This site is intended for health professionals only

PM: GPs should be ‘more enquiring’ about hospital care

Prime Minister David Cameron said he hoped GPs will be ‘more enquiring’ about the care their patients receive in hospital going forward, after the publication Francis report into the failures in care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Taking questions in the House of Commons today, he said he hoped GPs and hospitals would work closer together because of the ‘more leading’ role that GPs will have on CCGs.

In a statement preceding questions, Mr Cameron said the Government will now review all of the 290 recommendations published today and respond to them next month.

He said his team of health ministers will look closely at recommendations, including GPs taking responsibility for independently monitoring the care that their patients receive in hospitals.

He also said the Friends and Family Test will help to unveil such failures more quickly in the future. The test, unveiled by the Government last autumn as part of the NHS Mandate, will see all patients treated by the NHS asked if they would recommend the specific service they accessed to a friend or a family member. It is expected to be rolled out to GPs by 2018 and to hospitals and care homes before then.

In terms of immediate actions, Mr Cameron said the Government has tasked NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh with carrying out an immediate investigation into the hospitals across the country with the highest mortality rates.

He also announced the creation of a new post at the CQC for a ‘chief inspector of hospitals’ and asked nursing and midwifery colleges to come up with plans for how to promote compassion in care as a key feature of their selection and training procedures.

He also tasked the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the GMC to explain why so far no one has been struck off as a result of the scandal and said that the Government will be looking very closely at recommendations in the report to widen the scope of regulation that the CQC can carry out to conducting criminal prosecutions.

In his statement to the House, he said: ‘This public inquiry not only repeats earlier findings but also shows wider systemic failings… so I would like to go further as Prime Minister and apologise to the families of all those who have suffered for the way that the system allowed this horrific abuse to go unchecked and unchallenged for so long. On behalf of the government – and indeed our country – I am truly sorry.’

During questions from MPs that followed his statement, Mr Cameron added: ‘The fact that GPs have a more leading role [in the reformed NHS], I think they will be more enquiring about the care their patients receive in hospitals.’

He spoke of a divide between secondary care and primary care during the Mid Staffs scandal, adding: ‘I hope that this will bring them closer together.’