A “zero tolerance” approach to poor standards of care in the NHS is needed, the head of the inquiry into “appalling” failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust said today.

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Robert Francis QC said hospitals which failed to comply with a “fundamental standard” should be forced to close.

And healthcare providers should be liable for prosecution if they fail to comply with standards.

Inquiry chairman Robert Francis QC made a total of 290 sweeping recommendations for healthcare regulators, providers and the Government in his 1,782-page report.

Mr Francis said the NHS has a series of checks and balances which should have prevented “serious systematic failure of this sort”.

The system failed in its primary duty of protecting patients, he added.

There were “numerous” warning signs which should have alerted authorities to problems at the trust.

There was a failure to communicate between the plethora of regulatory agencies and “too great a degree of tolerance of poor standards”, he said.

Fundamental standards should be policed by a single regulator - the Care Quality Commission (CQC), he said.

He added that the regulator Monitor should be stripped of its powers to award trusts foundation trust status - a supposed marker of excellence in the NHS.

The regulator awarded the trust the status in 2008 - at the height of its troubles.

Mr Francis said “appalling” conditions suffered by patients at the trust, which runs the hospital, were primarily caused by “serious failure” on the part of the trust board.

The trust failed to tackle an “insidious negative culture” including a tolerance of poor care standards. They also failed to appreciate the enormity of the situation, he said.

The trust’s culture was one of “self-promotion rather than critical analysis and openness”, the report states.

Managers had “no culture” for listening to patients.

And as a result of poor leadership and staffing policies a “completely inadequate” standard of nursing was offered on some wards at Stafford Hospital.

Patients and their families were excluded from their care.

In the scathing report he attacked local health authorities and the trust board but he refused to blame any individual for failures at the trust - even though many have previously called for NHS Commissioning Board chief executive Sir David Nicholson to resign over the scandal.

“This is not a case where it was ever going to be possible or permissible to find an individual or a group of individuals was to blame for this,” he said.

He said there should be an increased culture of compassion and caring in nursing and recommended that there should also be a legal obligation for healthcare providers and medics to observe a “duty of candour”.

4 comments

  • The Government are more worried about how to save on budgets, or cut them more, they are not worried about staff or patients, The NHS is running more like a business, cut staff save money, send patients home save money. Only now will someone start looking at how things are in the NHS for many people its too late.

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    rodney

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • The big problem here is that problems like those uncovered in this report are endemic across all hospitals. Learn the lessons by all means but it really needs a top-down review and shake-up of the whole system. I think the NHS provides a good emergency service with excellent A&E but beyond that I am afraid things begin to go downhill. I want the NHS to really care for my loved ones when they go into hospital ....... I don't really have any confidence this willis happening.

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    Red Robbo

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • For decades now the politicians and the 'suits' have wasted billions while they've used the NHS as a political football. Nurses and doctors have been strangled by bureaucracy and patient care has suffered as a result. And what will come out of it? Yet another Government-appointed watchdog to waste even more money.

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    skrich

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • Oy!!! you, yes you reading this comment. Where is my previous comment that I posted lunchtime. The EADT is a joke compared to other moderated sites. I must admit that I rarely comment any more. Please pass this feedback to the editor ..... if you can be bothered.

    Report this comment

    Red Robbo

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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