The Francis Report (UK)

The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust public inquiry, chaired by Robert Francis QC, has published its report online.

The report is substantial, making 285 recommendations, however those recommendations are set out in a structured and succinct fashion in the Executive Summary.

Although applicable to the National Health Service UK, some recommendations warrant consideration elsewhere. For example, recommendations are made in relation to a statutory ‘duty of candour’ to report error (Recommendations 173 – 184), though some criticisms have been made of those recommendations such as in the Health Services Journal where Alastair McLellan writes:

A stronger duty of candour requiring staff to report mistakes as soon as possible could also have a very positive effect on the NHS’s patient safety culture. But Mr Francis lacks ambition in limiting his recommendation to incidents which caused “death or serious injury”, this will only cover a small minority of healthcare “mistakes”. His idea of making it a criminal offence to obstruct the duty of candour is also likely to be self-defeating in that it will encourage a culture of fear and defensiveness.

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