The UK Government is to deepen its investigation into nine more NHS hospitals as the fallout from the Francis report continues.
This adds to the five hospitals which the government announced last week would also be investigated, and comes after the publication of the second Francis report in to the failings at Staffordshire hospital between 2005 and 2008.
The nine trusts are: North Cumbria University Hospitals, United Lincolnshire Hospitals, George Eliot Hospital, Buckinghamshire Healthcare, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals, the Dudley Group, Sherwood Forest Hospitals, Medway and Burton Hospitals.
Sir Bruce Keogh, the medical director for the NHS, will be leading the investigation, and said: “These hospitals are already working closely with a range of regulators. If there were concerns that services were unsafe the regulators should have intervened.
“The purpose of my investigation is to assure patients, public and Parliament that these hospitals understand why they have a high mortality and have all the support they need to improve. This will be a thorough and rigorous process, involving patients, clinicians, regulators and local organisations.”
Sir Bruce will shortly announce the timescale and terms of reference for this investigation.
The Francis report, led by Robert Francis QC, last week blamed a ‘business-like NHS culture’ for the failings, which put box-ticking and cost-cutting ahead of patients’ safety.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph on Sunday, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said that Francis’ report should form the basis of a police investigation.
Hunt has also said he wants to see bureaucracy reduced by a third as part of a drive to free up the NHS to focus on what he’s calling “compassionate care”.
He has asked the NHS Confederation – which represents managers in the NHS - to look into the issue and report back to him in the coming months.
“Endless boxes to tick, cumbersome bureaucracy and burdensome regulations are the problem,” he added.