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GPs to be held accountable for any future ‘Mid-Staffs’, says health secretary

GP commissioners will be held accountable for the failure of hospital services in the case of another Mid Staffs-style scandal, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.

Mr Hunt made the statement in an answer to a series of questions directed to himself and NHS England chief executive David Nicholson by the House of Commons Health Committee surrounding the failures of care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and the more recent reports into the deaths of babies at Morecambe Bay NHS Trust.

He was asked by one MP: ‘Do you see that CCGs and GPs will have responsiblity in the future because of course they are commissioning that care for those bodies?’

Mr Hunt replied: ‘I do. Commissioners do have a very important role but also need independent assessment of how good providers are. It is not always clear who is reponsible for sorting out problems when they are identified.’

The health secretary was also put on the spot by MPs over ‘low morale’ in the NHS stemming from his recent criticisms of GPs as well an a accusation that the NHS was ‘coasting’.

He responded: ‘I think the NHS is doing very well. And to correct you, I have not talked about a coasting NHS, but a coasting hospital management.

‘I have huge respect for GPs. What I have criticised is the GP contract, which I don’t think gets the most out of people who are working extremely hard.’