The Francis Report
Following an extensive inquiry into failings at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, Robert Francis QC published his final report on 6 February 2013.
It told a story of appalling suffering of many patients within a culture of secrecy and defensiveness. The inquiry highlighted a whole system failure. A system which should have had checks and balances in place, and working, to ensure that patients were treated with dignity, and suffered no harm.
The 1,782 page report had 290 recommendations with major implications for all levels of the health service across England. It called for a whole service, patient centred focus. The detailed recommendations did not call for a reorganisation of the system, but for a re-emphasis on what is important, to ensure that this does not happen again.
Read the full Francis report.
Hard Truths: The Government response to Francis
On 19 November 2013, the Secretary of State for Health issued his response to the Francis report, in which the Government undertook to fully implement 204 of the 290 recommendations.
Some of the Government's pledges which will have workforce implications, include:
- Safe staffing: from April 2014, all hospitals will publish staffing levels on a ward-by-ward basis together with the percentage of shifts meeting safe staffing guidelines. This will be mandatory and will be done on a monthly basis. By the end of next year this will be done using models approved independently by NICE. Access the new National Quality Board (NQB) guidance on safer staffing.
- Complaints reporting and better complaints information: Trusts will report quarterly on complaints data and lessons learned and the Health Service Ombudsman will increase significantly the number of cases she considers. In addition, all hospitals will be required to set out clearly how patients and their families can raise concerns or complain, with independent support available from their Healthwatch or alternative organisations.
- Every hospital patient should have the names of a responsible consultant and nurse above their bed. And as announced last week as part of the agreement with GPs, starting with over-75s from next April, there will be a named accountable clinician for out-of-hospital care for all vulnerable older people.
Download the Government's full response, Hard Truths: The journey to putting patients first, and its response to each recommendation.