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David Oliver: Fighting phantom policies in hospitals

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4949 (Published 07 August 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l4949

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Re: David Oliver: Fighting phantom policies in hospitals. The scourge of 'POOMA Policies'

Spot on David. Timely and diagnostic of our age. In Nursing we come across these "POOMA Policies" (Pulled Out Of My Ass) regularly. One of the most egregious of recent times has been nurses reporting that they "have not been allowed water bottles in the ward" because of "infection control" policies and regulations. Complete bunkum of course as numerous Infection Control staff have been at pains to point out. Yet fearful nurses and other health care staff still acquiesce with such ludicrous, evidence-devoid diktats https://starnursehull.com/2018/07/19/water-water-nowhere-and-no-one-who-... . So bad were these 'phantom policies' that the Royal College of Nursing actually had to launch a campaign urging nurses to drink and presumably not pass out on duty from dehydration: https://www.rcn.org.uk/news-and-events/news/new-campaign-urges-nursing-s...

The existence of these phantom or POOMA policies is testimony to the command and control mindset that still pervades health care. If doctors, nurses and all health professionals were genuinely pursuing evidence-based practice, they would send these 'policy' pushers packing with a very reasonable and clearly articulated statements that NO such 'policies' will be accepted or enacted in their ward or by their staff in the absence of sound, accepted evidence for said 'policies'.

Competing interests: No competing interests

11 August 2019
Philip Darbyshire
Health Consultant, former research Professor of Nursing
Philip Darbyshire Consulting ltd
PO Box 144, Highbury, SA 5089, Australia