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PM calls for proper accountability over Mid Staffs

It is “not acceptable” that no one has been held accountable for the neglect of patients in the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, prime minister David Cameron said on Monday night.

Mr Cameron said that any decision over criminal investigations and prosecutions was a matter for independent authorities and not politicians.

But he made clear that he wants them to consider what their response should be to the mountains of evidence in last week’s Francis Report, of “appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of patients” at Mid Staffordshire between 2005 and 2009.

Speaking during a visit to India, Mr Cameron said: “It is not an acceptable situation, as I said in my statement to the Commons.

“One of the important points about the Mid-Staffordshire inquiry is to make sure, when a failure like this takes place, there is proper accountability.

“There hasn’t been in this case and we need to put it right.”

He added: “The Prime Minister can’t be responsible for ordering prosecutions. There are independent prosecuting authorities and independent police investigations.

“The Mid-Staffordshire inquiry has made available huge amounts of information and it is for others to consider what that means for them.”

Mr Cameron said that one consequence of the report would be a “more accountable” health service in future.

But he left little doubt of his frustration at the fact that individuals have yet to be held personally to account for what went wrong.

“In the report, you can see exactly what happened to the people who were involved,” he said.

“Some of them were allowed to retire, some were allowed to move within the health service.

“There wasn’t proper accountability, there wasn’t proper consequences and that is not acceptable.”

Mr Cameron gave his support to health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s warning to NHS bodies not to use gagging clauses to silence staff members who try to “blow the whistle” on mistreatment of patients.

In a letter to the chairmen of every trust, the health secretary has warned against a culture in some quarters of “institutional self defence that prevents honest acknowledgement of failure”.

In order to avoid a repeat of the Mid Staffordshire scandal it was vital to “recognise and celebrate staff” who had the “courage and professional integrity” to speak out over safety concerns, suggested Mr Hunt.

Mr Cameron said: “I agree with what Jeremy Hunt has said. I think it is important.

“We shouldn’t need to rely on whistle blowers in the NHS. We should be discovering problems much more swiftly. That’s what the transparency agenda is about, that’s what the friends and family scheme is about, that’s what the Chief Inspector of Hospitals is about.”

Readers' comments (10)

  • who does he think should be held accountable? not himself, politicians, NHS managers or his friends of course. nothing to do with any of them is it.

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  • Not much has been reported about the effect of all the bullying, short-staffing and the attitude of uncaring managers/politicians has had on staff.

    How much sick time has been lost because of staff stress, how many inappropriate or exaggerated disciplinary meetings have nurses had to endure that were bought about because of bullying or mitigating factors that no-one wanted to take into account.

    Who is going to be held responsible for this, who is taking any responsbility for staff welfare.

    Who is going to actually stand up and admit 'we treat our staff like crap, we don't care about them, they make a mistake but it's nothing to do with us, not our fault'. Nothing to do with us that they are pushed to their absolute limits.

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  • Yes But

    Mr Cameron said: “I agree with what Jeremy Hunt has said. I think it is important.

    “We shouldn’t need to rely on whistle blowers in the NHS. We should be discovering problems much more swiftly. That’s what the transparency agenda is about, that’s what the friends and family scheme is about, that’s what the Chief Inspector of Hospitals is about.”


    I'm not sure what Cameron means by whistle blower: he says they should not be necessary, apparently.

    Anyone who raises a concern - patient, relative, porter, HCA, nurse, consultant, manager, etc - should be taken seriously, and the concern should be discussed by the people at the appropriate level (where the concern affects behaviour - if ward nurses have a concern, the first step should be to encourage ward nurses to discuss its validity among themselves: then move it upwards, if enough people do think it is a valid concern).

    That is how to make things more transparent and how to discover problems more swiftly - not just by appointing Inspectors of Hospitals, but by instilling a self-examining culture within organisations !

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  • David Cameron and David Hunt can make all the reassuring noises they like about whistle-blowers not being victimised, but whilst David Nicholson remains in his job, I'm afraid staff in the NHS will not feel confident to speak out. This man ran a Stalinist bullying regime for years and as the old saying goes, " a leopard does not change its spots".
    He needs to go.

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  • Sir David Nicholson appointed the Mid Staffordshire Trust’s failed chief executive Martin Yeates – even though he had no formal managerial training and who went on to sack 50 nurses.
    So exactly who was supposed to give the care that the sacked 60 nurses were providing. Any fool could see that this would lead to disaster. But then David Nicholson and the managers he appointed were only concerned with saving money, rather than ensuring humane patient care.

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  • Sir David Nicholson, the head of the NHS should resign for presiding over the ‘appalling care’ that led to at least 1,200 patient deaths at Stafford Hospital
    Sign the petition

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  • accountability - DC doesn't know the meaning of the word. why haven't any of the managers, politicians, heads of the numerous governing bodies been sacked, at least with the news of the world 'scandal' the boss who had overall responsibility for his staff got the boot.

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  • what action has been taken against the management who binned the incident forms, what action has been taken against the managers who ignored the staff concerns?

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  • Yes and that's till goes on , they used to rip up incident forms, now they are online, senior managers have access to change them. So what's the point in filling them in.

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  • he needs to follow through what he says for it to be effective.

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