Speaking on the government's response to the Francis Inquiry report, Catherine Foot, Assistant Director of Policy at The King's Fund said:
‘We welcome today's focus on making honesty and transparency the guiding principles for patient safety. Implementing the change set out by the government will be a long haul and requires culture change right across the NHS. This will take place against a backdrop of severe financial pressure, with NHS organisations already facing difficult decisions about whether to prioritise patient care or balance the books.
‘We need to be realistic about what can be achieved by Whitehall and regulators alone. Leaders within NHS organisations are best placed to foster a culture of compassionate care through motivating their teams, creating an open environment in which mistakes are learnt from, and ensuring that candour permeates from the board room to the ward.
‘The government is right to emphasise the importance of safe staffing levels and to recognise that these should be locally determined and justified. Boards need to be assured that their staffing ratios are adequate, but staffing levels are only part of the answer in creating a culture of compassionate care. Likewise, criminal sanctions against wilful neglect will provide an important legal backstop in the worst cases of poor care but they are only part of the solution.
‘Today's announcement is an important step forward in addressing the serious failings of care highlighted in the Francis report. Patient safety is more important than party politics and what is needed now is for everyone, from parliament to the front line, to unite around delivering the culture change needed.’
See more of our work around the Francis Inquiry report
Notes to editors:
The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and health care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible care is available to all.
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