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Comment on the Government’s initial response to the Francis Inquiry

26 March 2013

Commenting on the Government’s initial response to the Francis Inquiry, President of Royal College of Surgeons, Professor Norman Williams said:

‘We welcome today’s response to the Francis Report; it reinforces how vital it is for all healthcare professionals to act upon the recommendations that were highlighted in the Report, and work together to tackle the systemic problems that were raised. It is essential that patients should be at the heart of all decision making as part of compassionate and safe care.

We are pleased that the Secretary of State has listened to our suggestion that every civil servant should spend some time in a hospital or clinical setting understanding the realities of working in the NHS.

We agree that it is the responsibility of all healthcare professionals to ensure a culture of zero harm is embedded throughout the NHS. The relationship between clinicians and managers and raising concerns early, before they become a serious patient safety threat, will be crucial to this.

We also welcome the news that the Royal Colleges will be involved in the design of the Chief Inspectors score card for Hospitals. It is important to involve professional bodies not just for their expertise, but the assurance they give to the public and the medical profession that standards are supported by clinical evidence. Therefore, as laid out in our response to the Francis Report, we are calling for a greater role in the standards that are being set for organisations and professionals.

The Secretary of State highlighted the important role that the publication of outcomes data will have on improving performance. This pledge to greater transparency is one we wholeheartedly support. The successful publication of outcomes data for heart and vascular surgery has already shown how publishing outcomes can drive up standards in the NHS.’

Notes to Editor:

  1. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care. Registered charity number: 212808. For more information please visit www.rcseng.ac.uk.
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