With increasing wartime assaults on and patterns of systematic destruction of health facilities in countries affected by conflict, the UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution to strengthen protection for health care workers, the sick and wounded, hospitals and clinics, in war zones.
Attacks on at least two medical facilities in Syria yesterday (15 February) are just the latest of scores of apparently deliberate attacks on hospitals, clinics and medical personnel being committed in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, says Amnesty International .
Over the past decade in England and Wales, over two thousand people have died in care homes or hospitals while dehydrated or malnourished. Charities and politicians have expressed outrage. Some of these deaths are due to neglect, which should end – but unjustly blaming staff or managers when patients die for other reasons should also be avoided.
A report on why Mid Staffordshire hospital failings went unchecked for so long makes important points. Robert Francis QC, who led the inquiry, avoided the temptation to blame all that went wrong on a few people who could then be punished, or call for yet another round of reorganisation. Instead he revealed disturbing flaws in the culture of the NHS and other agencies linked with health and social care.