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Norfolk and Suffolk hospital chiefs pledge following damning NHS inquiry

12:00 07 February 2013

General view of Stafford Hospital.

General view of Stafford Hospital.

Hospital bosses in Norfolk and Suffolk said delivering quality care was their top priority following the publication of a hard-hitting report into failings at a health trust in the Midlands.

Hundreds of patients endured “terrible and unnecessary” suffering in Mid Staffordshire because a hospital trust put corporate self interest and cost control ahead of patients and their safety, a public inquiry found.

Officials at hospitals in Norfolk and Suffolk said much had changed within the NHS since “appalling” levels of care were discovered at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust-run Stafford Hospital between January 2005 and March 2009 when between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected.

A £11m public inquiry concluded yesterday with Robert Francis QC calling for the creation of a patient-centred culture across the NHS and for a “zero tolerance” approach to poor standards.

The report, which makes 290 recommendations to change the NHS, says hospitals which fail to comply with a “fundamental standard” should be forced to close. He also says healthcare providers should be liable for prosecution if they fail to comply with standards.

The inquiry chairman also called on every organisation within the NHS to report publicly on whether they have enacted his recommendations.

David Wright, chairman of the James Paget University Hospital, which was given a clean bill of health last year after receiving warnings from the Care Quality Commission, welcomed the findings of the Francis Report.

“Providing safe, high-quality care to patients is our priority. Over the last 18 months we have implemented significant measures to ensure the tragic events at Mid Staffs cannot happen at this hospital. Patient care is crucial and our low mortality rates, low emergency re-admission rates, and short length of stay, are all important indicators of high quality clinical care,” he said.

The government is set to respond to the findings of the public inquiry next month, but what went wrong at Mid Staffs could not be solved by sacking “scapegoats” or reorganising the NHS again, said Mr Francis.

The inquiry chairman said the NHS was full of dedicated, skilled people, but public trust may be lost unless all who work in the NHS take responsibility to root out poor practice.

Anna Dugdale, chief executive of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said the foundation trust had put in place a rigorous inspection regime in 2011 to ensure standards of care were kept and maintained.

“Our vision is ‘to provide every patient with the care we want for those we love the most’. This is our guiding principle and central to everything we do – in our quality standards, our expectations of our staff, the recruitment, training and development of our staff, and every interaction with our patients,” she said.

Officials at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn said the trust was taking the findings of the Francis Report “extremely seriously” and would be going through the 1,782-page report in detail to learn what recommendations it could apply.

Patricia Wright, chief executive, said the hospital had recruited additional doctors and nurses following the publication of the first Francis report in 2010.

“I would like to reassure local people that we are continually focused on providing high quality care. The hospital’s mortality rates have decreased over the last two years and are maintained within the normal range for a trust like the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. We are proud that infection rates have decreased dramatically. I have recently appointed eight clinical directors to strengthen clinical leadership in the organisation. This will ensure our work going forward is clinically led and continues to put the quality and safety of patient care at the forefront of everything we do,” she said.

Stephen Graves, chief executive at the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, said the trust ran a number of “back to the floor” events when trust board members spend half a day shadowing frontline staff.

He added that he, senior staff, a non-executive director and public representative complete a weekly walkabout to speak openly and honestly with staff.

“Although we do not always get it right, we work hard to promote an open and transparent culture where we listen to our staff and learn from the experiences of our patients,” he said.

See three pages of reaction to the Francis report in today’s EDP.

11 comments

  • BG ***@ LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE - Whinging was their default mode at Staffs I suppose as well was it?***...If you have any evidence the NNUH is another Mid Staffs then hand your evidence over , otherwise your pompous windbaggery is indeed a master class in whinging and toffee nosed fault finding.

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • I know this comment will be deleted but here goes. The EDP chose not to publish a letter I wrote to them regarding poor care at N & N because it showed the hospital in a negative light. They will only print letters now and again from people who said their care was good. This is precisely why hospitals like Stafford and the others now being investigated, get away with it. Because it's not all out in the open and is very one-sided. People in Norfolk are being brainwashed into thinking their case is an isolated one because the true facts are not being published by the EDP.

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • Eight clinical directors and at what salary will they command? Will the walkabouts take place between the hours of ten o'clock and four pm each weekday? How many weekends or night visits are envisaged? Sounds like just another layer of officialdom and like many coats of varnish on a boat only go to hide the rotten content Perhaps this is the true meaning of the word PLEDGE !!!

    Report this comment

    Claire Voyant

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • @ LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE - Whinging was their default mode at Staffs I suppose as well was it?

    Report this comment

    Hereandthere

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • I can at least comment from personal experience over the last few years on this subject. I came across good staff and those who certainly are not. I was present when a consultant had to defend himself against an administrator who wanted him to cancel an operation on cost grounds. I also came across staff whose standards fell well below what one should expert including one whose command of English was so poor she resorted to shouting at patients. As I also said some staff I encountered have been brilliant. Larson's comments are simply not credible as he appears to be saying the the report is nonsense. What I am sure about is that staff, be they administrators or medical staff, who have fallen well below the necessary standards must suffer the consequences - not just losing their job but in some cases criminal prosecution if it is justified. Unless that happens no amount of assurance that 'lessons have been learned' are credible. Those who signed off the duff PFIs in the civil service at whatever level must also be made to leave and all without any form of compensation or the prospect of moving into yet another job at the taxpayers expense.

    Report this comment

    andy

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • Pledge what exactly? New and improved spin, clamp down on leaks, stamp out whistleblowing, sidle up to Prior? Don't worry, any Trust with the 'right' sort of people on it will get all the help imaginable from his new quango. The outstanding performance of the N&NUH while he was Trust supremo should leave no one in doubt about his suitability for his new role. BG loves to witter on about terrible Labour, well one thing they should have done but sadly did not was scrap this stupid tory model of the NHS, with Trusts behaving like businesses, with huge numbers of 'managers' bleeding financial resources from front line care like a cancer, and an obsession with manipulating budgets and other performance indicators. Hence the six figure salaries paid to senior staff who are little more than spin doctors, producing endless propaganda and cover-ups about Trust performance to keep themselves and their bosses in their overpaid jobs.

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • If you are an out patient then the service is superb. But I have had elderly friends and relatives as in patients in the N&N and JPH and their treatment was terrible. The staff do their very best to ignore you and if you start asking questions they "busy" themselves on the jolly old computer hoping you will give up and go away. The trouble is many of our nurses are too academically trained and care and compassion is not in their vocabulary. They now regard many of the basics as being beneath them.

    Report this comment

    Hereandthere

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • Words, just words. My father received dreadful "care" in the N & N in a few years ago and if I spoke to staff they just shrugged their shoulders. My son's treatment was not much better and when I was in there it was filthy and the staff were scruffy and uncaring.

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • Whenever i have been treated as an inpatient at NNUH the care has been brilliant , doctors , nurses all top class. However , there was always one patient ( whatever ward ) whose relatives moan and complained about everything from the moment they arrived until the moment they left and there was nothing the staff could have done to satisfy them. Whinging was their default mode. You know the sort...always on here moaning about the council , gritting etc etc etc .

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • @ LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE - We did indeed lodge a formal complaint the details about which I am not going to go into here. So please before you let off another tirade just remember that not everyone is a born whinger; but there are people prepared to speak up for people who are no longer here. If they didn`t, we would never have learnt about Staffs would we.

    Report this comment

    Hereandthere

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • A delay, why? Instead of rejecting comments, why don't go get a big black digital marker pen and redact the parts you don't like!

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

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