I came across this lengthy article from The UK’s Daily Mail detailing the nightmarish conditions at Staffordshire Hospital, where it is reported that between 2005 and 2008 as many as 1,200 patients died needlessly due to appalling conditions and neglect.
Keep those dates in mind – this is current. The events described in the article did not happen in some long-forgotten past or in a third-world hell hole. This scandal is unfolding, right now, in one of the most developed nations on earth. If you want to know just how far an organization can stray from the Respect for People ideal that lies at the root of Lean and Operational Excellence, forget Foxconn and look at the UK’s NHS.
There are a host of other articles on the Daily Mail site. This article shares stories from the families of victims of the hospital’s abuses, where people were so thirsty they drank water from dirty vases and patients were often left to soak in their own urine for days.
Of course, the man at the head of it all refuses to accept responsibility, blaming ‘the system’ for the problem. I know Lean typically advocates looking at the system for the root of the problem and not blaming the individual, but this seems like a bit of a bastardization of that concept.
The scandal runs wide and deep, and would be shocking if it wasn’t so utterly disgusting. The Guardian has published a guide to the scandal, demonstrating just how far-reaching this is that it requires a guide.
Amazing that, in an era where Lean Healthcare is gaining more and more momentum, a situation like this exists.