AIBU to be seething about David Nicholson

(75 Posts)
LadyPessaryPam Tue 05-Mar-13 22:31:21

Sir David Nicholson has refused to resign. I think he should be sacked and then prosecuted. It scares me that someone like him is in charge of the NHS. He presided over Mid Staffs and all those deaths. He runs the NHS that issues gagging orders as a matter of course when honourable people whistleblow. He is an utter disgrace. What do these people have to do to get the old tin tack?

MrsTwgtwf Tue 05-Mar-13 22:34:11

The World At One (Radio 4) had a good piece on this. An MP was alleging that that he had some kind of protection.

LadyPessaryPam Tue 05-Mar-13 22:36:59

I would imagine so. The fact that Call me Dave has confidence in him makes me sure the guy is a wrongun.

MrsTwgtwf Tue 05-Mar-13 22:38:20
cerealqueen Tue 05-Mar-13 23:03:18

YANBU. I'm waiting for it all to explode. I am ex NHS and know that culture well. Him and his kind 'the career NHS managers' would have avoided talking to patients at all costs, hence him sending his go-betweens to talk to people concerned about Mid Staffs.

He is a disgrace. His determination to keep his job is about him wielding power and influence - he does not give a shit about patients. They are an annoying side issue.

Can't wait to see him go- he must go. There has to be accountability somewhere.

LadyPessaryPam Wed 06-Mar-13 07:23:10

Morning cereal. What on earth can ordinary people do about this? The government seem to ignore absolutely everything that we say. I cannot wait for the next election but that's a long way off sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 06-Mar-13 07:53:53

If, as is the received wisdom here, the government is hell-bent on getting rid of of the NHS (not a view I agree with, incidentally) then Nicholson should be meat and drink to them. He embodies everything that's wrong with the organisation - out of touch, impersonal, poor standards, closed shop mentality - and they could use him as a prime example of why it urgently needs to be reformed.

Dawndonna Wed 06-Mar-13 08:29:17

No, you're not. The gentleman concerned comes across as an arrogant, nasty piece of work. However, he's said he will ensure government policy will be carried through, a way of ensuring he ain't going nowhere, because CallmeDave needs someone on his side.

flatbread Wed 06-Mar-13 08:30:34

My suspicion is that there have been kick-backs and improper handling of NHS private contracts. Both Labour and Tory politicians may be involved. E.g., a spouse or child or son/daughter-in-law involved in companies getting the contracts.

It is a dirty business and Nicholson probably has the paper-trail.

I don't think Nicholson should resign.

He should be fired, prosecuted for criminal negligence and languish in jail along with his inept crony commissioning board.

flatbread Wed 06-Mar-13 08:35:28

Also, I couldn't believe that he said he never looked at mortality figures. That is just gross negligence. Is is unbelievable! That is a basic statistic that every hospital/board staff looks at on a regular basis across the world. It is a key, key indicator of performance and warning.

It is so depressingly clear that competence counts for fuck-all, otherwise how could such an unimpressive, pencil-pusher with no credentials whatsoever get to this position? It boggles the mind!

Ness1234 Wed 06-Mar-13 10:21:08

If there was any decency in the man he would have resigned, as he hasn't he should be sacked. Instead it appears he'll be allowed to stay on after his pathetic attempt at an apology followed no doubt by a pay increase. He is a disgrace.

williaminajetfighter Wed 06-Mar-13 10:36:20

I too am depressed about this. The reason that CEOs make the salaries they do is that they take responsibility for an entire organization and if there are failings the 'buck stops' with the CEO, Board of Directors etc. If David Nicholson says he's not responsible then really, who is? His overwork, underpaid junior managers? If Heads of organizations no longer manage risk and are willing to take on risk, what exactly do they do and why do we pay them what we pay them? Disgusting!

I think the fact that he comes across as arrogant with very little remorse is the saddest thing but as others have noted, there is a culture within the NHS and, of course, a culture of management which starts day 1 in management trainee jobs and in business school. I know, I've been there...

flatbread Wed 06-Mar-13 10:36:24

Meddie had posted this on another thread

Sit down with a cup of tea and read...and cry.

