Coffee House

In praise of those who have improved healthcare in Staffordshire

14 March 2014

Last week, the House of Commons considered the vital matter of the Francis Report – one year on. It is quite difficult at this stage in the tragedy of Stafford hospital to recall how it all came about and the difficulties that those of us who experienced it had to endure, the patients and the victims in particular.

There was complete and total resistance, a granite-like refusal, to having a proper look at what was going on. A tooth and nail battle had to be fought to get the Inquiry in the first place, under the Inquiries Act 2005. I was absolutely astonished that successive Secretaries of State completely refused, point-blank, to have such an inquiry in the case of Mid Staffordshire. And I repeatedly called for the resignation of Sir David Nicholson because the whole target-based policy was very much tied up with his approach to these matters.


The work of Cure the NHS included that of my constituent Deborah Hazeldine, who came to me in my office in December 2008, with Julie Bailey, and explained that they were getting nowhere with the complaints and concerns that they were expressing. They asked what could be done about it, and I explained to them that if they did certain things, I thought we would be able to get a campaign moving of the kind that would be needed to get a 2005 Act inquiry. I pay tribute to them, and to Ken Lownds – a man of enormous integrity, knowledge, skill and commitment – who has been a tower of strength.

A great deal of credit is due to Jeremy Hunt as the current Secretary of State and the MP for Stafford, Jeremy Lefroy. Of course, I was extremely glad that, when the Conservative Party was in opposition, I was able to overcome some resistance to a 2005 Act inquiry: the current Prime Minister, then the Leader of the Opposition, listened to the arguments that I and others made and agreed to have a full 2005 Act inquiry, because he understood how important it was. The consequence has been to enable us to make changes throughout the entire health service that have enabled us in Staffordshire to be a pathfinder for solving some of the problems presented in the NHS. A zero-harm healthcare policy is important.

It is right that the Mid Staffs Foundation Trust is being dissolved, and that the Prime Minister, at a recent Prime Minister’s questions, backed plans, in as many words, for consultant-led maternity to continue at Stafford hospital. That service, plus paediatric services, critical care and a 24-hour emergency service, is necessary for my constituents in Stone and for the rest of Staffordshire.

William Cash is the Conservative MP for Stone.

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  • Maddie Miller

    I am so glad that I have finally got healthcare insurance for me and my family. You never know whats around the corner and you are more likely to get insured when you haven’t got an illness and don’t need the insure compared to when you have an a preexisting illness and you do need the insurance.

  • 2trueblue

    What happened is tragic. How Burnham is still in the house of commons is a mystery.
    The fact that it went on for so long means that it is not that easy to get rid of the culture. The whole long rotten episode beggars belief, and there needs to be an apology from Burnham and all of those involved. Nothing less should be acceptable.

    We also need to look at the tone, attitude and language used when referring to the elderly, and pensioners across society. Not a day passes when there is some item that is less than positive when referring to those who are no longer of working age. There is a concept that those who have worked all their lives, successfully brought up their families, own their own homes, have been frugal and saved for the future are in some way a burden on society. Whilst working they paid their taxes, national insurance and it is not their fault that the money was squandered and has left a shortfall. The fault lies with those who governed the country and spent the money.

    We must clean it all up and respect those who can no longer speak for themselves. That is what humanity is about and all of those involved in caring for those who are sick have to get back to basics and give the very best care to all. That is their job and responsibility, and if they fail they should be ousted straight away, no excuses. We need all to be vigilant and aware, because one day it might be you or one of your own who are ill and in the hands of those who are not worthy of the job of caring, and looking after the sick.

  • McClane

    For those, and their families, caught up in the Mid-Staffs care crisis it was a tragedy.

    It is thanks to Julie Bailey, and others, that this was brought to light, and that the extent revealed to which the Labour government, its Health ministers e.g Burnham and those in the NHS apparently in charge locally, regionally and nationally, would go to hide this from public view.

    The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 includes a requirement on local authorities to include those who are ill, frail or elderly in their categories of vulnerable groups. It is effective as well. I have used it when challenging my mother’s apparent lack of care at our local hospital.

    The best source I used was NYCC’s page on their website. ‘Seen it? Heard it? Reort it!’

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