A doctored practice?

Healthcare headlines have graced the front pages in both the UK and the US of late. As products of fairly damning Government reports, neither story was particularly complimentary to the medical profession and both noisily proclaimed the failings of those involved.

  • E-Mail
By  Joanne Bladd Published  August 29, 2006

Healthcare headlines have graced the front pages in both the UK and the US of late. As products of fairly damning Government reports, neither story was particularly complimentary to the medical profession and both noisily proclaimed the failings of those involved.

A transparent health service is a progressive health service. Healthcare headlines have graced the front pages in both the UK and the US of late.

As products of fairly damning Government reports, neither story was particularly complimentary to the medical profession and both noisily proclaimed the failings of those involved.

British readers were treated to a glimpse of the seedy underbelly of hospital hygiene (namely that, in some facilities, it’s non-existent), while their American counterparts heard that, should they dare to venture into a hospital, they may fall victim to one of the country’s reported 1.5 million drug errors.

These are examples from two of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world. It’s undeniably embarrassing that both are clearly flawed but, at the same time, officials are prepared to stand up and admit it. This isn’t because they are particularly moral people, but simply because protocols have been put in place to ensure that, as much as possible, public bodies are held accountable for their blunders.

To put it succinctly, systems fail and the most profitable way to learn from these errors is to acknowledge them (even if that does involve a national lambasting).

Unfortunately, this is a lesson the Department of Health has yet to embrace. In the last few weeks, I have devoted a considerable amount of time trying to track down a Government survey of local hospital standards. The report in question listed a host of titbits, including the regional incidence of nosocomial infections, of prime relevance to local healthcare professionals.

But neither you (unless you were privileged enough to be a member of the original committee) nor I, are allowed to see it. Instead, we are issued a bland press release that lists lofty figures, with no mention of how these statistics were compiled. While I’m not suggesting the report had anything to hide, this failure to disclose information will always raise doubts.

One of the benefits of having a newer healthcare system, especially one evolving as quickly as ours, is that you can learn from the mistakes of others. As the UK and US have realised, progressive healthcare is only achievable through transparency.

Miscommunication breeds mistrust, as demonstrated by the thousands of UAE nationals who persist in seeking medical treatment abroad each year.

If the UAE truly hopes to take on its western peers, the first casualty must be the files marked ‘do not read’.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code