The Government has recently unveiled plans that will seek to remedy the inherent shortcomings in the NHS. Failures have been flagged up in recent reports, which were conducted following the discovery of the Stafford Hospital Scandal.

The findings have made it clear that something needs to be done to raise standards in our hospitals and to restore public faith in the NHS. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced plans to twin failing hospitals with successful hospitals in an attempt to improve standards and encourage “practical change’. The scheme is set to last for between 3 and 5 years and will see senior managers from the more successful hospitals helping out in the failing hospitals by sharing knowledge and expertise.

A list has been released showing which hospitals have been paired with which. The East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust is to be partnered with Newcastle-upon-Tyne NHS Foundation Trust.

A pot of £5.5million will be made available to facilitate these changes. Some of this money will be paid to the successful hospitals to aid their recruitment of managers to back-fill posts and bonuses will also be made available to those who improve standards.

The scheme is set to follow the successful “super-heads’ scheme that was rolled out in failing schools; however there is already debate about whether the running of a hospital is far more complex than that of a school and whether the scheme will be successful if it follows the same model. There is a worry that taking the experienced managers from the successful hospitals could cause a levelling down of standards rather than the intended levelling up.

There has also been criticism of the fact that this is a top-tier management solution rather than a front line solution. The recent reports in to the NHS have highlighted that a lot of the hospitals have lost staff in recent years and are currently operating without having safe staffing levels. It has been argued that it is this lack of staff on the ground that is causing significant problems to the NHS, with staff being overworked and not having enough time to deliver an adequate level of this patient care. Changing who is in charge will do nothing to alleviate these problems and it has been questioned whether the £5.5 million bonus pot could be better spent.

It remains to be seen whether this latest announcement will have any measurable effect on improving matters in the health service.

If you have been affected by poor treatment in hospital, we would be happy to advise you free of charge about making a medical negligence claim. For more information and to discuss how we could assist you on a no win no fee basis, please do not hesitate to contact us.