Hooray Henrietta

A special bulletin from the Ministry of Love. 

It seems our replacement National Guardian for whistleblowing is a fan of peace and love, apparently by diktat if necessary. She’s even given an interview to the Times about her thoughts on how NHS staff must be cheerful, so that no one feels intimidated from speaking up.[1]

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The NHS needed more of the “trust and joy and love” hormone oxytocin, Dr Hughes said, citing the happy embraces of reunited families at the start of the Hugh Grant film Love Actually….If you think about that scene in Love Actually where everybody is meeting at the airport, that’s the oxytocin feeling. So wouldn’t it be better if oxytocin was the predominant neurotransmitter in the NHS?…In her first interview as national guardian for speaking-up, Dr Hughes urged staff to “start living . . . the NHS that they want to work in…Dismissing concerns that her job had few formal powers, she said that change could happen “just like that” if staff always acted as they would on a good day”

Darn, why didn’t any of us think of that? Forget all those silly old professors who’ve been researching whistleblowing for years. Forget their daft evidence-based recommendations. Who needs dull stuff like Law reform and proper infrastructure for safeguarding whistleblowers [2] when you can have happy, happy, happy, happy talk. So, well done Sir Robert, Patients Association and CQC for another credible and serious appointment. [3]

Henrietta’s so big on happy, shiny people that according to a blog, she introduced a RULE about smiling for her staff: [4]

At the Olympics as I handed over my ticket and walked into the venue I noticed a small sign on the back of the booth – SHINE.  I saw the first 3 words but by then I had moved past so did some research and made a guess as to what the N and E meant:

S – smile

H- hello

I – eye contact

N- name

E- enthusiasm/ Empathy

While researching I came across the 10:5 rule – when someone comes within 10 feet – smile, within 5 feet – say hello.”

NHS managerial grotesquery, you may think.

Moreover, is it right and proportionate to disparage “grumpy” staff, without mentioning the KissUpKickDown senior management? Or the intolerable stresses to which the NHS frontline has been subjected? No, forget the lowest paid NHS staff being forced to rely on food bank handouts [5] whilst senior managers have repeatedly awarded themselves fat pay rises. Forget the anxiety of working in seriously under-staffed departments or the stress and exhaustion of servicing on call rotas with yawning gaps. Forget the institutional dishonesty that forces unhappy staff to become complicit in cover ups, or to risk all by dissenting. [6] Forget the message of intimidation inherent in seeing senior managers walk away unscathed after indulging in whistleblower reprisal. [7] [8] Just let those whining staff eat food bank cake.

morley

Phil Morley, Robert Halfon MP, Jeremy Hunt Health Secretary and Douglas Smallwood Trust Chair, at Princess Alexandra Hospital Essex

diana-johnson-letter-to-hunt-morley-16-july-2015-1

The twitchy and highly controlling NHS establishment classically brands staff dissent as “disruptive” and “unmanageable”. Bogus disciplinaries are often concocted against truth tellers. If these don’t succeed, employers can still cry breakdown of relationships – which is a legal basis for dismissal no matter whose fault it is. [9] Compulsory smiling is surely part of the dysfunctional, choking miasma.

And is Henrietta in a position to share a valid evaluation of her “10 foot” smile rule, and whether it had a measurable effect on whistleblowing governance?

Or were her staff just grinning and bearing with the intrusive management….because they didn’t feel able to object?

On top of a non evidence-based Guardian model courtesy of Sir Robert [10], will there now be policy by caprice and movie references?

I would actually like to hear from Henrietta. Even at this very late stage no one knows what exactly she is going to do for desperate and distressed whistleblowers. I’m still waiting for an answer to questions that were first put to Sir Robert in May, which have been put to Henrietta twice since. [11] [12]

Whilst we’re all waiting for serious answers as opposed to CQC set pieces, here’s what Mr Orwell said about the Ministry of Love:

“The Ministtry of Love was the really frightening one. There were no windows in it at all. Winston had never been inside the Ministry of Love, nor within half a kilometer of it. It was a place impossible to enter except on official business, and then only by penetrating through a maze of barbed-wire entanglements, steel doors, and hidden machine-gun nests. Even the streets leading up to its outer barries were roamed by gorilla-faced guards in black uniforms, armed with jointed truncheons.”

Smile for the CCTV camera.

