The Francis Report details a harrowing catalogue of suffering and neglect of vulnerable patients and calls for fundamental changes to the culture of the NHS.
In response to the report, our Chair, Anna Bradley said:
“The Francis report has been a long time coming. People died unnecessarily and in terrible circumstances. The fact is if it hadn't been for the dogged persistence of grieving relatives this wouldn't have been picked up at all.
"This has been a long journey – far too long. It is astonishing that many years on from the first deaths we still cannot say with certainty that it couldn't happen again. We cannot sit back and give ourselves the luxury of many more years to make 'the system' better. This is an urgent call for action.
"The report's emphasis on the importance of listening to the patient's voice is crucial, and we share that priority.
"We recognise the creation of Healthwatch is in part in response to the events at Mid Staffordshire. Our role is two-fold. We need to make sure the patient and consumer voice is clearly heard by the health and social care system at all levels. We also need to push the health and social care system to be better – much better – at responding to complaints.
"If we learn nothing else from this report it must be that 'complaint' is not a dirty word, but absolutely essential to improving what is a basic right – safe and reliable health and social care services.
"We will be reading the report very carefully to review the detail of the recommendations both for Healthwatch and for consumers and users of services more generally."