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Jeremy Hunt responds to the Francis Inquiry into Mid Staffs

26 March 2013

‘The quality of patient care will be put at the heart of the NHS in an overhaul of the health and care system in response to the Francis Inquiry.’ This is how the Department of Health opens its press release about Jeremy Hunt’s response to the Francis Inquiry, delivered in the Commons this afternoon. The government plans to create a ‘culture of compassion’. It will do this by introducing:

1). An ‘Ofsted-style ratings for hospitals and care homes’. The new chief inspector of hospitals will be the NHS’s ‘whistle-blower-in-chief’. He will also assess complaints procedures and ensure that recruitment is adequate. The chief inspector of care will ensure that the same standards are applied across the system. Those institutions which fail will be named and shamed.

2). A ‘statutory duty of candour for organisations which [will] provide care and are registered with the Care Quality Commission’. The commission will also enforce challenging peer review to ensure that hospitals and other institutions reach a required level of performance and attainment in care, dignity and respect.

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3). A ‘pilot programme which will see nurses working for up to a year as a healthcare assistant as a prerequisite for receiving funding for their degree.’

You will have noticed that Hunt’s sticks will be wielded against institutions, not individuals. One of Robert Francis QC’s chief recommendations was that a legal duty of candour should apply to individuals. Hunt revealed that this recommendation is still under review because of concerns about the effects that it might have on transparency if staff became fearful of being prosecuted.

Hunt views transparency, coupled with the accountability mechanisms laid out above, as being central to restoring trust in the NHS. (Indeed, I’m told that a Policy Exchange event earlier this afternoon heard that the Mid Staffs crisis might have been averted had there been more effective digital transparency in the NHS; Hunt aims to make the NHS paperless by 2018.) This afternoon Hunt said that survival rates in 11 serious disciplines will be published; the aim being to expose incompetence and neglect, improve standards and generate confidence.

Elsewhere in his statement, Hunt said that he does not expect any manager involved in the Mid Staffs scandal, or any other incident like it, to be employed in the NHS again. This is, of course, no guarantee that such people won’t work in the NHS again. Later in the piece, Hunt resisted the suggestion, made by Bill Cash, that Sir David Nicholson, the NHS’s chief inspector, should resign over of his role in Mid Staffs.

You can read the rest of Hunt’s statement here.

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  • 2trueblue

    Where is Liebores response? Johnson and Burnham must surely be called on to give their view? We have so far seen nothing from them on the subject. I hope that when Nicholson is finished the current project he needs to be removed. Heads must roll for the disgusting treatment of patients and their families. There is no excuse for any of it.

    • Cuse

      Not everything is about Labour, @2trueblue.

      If we remembered that we might be a better government.

      • 2trueblue

        Hard to ignore what 13yrs did.

    • John McClane

      Absolutely right. Burnham and Johnson have got away with murder. And still Burnham witters on about saving the NHS. He helped wreck it.

  • alabenn

    This will be a sticking plaster on a gangrenous leg, no wonder people are despairing of the Tories.

    It requires the wholesale sacking without payoffs for the ones who acquiesced to the poor treatment, the nurses and doctors directly involved should be charged and the ones higher up the ladder should be on corporate manslaughter charges.

    The Labour Health Secretaries should all be removed from parliament especially that Burnham creature.

    That Labour claims that it reduced waiting lists after massive increases in money for the NHS is now looking tarnished as it appears that they have reduced waiting lists by the simple expedience of culling the long term and seriously ill patients.

    That they cannot bring themselves to remove en mass the animals in the NHS who allowed this to happen shows the Tories are not up to the job of putting this country right.

  • Barbara Stevens

    The first date should read the 14.02 13. sorry for the mistake.

