Yesterday, a report conducted by NHS England Medical Director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh was released.

The report reveals that at least fourteen healthcare trusts had higher than expected death rates between 2010 and 2012. The report comments on poor care, management blunders and medical errors at the fourteen trusts. Each of the trusts have been investigated due to their high mortality rates and Sir Bruce’s review has looked at whether or not the Trusts had already taken adequate action to improve the quality of care or if they still require extra support.

The Mid Staffordshire scandal is also commented upon in the report and Sir Bruce’s review indicates that the Mid Staffordshire Hospital scandal may not have been an isolated incident.

An official from the Prime Minister’s offices has suggested that hospital board members could be suspended following care failings and is quoted as saying:

Clearly there have been examples where patients and families have not received the high quality compassionate care that is so important.

David Cameron’s spokesperson went on to say:

The Prime Minster, the Secretary of State and all the Government are deeply, deeply concerned at the evidence of failings in the NHS.  It is important to have undergone the review to get to the bottom of where failings may be occurring.  What people can be very clear about is the Government’s commitment to that culture of compassion and high quality care.  The Government will continue to take the action that is necessary”.

Accordingly, further to the Francis Report, Government Ministers have said that if a hospital is recognised as deemed to be failing, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals could initiate a failure regime in which the board could be suspended or the hospital put into administration.

Sir Bruce Keogh’s report is shocking.  It blames poor staffing levels and lack of oversight and says that staff did not address the needs of patients.  It concludes that the hospitals’ investigation was “trapped in mediocrity”. 

In preparation for the report inspectors visited 21 hospitals, run by 14 NHS Trusts which had the highest mortality rates inEngland.  Accordingly, it was found that the risks to patients were so severe that they were forced to step in immediately.  Indeed, at the time of one inspection, a senior nursing official was so shocked by the shortage of staff at the particular hospital that she stepped in to comfort one patient physically because they were being ignored by staff due to those shortages.  Sir Bruce’s report has found clear links between shortages of staff and the high death rates that had triggered the investigation in the first place. 

It is only hoped that the health secretary Jeremy Hunt will now send teams of experts or as they have been called “hit squads” into ten of the Trusts to turn the hospitals around.  One can only hope that this will make inroads into saving the NHS.