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.”