What are debates for?

Baroness Murphy

We’ve just finished Baroness Eccles’ debate on Quality of Care in the NHS’. 17 peers spoke for 5 minutes each on this wide-ranging topic. I seriously wonder whether this is the best use of parliamentary time. No doubt official(s?) in the Department of Health are obliged to read it and ensure the Minister has responded to everyone’s questions but I can’t help feeling this is far less useful than say the Committee work around Bills. Nevertheless there were some compelling contributions, notably from Lord Mancroft about his appalling experiences recently in a west country hospital. He did not name the hospital but afterwards I asked him which it was and he was happy to reveal it. I hurried to find out if it was a Foundation Trust or not and have to confess to be very relieved it isn’t. He also mentioned his splendid care in the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, (which I am delighted to say is an NHS Foundation Trust). The best NHS care is world class, the worst is shameful. Still far too much to do to get uniform good quality.

2 comments for “What are debates for?

  1. baronessdsouza
    02/03/2008 at 1:00 pm

    Yes, Lord Mancroft’s was a compelling contribution. I would only add that what nurses or indeed anyone else get up to in their spare time is entirely their business. If, and only if, outside pursuits get in the way of professional duties does it become a matter of public interest and concern.

    Judging by the media coverage of this story – one would think that the whole nursing profession has been condemned but this is not the case.Lord Mancroft also gave undiluted praise to the nursing care he received in the second hospital to which he was transferred.

    This press explosion somewhat overshadowed other contributions to the debate, notably that of Baroness Emerton who, with her decades of nursing experience, revealed the shocking gaps in the training of nurses. She quoted the results of one survey showing that out of 250 newly qualified graduate nurses only TWO passed with 100%, indicating that only TWO were safe to administer drugs.

  2. baronessmurphy
    14/03/2008 at 6:31 pm

    I do so agree with this. Baroness Emerton and I worked together twenty years ago when she was a Chief Nurse in South East Thames Region of the NHS and I was a medical professor at Guys. She was such a brilliant role model for nurses and a tough advocate of really high standards in nursing. It has been such a pleasure to meet her again in the Lords and listen to her wealth of experience as a nurse, manager and senior professional regulator. I know she is still very active in the nursing world and understands the difficulties the NHS has in attracting and training the best.

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