The leader of Staffordshire County Council has backed calls for a “patient-centred culture” to be at the core of changes to the National Health Service.
In his report, on the public inquiry into events at Stafford Hospital, Robert Francis QC detailed 290 recommendations to improve the quality of care. Mr Francis said a change of culture was needed to “make sure that patients come first.”
Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said the County Council was examining the report in detail to explore how it can further support delivery of a first class health services for Staffordshire residents.
Cllr Atkins said, “In his report today, Robert Francis has made broad and sweeping recommendations to really transform the National Health Service and the culture within it. For me there is one key message that is weaved throughout the report, the need to put patients first and make sure they have the proper treatment that we all want when we put ourselves in health professional’s hands. It is that simple.
“As County Council, we are already committed to ensuring that Staffordshire residents not only have a voice, but it is a strong as powerful as it can be. “As part of this, we now have the independent patient champion Engaging Communities Staffordshire up and running and in the spring will see the launch of Healthwatch, a public-led organisation tasked with shaping NHS services.”
The County Council has also made its own scrutiny role of NHS partners more robust with better training, specialist support and encouraging members of the public to attend meetings and ask questions directly of senior NHS officials.”
In Staffordshire, the County Council has already taken steps to support this, including:
• Putting patients first by setting up Engaging Communities Staffordshire – to bring together data, intelligence and public views • Creation of new Healthwatch from April 1– to provide a collective voice for patients to advise the new clinical commissioning groups on the shaping of services • Proposals to radically overhaul the quality of adult health and social care, including zero tolerance approach on care providers who underperform and better training, support and pay for carers
Holding public joint accountability sessions between the county and district and borough scrutiny committees to ensure co-ordinated challenge of local NHS Trusts and make sure they have professional advice and are properly trained and understand their role.
Philip added, “The events which occurred at Stafford Hospital are without doubt one of the darkest times for the NHS and there isn’t a single organisation involved with the trust at that time which doesn’t bear some responsibility. We are already delivering many of the recommendation outlined in the Francis Report and I am confident that lessons have been learned, improvements continue to be made and today Staffordshire has a very different story to tell.”