Ombudsman Disappointed With Hospital Review

May 17, 2013

Arlene Brock, Ombudsman for Bermuda, expressed disappointment with the quality of the Bermuda Hospital Board’s [BHB] Corporate and Clinical Governance Review.

Ms. Brock said, “In November 2012 I announced that I would be reviewing the Corporate and Clinical Governance Review commissioned by the BHB and conducted by Howard Associates.”

“My oversight of Howard Associates was intended to allay some of the skepticism the public may feel given that this was not an independently commissioned report, but one paid for by the BHB. [‘He who pays the piper plays the tune’ - especially if the piper hopes for further opportunities to play.]

“My role was never to be a rubber stamp of Howard Associates’ final report. The BHB had agreed from the beginning that my independence as an Officer of the Constitution of Bermuda would not be curtailed.”

“I participated in the interview of the short-listed consultants and agreed that Howard Associates had presented themselves best – as humble, serious and inclined to ask questions rather than razzle-dazzle with ‘consultant-speak’.

“Their proposed methodology was particularly impressive. They would embed themselves into the BHB [in the same way that journalists embed themselves with troops at war]. This is an ideal way of obtaining both formal and informal information about the real dynamics and operations of an organization.

“From such an auspicious beginning through an excellent methodology, however, Howard Associates’ report simply does not reflect the wealth of information and insight that ought to have been obtained from embedding.”

“I am very sorry to say that I am exceedingly disappointed with Howard Associates’ report. My conclusion is that the Howard Associates report is full of statements, conclusions and recommendations without evidence, examples, best practices or rationales. Further Howard Associates’ clear focus on the ‘next gig’ could well have compromised their report.”

Ms Brock noted that, “Howard Associates failed to address certain questions that had been swirling in the media for some time. In particular Howard Associates did not adequately report on the operations of Healthcare Partners Limited – a unique new venture for the BHB. Due to a separation agreement with the former Chief of Staff that imposes broad, strict confidentiality on the BHB, Howard Associates were also unable to adequately report on the concerns that had been previously aired in the media about him.”

“Largely as a result of my critique,” Ms Brock said, “Howard Associates subsequently produced a ‘Rectification Report’. I was not informed until 1st April [almost accidentally] that the BHB’s contract required Howard Associates to rectify their report after my critique.”

Ms Brock said, “Logically, I cannot critique the Rectification Report. It would be improper for me to applaud the improvements that I myself had suggested. Our office dedicated considerable resources, thinking, insight, time and efforts to the oversight and critique of Howard Associates’ original report.”

Ms Brock concluded “Bermuda needs the BHB to succeed. We need to develop solutions that both tap our vast insight into our own problems and still harvest the best from the rest of the world. Most important, we need all of the people in this critical endeavour to be focused on our common good.”

Ms Brock explained that the report she tabled today in Parliament was based on her review of the original reports Howard Associates’ produced on 18th and 22nd March 2013. Their March 22nd report and the Ombudsman’s report are available on the Ombudsman’s website

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Comments (14)

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  1. LaVerne Furbert says:

    Why should Howard Associates address “certain questions that have been swirling in the media”? Certainly, Ms. Brock is not referring to the Royal Gazette.

    • Hey says:

      Because the Public have a right to know !

    • Building a better Bermuda says:

      Because they were hired to report of on the BHB ‘Corporate and Clinical Governance’. Yet they didn’t bother to explore the BHB’s corporate venture, Healthcare Partners, or look into why one of the BHB’s core positions of governance, the Chief of Staff. These questions have been swirling in the media, and as the report is tittled, they should have been explored in depth in the report to clear the air about them. As the sole major medical facility in Bermuda, and also being publicly funded, it is accountable to the people and had the former administration allowed a more in-depth review, we would have the answers owed. Wonder why the ‘Worker’s Voice’ never raised questions about what was going on at the people’s hospital to cause such a sharp rise to our healthcare in the last couple of years?

    • Huh? says:

      please have this seat \_

  2. Common Sense says:

    Hopefully, Ms. Brock is not referring to the Workers Voice which presents without doubt the most biased and one sided reporting in Bermuda. As editor of the Workers Voice Laverne Furbert is clearly obsessed with attacking the Royal Gazette at every opportunity. Is it just possible that Ms Brock’s reference to the media also includes news reports also published by the Bermuda Sun, and aired by the Bermuda Broadcasting Company and on VSB?! Knowing the way in which Ms. Brock operates she will have had her ears to the ground with all of the media, but never let the facts get in the way of an attack on our daily newspaper by Ms. Furbert.

    • LaVerne Furbert says:

      Common Sense, Thank you for being a patron of the Workers Voice. We appreciate your support.

      • Argosy says:

        ….as expected from you – the lowest form of wit.


      • Building a better Bermuda says:

        Hey it’s great, some light fiction to read and something wipe with when on the toilet.

  3. Vote for Me says:

    This appears to be a raather scathing attack on the BHB report, if not Howard Associates.

    Where does that leave us in terms of increased confidence in the BHB and its leadership?

    • Alicia says:

      The report is horrible, however lets remember that since this report was commissioned there is a new board and a new chief of staff, so perhaps there is some hope

  4. Bermuda Male says:

    Wow this does not bode well for the BHB nor Healthcare Partners not to mention Howard Associates. A lot of action happening around the BHB over the six months or so. Interesting indeed.

  5. Done says:

    This is not surprising to me. I am a Bermudian and a nurse who is about to leave and go and work elsewhere. The people of this island are not willing to ever give the hospital a chance or acknowledge the good work that goes on each and every day. Do you know who give us the most encouragement and support??? tourists who have usually been in hospitals abroad including the ones we flock to….they can not believe how high the standard of care is. I fear that Jesus could write a fair report on the hospital and we wouldn’t accept it. Even patients who have their lives saved and have a great experience are afraid to speak out for fear of ridicule. Bermuda better wake up and support the staff that have the skin thick enough to stay and take the abuse.

  6. Done says:

    This comment was for another article criticizing patient care not this one re: the report and ombudsmans comments which could be very valid.

  7. Mad Dawg says:

    Interesting isn’t it how little criticism there is of the previous government’s hiring of Howard Associates, and the inept report they produced. It’s like we expected no better.