Councillor Matthew Ellis

A Lichfield councillor has criticised the Government, claiming the level of inspections are hampering front-line health services.

Matthew Ellis, Lichfield Rural East representative at Staffordshire County Council and cabinet member for Adults and Wellbeing, admitted he has been “frustrated” by the inspection culture which now surrounds much of the region’s healthcare.

Speaking on his website, Cllr Ellis, who is also a Lichfield District Council member, said that in the few weeks since he took on responsibility for Staffordshire County Council’s health provision he had become aware that Government policy has led to an “inspection feeding frenzy” which demoralised staff. He explained:

“Too often I find passionate and dedicated health and care professionals demoralised because they are sitting, number crunching and data collecting, in front of PC screens instead of looking after the people who really matter out there. And all too often I find that what they are doing serves little purpose other than pandering to the inspection feeding frenzy. It’s a vicious circle – the more you have to prove what you are doing on the front line, the more it takes resources from that front line.

“The only data collection and ‘performance management’ I want is around directly contributing to safe, financially efficient and effective outcomes for people. I want proffesionals to know why they are collecting ‘this data’ and doing ‘that reporting’ and if it brings nothing towards genuinely improving outcomes for people ‘out there’ I don’t want them doing it.

“The right inspection is invaluable for improving self awareness for an organisation and ensuring better service delivery for those who need it. But it has to be right, not overbearing and for the sake of it. I want the professionals to get on with what they were trained to do and that means collecting only what we need to. That’s my biggest challenge to ensuring more money is spent on people and services rather than on bureaucrats.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.