Update from Barbara Hakin

Barbara HakinWelcome to the latest issue of the GP and Practice Team Bulletin. This time I want to focus on the Full Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, published on 6 February 2013.

The Department of Health has pledged to take action on the recommendations from inquiry chairman Robert Francis QC, with a renewed focus on putting patients at the centre of everything we do.

The Government’s response has highlighted these initial pledges:

  • The Care Quality Commission will create the post of chief inspector of hospitals and a new inspection regime will begin in the autumn modelled on Ofsted’s system of school inspections
  • NHS trust boards could be suspended for quality of care failures as well as for financial management failures
  • Under the Friends and Family Test, where a significant proportion of patients or staff raise serious concerns about what is happening in a hospital, immediate inspection will result and suspension of the hospital board may follow
  • South Tees Hospitals Foundation Trust chief executive Tricia Hart and Labour MP Ann Clwyd will advise on how NHS hospitals should handle patient complaints
  • Don Berwick, an international healthcare expert, will examine zero tolerance of harm.

In addition, the NHS Medical Director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, is to conduct an investigation into the 14 hospitals that have been outliers on Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator (SHMI) data for two successive years to 2012. These hospitals are:

  • Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust
  • Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust
  • Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Medway NHS Foundation Trust
  • Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Government will respond in detail to the Francis report in March 2013. The report made 290 recommendations in total, outlined in its Executive Summary. It concluded the extent of the failure of the system suggests a fundamental culture change is needed within the NHS.

A relentless focus on quality and safety of care will clearly also need to be at the heart of the work of CCGs and the NHS Commissioning Board, working with patients and communities.

Dame Barbara Hakin

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