Comments made by the BMA chair are ‘quite badly out of context’, according to the health minister.
On a recent visit to the island, Dr Philip Banfield, chair of the British Medical Association, slated the health system of the island.
He called it one of the most dysfunctional systems he had ever seen after meeting with 60 doctors who described the environment as having a culture of fear that prevented them from raising concerns with management.
Mr Hooper said: ‘I think the reports will say quite clearly, that overwhelmingly, the staff themselves feel valued.
‘It is absolutely fair to say that isn’t the case everywhere. The CQC has identified areas where staff told them they don’t feel as valued or they don’t quite feel as confident in raising concerns.’
Dr Banfield (pictured) said: ‘I knew a little bit about what was going on and what the concerns were, but what I found both alarming and distressing yesterday was the intensity of fear, a universal agreement that the doctors on the island are not engaged, or do not feel engaged, with what’s going on.
‘They do not feel that they can raise concerns about safety, they feel that if they do raise concerns they are often threatened, bullied, threatened with referral to the General Medical Council and that kind of culture is destructive and it is corrosive of providing health in a safe manner and that is a worry the island should be very worried about.’
A CQC report into the A&E department at Noble’s Hospital said: ‘There was a significant disconnect between the nursing and medical staff in the department which could have the potential to cause or contribute to patient harm.
‘Some staff have previously described the culture as “toxic” and the attitude and behaviour of the senior medical staff as “feral”.’
The Department of Health and Social Care has invited the BMA to meet with it to discuss the association’s findings and the CQC reports.
Mr Hooper said that an ‘overwhelming’ number of staff members felt valued in their positions and that Manx Care was ‘passionate about improving the culture’ amongst healthcare workers.
He also said staff were reporting that the situation was ‘improving’ and that there was positivity amongst the staff now.
‘The comments that the BMA chair made where he characterised the whole system as having problems I think are quite badly out of context.
‘I think these reports provide a weight of evidence in exactly the opposite direction and say, by and large, that the system is a healthy system.
‘It is a place where staff do feel respected and valued and able to talk and raise concerns freely. There are still definitely pockets of behaviour that will need to be addressed.’
In the letters page of this week's Isle of Man Examiner, Dr Joannis Vamvakopoulos, consultant endocrinologist and internist, takes issue with Dr Banfield’s comments, saying they were hyperbolic, misguided and ultimately unhelpful to both doctors and patients.