Intended for healthcare professionals


MPs attack NHS for putting finances and targets ahead of patient safety

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 03 July 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b2706

nhs bureaucracy affects patient safety

Recently, I developed an urgent life-threatening condition. In
January 2009 I was referred by my GP to see a Consultant in hospital X.
My appointment to see this Consultant has never occurred. On two visits
there, I never saw him. After many months I lost confidence in hospital X
so I asked my long-suffering GP to refer me to see a Consultant in
hospital Y.

After six months I have not yet seen a Consultant. I have two

1. As a former consultant myself, I used to be phoned by GPs to see
urgent cases right away. Apparently, the NHS bureaucracy has stopped this
from happening. Why?

2. If one is promised, as a patient, to see a named Consultant why
or how can the Consultant remain absent? Is the Consultant not the gold
standard? How can such specific promises be abandoned to suit the NHS

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 July 2009
David H.S. Reid
Consultant Paediatrician