Medical Law Experts Back Demands For Sweeping Reforms Of The NHS

Mid-Staffordshire Hospital Public Inquiry Report Due Within A Month

07.01.2013

Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell are backing demands for sweeping reforms of the NHS following a public inquiry into Stafford Hospital, where up to 1,200 people died needlessly in appalling conditions.

In the report, due within the next month, chairman Robert Francis QC is expected to call for an overhaul of regulation to ensure poor managers are identified and removed, and better training for nurses and healthcare assistants across the entire National Health Service.

The report is expected to declare that between 400 and 1,200 more patients died than expected at Mid Staffordshire NHS trust between 2005 and 2008, as managers cut costs and nurses to prove they were ‘cost-efficient’ and winning the race to introduce the then Government’s flagship foundation trust policy.

The two-year inquiry will hear how nurses and doctors were put under pressure by managers to ensure official targets were achieved, regardless of whether patients were being put at risk.

Following an article in a weekend newspaper with comments from Health Secertary Jeremy Hunt, Mr Francis’s report is expected to recommend changes to ensure managers are held accountable for their decisions and they could be “struck off” a central register for failing to adhere to a code of conduct. It will also cover greater training for health care assistants and for them to be regulated, meaning they could be struck off if they failed in their duties.

Irwin Mitchell is representing patients across the country who have been affected by alleged negligent treatment. These include those treated by Manjit Bhamra in South Yorkshire, Dr Ian Paterson in the Midlands, Dr Rob Jones at Treliske Hospital in Cornwall and a significant number from the Mid-Staffordshire Inquiry.

Mandy Luckman, a Partner and medical law expert at the firm who is leading the action against Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The two year inquiry into standards and care at Stafford Hospital must result in greater regulation, better training for nurses and patient safety to return as the top priority for all members of staff.

“This is needed to begin the long path of restoring public confidence in the NHS, not just in Staffordshire, but across the country, .

“Patients and the families of those affected need to know why sub-standard care was allowed to go on for so long and why they were failed by the NHS when they needed their help most.

“In each of the large-scale medical negligence cases we represent patients from, there are many serious questions about exactly what went wrong over a period of serious systematic failings and a Public Inquiry is proving the only effective way to get to the bottom of these questions.”