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Burnham: GP inspector will not prevent another Mid-Staffs

Shadow health minister Andy Burnham has hit out at the Government’s response to the Francis Inquiry, saying it was ‘missing the bigger picture’ by seeking to impose more regulation on the NHS.

He criticised plans for a chief inspector of primary care and a new CQC inspection regime for practices, saying that the idea was not recommended by the report into the failures of care at Mid Staffordshire Foundation NHS Trust, and said a change of culture was needed.

In a speech to the NHS Confederation conference today, Mr Burnham accused the Government of ‘making up their own’ Francis report recommendations.

He said: ‘We have seen a flurry of recent announcements, a chief inspector of hospitals, a chief inspector of primary care and a chief inspector of social care. The interesting thing is that was not recommended in the [Francis report].

‘Labour supports the recommendations from Francis and therefore would wish that the Government sticks to them, instead of making up their own. Instead we see an emerging pattern of heavy handed regulation; it is only - at best - part of the answer.’

He went on to warn: ‘If we focus too much on regulation then we risk missing the big picture.’

Mr Burnham also set out his plans for the NHS, should he become health secretary again. He said: ‘The coalition in my view has already come up with the wrong answer.

‘The Government could have reshaped PCTs, by putting clinicians in charge. They could have saved a lot of money. I will work with what we have, I will work with CCGs.’

But, he added: ‘David Nicholson was right when he said yesterday that the Government has not achieved the reorganisation that is needed. I just can’t leave things as they are.’

It comes after NHS England chief executive Sir David Nicholson criticised media coverage of GPs in a speech to the same conference yesterday, saying recent comments about GPs have made him ‘incensed’.