Francis Says NHS Still 'Too Unsafe'

Robert Francis QC Has Criticised The Health Service's Safety Record


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The man who headed up the influential Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry into failings at the scandal-hit Stafford Hospital has expressed his opinion that the health sector needs to do more on safety.

Following the revelations included in Robert Francis QC's research, which highlighted a host of accountability issues within the NHS and auxiliary services, more promises have been made to improve standards of care.

However, the barrister told the Express that health bosses remain "complacent" about their role.

In February of this year, it was announced that Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust is to be broken up and key services moved to neighbouring hospitals.

The most senior nurse to be disciplined as part of the report, director of nursing Janice Harry, has been struck off the register.

"We’ve just got to change the attitude that because it’s provided by the state it’s all right for a number of people to be treated badly; well it’s not. Airlines would go out of business very quickly if they worked that way," declared Mr Francis.

He added that "planes would be falling out of the sky all the time" if the aviation sector was operated on the same basis as the NHS.

Reports such as his can play a role in bringing bad behaviour to light and driving up standards within the industry, explained the legal expert.

"Because we’ve not had access to genuine information about how well things are done, the public have had a perception that things are rather better than they probably are," he posited.

Mr Francis made almost 300 recommendations for health chiefs following his two extensive reports into problems within Staffordshire's trust.

Since his landmark report, 14 NHS hospital trusts have been investigated over high death rates as public pressure mounts on badly-run healthcare providers.

Secretary of state for health Jeremy Hunt recently launched a campaign aimed at saving 6,000 lives over the next three years by improving nursing levels.