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Francis applauds government's response to inquiry

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Robert Francis QC has said the government’s initial response to his Mid Staffordshire inquiry report “indicates its determination” to change the culture within the NHS.

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Mr Francis, who made 290 recommendations following his public inquiry into the failures at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, said the effectiveness of the government’s proposals would need to be judged on detail developed in coming months. The government has said it will publish a full response in September.

However, following the publication of the initial response published by ministers today, Mr Francis said: “Even though it is clear it does not accept all my recommendations, the government’s statement today indicates its determination to make positive changes to the culture of the NHS, in part by adopting some of my recommendations and in part through other initiatives.”

The barrister, who investigated the Mid Staffordshire trust over four years, added: “The statement just issued by the secretary of state is a substantial document which will take time to digest. The overall effectiveness of the response will have to be judged on the detail developed over the next few months, and the decisions taken about recommendations on which no decision has been taken at this time.

“For example, I will be particularly interested to see how the proposed use of the disclosure and barring service will protect the public adequately from healthcare support workers who are not fit to undertake such work.”

He added: “The report makes it very clear that many of the recommendations do not require government intervention or legislation to proceed, and I hope that all those involved in healthcare throughout the NHS are giving real consideration to what they can do to turn recommendation into reality.”

Mr Francis said he had met large numbers of people at conferences around the country following the publication of his report last month and said he was “consistently” told the report had given them “a sense of direction.”

He concluded: “I sense a real commitment to make the necessary changes now.”

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