There has been a huge amount of publicity following the publication of the report by Robert Francis QC into the failings at Stafford hospital. The report, which follows a public enquiry lasting 31 months, is detailed and makes a full 209 recommendations. You will probably be relieved to find that I’m not going to list each and every one, but what are the principal proposals contained in this far-reaching report;
o the creation of a single regulator – the Chief Inspector of Hospitals -with increased powers – including staff, suspension or prosecution
o the appointment of specialist Care Quality Commission inspectors
o the Care Quality Commission to take over the responsibility for the regulation of or health care providers, both within the NHS and the private sector
o the introduction of a new “duty of candour” – this is supposed to cover not just the NHS and their staff, but all medical staff and employees of Healthcare organisations
o whistle blowing will be outlawed with a new ban on so-called “gagging clauses” which have previously been contained in many NHS contract of employment
o the introduction of clearer lines of reporting and responsibility within hospital structures
o complaints about the levels of health care to be posted on the websites of individual hospitals
o GPs to receive increased monitoring
Given that the awful failings of medical care at Stafford hospital led directly to huge number of deaths – estimates range of being 400 and staggering 1200 – let’s hope that this report actually achieve something and is implemented – and not just put on the shelf like, like so many other public enquiries
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