Age UK response to the Francis Report
Published on 06 February 2013 02:00 PM
The Francis Report into the widespread failings of the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust has made 290 recommendations to ensure that patient interest becomes the top priority for the NHS.
The report's recommendations, which include measures such as a single regulator for financial and care quality, are also intended to detect failures in standards of care and ensure they're stopped as soon as possible.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, apologised on behalf of the Government and the country for the 'horrific abuse' and immediately confirmed a new post of Chief Inspector of Hospitals to start in the Autumn.
But speaking on behalf of Age UK, Charity Director-General Michelle Mitchell said, 'The Prime Minister now needs to clearly set out how he will take forward recommendations of the Francis report and their proposals for turning words into action that deliver deep and lasting change.
Not an isolated incident
The concern from both the Francis Report, David Cameron and Age UK is that Mid-Staffordshire is the tip of the iceberg.
'What happened at Mid Staffordshire hospital must not be seen in isolation,' said Michelle Mitchell. 'Older patients in hospitals across the country all too frequently continue to face appalling breaches of humane and dignified care.'
There is also a clear need for total root and branch reform: 'To stop this kind of shocking treatment once and for all requires a change in culture and practice from top to bottom,' said Michelle Mitchell.
Age UK wants an acknowledgement that the current NHS needs to face up to reality.
'At any one time about 65% of patients in hospital will be over the age of 65,' said Michelle Mitchell. 'Many of them will be frail, suffering from dementia and have complicated conditions. We need to ensure our hospitals are equipped to care for older people with skill and compassion.'
And when Age UK says the hospitals, it means equally the staff who work in them.
'We need to ensure all staff are well trained in caring for frail older people and empowered to deliver excellent care supported by senior managers,' said Michelle Mitchell. 'It also means listening to and working with patients and their families to make sure care is right.'
Preventing another tragedy
The hope is that the Francis Report will prove a watershed moment in the care of the old and vulnerable.
'If we are to stand a chance of preventing another tragedy on the scale of Mid Staffs, we must make sure dignified care is always a top priority for the NHS at every level,' said Michelle Mitchell.
'However if we can get it right for some of the frailest and most vulnerable patients then we'll know we have an NHS fit for everyone.'
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