A former social work senior lecturer details the on-going battle to maintain academic and professional standards amidst the marketisation of universities
Last week, after more than twenty years of university teaching, I handed in my notice and resigned from my post as senior lecturer in social work and course lead of a Masters in Advanced Practice.
I don’t have another job to go to and will, undoubtedly, miss the regular income and relative safety of a full-time, permanent post.
Honesty is the best policy
An emperor in the Far East was growing old and knew it was time to choose his Successor.
Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided something different. He called young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you.” The Youths were shocked! But the emperor continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today. One very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here after one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor!”
One Man named Munna was there that day and he, like the others, received a…
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‘Here is an overview of action taken by the Government in response to the failures at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. ……….’
This is a start which needs to be actively encouraged and not be allowed to fail.
Only time will tell if this is sufficient.
New laws for more open and safe care from Department of Health
An extract ‘Two new important laws to help improve patient safety, transparency, and leadership in the NHS come into force today.
The first is the statutory Duty of Candour, which places a legal duty on hospital, community and mental health trusts to inform and apologise to patients if there has been a mistake in their care which has led to significant harm. ……’
‘……..The second new law relates to ensuring strong and safe leadership in healthcare organisations. Under the new regulations, all NHS board members will be required to undergo a Fit and Proper Person’s Test before they are appointed. ……’
For more information follow Fit and proper persons requirement and the duty of candour for NHS bodies*
It would appear that this is welcome news, which may be long over due, but will it make a difference. Only time will tell, for, no matter how much legislation is created, if the organisations do not abide by it, then will there be any difference. Will the monitoring by CQC (Care Quality Commission) be sufficient? Are the new laws robust enough? For as stated in the Duty of Candour ‘.. a mistake in their care which has led to significant harm.’ why not all mistakes, whether there is harm or not?
We do need to trust the NHS, which currently we may do or not. But if we did not have the NHS we would all be far worse for it not being there.
From an early age we are informed to respect authority and to trust the Police. Now we are told no one respects authority and there is no trust in the police. So why has there been a change over the last 50 years or has there been no change, but people are now more honest about their feelings. At this early age the children are also expected to trust and respect their parents.
When I was at school some 50-60 years ago it was assumed we respected the teachers, but was fear thought to be respect. The teachers were the power and should not be crossed, as they had the punishments to deliver if you did cross them. Is that they way to have or gain respect, no you fear for what could and can be done to you. This fear is no longer there, as the punishments of long ago have been withdrawn and the pupils of today know they can do virtually anything and will not receive any punishment. This lead to large-scale disobedience and can have devastating consequences as could be seen from recent news. Teacher stabbed to death in Leeds, while this may not be a direct result in punishment removal and the no respect or fear of teachers, it is a product of what is occurring today.
Then we have the Police, this was, only a few years ago, a profession that the majority respected and looked upon with pride and trust. While there were always the occasional stories of corruption, this was isolated persons in particular forces. Now we have Hillsborough, possibly Orgreave, Stephen Lawrence and others. This is not to say that the police are corrupt, but a minority of the officers may be, but it is the manner in which these investigations and others were handled that leaves a door of mistrust open.
The NHS, this is one of the great institutions of the UK, being that it provides health care, free at point of delivery for all eligible persons within the UK. But there have been many issues, one of which is Mid Staffs. This is where there were many unexplained deaths and the extent of a cover up.
One of the biggest scandals and is still current is the child abuse allegations and Jimmy Saville and others. Here questions are still being asked about the conduct of the BBC, various hospital, including Leeds General Infirmary, Broardmoor , Stoke Mandeville and many others, CPS, Police and some child care homes.
Now Cyril Smith which again bring in, what appears to be child abuse, police investigations or no investigation and politics. Was this known at Westminster, by his own party; the Liberals or any of the other parties or any MP’s and if it was, were there cover ups?
The mention of politics and MP’s brings in the expenses scandal, where certain MP’s were accused of claiming expenses they were not entitled to and some were prosecuted and many had to pay back the expenses they should not have had. Then we have certain persons in Parliament and Government who may not have always been truthful, this causes Tony Blair to be mentioned his’weapons of mass destruction‘ is but one example of limited truth.
But can one believe anything a Politian says, have you observed when they are in interviews and are asked questions, have you ever seen or heard one politician answer any question directly. In most cases the response will be superbly diverted to the response they wish to give, which in most cases has no bearing on the question being asked.
So many of the UK institutions have recently been found to be not telling the truth and then, does that lead to the non-respecting of these institutions, for many the answer will be yes. This, of course, does presuppose that they were, in fact, respected previously.
So how can these institution and the persons within them be seen to be trustful and then maybe respected. I believe it starts with them being open, honest and transparent and at least one MP says he will MP Craig Whittaker. There are also a number of NHS Hospitals and NHS organisations who have taken this on board, some being NHS England, The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, but there are also others.
The proof, however is yet to come and we shall see where the open, honesty and transparency will be, for it is one thing to have put the deed on paper, it is another task to deliver it by action.
For trust has to be seen to be forthcoming from all UK organisations and the people within and then, and only then, will the respect be being earned. It is then for each individual person to decide are they being given the truth, so that they can commence to trust and possibly then, in time also respect.