  • Barbara Stevens

    Well its a beginning. But they have a lot to clear up. This very year I’ve had the bad expierience of the NHS first hand. My husband was admitted on the 14.03 13 and discharged on the 15.03.13. I nursed him at home for five days, doublely incontinent, and loss of leg movement in both legs. They deemed they could not find anything wrong with him. He was readmitted on the 20.03.13. Where they did further tests, and a MRI scan. He was found to have terminal cancer and a few weeks to live.
    The worst part for us was as we were told this news via a consulatant, we were also told he had to vacate the NHS bed. They needed the beds.
    Where my sick husband would go wasn’t mentioned until a Hospice was suggested, but also it was plain we had no choice, or so they thought.
    We were not told the full extent of his illiness, he was treated with no dignaty, care was limited, and for an incontinant patient it should be paramount for good skin care. I am a retired nurse. If I had treated patients like he was treated I’d have been sacked and shown the door.
    It was my intention that my husband would make the choice where he died, not people who’s only concern were ‘bed’s’. He chose the Hospice and they had a bed which he filled on the 11.03.13. He was treated with smiles, love and care, and all by mostly volunteers and trained staff. Even the family were cared for in his final hours. He died on the 13.03.13. It was a peacful place much different from the ward he was on where detoxing alcoholics encrouched upon our time with him. The smell from these people was awful. Health Care Assistants viewing the TV than doing the job they were paid to do, and the TV it’s self blasting away for 20 hours per day. It was a living nightmare. What trained staff were available were sitting behind the nursing station chatting and din’t want to be disturbed, the looks told you that. In all the place for nurses to learn empathy and care is inside a Hospice where the training will be right.

    • telemachus

      I deeply sympathise but wonder if this is the correct forum

      • Colonel Mustard

        It is absolutely the right forum. I have seen such things myself and the “nursing” standards in many parts of the NHS are a disgrace. Only when it is in the open and the full horror exposed instead of being layered over with treacle coated Danny Boyle-type national treasure “don’t dare criticise the nurses” nonsense will there be any hope of real reform.

        • 2trueblue


          • telemachus

            not absolutely
            To simply focus on the nurses when these oppressed human beings were bullied by managers themselves bullied by Nicholson is wrong
            Weak pleased with himself Hunt still has not got a grip
            If he does not sack Nicholson he should take the Chiltern Hundreds

            • Colonel Mustard

              Stop trying to impugn Hunt because he is a tory and for once accept the shame and blame that rightly belongs to the party you troll for.

            • 2trueblue

              Give over. To ignore patients who were starving, thirsty, totally uncared for, whilst 4 to 5 nurses gather around the desk chatting, you can not say that they are free from blame. Having worked in the health service in various capacities, none of this can be condoned.

              • telemachus

                I condone it not
                But the reality is that the management driven by targets required 3 nurses overworking their hours to look after 30 sick patients with drips cardiac arrests and the need for life saving drugs
                It is nothing short of criminal negligence to put the blame on such nurses while Nicholson sits in his plush office

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              What a pity the unctious Mr Burnham did not “get a grip” at the time the problems at Mid-Staffs were actually occurring.

              • telemachus

                He did
                He instituted the first enquiry and in face of opposition from Nicholson put in new management
                Sadly the first enquiry did not have the rigour of the second

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Do you really believe the crap you spout here or do you think your serial trolling is serving your party’s cause?

            • Barbara Stevens

              You obviously have little knowlege of nursing, I do have that knowledge I’m a retired nurse and believe me what I’ve seen in the past five weeks is enough to be very worried indeed. All parties are complicit in the NHS downfall and no excuses will make things better. You have to face facts, all have used and abused it to the extent it’s rotten to the core. When I trained, foreigners paid for their treatment up front, patients were put first, and care and good nursing were paramount. Like I said you don’t need a degree to be a good nurse, you need empathy, and not be afaid of hard work, a piece of paper cannot give you that.

      • 2trueblue

        Why not?

      • Barbara Stevens

        Is any forum the place to reveal such bad care. Sharing this expeirience gives all the opportunity to be more aware should they find themselves in the same predicament. It could be anyone near you. Challenging bad care might bring change, if unchallenged expect more of the same.

    • 2trueblue

      He was very lucky to have you there.

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