The publication of the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry report: a time to pause

5 February 2013

Robert Francis QC’s long awaited report into the failings within Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust will be laid before Parliament tomorrow morning at 11.30am following his full public investigation under the Inquiries Act 2005 into the commissioning, supervisory and regulatory systems which allowed the appalling failures within the hospital to happen.

Mr Francis undertook an extensive investigation over a period of more than a year, considering evidence from more than 200 witnesses. He has spent the last year drafting his report and formulating his recommendations. All public inquiries involve painstaking consideration of vast amounts of oral evidence and documentary material. However, Mr Francis has faced the additional challenge of transposing the learning arising from the appalling events within Mid Staffordshire from 2005 - 2009 to a continually changing NHS. Even whilst Mr Francis was writing his report, the Government forged ahead with the reconfiguration of the NHS and passed the Health and Social Care Act 2012 so that the structure of the NHS today bears little resemblance to that within which the Trust operated in 2009.

It is expected that the recommendations published tomorrow will address the vast breadth of issues explored in the Inquiry including patient involvement, standards of nursing and regulation of NHS professionals. The Secretary of State, Mr Hunt, who has only been provided with a copy of the report today, will be addressing Parliament at 11.30am tomorrow. After the time and cost expended in conducting such a full inquiry, it is hoped that Mr Hunt will not prematurely dismiss any of Mr Francis’ recommendations but rather ensure that current policy development is paused and time is taken to carefully consider the implications of the report.

The Chief Executive of Action against Medical Accidents, a core participant represented by Kingsley Napley LLP in the Inquiry, has written an open letter to the Secretary of State, asking for a commitment to implement the report’s recommendations.

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