The King's Fund response to review of failures at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust

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Commenting on the publication of two reviews commissioned in response to the Healthcare Commission’s investigation into the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, the Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, Niall Dickson, said:

'These reports go to the heart of what caused the failings at Mid Staffordshire – patients views were not taken seriously, there was a failure of clinical leadership and the local primary care trust did not appear to understand its responsibility for the quality of care it was commissioning. What matters now is how quickly, coherently and effectively all parts of the health system act on their findings.

'One crucial recommendation is that the NHS needs to improve how it gathers and acts on information from patients and staff. Are those in charge listening to what is said about the experience of care and the services being provided? There are new measures that will tell us more about how patients view the outcome of their treatment but these reports suggest that the NHS must do more to engage with patients and staff. It is also clear that doctors and nurses must understand and accept their responsibility to speak out if they have concerns about quality of care, just as hospital boards must create a climate where that is encouraged.

'At the same time the reports highlight the fact that both local commissioners and the regulators need to be sure that they are asking for and receiving the right information about the quality of services. It is the central responsibility of PCTs to commission safe, effective care for their patients. These failures show how important it is that PCTs have the data and intelligence about the quality of the services they are purchasing for local people.

'The new Care Quality Commission has the enormous task of regulating both health and social care services in England and it will have to rely heavily on data that is supplied to it. It is therefore crucial that it focuses on the quality of that data as well as the accuracy of its analysis.
'There are vital lessons for a large number of organisations in these reports not just in Staffordshire but across the country. We need to ensure that none of these recommendations are missed because they fall between different organisations’ remits.'

Notes to editors

  1. For further information or interviews, please contact The King’s Fund press and public affairs office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
  2. The King’s Fund seeks to understand how the health system in England can be improved. Using that insight, we help to shape policy, transform services and bring about behaviour change. Our work includes  research, analysis, leadership development and service improvement. We also offer a wide range of resources to help everyone working in health to share knowledge, learning and ideas.