This is the NHS culture that DN and his ilk have promoted, to the detriment of patients and good doctors.

TheRivieraKid Wed 06-Mar-13 10:47:20

I used to work with a David Nicholson. He was a wanker too. <not helpful>

RedToothBrush Wed 06-Mar-13 10:47:46


What I would like to see is a GOOD argument for why he should be allowed to continue and NOT be prosecuted.

Does ANYONE have one? I'm yet to see one.

cerealqueen Wed 06-Mar-13 10:52:49

Phil Hammond is fantastic! He knows what he is talking about. Thing is, David Nicholson will do the bidding of the government, and do it well, because it is about money, and that is what he knows and understands. Its all about the finances and the targets.

The waste of money on reorganisations would make anybody weep. That and the money spent on management consultants. Our regional body in London spends about £25 million a year on them.

iseenodust Wed 06-Mar-13 10:59:39

Agree with Flat. Comparative tables of mortality (reflecting case mix/age etc) were definitely in use in his time and before. He should be pushed out.

flatbread Wed 06-Mar-13 11:03:27

I don't think he understands finances or targets well either.

There is nothing wrong with having a focus on finances and targets. Every successful private healthcare group/hospital is savvy regarding financial solvency.

From all accounts, DN has no idea how to manage, promotes losers like him, bullies competent clinicians and others who disagree with him and fudges numbers to cover his arse.

As a comparison, I met some senior people at Medicare, the US government equivalent. They were either PhDs or medical doctors with business training. Highly competent and impressive people.

scaevola Wed 06-Mar-13 11:04:21

Is this one to blame the Tories for though?

Here's e Guardian from when he was appointed in 2006 (ie under previous Government) and his only known political affiliation (ie previous party membership) was Communist.

working9while5 Wed 06-Mar-13 11:10:18

^I don't think Nicholson should resign.

He should be fired, prosecuted for criminal negligence and languish in jail along with his inept crony commissioning board. ^

I agree.

I am considering resigning from the NHS because I have had such a difficult time myself as a patient this year, and I recognised in my own treatment several systemic failures. To have someone like this as its "figurehead" makes me want to be sick. If he gets away with this... I really don't even want to be treated on the NHS anymore, and it really upsets me as I know that so many people are working so hard for the benefit of patients but with so many bad practices going unchecked, it just isn't as safe as it should be.

LadyPessaryPam Wed 06-Mar-13 11:18:06

Wow is this 100% MN consensus. Surely CallMeDave should take note of that?? Being as he is so so in touch with the women of the UK [snigger]

I totally despair, this issue crosses party boundaries, it's a matter of common decency and justice IMHO. And still we are ignored.

amillionyears Wed 06-Mar-13 11:22:10

Just wanted to add my support to this thread.
I dont know all the details.
But if they are correct, then it is precisely people like him that are presiding over the NHS problems, and are indirectly killing people.

And apparently he still has the support of David Cameron?

MrsTwgtwf, what sort od protection are they meaning?
I will read your link.

ppeatfruit Wed 06-Mar-13 11:36:17

Yes I totally agree LadyPessary Anyone who has the confidence of David Cameron has a BIG problem .

LadyPessaryPam Wed 06-Mar-13 11:42:18

Cameron has a track record of bad judgement,(Brooks, Coulson etc etc) it is one of his more endearing features when compared to his abysmal leadership ability, his untrustworthiness and his incompetence.

amillionyears Wed 06-Mar-13 11:58:35

Are freemasons involved?

amillionyears Wed 06-Mar-13 11:59:53

I meant as regards the "protection" Mrs Twgtwf was referring to.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

woodsies1975 Wed 06-Mar-13 12:10:53

I just read your link to that article flatbread, thank you. Sobering reading. Both my parents worked in the NHS in senior management, and my SD worked in the same Trust as one of the whistleblowers detailed in that article. I remember when it all happened, it was very stressful for all concerned. My concern is the number of good staff I know of who have left, both managers and nurses/HVs/SNs on the ground who have left the NHS completely because they are so worried about the culture.

LadyPessaryPam Wed 06-Mar-13 12:21:05
JamieandtheMagicTorch Wed 06-Mar-13 12:35:30

I also want to thank flatbread for that article ( thank heavens for PRivate Eye)

The last paragraph, about how whistleblowers are gagged, is chilling.

