing' and 'generic professional capabilites':
"Dear GMC

As regards the two consultations:

Firstly as regards credentialing, the whole premise behind your goals is flawed.  There is no proven benefit to introducing credentialing.  It simply cannot be assumed that introducing credentialing will enhance regulation and protect patients.  Rather the opposite is more likely, credentialing is likely to result in more expensive box ticking paperwork which will distract clinicians from protecting patients and will provide no tangible gains to patients.  The benefits to credentialing should be proven before an expensive and possibly harmful bureaucracy is forced upon doctors against their will.

Secondly as regards the 'generic professional capabilities', the whole premise behind this plan is deeply flawed.  Doctors in training are already overwhelmed by a burdensome bureaucratic system that consists of largely unreliable and poorly validated assessments.  The harm done by such a flawed competency based framework are clear and well documented in the medical literature.  While the framework domains adds nothing to what is assessed by the extensive array of assessments that doctors in training are already subjected to today.  The GMC has simply not provided a clear rationale as to why such a framework is necessary.  Without a proven need the framework promises to introduce yet more burdensome bureaucracy on doctors in training at a time when service pressures are becoming increasingly unsustainable.  While the talk of assessments will simply lead to more box ticking of more poorly validated assessments which will do nothing to help standards or patients, rather the opposite.

I would therefore like to register my general lack of faith in both these consultations as the need for these proposals has not been adequately demonstrated,

First the GMC should do no harm,

I would urge all doctors to email your thoughts to - do not feel obliged to use the GMC's highly constrained white space forms, simply express your opinion to them without being pidgeon holed.