The government has at least partially accepted all but nine of Robert Francis QC’s 290 recommendations to improve care in the NHS, it has announced.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt unveiled the much anticipated response to the report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust this lunchtime.

Three of the rejected recommendations relate to the regulation of healthcare assistants. The government has also decided against adopting in full Francis’s recommendations in relation to a statutory duty of candour and making it a criminal offence to obstruct healthcare professionals from exercising a duty of candour, as recommended by Mr Francis.

However, the government plans to address both of these issues by strengthening professional codes of conduct.

The response confirms the government’s plans to press ahead with a scheme to prevent failed managers from working in health and social care again. The Care Quality Commission will police a fit and proper persons tests and get new powers to investigate whether an individual is fit to hold a director level position.

Mr Hunt said Mr Francis’ report and the actions that will follow it would be “completely transformational in terms of its impact on the NHS”.

“There’s a real sense of the culture of the NHS beginning to change,” he added.

Mr Hunt also highlighted the new requirement for trusts to publish staffing levels on their wards.

He said the government recognised it was not possible to deliver good care without safe staffing levels and had looked carefully at the evidence for delivering a minimum staffing levels from the centre but had decided the numbers were different for different wards.

Mr Francis, who was also at this morning’s press conference, described the response as “carefully considered and thorough”.

Mr Hunt also said Mr Francis’ report and the actions that will follow it would be “completely transformational in terms of its impact on the NHS”.

“There’s a real sense of the culture of the NHS beginning to change,” he added.

Mr Hunt also highlighted the new requirement for trusts to publish staffing levels on their wards.

He said the government recognised it was not possible to deliver good care without safe staffing levels and had looked carefully at the evidence for delivering a minimum staffing levels from the centre but had decided the numbers were different for different wards.

Mr Francis, who was also at this morning’s press conference, described the response as “carefully considered and thorough response”.

The government’s reponse says NHS England will begin to publish ‘never events’ data quarterly before the end of 2013, and will “re-launch the patient safety alerts system by the end of 2013 in a clearer framework”, working the CQC to monitor its use.
The national commissioner will also create a “Patient Safety Collaborative Programme” to “spread best practice, build skills and capabilities in patient safety and improvement science, and to focus on actions that can make the biggest difference to patients”. It will establish a Patient Safety Improvement Fellowship scheme to develop 5,000 “fellows” within five years.