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Francis Report

Francis report, putting patients first

There is no doubt that the Francis report is shaking the NHS to its foundations and so it should. In the years leading up to 2008 hundreds of people died at Stafford Hospital due to shocking fallings in basic care. To stop this from happening again we must listen to the conclusions of the report. But all in the NHS should not wait to be told as the message is clear, put patients first. Financial targets should never distract from the first task of the NHS to look after its patients. Our hospitals cannot become corporate in nature, or turned into businesses without losing the essence of what the NHS is all about - putting patients first. Yet there is something stopping us. There are thousands of dedicated staff in the NHS doing the best they can for their patients every day, but their efforts are being undermined by the drive to commercialise the NHS. This is the policy that so tragically distracted the management of Stafford hospital. It undoubtedly is to some extent doing the same elsewhere. We must return to NHS values of cooperation not competition. We must react to poor performance, but the culture set by policy makers and NHS leaders, must fundamentally change too.

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