Related items

Clubadoodle-doo. An update on continuing lack of clarity about the National Guardian’s remit.

https://minhalexander.com/2016/10/04/clubadoodle-doo/

No one believes Jeremy Hunt on patient safety and whistleblowers, not even his own appointees. A summary about the development of the National Guardian office and information from a meeting with Eileen Sills the former National Guardian, who resigned.

https://minhalexander.com/2016/09/24/no-one-believes-jeremy-hunt-on-patient-safety-or-whistleblowers-not-even-his-own-appointees-unmasking-the-faux-national-guardian-office/

Update 11 October 2016

Letter to Peter Wyman CQC Chair, bringing to his attention the strong, negative responses to Henrietta Hughes’ comments that staff must be more cheerful.

https://minhalexander.com/2016/10/11/a-letter-to-the-ever-listening-cat-quality-commission/

 

REFERENCES

[1] Happiness is the best medicine, grumpy doctors and nurses told Chris Smyth, Times, 10 October 2016 happiness-is-the-best-medicine-henrietta-hughes

[2] Sir Robert’s Flip Flops. Minh Alexander, 26 September 2016

https://minhalexander.com/2016/09/26/sir-roberts-flip-flops/

New National Guardian appointed to the lead the NHS in speaking up freely and safely. CQC press release about Henrietta Hughes’ appointment. 7 July 2016

[3] New National Guardian appointed to the lead the NHS in speaking up freely and safely. CQC press release about Henrietta Hughes’ appointment. 7 July 2016

http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/new-national-guardian-appointed-lead-nhs-speaking-freely-and-safely

[4] SHINE. Henrietta Hughes guest blog for NHS Mangers Network

http://www.nhsmanagers.net/guest-editorials/shine/

[5] Nurses turning to food banks and asking for debt advice because of NHS cuts.

Jane Kirby, Mikey Smith, Mirror 2 September 2015

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nurses-turning-food-banks-asking-6367795

[6] Hot air about Just Culture, Richard von Aberndorff and Minh Alexander

https://minhalexander.com/2016/09/24/hot-air-about-just-culture/

[7] Health Secretary. NHS boss Phil Morley’s appointment ‘Fit and Proper’

http://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/health-secretary-deems-nhs-boss-phil-morley-fit/story-27478960-detail/story.html

[8] CQC’s Fit and Proper Parade. Minh Alexander, 29 July 2016

https://minhalexander.com/2016/09/24/cqcs-fit-and-proper-parade/

[9] Important new guidance from the courts for employers on managing whistleblowing claims. Capsticks LLP

[10] Critique of Francis’ model of trust-appointed Guardians. Minh Alexander 4 June 2015

https://minhalexander.com/2016/09/24/critique-of-francis-model-of-trust-appointed-guardians/

[11] Letter to Robert Francis 1 May 2016

https://minhalexander.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/letter-to-robert-francis-1-may-2016.pdf

[12] Clubadoodle-doo, 4 October 2016 Minh Alexander

https://minhalexander.com/2016/10/04/clubadoodle-doo/

2 thoughts on “Hooray Henrietta

  1. Oh yes, the answer to whistleblowing and the encouragement to raise concerns safely, lies with front-line NHS staff being happy and smiley! You want happy, smiley people then you need to find whistleblowers who have raised serious concerns and are still in their jobs being happy and smiley! What better role models could you ask for? So where are they? I’m an NHS whistleblower who won her case at ET but still ended up with no job. The trusts involved had every opportunity to make me a happy, smiley person but chose to support the transgressors (who they knew were in the wrong), who were all members of the executive team. Stop the patronising and start addressing the real issues of corruption, greed and cover-up inherent in senior management! Until then, we, the whistleblowers, are laughing at Henrietta’s naivety and crying at the loss of our professional careers.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I do thank you for this and admire your self-discipline in dissecting the breath-taking stupidity of the issue without recourse to basic Anglo-Saxon.
    As soon as I read the first paragraph, George Orwell sprang to mind.
    The issues you describe defy satire and one is almost reduced to hyperbole. Re-arranging the napkins as the Titanic sank did at least enable focus in a terrible and inevitable disaster.
    But, the thermo-nuclear elephant in the room here is that things can be done. They should be done. And yet, it is as if we are left to watch as the patient haemorrhages to death whilst the politicos, management and medical professionals discuss the colour of the curtains.
    Can’t wait for Halloween. Perhaps Henrietta will dress up as a ghoulish vampire in order to bring cheer to her malnourished and neglected patients.
    Thanks you, Dr Alexander.

    Liked by 1 person

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