Blogpost: The Blame Culture
By Dr Emil Shehadeh
THOSE who read my blogs are accustomed to the fact that I am trying to defend the GPs corner. It seems increasingly fashionable for the NHS to blame GPs for all sorts of problems nowadays.
I am reminded of the QOF, in which GPs are penalised if their patients’ blood pressure or blood sugar does not fall within normal range. A friend of mine has told me about an encounter with a diabetic, whom he had seen five times in one year, and each time the patient was given verbal and written information about the importance of diet and taking his medication correctly.
Each time the patient’s diabetic control got worse. There have been nursing appointments and telephone conversations with this patient regarding the same subject. However, the patient continued to eat the wrong things without any care and to take his medication chaotically. He was turned down for an orthopaedic procedure because his diabetes was badly controlled. He told the surgeon that his GP was never available to discuss his diabetes! Yet when he was invited to see the GP, he failed to turn up.
At the end of the financial year, the practice was financially penalised because this patient’s diabetes was poorly controlled. This is not an uncommon occurrence. Is it fair to penalise the GP for the failure of an individual to respond to intensive and good medical advice?!
Another colleague told me about a hypertensive patient, who took her blood pressure medication erratically, did not keep her follow up appointments and repeatedly failed to have blood tests when invited. Eventually she had a stroke. Shortly after, the practice manager received a complaint from the patient brazenly accusing the GP of negligence because her blood pressure was out of control.
What is somewhat baffling is that with the increasing amount of personal freedom, people are more prone to blaming public servants for their own failures, whether these public servants are teachers, police officers or health care professionals. As a society we seem more enabled than ever to take personal responsibility for our own health. Yet the tendency to blame others for personal failures seems to be mounting.
Dwight D. Eisenhower once said: "The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions." . Hunting. Yes. This is the word I am looking for: hunting. The blame culture is the daughter of the compensation culture, hunting for ill gained lucre. No personal responsibility; just blame. How convenient to have a mind that feels no shame and no guilt, just blame for others. No concern for personal health, just greed for ill gained wealth.
Steve Maraboli once said "Blame is the creed of the disempowered." . Whilst there is a germ of truth in these words, they are perversely untrue. Why? Because "disempowered" implies that it is someone else’s fault. Someone came and took the power to do the right thing away from the blamer! We have never had so many freedoms and choices. Yet we continue to blame others. What we need is a revival of personal responsibility.
Whilst there is nothing wrong with blaming others when others are at fault, if everyone felt the need to take responsibility for their own health, decisions and mistakes, the world and certainly the NHS would be in far better shape.