Pryers Solicitors

New UK patients’ champion to fight bad care

The man who led the public inquiry into the Stafford Hospital scandal has agreed to become president of the Patients Association, promising to do all he can to rid the NHS of bad care.

Robert Francis’s appointment to the UK’s most high-profile patient group has coincided with it publishing its annual dossier of patient stories.

The 14 case studies detail “shocking” examples of poor care.

They include lapses in both hospitals and nursing homes.

Common themes include patients not getting the help they needed eating, drinking or going to the toilet, being treated with a lack of dignity and having delays in their treatment.

The patient stories featured include:

The publication of the dossier comes just a week after the government published its response to the public inquiry into the Stafford Hospital inquiry, which was chaired by Mr Francis.

The “blueprint” promised the introduction of set nurse-to-patient staffing levels, a new law of wilful neglect and a barring system for poor managers.

The measures were set out after the Francis Inquiry, published in February, highlighted a series of cultural problems in the NHS.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “The government needs to ensure that the changes made to the NHS in the next few years put the patient and their needs at the centre of everything they do, in order to ensure that the sort of cases shown in this report are not repeated.”

Learning from mistakes

Mr Francis praised the Patients Association for being “ardent campaigners” and promised he would be doing his best to continue the “invaluable work”.

“The experiences of patients and relatives remain the best way to detect care that is being delivered without care and compassion.

“Let us all hope that in the near future we will stop having to listen to disturbing reports of poor and unsafe care in many different places and instead be looking at a service which has learned from the mistakes, and has ensured that the excellent practice we know exists has become the norm.”

The role of president of the group has remained vacant since Claire Rayner, the previous incumbent, died over three years ago.

Royal College of Nursing general secretary Peter Carter said the cases highlighted by the Patients Association were “deeply shocking”.

He added: “This report comes at the end of a tumultuous year for the health service. It is vital that the reports and reviews we have seen this year do not simply gather dust, and it would be unforgivable if this opportunity to learn and make improvements for patients was missed.”