Working-holiday, genuine-imitation, the same difference… we use them all the time.

The word “oxymoron” is itself oxymoronic, which is to say, contradictory.

The word is derived from two ancient Greek words oxys, which means “sharp,” and moronos, which means “dull”.

Oxymorons sneak into the every-day, they go unnoticed;

‘This was a minor crisis and the only choice was to close the department…’

Did you notice, there are two oxymorons in that sentence; ‘minor crisis’ and ‘only choice’. That’s an awfully good example… see another one sidled in; ‘awfully good’.

They appear in English literature all the time. John Milton, in Paradise Lost talked about ‘darkness visible’. In politics; cold war, defensive strike. How about living-dead, stationary-orbit, listening-books.

Clicking the Microsoft start button to close Windows. Stripper’s dressing room. ‘Always remember, you are unique… just like everyone else’.

Oxymoronic behaviour… pressing the buttons on the remote control, harder, when the batteries are running down.

The NHS is not exempt from oxymorons.

Can a hospital be good and unsafe?

I can think of no circumstances where a hospital can be good and unsafe.

With apologies to the Trust, may I direct you to the CQC report for the performance of Leeds Teaching Hospital.

A jolly fine place it is , too. It can trace its roots back the the General Infirmary of 1771.

The CQC paid a visit and rated the Trust ‘good’. However, the CQC also said; the safety of the hospital requires improvement.

Oxymoron. Good but not safe;

• The trust did not always have appropriate numbers of staff to ensure that patients received safe care.

• Effective infection prevention and control protocols were not consistently followed.

So, the CQC seem to think it’s ‘good’ for yer granny to be in a place that is ‘good’, but inadequately staffed and might pick up a hospital acquired infection. No, it’s rubbish.

There’s bit more… they were criticised for treating patients in corridors. Nevertheless, they are ‘good’.

At the other end of the country, St Mary’s on the Isle of Wight, have been traduced by the CQC for not having enough staff and treating patients in corridors.

Frimley Health has just been downgraded from its excellent rating. Why… in large part, because they don’t have enough midwives… who does?

The CQC blunder around the NHS destroying reputations for not having enough staff… knowing full well, there are not staff to be had.

The HEE have had five years to sort out workforce, haven’t and by the way, the boss there, gave himself a pay-rise.

DiDo’s NHSI, now charged with sorting workforce is busy consulting on a Walter Mitty set of proposals, knowing full well that work has already been done by her predecessor Board, better.

They should be in the implementation stage but they are palavering around with another consultation.

Don’t expect more staff anytime soon.

Here’s another oxymoron; inspection and quality, in the same breath.

Ask students of management; the very idea that you can inspect quality into anything is an oxymoron. You can’t.

Turn-up and inspect and it’s good, you’ve wasted your time. Turn-up and inspect and it’s bad, it’s too late.

Are you, like me, sick of the lack of leadership and this rudderless mess.

HEE have failed spectacularly.

NHSI are unable to combine the words workforce and urgent, in one sentence.

The CQC float in an unreal world of etherial perfection supping ichor, pronouncing the punishment of Sisyphus on Trusts for not having the one thing that no one has enough of and no idea how to find … people.

All three organisations, costing a fortune, consumed in a giant game of pass the parcel. No one is responsible, no one owns the problems, no one has any cajones to take charge.

Three things:

1. Reign-in the CQC, they’re doing more harm than good.

2. Get a bomb under DiDo’s lot to deliver in three months.

3. Tell the HEE, the party’s over.

Who will do it? No one is in charge.

NHS leadership… the ultimate oxymoron.

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Reproduced at TrainingPrimaryCare.com by kind permission of Roy Lilley.