Leading charity group calls for more openness in response to Francis report


A leading charity coalition has cautiously welcomed the government’s response to the Francis report into failings at Mid-Staffordshire trust, while stating that more needs to be done to avoid similar cases in the future, particularly around being honest with patients about adverse incidents.

National Voices, the health and social care charity coalition, welcomes the comprehensiveness of the government response to the Francis report but believes the impact of these measures on the quality and safety of care is uncertain. The organisation also remains concerned that a new legal requirement on trusts to be honest to patients when they have caused harm does not go far enough.

National Voices’ Chief Executive, Jeremy Taylor, said: ‘The government has done a thorough job in responding to Francis, in particular by beefing up regulation, inspection, reporting and accountability requirements. We welcome the seriousness of the effort but experience suggests we should be cautious about the likely impact of such measures on improving care.

The real transformation of care quality is more likely to come from strong local leadership in trusts, open supportive and learning management cultures and a willingness to work in partnership with patients, their families and communities. That remains a challenge and work in progress. Regulation and inspection can help but also hinder.

'We welcome a commitment to a statutory duty of candour when things go wrong but think it does not go far enough.  By limiting candour to cases where death or the most serious harm has occurred, the government is essentially legitimising continued cover-ups in many other circumstances.  We are urging the Department of Health to rethink this.’

Visit the National Voices website at: http://www.nationalvoices.org.uk

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