Valerie Speaks at an Elderly Care Conference

On Monday 7 July 2014 Valerie spoke at Elderly Care 2014, a conference organised by the British Journal of Hospital Medicine. The conference focused on the clinical implications of ageing and its relevance to practice. Valerie was asked to talk about what lessons should be learnt from the Francis Inquiry report.

Valerie said:

“It has been over a year since the Francis Inquiry Report was published on 5 February 2013. The Report contained and executive summary, 3 volumes and 290 recommendations. I had hoped that many if not all of the recommendations would be in place by now. I set out the main areas of the Report and specific recommendations that I considered were important for the NHS to move forward.”

“There were three main areas I wanted to focus on: Firstly, there is a need for a change in culture, secondly, the health system needs to embrace openness, transparency and candour and third the patient needs to be put first.”

“The incidents that occurred at Stafford Hospital were appalling. The standards of care that was present lead to between 400 and 1200 needless deaths. Francis recommended fundamental standards of minimum safety and quality, and that non-compliance should not be tolerated.(Recommendation 13)”

“The second main area is that of openness, transparency and candour. Openness to enable concerns to be raised and disclosed freely without fear, and for questions to be answered. Transparency to allow true information about performance and outcomes to be shared with staff, patients and the public. And candour to ensure that patients harmed by a healthcare service are informed of the fact and that an appropriate remedy is offered, whether or not a complaint has been made or a question asked about it.”

“To achieve this requires all the organisations and those working in them to be honest, open and truthful in all their dealings with patients and the public. While some staff did try to come forward at the Mid Staffordshire Trust about their concerns, they were either ignored or in some cases actively threatened.”

“Patients must be the first priority in all of what the NHS does by ensuring that, within available resources, they receive effective care from caring, compassionate and committed staff, working within a common culture, and protected from avoidable harm and any deprivation of their basic rights. (Recommendation 5)”

As a member of the Health Select Committee we have seen Integrated care in Torbay and Greenwich. We saw how the system worked in Greenwich which helped elderly people maintain independence for longer, reduced number of staff they saw and reduced delays to those over 65 old being discharged. “

“We have the best system in the world – we cannot blame an ageing population or anyone else for the problems we need to work together all of us to identify good practise and deliver it:

It is an ideal that we have put into practise- that no one is turned away on the basis that they cannot afford to be treated: we should be proud that we have turned an ideal into a reality.

We all have that responsibility to help the NHS reach its next birthday hopefully intact.”