Plans announced to make the NHS more open, more accountable and more focused on safety and compassion.
The government has published a full response to the 290 recommendations made by Robert Francis, following the public inquiry in to the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
This follows the government’s initial response in February 2013, which included the introduction of a new hospital inspection regime and legislation for a duty of candour on NHS organisations so they have to be open with families and patients when things go wrong.
Actions on safety and openness include:
- transparent, monthly reporting of ward-by-ward staffing levels and other safety measures
- quarterly reporting of complaints data and lessons learned by trusts along with better reporting of safety incidents
- a statutory duty of candour on providers, and professional duty of candour on individuals, through changes to professional codes
- a new national patient safety programme across England to spread best practice and build safety skills across the country and 5,000 patient safety fellows will be trained and appointed in 5 years
- trusts to be liable if they have not been open with a patient
- a dedicated hospital safety website to be developed for the public
Other actions include:
- a new criminal offence for wilful neglect, with a government intention to legislate so that those responsible for the worst failures in care are held accountable
- a new fit and proper person test, to act as a barring scheme for senior managers
- every hospital patient to have the names of a responsible consultant and nurse above their bed
- a named accountable clinician for out-of-hospital care for all vulnerable older people.
- more time to care as all arm’s length bodies and the Department of Health have signed a protocol in order to minimise bureaucractic burdens on trusts
- a new care certificate to ensure that healthcare assistants and social care support workers have the right fundamental training and skills
- a new fast-track leadership programme to recruit clinicians and external talent to the top jobs in the NHS in England
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
Today’s measures are a blueprint for restoring trust in the NHS, reinforcing professional pride in NHS frontline staff and above all giving confidence to patients. I want every patient in every hospital to have confidence that they will be given the best and safest care and the way to do that is to be completely open and transparent.
The government has also responded to the 5 expert independent reports on safety, complaints, bureaucratic burdens, support workers, and trusts with the worst mortality rates.
Progress against the report as a whole will be reported to parliament on an annual basis to ensure delivery of the recommendations.