Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust

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2010 Health Care Service Group Conference
18 April 2010

UNISON welcomes the report by Robert Francis QC into the care that patients received at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust between 2005 and 2009. The report published on 24 February 2010 makes harrowing reading for patients, staff and the service.

The Francis report supports many of the findings of the Healthcare Commission (now the Care Quality Commission) report published in March 2008.The Francis report makes eighteen recommendations: thirteen are directed at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust; one at the local Strategic Health Authority and three at the Secretary of State & the Department of Health and one for every single organisation providing NHS services

UNISON has endorsed all of these recommendations. In particular, recommendation number 16, which calls for an independent examination of the role of the regulatory bodies such as Monitor and the Healthcare Commission. It is vital to discover whether the changes in the regulators have corrected historical problems.

The independent examination must identify evidence that any changes which have been made clearly demonstrate whether or not they would have been adequate enough to identify the problems at Mid Staffordshire at an early stage and prevent them from escalating. .

In particular, we believe that Monitor must be held to account. During it’s application to become a Foundation Trust (FT), Mid Staffordshire took its eye off the ball. The enquiry revealed that Monitor was assisting Mid Staffordshire to look at their governance arrangements and structures at the same that the Healthcare Commission was questioning the organisation’s mortality rates. Robert Francis said in his letter to the Secretary of State that people must come before numbers

Conference applauds the efforts of the Staffordshire branch & West Midlands Region of UNISON to support members and rebuild confidence in the organisation for both patients and staff. Conference also acknowledges the support the branch and region have received from the General Secretary and the Health Service Group. We recognise the commitment that staff have given to patients during this difficult time, and while the organisation takes steps to address critical staff shortages. Much still remains to be done, We are determined that patient, user and staff confidence be restored and will continue to work in partnership to achieve this aim.

We call on the Service Group Executive to:-

1.Give evidence to the second enquiry focusing our comments on the roles of regulators – this should include the impact of light touch regulation, the role of Monitor and the Care Quality Commission.

2.Continue to urge the Department of Health to link the Staff Attitude Survey with the performance regime.

3.Press for Mid Staffordshire’s Foundation Trust Status to be removed as soon as legislation is in place.

4.Work to include meaningful consideration of staff and their trade unions views in the process for award or removal of FT status in any future legislation or central guidance.

5.Ensure that relevant advice, guidance and support is available to branches where staff are raising concerns regarding the organisation’s approach to patient safety and quality.

6.Pressure the Government to put mechanisms in place to ensure that all healthcare providers & regulators can be adequately held to account by our elected representatives.