Including some measures already announced there will be new Ofsted-style ratings of hospitals and new hospital, social care and GP chief inspectors. Hospitals will report monthly, ward by ward and shift by shift on whether they meet minimum staffing levels. There will be a new legal duty of candour on organisations, with a requirement to tell patients about incidents that have led to death or serious injury. A new offence for board members if they misreport data. A new offence for staff of wilful neglect or mistreatment. New independent help for patients to make complaints, with the number of complaints and action taken reported quarterly. A new ‘care certificate’ for health care assistants. The list goes on. The aim, the health secretary said, is to promote “a culture of openness and transparency” within the NHS so that it learns from its mistakes. So powerful is the political demand that something – or in this case many things – must be done to avoid a repetition of what happened at Mid-Staffordshire, that to question whether all this will achieve its aims, or whether some of it might make things worse, is to invite the charge of heartless heresy. But the question […]

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