Francis report into Mid Staffs---are you listening Edinburgh Council
The Francis report, published today, into the scandal of the Mid Staffs Hospital Trust isn't just about one Hospital, or trust or even the NHS but hopefully a wake-up call to the Public Sector as whole, Councils and indeed Big Business, the PLCs and multinationals that spend a large part of their ingenuity finding new and better ways to rip of thepeople they still call customers..
However on this website we are concerned with the potential health disaster(and quality of life effects) that will arise from the Council's policy of neglkect towards traffic management within the city and while the Stafford Hospital events cannot be directly compared to mismanagements of the tram project in Edinburgh, the way in which both the corporate culture in the Staffordshire Trust, and in Edinburgh Council reacted to complaints and concerns coming from outside their bureaucracy, are very similar.
In Robert Francis QC's phrase the public were:
- " failed by a system which ignored the warning signs and put corporate self-interest and cost control ahead".... of the public interest.
- Faced by an organisation that trumpets successes and ignores failures
- Confronted by an organisation obsessed by box ticking at the expense of the real world.
Here in Edinburgh residents continuing to fight to bring to wide public notice the serious situation regarding the complete lack of attention being given to the rising levels of pollution across the city ( being increased as a direct consequence and result of Council policies) recognise the same signs of a corporate body, one charged with duties of public care, becoming entombed within the same box ticking, success trumpeting, corporate self interest preservation mind set as happened at North Staffs NHS.
Very , very simple questions are ignored by people at all levels inside Edinburgh Council -- They don't answer because they can't answer, but instead of seeking answers they distort and mangle other statistics to justify inaction.
Just a few weeks ago a report to councillors was filled with congratulatory comments by officers because of the boxes ticked and the tragets acheived--yet inside the appendices it was clear deaths and serious injuries arising from Road Traffic Accidents have RISEN and despite traffic being down 5% pollution has GONE UP by an incredible 14%--These two facts were not mentioned.
Fewer vehicles in the city but producing more deaths and serious injuries and vastly increased pollution?
But even worse than failing to acknowledge these things,the Council Officers realised that because minor injuries were down, and because minor injuries always (obviously) outnumber the totals for deaths and serious injuries, by combining all deaths and serious injuries WITH minor injuries they were able to trumpet a target acheived for fewer road traffic casualties....
The executive summary in the report headlining the acheivements can be seen by clicking here, it's bullet points included
- fewer road traffic causualties killed, seriously and slightly injured.
Which is true...but it is not the whole truth and it is far from being nothing but the truth.
It goes on in the next recommendations section immediately below, to say that the Officers feel 'It is recommended that the committee:
- recognises the reduction in road casulaties and the contribution the Council has made to national road safety by exceeding the 2010 casualty reduction targets;.."
NO MENTION that more deaths occurred and more serious injuries....No mention of a 14% increase in pollution which can only add more deaths and illnesses into their statistics at some stage.
Cllr Lesley Hinds in public statements has herself sais that councillors must take back the formation, and control, of policy from what she called 'faceless council officers'.
But with rubber stamping, back slapping excercises going on like that in the last Transport and Environment committee meeting at which the report above was presented she must know there is no chance of that....and she is the Convenor of that same committee.
The history of the Tram project is stuffed with examples of similar corporate rubber stamping, box ticking and back slapping.
When all they were covering up was a few hundred million pounds wasted, then perhaps it's all just part of 'the game'--but with traffic falling and pollution soaring the stakes are very much higher.
Leaving THOSE facts buried in the report appendices while trumpeting success leaves one feeling that an Inquiry by Robert Francis QC would find useful work to do in Edinburgh as well as Staffordshire.