Wednesday, 10 October 2007

The Clinical Incident

Throughout the ages, small pieces of paper have changed the lives of millions of people. Voting slips. Eviction notices. Parking fines.

But these pale in comparison to the sheet of paper that rules the NHS with an iron fist. It's the Mao Tse Tung of the written word. The Joseph Stalin of A4. It's known as "The Clinical Incident Form".

It's supposed to be a routine thing, a little message to the hospital managers when something's gone wrong. It's supposed to help minimise the chances of the same mistake being made twice.

Like any well-intentioned bureaucratic device allowed out into the real world, it's grown into something very different. Nurses now brandish The Clinical Incident Form as a weapon. Forgot to write up fluids? They could end your career with a well-filled out page 1. Did you wash your hands just out of sight of the "Handwashing Audit" team, losing the ward valuable "points? You better get ready to be Formed.

Even though the worst that can happen is a mild-mannered email from Risk Management, getting the Form feels something like getting a sexually-transmitted infection. You don't want either of them, and they both tend to come from a nurse you'd rather not wake up with more than once.

The pen-pushing culture is running riot at the moment. Must be something to do with waking up in the dark and having to wear a proper winter coat in the mornings. We were brutally wrenched from the wards earlier this week, dedicating an entire morning to talking about "diversity in the NHS". This was considered more important - and thus worthy of more teaching time - than something rare and of little clinical use, like how to deal with a heart attack.

Once again, I fear that our superiors haven't quite got the hang of how to say NO to the Department of Health and its bizarre priorities. Surely that should be a Clinical Incident?


Dr Ray said...

"getting the Form feels something like getting a sexually-transmitted infection. You don't want either of them, and they both tend to come from a nurse you'd rather not wake up with more than once."
I very much enjoy reading your blog. You write well. Keep it up.

the little medic said...

Agree with the last comment, your blog is written really well.

Jo said...

Another appreciative reader here... I've been reading your blog for a few months, and love it :-)

However - I've got a question - I've got your blog on feed, and it tells me that "The B Team" is your latest post. If I click on the 'show post info' in Google, I get the first paragraph or so, but when I actually try to access it from your blog, The Clinical Incident is the latest post. Is this an issue with blogger, or did you delete The B Team?

Best wishes

The Lowly Worm said...

hi jo

I deleted that one, can't blame blogger... :)

Jo said...

Fair enough - just didn't want your hard won words to have vanished without reason :-)

Elaine said...

I tend to delete sites from my favourites if there is no post for a month, but I keep coming back to see that absolutely delightful "little doc".

Anonymous said...

ahhh the clinical incident form. The biggest joke in the NHS. Have yo ever seen the office where those things go? A manager once showed me the "room of doom". There were 1000 forms for a 1 month period. The way they're used everytime a nurse is pissed off with something, or wants to get one over on someone he/she doesn't like completely dilutes their effect. I've had 2 filled out about me during my illustrious career. Didn't give a flying flute about either of them (they were both nonsense) and not a word was ever said to me about them :D

Dr. Thunder

Alexander James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alexander James said...

Bureaucracy is rife in the NHS, medical professional such as GP & nurses are always covering their backs and I believe this is having a detrimental effect on the NHS. It’s a difficult situation as patients are suing for compensation if anything goes wrong so hospitals need to have the evidence in place. It’s catch 22!

estetik said...

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