There are pockets of poor care like that found at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust across the country, which should not be tolerated, according to the health secretary.
Speaking at last week’s chief nursing officer’s conference in Manchester, Jeremy Hunt revealed that he would receive the report from the public inquiry into Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust at the end of January.
Mr Hunt also reiterated the four policy priority areas he has chosen to focus on between now and the next general election.
These were, he said, to improve NHS mortality rates from the four major killer diseases; improve the standard of dementia care and “more broadly, long term conditions”; to get the NHS to “really embrace” the technology revolution; and that quality of care be considered as important as quality of treatment.
Nursing was “completely central to all” of the priority areas, he said, but in particular that on improving quality of care.
He warned delegates that the Francis report into the care and governance failings at Mid Staffordshire “was going to be a very big moment and a very difficult moment for the NHS with respect to the public”. He said: “The public need to know that we are on the case on this.”
“What we mustn’t do is say that Mid Staffs itself was an exception, because there are unfortunately pockets of those problems – even if not in that concentration – throughout the country,” he said.
“They are a betrayal of the other nurses and doctors, clinicians and care workers in those hospitals, the majority of whom will be working extremely hard and doing a very good job.”
He said the “six Cs” contained the new national nursing strategy were a “very, very powerful starting point” for improving quality of care. “What I really like about the six Cs is that they are about values,” he added.
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