The head of the NHS should resign for presiding over the ‘appalling care’ that led to 1,200 patient deaths at Stafford Hospital, victims’ families claimed today.
As Robert Francis QC's damning 1,782 page report was finally published and found ‘failures at every level’ which led to the scandal, the Prime Minister revealed that not a single nurse or doctor has been disciplined or struck-off.
Patients at Stafford Hospital were left lying in their own urine and excrement for days, forced to drink water from vases, given the wrong medication or sent home with life-threatening conditions.
But despite hundreds of people dying needlessly over four years, Francis's report does not blame anyone for their dismal as problems 'cannot be cured by finding scapegoats or sacking individuals,' he said.
Current NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson was head of the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority, which was responsible for supervising the hospital.
Families of the victims said today he and Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, to resign immediately for failing to stop it.
Julie Bailey, whose mother Bella died at Stafford Hospital, and is head of campaign group Cure the NHS, said: 'Sir David Nicholson needs to resign today. Peter Carter needs to resign today. They knew what was going on in that hospital.
'We want their resignations and a promise they will never work in the public sector again.'
David Cameron said in a speech to MPs that what happened was 'not just wrong, it was truly dreadful'.
He apologised on behalf of the Government, saying the anger of the families was ‘completely understandable', adding: 'Anyone in this house would be furious if their mother, father or loved ones were treated in this way’.
He has ordered the creation of the post of Chief Inspector of Hospitals, who will have responsibility for a regime of inspections which are an investigation into 'whether a hospital is clean, safe and caring, rather than just an exercise in bureaucratic box-ticking'.
Francis's report said there is an unhealthy focus on money and Government targets means the NHS does not put its patients first.
A set of fundamental standards
Patients should be able to expect a basic standard of care in any hospital. Any hospital that does not comply – therefore putting patients at risk – should be prevented from offering a service. It should be a criminal offence if death or serious harm is caused by these standards not being adhered to.
A legal requirement to be open and transparent
Staff should be obliged by law to make their employers aware of incidents in which harm has been caused to a patient – or may be caused. It should be a criminal offence for the directors of trusts to give deliberately misleading information to the public and the regulators.
Compassionate, caring and committed nursing
Nurses should be assessed for their aptitude to deliver and lead proper care, and their ability to look after patients. Healthcare workers must be regulated and training standards must ensure that qualified nurses are capable of delivering compassionate care
NHS managers should be members of – and be disciplined by – an NHS leadership college
This would involve a registration scheme to ensure only fully qualified and capable people are eligible to be directors of NHS organisations. If they are found unfit for the role or guilty of serious breaches of the code of conduct , if should be possible to disqualify them, in the way that medical staff can be struck off.
There should be a 'zero tolerance' approach to poor standards after 'appalling' failings caused by 'a lack of care, compassion, humanity and leadership', Mr Francis has said.
The QC's damning findings make today one of the National Health Service's 'darkest days', NHS Confederation boss Mike Farrar has said.
David Cameron told MPs the report's evidence of systemic failure means 'we cannot say with confidence that failings of care are limited to one hospital'.
He added he was sorry the system had allowed 'horrific abuse to go unchecked and unchallenged' for so long.
'Hundreds of people suffered from the most appalling neglect and mistreatment,' he said.
'There were patients so desperate for water that they were drinking from dirty flower vases.
'Many were given the wrong medication, treated roughly, or left to wet themselves and to lie in urine for days.
'And relatives were ignored or even reproached when pointing out the most basic things which could have saved their loves ones from horrific pain or even death.
'We can only begin to imagine the suffering endured by those whose trust in our health system was betrayed at their most vulnerable moment.
'On behalf of the Government and indeed our country, I am truly sorry.'
Speaking as the report was published, Mr Francis said: 'This is a story of appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people.
'They were failed by a system which ignored the warning signs and put corporate self-interest and cost control ahead of patients and their safety.
'We need a patient-centred culture, no tolerance of non-compliance with fundamental standards, openness and transparency, candour to patients, strong cultural leadership, caring compassionate nursing, and useful and accurate information about services.'
Loved-ones of the 1,200 people who died after entering two 'hell-hole' hospitals are calling for nursing staff and management to face prosecution for their appalling standards of care.
Patients were forced to sit in their own excrement, drink water from vases to stay alive while others were sent home with life-threatening injuries or died following routine operations.
The much-anticipated £13million report into care at the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust's Stafford and Cannock hospitals highlights the 'degrading and inhumane' treatment doled out there.
He said both inquiries revealed that patients were 'let down' by the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, adding: 'There was a lack of care, compassion, humanity and leadership.'
He listed some of the most shocking failures, and said many would find it difficult to believe what had happened in an NHS hospital.
Mr Francis paid tribute to the patients and relatives who had brought the shocking facts to light.
He blamed the failures on a weak trust board which was focused on reaching targets, achieving financial balance and getting Foundation Trust status.
'Regrettably, there was a failure of the NHS system at every level to detect and take the action patients and the public were entitled to expect.
'The patient voice was not heard or listened to, either by the trust board or by local organisations, which were meant to represent their interests.'
He said nothing was done about complaints, and the medical community did not raise concerns until it was too late.
Francis also called for improved support for 'compassionate, caring and committed' nursing and suggested an aptitude test for nurses, as well as calling for training standards to make sure nurses can deliver compassionate care to a consistent standard.
What is the inquiry all about?
After revelations that up to 1,200 people may have died needlessly at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2009, the Inquiry’s aim was to find out why serious problems at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust were not identified and acted on sooner, and to find lessons to be learnt for the future.
Who gave evidence at the hearings?
The witnesses called to give evidence in person at the hearings were decided following review of the written evidence submitted.
In total, the Inquiry heard from 164 witnesses in person, and 87 witness statements and 39 provisional statements were ‘read’ into the Inquiry’s record.
How much has it all cost and who is paying?
The Inquiry cost stands at £13million, paid for by the Department of Health.
It is now two-and-a-half years since the Inquiry was announced in June 2010. Why has it taken so long?
The inquiry has gathered a large amount of evidence, and has been through several stages including the appointment of assessors and requesting of evidence; public hearings; public seminars; and a series of visits to healthcare organisations.
Mr Francis previously expected to deliver his final report in October, but it was delayed when he realised he needed longer to fulfil the terms of reference.
He said healthcare workers are not sufficiently valued, and need help with consistent training.
He went on: 'Patients are not currently adequately protected from those who are unfit to do this work.
'The time has come for healthcare support workers to be regulated by a registration scheme enabling those who should not be entrusted with the care of patients to be prevented from being employed to do so.'
He said no one should have hands-on care of patients unless properly trained and registered.
Mr Francis said nursing needs a 'stronger voice', and there should be a new role of a 'registered older person's nurse'.
He also suggested an NHS Leadership College. He said there should be a more level playing field to make all leaders equally answerable, including the ability to disqualify leaders guilty of breach of the code of conduct, and also a registration scheme.
Mr Francis said many of his recommendations would require more development.
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of The Patients Association said she welcomed the report.
'This is a watershed moment for our health service. It will take time to digest all of the findings, but it is clear that he has understood some of the very real failings that patients and their families face day in and day out.
'He has recognised what we hear on our Helpline every day - that too many parts of the NHS have lost their way and forgotten that care and compassion should be at the heart of what staff do.
'He has seen that there can be no other option but to regulate healthcare assistants. The Government has been wrong to resist this idea.'
FULL STORY + Video: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2274296/Damning-report-Staf...