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Hunt: NHS staff responsible for scandal should go

Hunt: NHS staff responsible for scandal should go

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt believes the staff responsible for the poor care that led to hundreds of deaths in the Mid-Staffordshire NHS scandal should be struck off.

Speaking to BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show he said the failure to hold anybody to account for what happened at Stafford Hospital was “one of the most shocking things about this”. He stressed the importance of accountability and said the doctors, nurses and managers responsible for the situation should lose their jobs.

“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,” he added.

“But I also don’t want to make the mistake of thinking this was all about bad apples.”

Mr Hunt also said police should use the evidence unearthed in Robert Francis’s inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust for their investigation. The inquiry points to a “disaster” in care standards and treatment that could have led to 1,200 premature deaths.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also said police should use the evidence compiled inthe report to pinpoint where there is “clear culpability”. Speaking to Sky News’ Murnaghan programme, he said:

“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.”

He compared the way Britain deals with “white collar crime” compared to the Americans and highlighted the banking crisis in this country as an example of a small few committing a white collar crime and leaving others to pick up the pieces.

“But who is held to account, for what offence, is of course at the end of the day a matter for the police” he added. “That is why it is quite right that Jeremy Hunt has said that the police should be able to follow the evidence.”

IBB’s Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence team comments:

“In the wake of the Stafford Hospital scandal, it has come to light that another nine hospital trusts are to be investigated over their mortality rates. These nine trusts are: North Cumbria University Hospitals, United Lincolnshire Hospitals, George Eliot Hospital, Buckinghamshire Healthcare, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals, the Dudley Group, Sherwood Forest Hospitals, Medway and Burton Hospitals. This brings the total number of trusts to be investigated to fourteen. The Francis Inquiry criticised the system of regulation and monitoring in place at Staffordshire Hospitals and found that some units failed to provide even basic standards of care to its patients. This led to what Mr Francis QC termed the “appalling and unnecessary suffering” of the patients, many of which resulted in death. As a result of the findings, Mr Francis QC was of the view that NHS staff members should face prosecution if they hid information about poor care and clearly the relatives of the patients who suffered at the hands of this poor treatment would concur with this view.

Jeremy Hunt has today spoken out to agree with this view in saying that the staff responsible should be struck off and that accountability is required. Both Mr Hunt and Deputy Prime Minister Mr Clegg agree that the police should follow the evidence produced in the Francis’s inquiry for their investigation. Following the police investigation it may therefore mean that criminal sanctions are recommended. However, in view of the additional trusts to now be investigated the appalling standards of care and failure to meet patients’ needs could be even more widespread than initially envisaged. The NHS medical director, Sir Bruce Keogh, will lead an investigation into the mortality rates of these further nine trusts. The relatives of patients who have either died or suffered neglect as a result of these failures will no doubt welcome the calls for criminal sanctions and the duty of candour to be imposed where appropriate but they may also wish to consider whether civil action is be appropriate in ensuring that accountability is held where appropriate.”

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