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Mid Staffs culprits 'should be struck off', says Hunt

Doctors and nurses responsible for the bad care that led to hundreds of deaths in the Mid Staffordshire NHS scandal should be struck off, the health secretary has said.

Jeremy Hunt described the failure to hold anybody to account so far for events at Stafford Hospital was “one of the most shocking things about this”.

“I think this is a problem, I think accountability is very, very important,” he told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show.

Asked whether the doctors, nurses and managers responsible for the situation should be struck off, he said: “Absolutely. The question I ask as health secretary is why is it we have a system where potentially 1,000 people have lost their lives because of bad care and no-one’s brought to book.”

“But I also don’t want to make the mistake of thinking this was all about bad apples.”

Mr Hunt has also indicated that the police should follow the evidence arising from Robert Francis’s inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire Trust.

The inquiry report described a “disaster” in standards of basic care and medical treatment that could have caused up to 1,200 premature deaths.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg reiterated that the police should look at the evidence to establish where there is “clear culpability”.

He told Sky News’ Murnaghan programme: “My own view has always been that there are parts of poor and criminal behaviour in our society where we are sometimes not tough enough.

“White collar crime, we are not as tough as the Americans in saying if someone has committed a white collar crime and others have had to pick up the pieces - we have seen the anger, quite legitimate public anger about the terrible failings in the banking system - I think quite understandably many people say when are people going to be held to account for this?

“But who is held to account, for what offence, is of course at the end of the day a matter for the police.

“That is why it is quite right that Jeremy Hunt has said that the police should be able to follow the evidence.”

He continued: “Some of the individuals who were in management responsibilities at the time are no longer in those positions of responsibility and have long moved on. So you need to look at the detail.”

Reporting last week, Mr Francis said there were failings at every level of the NHS and that the culture among healthcare staff must change.

He said: “What we need to avoid is yet another wholesale reorganisation of abolishing organisations and creating new ones.

“This is about how people behave when they go to work and their ability to raise concerns and be honest about what’s going on in their hospitals.”




Readers' comments (91)

  • Yes But

    Can managers be 'struck off' ?

    Is there a register of people who are allowed to manage within healthcare ?

    Is this even more deficient, than non-registration of HCAs: who can cause the most damage, a bad HCA or a bad hospital Chief Exec ?

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  • This reflects just how little Government Ministers actually know about the service they are meant to be in charge of.
    It's not suprising that death rates have started to rise as cash strapped Trusts now get a financial incentive to start people on the LCP. it would be interseting to see how many people that died were on the pathway!!

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  • What?????
    You mean to say, they are still allowed to go on neglecting vulnerable patients?
    Well, the NHS is in the hands of a conservative administration, and after all the irresponsible crass management we have suffered in their hands, what do you expect.

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  • Mr Hunt cannot make comments like this without demanding the resignation of Sir David Nicholson..... Lead by example.

    Interesting read on Wikipedia

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  • nicholson must go

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  • Before they start on nurses and doctors deal with managers and government officials and policies that caused this mess and the timebomb that is ticking in other trusts.

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  • Mr Hunt heres some names which you should pass to the police


    All of these people held senior positions and contributed significantly to the disaster.
    These senior people also collaberated in creating a climate of fear designed to "discourage" whistleblowing.
    Clear and unequivocal evidence of "managerial" bullying was presented to the inquiry

    Whilst I do not doubt that some Drs and Nurses are culpable it is important that those at the top of the organisation, those who's actions created the environment which led directly to poor care, are bought to account.

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  • These patients were not washed, fed/watered or given basic care, why did everyone ignore it, they should be removed from the register because they are the ones who ignored it whilst seeing it day in day out. Managers rarely go on the ward and that includes Sisters and Matrons who are supposed to prevent this. However, I would not be able to stand about as a nurse and watch innocent patients DIE because they couldn't reach a cup of water. And yes the Chief executive should resign and should face manslaughter charges.

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  • apart from management and anybody else implicated, the nurses who were involved or witnessed this care are as guilty as the rest. they should have looked after their patients under no matter what conditions or saved their own skin and left the establishment to go and work somewhere else where they could practice safely. they were taking a salary under false pretences for not carrying out the duties they were being paid for. if you cannot follow the code of ethics for whatever reason and cannot report it and ensure the required measures enabling you to do your job are put in place then you have no right to be on the UK register of qualified nurses. even a bullying culture from the managers cannot prevent a nurse from carrying out basic care, offering food and water or placing it within reach of those who can feed themselves. for that there are no excuses.

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  • Every matron, lead nurse, ward manager and deputy ward manager had a duty to listen to concerns. instead 1000 incident forms were placed in the bin!!! They implement what the government wants and attend board meetings and department meetings. THEY ARE TO BLAME! why couldn't they have spoken up, been more assertive and thought of the pressure that these directorate managers were placing upon the staff???

    it is at these board meetings and department meetings that ratios, hrs, rostering, targets, audits, risks are discussed also. They have the power to flag up and voice if these cuts were realistic and safe.

    For the last 10 years a nurse has had a responsibility of 9 - 11 patients. some have had 15 depending on which team you are responsible for. you are extremely lucky if you have 6 patients as you clearly have a good ward manager.

    night staff commencing a shift arrive to find that their collegue, nurse for the other team has the flu, the nurse is then responsible for the care of 30 patients! night coordinators pass through the ward however to inform her that another hca will assist only until a bank nurse arrives.

