More than half of the public blame NHS managers for the disaster of poor care at the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, according to a survey shared exclusively with LGC’s sister title Health Service Journal.
A poll by Ipsos Mori found 52% of the public said NHS managers were most to blame for the care failures, which were highlighted most recently by the report of Robert Francis QC’s public inquiry earlier this month.
The inquiry, which sat for more than a year and received more than a million pages of evidence, investigated care failings at Stafford Hospital where there were between 400 and 1,200 more deaths that would have been expected between 2005 and 2008.
The next most blamed group were government ministers, whom 16% identified, followed by health regulators, with 11%.
Frontline staff fared much better, with only 3% of the public blaming doctors and 7% blaming nurses.
Ipsos Mori head of health research Jonathan Nicholls told HSJ: “It’s clear where the public places the blame for Mid Staffs.
“While the Francis report talks about failings throughout the system, over half of the public point to NHS managers as most at fault.
“The corollary is that NHS managers have furthest to go in rebuilding public trust. The question is, how?”
NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar said: “The challenge for managers is showing they are much more open and that they are changing the culture of their organisations.
“Just saying it is not good enough – it has to feel different. The NHS has got to show that it is changing.”
The survey involved a representative sample of 1,018 members of the public with a confidence level of plus or minus 3%.
Local government has also received some criticism over the NHS scandal, with the Francis report identifying failures in the health scrutiny processes of Staffordshire CC and Stafford BC. LGC reported earlier this month that the report said Staffordshire CC’s health scrutiny committee was “wholly ineffective”, having “confined itself to the passive receipt of reports” about the hospital, without properly challenging the information they contained.