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Figures show that NHS care has changed for the better just one year on from the Francis Inquiry into Mid Staffordshire, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said at a conference in London.
He spoke about the ‘Francis Effect’, with improvements including failing hospitals being put on the road to recovery, more nurses on the wards, more doctors, and feedback direct from patients changing the way hospitals work.
Speaking about the Francis Inquiry anniversary Jeremy Hunt said:
Most weeks I join staff in different parts of the country on a shift, and I have seen first-hand how hospitals are using the Francis report as a catalyst to improve care.
Twelve months on, we cannot expect to have solved everything or to have completely transformed the culture of the country’s largest and finest institution. But we have seen a real shift in priorities - new inspections, more nurses and a stronger voice for patients, with compassionate care starting to replace tick-box targets as the major focus on boards and wards.
Our goal is safe and compassionate care as the hallmark of every hospital and experience of every single patient and family. As the NHS starts to cross this Rubicon, we must pay tribute to the hard work of NHS staff as well as the whistleblowers and patients’ champions who refused to be silenced. It is their efforts that have made the Francis Inquiry a turning point in NHS history.
The Health Secretary highlighted a number of changes since the Francis Inquiry, including:
An extra 2,400 hospital nurses hired since the Francis report, with over 3,300 more nurses working on NHS hospital wards and 6,000 more clinical staff overall since May 2010
He himself has done shifts on the frontline most weeks, including cleaning beds, working as a porter and serving tea. 140 Department of Health staff have spent at least a week working on the frontline of the NHS, totalling around 1,000 days on the frontline
14 hospitals in special measures are being turned round, with 650 extra nurses and nursing assistants hired in those hospitals, strong leaders installed, and 49 board level managers replaced
Nearly 40 per cent of hospitals now have the names of a senior responsible doctor above patients’ beds
165 nursing students piloting a radical new training approach working as healthcare assistants before their nurse training
Nearly 1.6 million patients have given direct feedback on what they thought about their treatment through the Friends and Family Test
84 patient and public representatives have taken part in CQC inspections so far. In July 2013, 2,446 patients offered to take part in an inspection
The government will publish a progress report on Francis in November this year.