Typonesequeen Wed 06-Mar-13 12:51:14

I too feel Nicholson should go. My mum in law died in a midlands hospital in her own mess. My husband and I travelled from Wales to be with her. Poor woman who in life was so meticulous, in her last hours was left soiled. Poor Mum. My year broke for her. But having said that nothing has changed and the Midlands was not the only place. I went to hospital last week and although was not incapacitated to a great degree, I was offered no help to eat or drink. My daughter had to shower me I was offered no washing facilities. Tea and coffee was provided outside the wads,but I couldn't walk to get a drink unless another patient got it for me. Nothing has changed. He must go.

ppeatfruit Wed 06-Mar-13 12:54:01

Yes ladypessary and now Cameron doesn't want to cap the poor old bankers bonuses shock It's effing abysmal.

edam Wed 06-Mar-13 14:18:48

I just love Nicholson's claim that he didn't know anything about gagging clauses no sirree no bob. Yeah right. They are in widespread use whenever anyone senior is brave enought to blow the whistle - it's not just Lincolnshire, the gagging clause that was revealed by the Today programme. But of course it's handy to pretend the Dept of Health has no idea about it... (Junior people just get bullied and harassed and forced out, often with the use of false allegations to their professional bodies - a nurse I knew who dared to raise concerns found her bosses solicited complaints about her and then reported her to the NMC - entirely vexacious, no substance in it at all as even the NMC realised, but the process took months and was severely damaging to her mental health and professional development.)

Yeah, trust chief executives just disappear with £500k of public money without sign off from the strategic health authority or Dept of Health - I think not!

Grinkly Wed 06-Mar-13 14:32:36

Just want to say re the Baby P thing, that much of the problem imv was the idiot general public baying for blood. The Head of Social Services and Education who was forced to resign could have been considered responsible but I don't think she had been in the position that long and there were issues with staff shortages etc - and, after reading the link above , it looks much more like lack of record keeping in a major NHS hospital that resulted in no log of his constant mistreatment by his mother, that was the major contributor to his demise.

As regards DN, DCameron says he 'fully supports his work as head of the NHS' (sorry too lazy to look up exact phrasing) but by that token excludes fully supporting him as head of N Staffs. So imv he is for the chop sooner or later.

But in view of the getting rid of the Head of SS and Ed over Baby P we need to be vigilant that JUST getting rid of this arrogant twat at the top of the NHS isn't on it's own enough. Many more heads should roll.

LadyPessaryPam Wed 06-Mar-13 15:04:35

edam I have heard this described as 'the process being the punishment'. It is designed to intimidate. I hope your nurse friend is OK now.

edam Wed 06-Mar-13 15:47:23

Baby P - there was a whistleblowing consultant at Great Ormond Street who warned the outpatient clinic was so under-funded and short-staffed that they would miss a serious case. She was, sadly, right. Hospital management bullied and suspended her instead of listening and reacting - and Baby Peter died.

AND then GOSH senior management tried to cover up their failures, deleting criticisms from the report they then submitted to regulatory bodies, without admitting it had been altered in any way. More interested in covering their own backs than in patient safety, more interested in bullying and demonising anyone who warns things might go wrong than in saving lives - and this at such a high profile trust!

LadyP - thanks, she's OK now but very bruised - and only OK becuase she happened to bump into someone who told a contact of mine who knows her way around systems and processes and was able to point out half a dozen ways this complaint was completely unfounded and outside the scope of the disciplinary process - the bullies had completely ignored due process, regulations, etc. etc. etc., presmably assuming no-one would dare to challenge them.

FreedomOfTheTess Wed 06-Mar-13 15:54:48

He should go. No doubt about it.

In most other fields, where the chief executive (or another senior manager) has been in charge during a catastrophic failing of any kind, they have fallen on their sword.

For as much as I loathe the banks right now, the chief executives of many banks stood down, when the failings of their organisations were revealed. Admittedly many of them stood down with nice big payouts, but still, at least they went.

And look at the BBC, the former Director General (who had only been there five minutes) fell on his sword, in light of the Jimmy Saville/Newsnight scandal. (Although admittedly, he got a nice fat payout too).

