Reactions to the Francis Report in Britain

Clockwise from top left: Christina McAnea, Cathy Warwick, Frances O'Grady and Dr Peter Carter   Christina McAnea, Head of Health, UNISON
Clockwise from top left: Christina McAnea, Cathy Warwick, Frances O’Grady and Dr Peter Carter

Christina McAnea, Head of Health, UNISON

“We owe it to the patients who died and to their relatives to make sure that the lessons of this and previous Inquiries are hammered home, not only in hospital corridors but in the corridors of Whitehall.”

UNISON has been campaigning for many years on the importance of having the right number of staff with the right mix of skills on hospital wards. And sisters should be on the wards and not dealing with administration. Patients clearly suffered as a result of this not happening.

“We welcome the report’s recommendation for registration of healthcare assistants, and this must come with a clear commitment to invest in their training and ensure they are supported to deliver safe, compassionate and dignified patient care.”

Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive, Royal College of Midwives

“The recommendation to introduce a new duty of candour is an excellent suggestion. We hear far too often from midwives who are genuinely petrified about raising the alarm bell over poor quality of care. They fear that senior managers will come down on them hard simply for raising concerns. It is good news too to see a tough new system that will hold senior managers, in particular, accountable for their actions. It is also good to see Francis recommend the regulation of health care assistants, such as maternity support workers.”

Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing

“The RCN welcomes this powerful and monumental report, which puts patients at the heart of NHS care. It delivers key recommendations that we support and have been calling for, including the registration and regulation of health care assistants. We welcome moves for overarching standards that enshrine what patients deserve from the NHS and from those who work for it.”

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, Trade Union Congress

“While what happened in Mid Staffordshire was unforgivable, this is an extreme case and there is good practice and excellent treatment at the overwhelming majority of our hospitals.

“But the worry is that with the combination of huge government spending cuts and the massive changes happening throughout the health service – where private companies are increasingly likely to be the ones providing services in pursuit of profit – we risk re-creating the very conditions and lack of accountability that allowed the Mid Staffordshire tragedy to go unnoticed for so many years.”