The inquiry report into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust (Mid Staffs) has now been published and includes 18 recommendations for improvement. All the recommendations have been accepted by the Department of Health and the Mid Staffs board.

The recommendations directed towards Mid Staffs include:

  • making its first priority the needs of patients;
  • promoting links with other NHS organisations to enhance its ability to deliver services;
  • reviewing staff training;
  • reviewing audit procedures;
  • reviewing the management of complaints ;
  • reviewing policies relating to professional discipline;
  • encouraging openness;
  • reviewing the management of nursing staff;
  • reviewing the management structure to ensure that the views of clinical staff are represented at all levels;
  • reviewing record keeping procedures;
  • ensuring that wards admitting the elderly hold regular multidisciplinary meetings;
  • ensuring that steps are taken to ensure nurses work to a published set of principles focusing on safe patient care; and
  • considering steps to enhance the rebuilding of public confidence in the trust.

The report also includes recommendations directed at the Department of Health which include:

The Secretary of State for Health should consider whether he ought to request that Monitor de-authorise Mid Staffs (and he has indicated that he will ask Monitor to consider this).

  • The Secretary of State and Monitor should review the arrangements for the training, appointment, support and accountability of executive and non-executive directors to create professional standards for those posts by means of standards formulated and overseen by an independent body with powers of disciplinary sanction.
  • The Department of Health should set up an independent working group to look at mortality statistics with a view to making recommendations as to how mortality statistics should be collected, analysed and published, to promote public understanding of the process, and to assist hospitals in using the statistics as a prompt to examine particular areas of patient care.
  • The Department of Health should consider instigating an independent examination of the operation of commissioning, supervisory and regulatory bodies in relation to their monitoring role at Stafford hospital to learn lessons about how failing hospitals are identified.

The final recommendation reads:

“All NHS trusts and foundation trusts responsible for the provision of hospital services should review their standards, governance and performance in the light of this report.”

This final recommendation has been swiftly followed by a letter from Sir David Nicholson to NHS Chairs asking them to ensure that boards read the report as a matter of urgency and review their standard, governance and performance in the light of the report.

The report can be accessed here and a joint response from Monitor and the CQC can be accessed here. The Department of Health has published three reports aimed at helping NHS organisations to ensure that they have in place effective governance practices, which in the wake of Mid Staffs, will remain an issue at the top of the political and NHS agenda - more information is given about one of these reports, The Healthy NHS Board. Click here.