I'm sure there are many other examples.

Yet it appears Nicholson is dead set on remaining in post. He believes a change at the top isn't what the NHS needs right now.

My friend is a GP, and in her words, "oh no Mr Nicholson, a change is exactly what the NHS needs or we can't move on."

LadyPessaryPam Wed 06-Mar-13 16:40:53

Your GP friend is't called Claire is she?

FreedomOfTheTess Wed 06-Mar-13 16:50:41

No she isn't. She's called Kathryn.

LadyPessaryPam Wed 06-Mar-13 16:55:05

Oh, she sounds like a GP friend of mine.

LadyPessaryPam Wed 06-Mar-13 16:55:41

Who I would never out I hasten to add.

pestkontrol Wed 06-Mar-13 17:30:54

screws up face, sixth-form style

Can't we do something, though?

There must be something we can do.

Start a Mumsnet campaign?

Cameron doesn't care about patients, but he does care about losing votes

MrsTwgtwf Wed 06-Mar-13 17:47:57

I'm concerned that the culture of not caring about patients, but instead seeing them as impediments, is so embedded that it will never be rooted out. The staff who have been trained into that culture can't be ousted, and the younger ones will have a whole lifetime of work ahead of them.

Amillionyears, I too agree with flatbread: ""My suspicion is that there have been kick-backs and improper handling of NHS private contracts. Both Labour and Tory politicians may be involved. E.g., a spouse or child or son/daughter-in-law involved in companies getting the contracts.

It is a dirty business and Nicholson probably has the paper-trail."

Dauphin Wed 06-Mar-13 19:19:12

I feel very strongly that this imbecile should be made an example of...sack him without compensation, and press charges for criminal negligence. Agree Cameron has an appalling record of seriously misguided judgement.

JillJ72 Wed 06-Mar-13 19:50:43

Simple question... When is DN going, Mr Cameron?

I have no time for the man. I know someone who left Staffs because management didn't like what they were hearing and weren't going to change. Targets over patient safety and quality of care? They say not, but not all practice what they preach. The culture has got to change. Targets, but not at the expense of patient safety and quality of care.

Grinkly Wed 06-Mar-13 19:57:37

Can't help feeling there is an agenda here somehow. I'm sure DN will go but are the gov dragging it out to distract everyone from the whole basket of other issues that exist around the NHS and particularly its management.

I mean some in power at N Staffs moved on to other jobs in other Health districts.

And the criticism of many nursing and medical staff is being dropped in the baying for DN's blood. People should be sacked if they are negligent or cruel, not sent on a retraining course or retired.

I am not saying that the front line staff should take the rap, just that there are some crap front line staff who should also go.

edam Wed 06-Mar-13 21:06:27

Dr Chris Turner told the Francis inquiry that when he started work at Stafford A&E in 2007, the place was “an absolute disaster”. He also said: "As a department we were immune to the sound of pain". There weren't enough doctors or nurses, the hospital relied on locums, and bullying managers threatened staff if they failed to discharge patients within the four hour waiting time target. So they sent a patient home to die of a ruptured spleen, because they hadn't assessed his injuries properly.

The Strategic Health Authority ordered the trust's senior managers to achieve Foundation Trust status - which meant cutting costs. Which meant cutting staff. Which meant not enough staff to do the job. Which meant patients were neglected. Yet people like David Nicholson and Barbara Hakin, the managers who enforced these lethal hateful policies, have seen their careers flourish and are now in charge of the whole ruddy NHS. While staff who tried to blow the whistle have been hounded out.

cerealqueen Wed 06-Mar-13 21:21:03

Nobody is indispensable, nobody. If he had to go they would find somebody else, because they would have to. So why are the tories insisting he is the best man for the job?

meddie Wed 06-Mar-13 21:23:53

I cant help feeling that there is a strong reason why the government are clinging on to dear life to Nicholson. Whether its because he has some dirt he can dish or whether he is being used to bring in some controversial policy then released due to his unpopularity following it with a big fat handshake to ease him on his way.
It also ties in with The francis report recommending no scapegoats. There is a reason behind all this. I don't trust this goverment as far as I could throw them, not where the NHS is concerned.

