National Health Service Apology Applauded by Top UK Lawyer
High ranking personal injury solicitor credits NHS CEO for Stafford Hospital ‘mea culpa’
Mike Farrar’s apology for the Stafford Hospital scandal has been described as a ‘marked contrast’ to the behaviour of politicians and corporate organisations by legal expert John Spencer.
Spencer deplores the ‘harrowing’ catalogue of NHS failings at Stafford Hospital but respects Farrar, the CEO of the NHS Confederation, for his heartfelt apology via BBC Newsnight – something which he considers is all too rare in modern life:
“Farrar’s mea culpa may not cut much ice with Stafford Hospital’s mistreated patients and their families, but it is nevertheless to be applauded. Here, in marked contrast to the behaviour of politicians, is a man prepared to say sorry.”
John Spencer is a strong advocate for improved healthcare in Britain - fuelled by his firm’s first-hand experience representing spinal cord injury victims. Here, however, Spencer is not speaking out against the NHS but instead acknowledging the sincerity behind Farrar’s apology.
Spencer spotlights Farrar’s use of the phrase ‘institutionalised blindness’ - explaining how it could be applied to many other areas of modern society. Zooming in on the asbestos issue, Spencer targets his argument at government and corporate bodies alike.
Heartfelt versus Heartless Apologies
As Director of Spencers Solicitors in Derbyshire, Spencer oversees numerous personal injury compensation case types. Even for a lawyer with almost 30 years’ experience, it is difficult to remain emotionally detached from his firm’s caseload. And when subjects like asbestos in schools come up, it is understandable why professionals like Spencer become so vocal in their campaign to raise awareness.
In his latest blog, Spencer relates that ‘institutional blindness’ to the Control of Asbestos Regulations – amplifying how worryingly negligent the regulations are when children are at risk. To claim that asbestos is only dangerous when disturbed strikes Spencer as absurd, when a school environment is concerned.
Beyond that, there is also the recent case regarding Marks & Spencer which Spencer picks up on as another ‘terrifying example of institutionalised blindness’.
In 2011, M&S was fined £1 million for breaching asbestos extraction procedures at its Reading store some 10 years earlier. This month, it was alleged that the supermarket chain may have also breached procedures at its London Marble Arch branch back in 1998.
Bringing his argument full circle, Spencer contrasts Farrar’s honest apology for the Stafford Hospital scandal against that of M&S’s response both in 2011 and 2013:
“At the time of the Reading judgment, M&S stated it was disappointed by the ruling. Now, a year and a half later and in the face of further serious allegations, M&S seems once again to be ‘disappointed’.
“It would doubtless reassure M&S’s staff, contractors and customers to learn that the company could find in its corporate heart to open its eyes – and feel more than mere disappointment.”