DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
News Release issued by COI News Distribution Service on 30 April 2009
- Chief Nursing
Officer approves immediate steps to boost patient care -
Extra nurses and an experienced Assistant Director of Nursing are
being deployed to Stafford Hospital to boost frontline staff and
further improve patient care as part of a package of measures in
the wake of Health Secretary Alan Johnson's response to
recent reports into the standard of care at the Trust.
The extra nurses are being put in place on the advice of Chief
Nursing Officer Dame Christine Beasley in response to
recommendations from two reports commissioned by Alan Johnson
following the Healthcare Commission's findings last month.
The reports by Professor Sir George Alberti, the National
Clinical Director for Urgent and Emergency Care, and Dr David
Colin-Thome, the National Director for Primary Care were published today.
Mr Johnson has accepted all the reports' recommendations and
made it clear that greater priority must be given to
Mr Johnson said:
"I have been assured that there have been significant
improvements at Stafford Hospital, but it is clear there is still
more to do. The recommendations in these reports and the measures
I have announced today will support the staff at Stafford Hospital
who are working hard to ensure that care continues to improve."
David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS said:
"Whilst this was an awful case, it was highly unusual that
such poor quality care and patient complaints could go undetected
in the NHS for so long and we will make sure that this cannot
"Professor Alberti has provided reassurance that the Trust
is improving significantly. I have confidence that the staff and
the new leadership team at Stafford are turning the hospital
around to make high quality care for patients their top priority."
Professor Alberti found that there have been major improvements
at the hospital and that the A&E department is now providing
care that is safe and good. However, he also found that further
improvements need to be made, particularly with regards to the
number of nurses at the hospital.
A group of agency nurses are being immediately drafted into the
trust to work on wards 10, 11 & 12 to ensure numbers are
maintained at the right level and ratio of registered/unregistered staff.
The trust is currently working to fill all vacant posts permanently.
As well as increasing nursing numbers and strengthening
leadership, a night matron will be recruited to ensure that high
standards of care are monitored and maintained at night and a
Professional Development Nurse will be brought in to support
nurses' training and development needs.
Dr Colin-Thome looked at what lessons could be learned nationally
by the NHS and makes a number of recommendations to ensure that
patients' views are listened to and acted upon; that clinical
leadership is focussed on quality of care; and that will help
drive improvements in local commissioning of health services.
As well as the additional frontline staff, the Health Secretary
today announced a range of measures to address these wider issues
and to support those already introduced over the past year. These include:
* The local NHS will have to demonstrate publicly in an annual
statement how they are fulfilling their legal duty to involve
patients and the public in their decision making.
* Information on complaints is already available from the Care
Quality Commission, the Ombudsman and the Information Centre, but
we will now require hospitals to publish annually the number of
complaints they receive and how many were successfully resolved
locally. We will also discuss with the Health Ombudsman publishing
the number of complaints from each Trust referred to and upheld by
her. All this information will also be placed on the NHS Choices
website allowing easier comparisons between hospitals.
* Improving support and increasing the profile of the local
involvement networks (LINks) that already exist to engage patients
- in particular, stressing their current powers to visit NHS premises.
* Ensuring that every Trust who achieves foundation trust status
is providing high quality care - any Strategic Health Authority
that wishes to support an application for foundation trust status
will be required to explicitly seek the assurance of the Care
Quality Commission that they have no concerns about the care
offered by the trust.
The Department of Health is also from today publishing on the NHS
Choices website, the Hospital Standardised Mortality Rates (HSMR)
for hospitals in England.
Monitor, the Foundation Trust regulator with the support of
Professor Alberti, will continue to assess progress at Stafford
Hospital. The Care Quality Commission will review this with them
in three months and undertake a follow up investigation in six months.
The NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson will be writing to NHS
organisations to bring these reports to their attention and asking
them to ensure they implement all of the recommendations that are
relevant to them. Monitor will be writing out in similar terms to
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The Health Secretary set out these measures today in a Written
Statement to Parliament. The statement is available from the
Department of Health Media Centre.
2. Today's announcements follow reviews led by Professor Sir
George Alberti and Dr David Colin-Thome reviewing procedures for
emergency admissions and treatment, and progress against the
recommendation of the March Healthcare Commission report at Mid
Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and a review of lessons learnt
for commissioners and performance managers following the
Healthcare Commission investigation.
3. The full reports can be can be found at:
4. A table of survival rates for each Trust is available on NHS
alongside a detailed methodology of how HMSRs are calculated.
5. NHS Choices, http://www.nhs.uk, is the official
national website of the NHS. The most health website in the UKI,
it acts as a front door to local health services, including a
range of comparative information and provides a comprehensive A_Z
of medical conditions.