Only this week they are trying to get through a bill to force GP's as part of the new commissioning to put all aspects of health care out to private tender. Why the hell hasn't this been all over the BBC and the papers. Its major news.
Its effectively privatisation via the backdoor. Something which this government categorically denied would happen if they got the health and social care bill through.

JillJ72 Wed 06-Mar-13 21:42:35

Meddie - section 75 has been in the press, there are rumblings of a u-turn

renaldo Wed 06-Mar-13 21:50:45

we need a campaign to get rid of him
I work for the NHS and the target driven culture is ruining care and driving excellent staff into mental health crises. it's shit

meddie Wed 06-Mar-13 22:01:23

In some press it has yes I agree, But considering the implication of Section 75 ie privatisation of the NHS it should be major major news. yet I have seen more about the Queen having a poo.

edam Wed 06-Mar-13 22:21:02

Meddie - I wondered why there wasn't more outrage about that when the health bill was going through originally. No-one seemed to notice, or care, that it was paving the way for the NHS to be privatized, bit by bit.

I wonder if it is terribly cynical to think the government is actually using this to promote privatization? Keep Nicholson in post, because he's a symbol of everything that's wrong; make the public angry so they are happy to ditch the NHS. A damaged chief executive, who owes his survival to his political masters, and who has demonstrated he couldn't care less how many people die as long as he pleases his masters, is quite useful to them...

MrsTwgtwf Wed 06-Mar-13 23:03:03

I have to say that I was thinking: there is no-one better equipped to destroy the NHS altogether.

meddie Wed 06-Mar-13 23:33:26

It was depressing the lack of public response to the health and social care bill. When did this country become so resigned and apathetic to accept whatever the government does,
but then there seemed to be a concerted effort within the media to either
a) not report it or
b) play down the implications of it.
not to mention the previous years of constantly reporting bad news stories about the NHS, while reducing frontline staff and resources, then wondering why it was failing.
Maybe i,m just cynical, but it feels to me very much like there is an agenda and Nicholson is part of it.
Tell people constant bad news about the NHS, makes privatisation so much easier to push through.
Its sad that people wont realise what they have lost until its gone and then it will be so fragmented across multiple private providers that it will be impossible to get back.

funnyperson Thu 07-Mar-13 07:11:21

I suspect a bill to fragment and privatise healthcare would have been pushed through whatever the government. The (misguided) policy to change to the American model of healthcare has been pursued by the DH for years.

The country is already in the grip of a two tier system for routine healthcare such as consultant advice or operations. This will continue and expand.

It is reverting back to the postcode lottery for cancer, heart attack and other acute care. Not just that but the care each practice cluster can or will purchase will be determined by the desire for more profit of individual practitioners. Big mistake. I do admire Labour for actively trying to reduce postcode inequalities and wish, for the sake of my children and their children, that this had continued.

flatbread Thu 07-Mar-13 08:30:29

I personally am not wedded to one form of NHS.

Lots of different ways of organising it can work. But it requires strong leadership and vision.

DN and his type would bring any organisation to ruin. If they were put in charge of a highly successful Apple or Google, they would, no doubt, bring that down by appointing yes men and punishing competence.

It is not so much the structure of NHS I worry about, but the people appointed to leadership posts. I think there needs to be a major culling of management and bringing in outsiders with successful leadership experience

Lifeisontheup Thu 07-Mar-13 08:32:21

There was an article in the Times last week by the shadow Health Secretary saying that it wasn't David Nicholson's fault and he had got him the job during the last government and he was a lovely person.

MaryMaryOnTheContrary Thu 07-Mar-13 09:21:59

He should go. Ex NHS professional here and if I'd done a crap job, endangered people's lives, done nothing when the death rate was rising fast, been paid well for (miss) managing the trust..... I'd have been suspended, investigated, struck off and sacked. End of.

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 07-Mar-13 10:24:16

I agree, William

Arf grin riviera

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 07-Mar-13 10:30:07

Quite, Mary.

flatbread Thu 07-Mar-13 10:54:43

Agree, Mary.

Did you see the article in the Telegraph about some ex-banker taking out a corporate manslaughter lawsuit against DN?

