The government has published a full response to the 290 recommendations made by Robert Francis.
In the response, the government announced plans to make the NHS more open, more accountable and more focused on safety and compassion.
Responding to the Secretary of State’s response to the Francis Inquiry, Chair of Healthwatch England, Anna Bradley, said:
“By failing to listen to people or take their concerns seriously, the health and social care system has caused unnecessary suffering for thousands of individuals and their loved ones.
“Today’s announcement needs to draw a line in the sand. Patients, care users and the public want action to create a system that is open and honest, listens to their concerns and uses feedback to prevent future failures and further unnecessary suffering.
“As the consumer champion for health and social care, the Healthwatch network is committed to holding the Government to account over these promises, to create a system that respects our right to safe, dignified and high quality care.”
The report includes a number of actions on safety and openness that include:
- transparent, monthly reporting of ward-by-ward staffing levels and other safety measures
- quarterly reporting of complaints data and lessons learned by trusts along with better reporting of safety incidents
- a statutory duty of candour on providers, and professional duty of candour on individuals, through changes to professional codes
- a new national patient safety programme across England to spread best practice and build safety skills across the country and 5,000 patient safety fellows will be trained and appointed in 5 years
- trusts to be liable if they have not been open with a patient
- a dedicated hospital safety website to be developed for the public
Chair of Healthwatch England, Anna Bradley, also said:
“More than half of us who experience neglect or poor care never report it because we either don’t know how to or because we think nobody will listen. This is unacceptable.
“As the consumer champion for patients and care users, the Healthwatch network is ready to take on a much bigger role in shaping and setting standards for complaints support services, as well as simplifying and scrutinising the complaints system.
“Crucially, with the right resources, local Healthwatch can use the extra evidence collected to ensure people’s complaints make a positive difference, identifying areas for urgent improvement and helping to avoid others having to suffer the same poor standard of care in the future.”
Find out about people's concerns with the current complaints system and independent complaints advocacy and our role in reforming it.