The Conservatives have called for strengthened public and patient involvement following revelations about “appalling” care at Mid Staffordshire foundation trust.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said its proposals would help “make sure that tragedies like the events in Mid Staffordshire never happen again”.

They include:

  • giving GPs more control of acute commissioning,
  • making more information on providers - including mortality rates - available to the public,
  • having serious complaints referred to the Care Quality Commission rather than an ombudsman,
  • creating a national-level patient representative group, to be called HealthWatch.

Mr Lansley said: “The heart of the problem was that the people who knew about what was going so terribly wrong had no power to do anything about it, and those that had the power were oblivious to what was happening under their noses. This has to change.”

A Conservative government would give patients “real say” over services at their local hospitals, he said. “We would also end the tick-box, target culture in the NHS which holds back doctors and nurses and stops them from providing top-quality care for patients.”

Regulation

Meanwhile, the Patients Association and Cure the NHS - a campaign group in Stafford - have begun a petition for an inquiry into healthcare regulation.

Association president Claire Rayner said: “What is needed now is an independent inquiry into the whole function of each of the regulatory authorities and organisations that should have picked up what was happening. All we want is to find out how and why it happened and prevent this terrible situation happening again.”

Sir Richard Branson and Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb are also supporting the petition.

The Healthcare Commission last week said it discovered understaffing, terrible standards of care and poor management on visits in spring last year.