I am going to see if I can contribute in any way.

HelpOneAnother Thu 07-Mar-13 11:06:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 07-Mar-13 11:24:58

Help - talking nonsense in a super confident manner is what will get you on in life, it seems.

meddie Thu 07-Mar-13 11:27:52

Helponeanother you are pretty accurate a lot are older ward sisters who were moved up when re organisation and internal markets first started, to be service managers or clinical area managers, they had no management experience apart from running a ward. On the whole the majority I have had experience of are about as useful as a chocolate teapot, but they tow the management line so are useful to keep.
Every few years their role and title seem to change and I am still unsure what they actually do or achieve, except every so often they appear to be sent on management or team building courses and come back trying to implement whatever the latest big new thing is, usually it achieves nothing just causes upheaval and disruption.
I feel there is no long term vision at all, it feels like we are just firefighting constantly and lurching from one crisis to the next.

SolomanDaisy Thu 07-Mar-13 11:42:44

I think part of the problem is that his style of new public management has thoroughly infected the whole UK public sector. DC will be surrounded by civil servants with similar approaches to management. I have seen how statistics get misused, so a problem is identified at the lowest level, it's massaged a little bit at the next level up to make it look better, then again at the next level, then again. By the time it gets to a mediocre CEX they'd be forgiven for believing they were running a world class organisation as it would be practically impossible to tell otherwise from a cursory look at the information they receive. Good senior managers challenge and check, but there are too many around who are mediocre to rubbish.

The inspection and monitoring regimes that Labour rightly introduced to challenge poor management sadly became giant games of hiding stuff and playing to the figures. Partly because they were also stuffed full of new public management-cursory-glance-at-the-data types. Higher salaries at senior levels have also changed the type of people who want to manage large public organisations, so the people who are really choosing the public sector because they care are being squeezed out. If you aren't there because you care and you only have artificial games to play to prove you're performing, it's not likely you will make the best decisions.

MaryMaryOnTheContrary Thu 07-Mar-13 16:50:47

flatbread. Yes, I read it. It amazes me though, that a private action will be taken against him. Isn't he accountable to someone/us/Jeremy Hunt? anyone!?

Disgraceful. It's like the banks. Buggered it all up, got bailed out by the tax payer and then massive payoffs/bonus to get them to leave. The BBC guy, only in post 3 months was it? Made an arse of it and got a shed load of cash "paid out" to step down (can't even remember his name).

LadyPessaryPam Thu 07-Mar-13 16:57:23

We are the little people, we don't matter to any of these elite bastards. How exactly do you join their club?

MaryMaryOnTheContrary Thu 07-Mar-13 18:48:50

It made me smile (ironically) watching the angst with which the Queen's food poisoning was covered, last week. I think had the poor soul been admitted to an average NHS hospital and not the Private King Edward VII, they'd soon get their fingers out and sort this mess!

Oh God, I'm ranting now....

MaryMaryOnTheContrary Thu 07-Mar-13 18:49:51

LadyPessaryPam. Little people, you say? We're not even that big.

williaminajetfighter Thu 07-Mar-13 18:53:23

Well said SolomanDaisy.

LadyPessaryPam Thu 07-Mar-13 21:20:26

Mary we are microscopic people TBH!!

MaryMaryOnTheContrary Thu 07-Mar-13 22:25:46

Lady that's for sure. "Honey I Shrunk The Plebs"!

ppeatfruit Fri 08-Mar-13 08:30:14

Yes well said SolomanDaisy and LadyPess and all!!

edam Mon 11-Mar-13 23:06:57

Sunday Times fingers David Nicholson for the deaths of babies due to crap care at Morecombe Bay trust as well.

Soloman is right about leadership and the lack of it - or the lack of old fashioned rigorous public service ethos. The targets introduced by the last government were well intentioned and did go some way to improving care. But they let senior managers get away with fidding the figures, and bullying each layer of the hierarchy underneath them to fiddle the figures. In the ambulance service, this meant, e.g., messing around with the 'clock start' and 'clock stop' to massage ambulance response times, rather than, I dunno, looking at the way things worked and seeing if there was anything that could actually be done to save a few lives...

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