    This is a regular occurrence all over the country and it is unacceptable to deem any nurse incompetent as there are factors which need to be considered here - burnout, nurse eat nurse culture, increased nurse to patient ratios, increased hrs (12 hr shifts), constant interruptions, unsuitable areas to prepare iv's ( a small designated area next to the nurses station near a phone, computer, in close proximity to medical and other nursing staff, low morale) . . . . the list is endless and needs addressing for the sake of patients and the staff who are responsible for their care. if managers looked after their staff and supported them instead of using them as scapegoats we wouldn't be in this offensive and heartbreaking mess.

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  • anon 2:19 pm you are clearly not a healthcare practitioner. your comment is ingnorant and incorrect. we have a code of conduct and the ward managers have a duty to know EVERYTHING even if they are spending time in the office doing their svls. work a few shifts with me i'll show you the reality. as i described above it's all politics that has caused this propaganda.
    Managers should hang their heads in shame for the decisions they have made to implement without assessing the risks upon patient care and the pressures placed upon staff nurses. no one listens to us mere band 5 staff nurses, we write incident forms then are confronted about it in the office behind closed doors. the incident form is placed in he bin and we are branded trouble makers and have to carry on some how, feeling overwelmed by the lack of support and the work load. it is on your concious constantly when you cannot meet the expectations of your workload. just because it's overwelming it doesn't meen were incompetent. it means we are also suffering because we have tried to ask for help and we were pushed away left to get on with it ourselves.

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  • 13 years ago on my first placement i was sat in the staff room and the debate of the changes that the government announced was coming. i said to my mentor "what has politics got to do with nursing?" i was laughed at and ridiculed for my comment. i based my comment upon the experience that my great aunt had as a nurse and what nursing was in her career. matrons were matrons not pen pushers. things ran smoother. politics has destroyed nursing and all that it is.

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  • Anonymous | 11-Feb-2013 2:20 pm
    Anonymous | 11-Feb-2013 2:39 pm

    A mere band 5 nurse? This nurse, if she is registered with the NMC is accountable for their own practice. No excuses.

    Management and all others implicated must take the share of the blame for their part in Stafford. However, nurses were at the bedside and, reading this report, the accounts of cruelty and neglect at the hands of registered nurses are indefensible. I would think that Anonymous | 11-Feb-2013 2:19 pm, is very much a healthcare professional.

    If you are overwhelmed and practising dangerously, you have a duty of care to take appropriate action. Simply saying, "THEY ARE TO BLAME!!" and "no one listens to us mere band 5 staff nurses." is not good enough. Instead of attacking someone who has only actually pointed out what your responsibilities as a nurse actually are, you need to be taking more direct action or change your jobs.

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  • Anonymous | 11-Feb-2013 2:19 pm

    I have read some nonsense here from time to time!

    Clearly you have a well deleloped sense of right and wrong ! I really hope that you are not a nurse ! I doubt you are or you would not be talking about a "code of ethics" whatever that may be !

    Read the Francis report and discover how 2 nurses were expected to provide care to 40 patients !

    You may be super-nurse but most of us are just mortal beings and struggle to provide care to six acutely ill patients never mind 20 or more !

    You may care to reflect on what you have said ----Me? I find your remarks offensive

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  • Very good Mr Hunt, accountability is extremely important as you so rightly put it. Leading by example is equally as important... perhaps then yourself and the rest of the government who have tirelessly robbed from this country and continued to reduce the numbers of nursing staff and doctors over the past couple of decades to a point where they are now dangerously low.... leading to poor care and a culture of nursing staff who are both burnt out and so severely pressured and degraded that they no longer have any fight left in them... perhaps you should take a look at your own accountability before pointing the finger and blaming somebody else!

    As for nurses having a duty of care for reporting poor behaviour and standards.... what do you think we have been doing for the past decade at least and continue to do on a regular basis? However, when reporting falls on deaf ears and we are continually used as a scapegoat for senior management and government officials to blame when things go wrong what else are we supposed to do?

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  • I well remember coming on duty to find my shift short staffed. I immediatly contacted a nurse manager and asked fo assistance. I was told Iwould just have to manage and that she would try to send me a care assistant to help out.

    No help ever arrived - nobody had a break and it was impossible to provide the care
    which patients needed.

    At the end of the shift, in my own time, I completed an incident form detailing the shortage of staff and the risk patients had been exposed to. Included in the report was the name of the senior nurse that I had requested help from.

    The next day I was called to the office! This senior nurse was furious about the fact that I had included her name on the incident form ! I was told to rewrite the form and to exclude her name. I refused. She tore up the form. I shrugged my shoulders and later retrieved my copy of the origional incident form and sent copies of it together with a covering letter to every senior person I could think of within the organisation.
    Thats when the row really started !

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  • Jenny Jones | 11-Feb-2013 3:24 pm

    'Read the Francis report and discover how 2 nurses were expected to provide care to 40 patients !'

    Wrong angle. You should be asking why nurses accept that? Not all nurses do and I am sick of this, "it's all someone else's fault", attitude. The nursing profession is the largest single workforce in this country. What I find offensive is that this profession tolerates the conditions that others have created. Simply completing incident forms (which remakably few do), is clearly not enough. Nurses need to stop behaving like the scapegoats they have allowed themselves to become and take some proper action. How many have emailed their MPs, lobbied their unions or even voted in a ballot, never mind taken to the streets in protest? Again, remarkably few. Simply pointing the finger of blame at someone else, whilst bleating about being blamed ourselves is clearly not working.

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  • Anonymous | 11-Feb-2013 3:50 pm

    Well done. If only more would do that.

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 11-Feb-2013 3:50 pm

    Well done you. And then what happened when it all kicked off. Hope you survived the fall out:)

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  • tinkerbell

    who decides whether there should be a criminal investigation? Anyone know?

    Can't Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary for Health, make that decision or is it going to be left to the families who lost loved ones?

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