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RCN support may have 'camouflaged' Mid Staffs problems

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The senior nurse at the strategic health authority responsible for Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust has denied the organisation was “unconvinced” there was a problem there.

Giving evidence to the Mid Staffs public inquiry, NHS West Midlands director of nursing and workforce Peter Blythin refuted an accusation from Healthcare Commission investigations manager Heather Wood in her statement to the inquiry that the SHA was “unconvinced” there was a problem and was trying to “protect” Mid Staffs.

However, he admitted “some of the positives about the organisation”, which he said included a lack of concern coming from the West Midlands Deanery and the Royal College of Nursing, had “camouflaged” the SHA’s view of the foundation trust.

Mr Blythin also denied a suggestion from inquiry counsel Tom Kark QC that he was part of a “highly cynical” culture of “spin” at the SHA.

He said: “There may have been things that I didn’t do, but I was working hard to try and get this organisation into the 21st century in terms of some of the approaches to quality, safety and nursing.”

The inquiry was also told last week that problems in accident and emergency had got so bad due to one consultant’s “mood swings” that the ambulance service would “bypass Mid Staffordshire because of the reception they would get there”.

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