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The brother of a man murdered by the NHS writes about "the envy of the world"

Tom Winnifrith
Wednesday 22 May 2024

A long long time ago I used to work for Richard Kellett-Clarke. He always struck me as an honest and decent man but I never knew his back story. In the wake of the infected blood scandal Richard posted on LinkedIn and his very moving but harsh words deserve a far wider audience. He writes….

Saturday was the 21st Anniversary of the death of my twin brother Roger Clarke and yesterday I logged on to read the Infected Blood enquiry report as a haemophilic he died at 48 from an unnecessary blood transfusion given by a junior doctor at the age of 26.

Having been lied and talked down to by arrogant doctors from the age of six I hope today the medical profession learns candour and honesty.

Also other professions, as in my professional career the City/ brokers /fund managers /accountants and lawyers do not listen when you tell them the truth but tend to turn away from conflict and focus on self interest rather than doing the right thing.

I hope the BBC etc. stop lauding the NHS and pulling at emotional heart strings like now and during COVID . The NHS is a large devastatingly badly managed and administered organisation which is inbred and obscenely inefficient. No private company could survive with such waste.

I’m currently managing my eldest brother through terminal cancer and the lack of ownership of a problem, the hours spend leaving messages on answer phones, the depersonalisation of the individual so you feel helpless to get anything corrected, the lack of joined up management, and the sheer waste of money is still today unfathomable.

Had the NHS been efficient, shared data, and managed the process properly across trusts and without a post code lottery of care my brother would be here today.

Government should look at changing the status of a patient so that they remains responsible for their health and it does not become the liability of their NHS trust. There is a duty to inform but responsibility should rest with the patient.
The system protects itself from legal claims, pays out to people who game the system, but never learns.

It’s also easier to issue a sick note than confront an issue.

Management and supervisory boards are stuffed with people protecting their medical disciplines and not cooperating between departments and oversight designed to protect rather than innovate and drive for efficiency. The NHS is not underfunded.

I think if you suggested that for every £ saved hospitals could spend the money on improved pay you would see a step change in performance and improvements in care. If you’re in the system you don’t stick your head up and fight for change because you will be shot down and often it’s career limiting.

I hope the NHS and other institutions learn today that the culture and practices in the organisation have to change but I fear it will simply be the government will pay compensation and that’s the job done and we move on.

Money will not bring back my twin only change will make his life have meaning.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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