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The Francis report has been published

Posted: 6 February 2013 by Rob Dabrowski

A public enquiry has today (6 February) called for a new ‘duty of candour’ to be introduced for the NHS.

The Francis Report has been released
The recommendation is included in the Francis Report, which comes after a £13m investigation into the Stafford Hospital scandal.

Robert Francis QC headed up the 31-month inquiry and his report contains a total of 290 recommendations.

It states that the NHS constitution should be revised to reflect the changes recommended with regard to a duty of openness, transparency and candour.

It also states that there should be a single regulator dealing with corporate governance, financial competence, viability and compliance with patient safety and quality standards for all trusts.

Cathy Warwick, RCM chief executive, called the idea for a new duty of candour an ‘excellent suggestion'.

‘We hear far too often from midwives who are genuinely petrified about raising the alarm bell over poor quality of care, she said.

‘They fear that senior managers will come down on them hard simply for raising concerns. We need to transform the culture of the NHS so that midwives and others who need to raise concerns feel happy and secure in doing so.

‘NHS staff must never again be afraid to raise concerns about standards of NHS care. Today must be a watershed for the NHS.’

The report also outlines a new system that will hold senior managers to account for their actions.

Cathy said: ‘The power to disqualify those who prove themselves unfit to manage the NHS is a massive step forward and matches the rules that currently apply to midwives and are being rolled out to doctors.’
She also welcomed the recommendation that NICE will be asked to set minimum safe staffing levels for the NHS.

She said minimum safe staffing levels for maternity care would mean that the NHS would be ‘forced to recruit the midwives and other NHS staff needed to provide safe care’.

RCOG president Dr Tony Falconer said: ‘This report comes at a crucial moment in the present NHS reform programme and the recommendations will be very useful to improving patient safety and care.’

While Jackie Smith, NMC chief executive, welcomed the landmark report.

‘What happened at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust was tragic and avoidable,’ she said. 

‘We were part of a system which went badly wrong, and we sincerely apologise to those many people and their families who suffered.’

To download the report, or read the executive summary, please click here.