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PA: Response to Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry

Statement from Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of The Patients Association  

We welcome the report. It's a comprehensive review of nearly every aspect of the NHS, and when it is such a key part of all of our lives, patients and carers deserved nothing less. This is a watershed moment for our health service.

It will take time to digest all of the findings and 290 recommendations that have been made. But it is clear that he has understood some of the very real failings that patients and their families face day in and day out.

He has recognised what we hear on our Helpline every day - too many parts of the NHS has lost its way and forgotten that care and compassion should be at the heart of what staff do. He wants to give nursing a powerful voice. He wants the ward sister back in charge and we welcome that. The concept of a registered older peoples nurse is a great idea and should be wholeheartedly pursued. Whilst he recognises it will take some time to implement, he has seen that there can be no other option but to regulate healthcare assistants. The Government has been wrong to resist this idea.

We have always believed good complaints handling can do so much to improve our health service. We need standards, we need more independence and we need to empower and support patients and carers when they highlight poor care.

It is clear from the report that there is a lot of blame to go around for what happened in Stafford. Unfortunately too many people have escaped genuine accountability. But it's important now to focus on ensuring the Government doesn't play politics with this report-they need to focus on making the most of this unique opportunity to improve the NHS for all our benefit. Being a patient or a healthcare professional is no walk in the park - it’s hard for both sides and more needs to be done to make it easier for both to thrive.”

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