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After Francis: making a difference

Third Report of Session 2013–14

In this report the Committee gives its view on the principal recommendations of the report of the public inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust undertaken by Robert Francis QC. The Committee will be keeping the Government’s response to the full set of recommendations made by Robert Francis under review as part of its ongoing programme of scrutiny.

The Francis report is important because it describes a culture in one part of the healthcare system where shocking and obvious deficiencies in care could persist unchecked, with completely unacceptable consequences for patients and relatives. As a consequence, a healthcare system established for public benefit and funded from public funds risks the undermining of its guarantees of safety and quality. It is vital that the pervasiveness of this culture in many parts of the health and care system is recognised and addressed: but it must also be recognised that the experiences of poor care at Mid Staffs are not the experiences of millions of patients treated each year by caring, experienced and committed NHS staff.

Robert Francis recommended that the Committee should, through its programme of regular accountability hearings and otherwise, monitor the implementation of his recommendations and the development of cultural change in the NHS. The Committee agrees, and plans to work with the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care to enhance its oversight of the quality of regulation of the healthcare professions. Legislation proposed by the Government in response to certain of Robert Francis’s recommendations is contained in Part 2 of the Care Bill [Lords]. The Committee recommends that the Government respond to its report in good time for the response to be discussed at that Bill’s Second Reading in the Commons.