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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)

  • As a student, I did a bit of whistleblowing when I witnessed abuse of a patient. I got zero support from my training uni, and even less from the RCN.

    I don't have any problems weeding out the bad apples. But the idea that the Minister for Health that created the very conditions which allowed this abuse to flourish walks away scott free is laughable.

    I am sure the Hunt has read the Risk Register regarding the reforms to the health service, yet he steamrollers on to achieve his ideological goal of destroying the NHS. The opportunities for further abuse will be abundant. If so, I sincerely hope the pidgeons come home to roost for Mr Hunt.

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  • tinkerbell | 11-Feb-2013 5:24 pm

    Yes I survived ! I was just attempting to ensure that the Trust managers were aware that patients were being put at risk.

    The rather silly lady who tore up my original incident form attempted to accuse me of subjecting her to "humiliation"! She lodged a grievance against me with HR. I was asked to apologise - I refused and insisted on a full hearing ! I am still waiting! Doubt it will happen now as some 7 months have gone by.

    I see this silly lady occasionally and she attempts to ignore me!

    I have even been known to ask her (nicely) if she has lost any forms in recent times !

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  • Anonymous | 11-Feb-2013 9:32 pm

    I agree totally. And I am disappointed at the vitriol you have received for your view. It is a message that no nurse wants to hear, because the vast majority see themselves as extremely hard-working and dedicated. However, we are accountable as individual practitioners and if we do not act appropriately, then we can easily become complicit in neglect. If nurses think that they are not being listened to by the powers that be, then they need to change how they communicate with management and the government. Obviously, completing incident reports and leaving it at that, is insufficient. Many nurses have already discovered this and take further action. More nurses doing this together would be a lot more helpful than accusations of 'nurse-bashing' and worse being aimed at those who state the irrefutable truth. Yes. Many, many senior persons (and I mean starting at government level and every stage on the way down) need to be held to account, named, sacked without remuneration and exposed to criminal proceedings. However, anyone who does not think that there are nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals who should not face up to the responsibility they have in what went on at Stafford, then at the very least, they are being dishonest about what it means to be a nurse. That isn't nurse-bashing.

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  • Anonymous | 11-Feb-2013 9:32 pm
    mags | 12-Feb-2013 8:18 am

    I concur.

    The NMC, itself unfit for purpose, is currently processing 40-odd referrals with another dozen in the pipeline. Already they have let off Helen Moss, the former Director of Nursing. With Jan Harry, another former Director of Nursing, also awaiting an FtP hearing, there needs to be a much more robust response to those in senior positions. But no nurse whose actions and/or inactions resulted in patients dying from a lack of the most basic of care, should escape justice. The rest of us are sick of suffering the fallout of this neglect and abuse.

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  • "Already they have let off Helen Moss, the former Director of Nursing."

    could their new found efficiency and speeded up process have anything to do with this?

    When one thinks of Mid Staffs and other known cases of malpractice and negligence one wonders what the NMC are really doing to protect patients and the public and what the money from subscriptions and any other income they receive is really being spent on?

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  • "I am not what I think I am and I am not what you think I am; I am what I think that you think I am."

    Charles Horton Cooley
    Sociologist, 1864-1929

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  • Anonymous | 12-Feb-2013 1:59 pm

    Be sure to keeps us posted when you finally decide who you really are. Until then. Keep taking the meds, old bean and keep your chin up.

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  • Tiger Girl

    Anonymous | 12-Feb-2013 1:59 pm

    Cooley was deluded: that is sheer nonsense !

    Mainly, the final part - the first two bits, are probably correct.

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  • To answer one of Tink's questions, the police are the ones who can request a further investigation and possible prosecution. JH made much of his press interviews requesting just that, but I don't know if it will happen. The other suggestions made (about strengthening regulations) unfortunately require primary legislation so need a lot of time to enact. You also mentioned Crown indemnity (which came into place when trusts were created) and some of the Francis recommendations suggest that this changes, I.e. senior management is no longer immune from prosecution.
    Can't come soon enough.
    I took a couple of days off to visit Mid Staffs, and looked at the wall they have, with photos of all the patients who died. I never worked there, but I am so ashamed to be a manager. My heart goes out to the relatives and families, and the staff struggling to work there and do their best.

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  • Tiger Girl | 12-Feb-2013 3:56 pm

    Anonymous | 12-Feb-2013 1:59 pm

    so was Descartes!

    Personally I wouldn't dismiss it as nonsense though as this is obviously how they felt about themselves in the light of the information they had available to them at that time. after all they didn't have access to the neuroscientific knowledge we have now. As more is discovered maybe the perspective will change again and I am sure there must be a very wide range of different perceptions of who people think they are, if they even bother to think about it at all!

    Maybe I will be able to respond better when I have finished reading
    Bruce Hood's book 'The Self Illusion'
    which I found on the bookshop shelves (? paradoxically ?) in the Management section!

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