The government has announced that NHS organisations will have to publish information that proves they are involving patients to prevent a repeat of the failures at Mid Staffordshire foundation trust.
A report for the Department of Health by national director for primary care David Colin-Thomé, published today, found that a significant reason that such poor care at the trust continued for so long was that patients were not listened to.
He has made a series of recommendations about lessons that should be learned nationally to prevent a similar case in future.
As a result, health secretary Alan Johnson has announced several measures to address the issues, including:
- A duty on primary care trusts to publish an annual statement about how they are fulfilling their legal duty to involve patients and the public in their decision making;
- A requirement that hospitals publish the number of complaints they receive each year and how many were “successfully resolved locally”;
- Improving support for local involvement networks and raising their profile - especially stressing their existing powers to visit hospitals;
- Requiring strategic health authorities to explicitly seek the assurance of the Care Quality Commission that it has no concerns about the care provided by any trust that they wish to put forward to become a foundation trust.
NHS chief executive David Nicholson said: “Whilst this was an awful case, it was highly unusual that such poor quality care and patient complaints could go undetected in the NHS for so long and we will make sure that this cannot happen again.”
National clinical director for urgent and emergency care Sir George Alberti found in a separate review of Staffordshire Hospital’s procedures for emergency admissions and treatment that the trust had improved significantly since the Healthcare Commission’s report but it was still short of nurses.
A group of agency nurses are being drafted into the trust immediately and an experienced director of nursing, a new night matron and a professional development nurse will also be brought in.